Smart An­i­mals

Some an­i­mals are more like us than we think

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Contents -

You could earn cash by telling us about the an­tics of unique pets or wildlife. Turn to page 8 for de­tails on how to con­trib­ute.


Bubba, a hand­some blue-and­turquoise budgie, was the best lit­tle com­pan­ion I could have hoped for. At 88 years of age, I don’t plan to have any more pets, but for 12 years, Bubba and I kept each other com­pany through­out the day.

I bought him from my lo­cal pet shop, when he was a baby; the big­ger budgies were push­ing him away from the seed dish and off the end of the perch – so I had to save him.

I asked him his name, and he replied, “Bibbi”. I changed it to “Bubba”. He must have liked it be­cause he learned to say it pretty quickly. I would al­ways tell him what I was do­ing and al­ways asked him if he liked the mu­sic I played.

He would make me laugh by prac­tis­ing new words, and if he didn’t pro­nounce them cor­rectly, he would mut­ter loudly, which I took to mean he was curs­ing him­self.

I left Bubba’s cage open un­less he did some­thing naughty, when I would shut him in till he be­haved. It didn’t take long and he soon learned to say, “Bubba’s a good boy.” When

he came out, I got lots of kisses!

At bed­time I had to sing ‘Un­chained Melody’ to him. He would kiss me a lot, par­tic­u­larly in the morn­ings when he would sit on my head watch­ing the birds out­side eat the food I had put out.

My favourite mem­ory is of his last Christ­mas in 2014. He asked, “What do­ing?” I told him that the fol­low­ing day was Christ­mas Day and that the dec­o­ra­tions would cheer us up. Next morn­ing, he was out early kiss­ing me, and it con­tin­ued all day. That night, as I put him to bed he had a very sat­is­fied look on his face.

On his last day, he clung to me and lay in my hand for hours. I placed him on a feather duster in a small box so that he could be on my walker tray while I cooked din­ner.

At bed­time, he protested when I put him in his cage, so I asked him if he wanted to stay in my bed­room – lots of kiss­ing noises fol­lowed. So I placed him back into the box with some wa­ter and seed. Af­ter the usual songs, I told him to lie down and get comfy. In the morn­ing he was ly­ing down, one wing over his head. I’m sure he still vis­its me.


My friend Pamela and I are in an or­ches­tra group. Last No­vem­ber, we drove to Marl­bor­ough, New Zealand, for a ‘Top of the South’ or­ches­tra mu­sic work­shop. We en­joyed each other’s com­pany, dis­cussing the reper­toire: a mix­ture of clas­si­cal and modern mu­sic. I men­tioned how much I was en­joy­ing prac­tis­ing Beethoven’s Pas­toral Sym­phony on my cello, when Pamela ex­ploded into a fit of laugh­ter.

Sti­fling her laugh­ter, she ex­plained that re­cently, while she had been prac­tis­ing her vi­o­lin for the work­shop, her pet lamb, Baa­bie, had wan­dered into the house, as it of­ten did. Not want­ing to break her con­cen­tra­tion, she ig­nored her pet and car­ried on with her prac­tise un­til a strange noise caught her at­ten­tion. The lamb was non­cha­lantly chew­ing on a piece of pa­per that lay on the floor. Re­al­is­ing that the sheet mu­sic must have flut­tered off the mu­sic stand, she leapt up to res­cue it. The clever lamb ob­vi­ously had ‘good taste’ – it was the Pas­toral Sym­phony!

I, too, broke into laugh­ter and re­sponded that the lamb would have done bet­ter with Bach’s ‘Sheep May Safely Graze’!

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