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My Cockatiel is Teaching My Dog

And she is teaching him crimes

By Jolie BoyerPublished 2 months ago 4 min read
Luna and Dewey, both weirdos in their own right

In our household, there are two animals:

Luna has been with us the longest - at 9 years old she has been my companion for 6 years. She is a little gray cockatiel with white markings, and for the first part of her life she lived at a bird rescue and rehabilitation center, sequestered in little upgraded shed with 4 or 5 large rescue macaws. She is full of sass, hates crows with a fiery burning passion, and loves popcorn as an occasional treat.

Dewey has been with us for 2 years, and is around 4 years old. He is a big black and tan mutt that we adopted from the animal shelter after he was picked up as a stray and went through both a failed adoption (the adopter didn't read the rules on breeds for his apartment) and being rejected by a foster for being too energetic. He is silly, extremely sweet, and totally addicted to cuddles and homemade peanut butter.

When we first adopted Dewey, there was a bit of sibling rivalry that occurred between the two. Dewey was extremely curious about Luna and wanted to constantly know what she was doing. Every sound she made had him checking on her to see what was happening. He also got very jealous when I would lock him in his crate so she could have some time out of her cage. He would whine under his breath, and grumble loudly if he could see or hear me playing with her.

For her part, Luna seemed to be very annoyed by Dewey. He was a big oaf of an invader in her territory, and she made it clear that she was not very happy about his presence in the apartment. On more than one occassion, Dewey would fall asleep at my feet while I worked in our living room, and Luna would observe him closely. Once he was stretched out and comfy, she would shriek at the top of her voice. This would startle Dewey awake and he would jump to his feet, ready to face the threat that wasn't there. She would also taunt him by flapping her wings very hard while clinging to her perch, which made a lot of noise and would scare him if he was innocently playing with a toy or eating a treat near her cage.

After some time, a lot of the rivalry died down, and Dewey and Luna coexist mostly peacefully now. However, I have noticed that overtime, Luna seems to have taught Dewey some less than ideal behaviors....

As I said above, Luna is chalk full of sass. I strongly believe that if she could talk, her favorite word would be "hate". She takes that word to extreme that same way that toddlers will with the word "no". For example, she loves nuts and plain popcorn as a once-in-a-while treat. I will offer her an almond or a piece of popcorn, and she will flare her wings at me in a way that she finds threatening, and hiss with all the venom of an angry cobra. Once done with this show of her hatred towards all things I do for her, she will gladly start to munch on the offered tidbit, chowing down and throwing chunks at me when she can.

Similarly, Dewey has started a strange habit when I give him his daily food. I will dish out his meal, have him wait for a few seconds, and then invite him to eat. When we first adopted him, he would immediately start eating with the normal zest of a shelter dog. Now, he will pickily select a kibble or two in his mouth, and promptly spit them onto the floor near his bowl. Once done with the kibble-spit ritual, he will eat as normal with zeal. He does this with all his kibble, even the one he really, really likes (we had to switch brands after we moved) I obviously can't prove that he learned to fling his food around from Luna, but it certainly looks that way to me.

I'm very used to Luna "talking back" to me as well. Before I shaved my head, she loved to sit on my shoulder and sneakily try to wrap my below the shoulders length hair around herself like some wierd hair cocoon. In doing this, she would get very tangled in my hair and was effectively tethered to my head. When I would try to free her, she would squeak angrily and attack my fingers. On more than one occasion, I would ask her "Why did you do this?" and she would imitate my question with a series of shrieks and squeaks in the same number of syllables as my question. She did this at other times as well, matching the word count or syllables with an angry little sentence of squawks and bird sounds.

While Dewey does not have the same "intelligent" response, overtime he has started his own campaign of "back talk". I will call him over to give him something or because I want to pet him, and he will purposefully back away, turn his back on me, or stare me straight in the face and "Whisper" at me, which involves making a little huffing sound while snapping his jaws in a very exaggerated way. This is not something he did until he had lived with us for some time and the rivalry between him and Luna had died down. I swear he learned it from Luna after seeing her tell me off multiple times.

I'm sure as our little family continues on together, there will be more instances of Luna "teaching" Dewey things. She is a smart little cookie, and Dewey is very much a follower who seems to be endlessly fascinated by the bizarre little imp that shares his home and the attention of his humans. But no matter what happens, I love them both, and they make me very happy.


About the Creator

Jolie Boyer

A lot of what I write comes from real experiences I have had. I love to bring memories to life with a colorful flair, which in turn helps set the memory more firmly in my mind. Writing is a great medium and a lot of fun!

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