Some animals are more like us than we think
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BUBBA THE BUDGIE CLARE ELLIS
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.
PASTURES GREEN ROBIN KEOWN
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’!