Got a dog?

FDR and Fala

FDR and Fala

A woman I’ve known for many years through one of my online groups of parrot afficinados checked in yesterday after an absence of a year or two, announcing, “Hello, I’m JM and I am a widow and I live in upper North Dakota with my parrot Henry. Henry and I don’t like people.”

Like JM, I live with a single person, very possessive parrot named Baby.  Nobody but me likes Baby (Kathy calls him Malecchio or ‘evil eye’). Baby has been my one of my parrot pals for over ten (10) years).  That others find him fierce worries me as Baby will probably outlive me given the average age of Senegal Parrots at death.

Living with a parrot may appear perverse from some perspectives. However, many people do, and/or live with a cat or dog.  Another woman I know lives somewhere in the mountains above Denver, worked for an animal rescue group for several years, and has so many cats, dogs, parrots, I’ve lost count.

Truth be known, some days I too like animals better than humans and I always have. With the exception of a few years after a divorce, when I lived in an apartment that forbade dogs, from childhood, my constant companion has been a dog.  A dog is a perfect friend….affectionate, offering unconditional love, faithful unto death.

The Latin word fideles or faithful (fido) became a dog’s name, not the Latin equivalent of canine. Not many dogs named Cana I think. To me, it’s not odd that Harry Truman once said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”

It was Fala, my husband’s little dog, who never really readjusted. Once, in 1945, when General Eisenhower came to lay a wreath on Franklin’s grave, the gates of the regular driveway were opened and his automobile approached the house accompanied by the wailing of the sirens of a police escort. When Fala heard the sirens, his legs straightened out, his ears pricked up and I knew that he expected to see his master coming down the drive as he had come so many times. Later, when we were living in the cottage, Fala always lay near the dining-room door where he could watch both entrances just as he did when his master was there. Franklin would often decide suddenly to go somewhere and Fala had to watch both entrances in order to be ready to spring up and join the party on short notice. Fala accepted me after my husband’s death, but I was just someone to put up with until the master should return.

—Eleanor Roosevelt, On My Own


16 thoughts on “Got a dog?

  1. I’m afraid we don’t have any animals because we travel too much. My mother would find it too difficult to care for a pet and she’s not used to animals. Art says that when our traveling days slow down, we might opt to get a dog. I didn’t realize a bird would live so long.


  2. know how I feel about animals… My late friend was a wildlife rehabber and she also had a number of rescued parrots and love birds. They had emotional and physical problems from improper care…. Michelle


  3. Such a poignant story as told by Eleanor Roosevelt about Fala. Dogs have such sweet souls. Your parrot sounds lovely Dianne. My family always had parakeets when I was growing up but I remember loving the parrots when we visited the zoo, still do. The lady who said she didn’t like people, well, I know someone who used to say – and maybe this is a borrowed quote as it always seemed familiar even back then – the older I get the more I prefer the company of my dog.


  4. We went to a fundraiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind over the wknd and met a couple of incredible canines. It’s amazing what they can do. But still, we love our lazy, fearful, untrained mutt … I mean mixed breed the best.


  5. Oh, how wonderful this post is. It brought back warm memories of my own dog, Lani, in New York City. I last saw her in 1975 and often wondered what happened to her after friends gave her to a 10 year old boy…


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