Acquired: Pet store
West Virginia, United States
Posted Aug 20, 2014
Unlike most of the kids in my neighborhood, I wasn't allowed to have a cat or a dog. Those were my parents rules and there was no ifs, and or buts. The only animals I was allowed to have were goldfish and any bugs I found that I made friends with outside. I know, I was a weird child, that's what you get when you can't have a puppy. I digress though, I pestered my parents for something different, I wanted a pet I could hold and play with. After many discussions I was allowed to get a Budgerigar, or Parakeet as I knew them.
I had to be the one to buy it though and take of it. I did so many chores to get this parakeet, it was unbelievable. However, I finally saved enough up and had my parents take me down to the store. At this time many department stores still sold pets, and you would find them around the toy section. I ran to the back of our local Woolworth's (kind of like today's dollar stores) and peered into the cages. I set my eyes on the brightest blue parakeet in the cage and knew I wanted him. The clerk picked him up, put him in a box and we were on out way.
I had all these ideas about what I was going to teach my parakeet. I wanted him to do tricks and to talk and of course sing. First he had to have a name, for whatever the reason I choose Petey the Parakeet. This Parakeet was everything that I wanted in a pet. He would eat from my hand, fly around the room and just hang out. While he was no dog or cat, he was mine and we were actually good friends. I took care of him on a daily basis and that included feed, water and cleaning out the cage. I have heard people complain that parakeets are dirty, I can't say that I found him to be. As long as you to care of the cage on a daily basis, there was no smell. And the cost of keeping him was minimal to say the least. Even as a child I was able to buy seed, treats and gravel for him easily enough.
Even though I spent a lot of time with Petey I had to go to school and was always worried that he would be lonely during the day. I came home one afternoon to find a beautiful green and yellow parakeet in the cage with Petey. She would be come known as Patty. Patty was much different, she was more skittish and just not as friendly. Whenever you would put your hand in the cage she would bite and jump around. The times you would let them out to fly, she was always impossible to get back in the cage.
I was never able to train Petey or Patty for that matter. It may have been because of my young age, I'm not sure. Patty would only be around for two years before she passed away. Even though she wasn't as friendly as Petey, she was a nice bird. Petey on the other hand lived a a few years longer, before coming down with some form of an infection. He was the last parakeet I ever had. We live in a home with cats and dogs now, so I just don't think it would be fair to the bird.
However, I can not think of a better pet for a child. Petey taught me how to care for an animal and in a weird way the value of money. Even after all these years, I still think about those two crazy birds and how much joy they brought to a little boy.