Sir Poopsalot

September 26, 2009

Well I’ve just confessed to being a bird person, and I’ve recently read two separate blog posts about beloved pets, and that got me thinking about dear ol’ Doc and how I don’t write about him nearly enough.

Have I even mentioned I have a 26-year-old cockatiel?

 Doc 017

















Yes, that is very old for a cockatiel.  He’s like a grumpy old uncle who never settled down, so you let him live with you, and he can’t control his poop and sometimes bites.

But in a wonderful way.

Doc became mine way back in 5th grade, when a visit to my dentist revealed that one of the cockatiels in their aviary (ALL dentists should have aviaries!) had babies.  We bought one for $15, named him Doc after his birthplace, and brought him home.  26 years later, he still lives in the same cage because he refused to set foot in any of the new ones I bought for him, he’s flown on airplanes, lived in four cities, and witnessed many boys come and go before finally approving of Herbie.  The first time they met, Doc drew blood – he knew Herbie was a threat to our bachelor/bachelorette lifestyle.  But Herbie quickly won him over, while also teaching him how to eat out of a bowl at the table (before it was just crumbs everywhere) and even whistle (not my forte).

Doc’s a funny bird.  These days, his favorite thing to do is…something…in an empty Diet Coke box on top of the fridge.  He used to mate with my bedroom lamp back in his friskier days, but I don’t think that’s what he’s doing in the Diet Coke box.  He’s bitten it practically to shreds, and he just enjoys sitting in there with his tail sticking out, listening to us chatter while we cook and play.  He’s finally gotten to the point where he accepts Moo’s existence.  Sometimes he will even wander over to where she’s playing or eating Cheerios, and sometimes, Moo will deign to share one with him.  He usually always eats with us, cracking up Moo when he poops off the side of the table or trips over a stack of mail.  He’s also pretty good at demonstrating good eating habits – nibbling on my broccoli has occasionally convinced Moo to try some, too.

But Doc’s a bit slower these days.  He has cataracts, lopsided wings, prefers waddling around the house over flying, and looks a little tired around the eyes.  But it’s still one of my favorite things in the world, and maybe the only thing that make me feel truly relaxed and peaceful, when Doc and I sit on the couch together.  He insistently pokes his beak right under my nose, saying, “Now you will rub my neck!”  And so I run my finger back and forth across his head, and eventually he settles down on my knee or Herbie’s shoulder, and I sit and watch him preen his feathers, the smooth, rhythmic slide of his beak back and forth across each and every feather.

I know he’s very, very old, but I can’t help hoping that he’s some sort of magic immortal bird.  After all, he once survived three days in a desert wash near my parents’ home after he escaped.  For three days my little cockatiel avoided cats, coyotes and snakes – hell, maybe he even had a torrid love affair with a wild lovebird.  Then on the fourth day, a mailwoman was walking down the sidewalk and there was a little cockatiel waddling up to her.  Being a bird person herself, she picked him up, took him home, and saw our ad in the paper.

I like to think of that little escapade as Doc’s midlife crisis.  He saw what else was out there, and decided he liked our home the best.  I like him in my home, too.  That’s why every time we go away, I lean down and whisper to him, “Don’t worry, Doc, we’ll be back.  I need you. Please don’t leave me.”

He seems to have taken those words to heart.

Doc 021


4 Responses to “Sir Poopsalot”

  1. Beth H. Says:

    this is the sweetest post EVer! Doc is so cute & I’m glad to finally learn the origin of his name. great story! p.s. I often call my cat “Sir Pukesalot!” hee hee.

  2. nathanyates Says:

    Glad to know Doc’s still poopin’ after all these years.

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