It’s Not “Just an Animal”

In light of a friend’s tragic loss of a beloved pet, and the close proximity to the 18th anniversary of my husband’s death, I feel the need to tell this story.

I dated Carl for about a year and a half before I married him. In that time, I had often expressed my desire to own a bird that talked. I thought they were fascinating, funny, and would be a great pet to have, but I never got around to having one.

Right before we got married, Carl brought home this little cardboard box. Inside was the cutest little piece of yellow fluff the world has ever known. My wedding present, Meep.

Meep01

She came with her name (she was a year old), and we soon figured out why. She didn’t chirp; her sound of choice was “meep, meep, meep!” It fit her, so we kept it.

She was *supposed* to be my bird, but she was daddy’s girl all the way. He had a mustache; she would scream happily when she heard him come up the steps, fly over to him, settle herself on his chest, and groom his mustache. She was totally his baby. She loved me too, but he was #1 in her book. It was incredibly cute.

She also never learned to talk (so much for a talking bird; I still loved the hell out of her). She could whistle; we tried desperately to teach her to do the theme from “The Addams Family” but she never quite got there. We loved her anyway.

When Carl died, poor Meep was hit the hardest. We shared a staircase with the next door neighbors, and while they didn’t share Carl’s enthusiasm of bounding up at top speed, she still thought that sounds on the stairs meant it was him.

After the funeral, and after everyone had gone home, and things returned to “normal”, I watched her dance around on top of her cage one night as the neighbor came up the stairs. She thought Carl had come home.

The hardest thing I have ever done in my life was to look at her and say, “That’s not daddy”. I kid you not, that bird looked at me, looked at the door, and turned her face to the corner. For a couple hours. It literally broke my heart.

So the next time someone tells you, “It’s just a cat/dog/bird” cut those people out of your life. They truly don’t get it. Not at all.

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