Hector D. Byrd Arrives

If you haven’t read Hector Part 1, it’s just a little background on my history with birds.  The important thing to know is that my husband talked me out of rescuing a little Lovebird because he knew it would just fuel my fire for a bigger parrot. He figured we should skip the little parrot part and just get the bird I actually wanted.  I appreciated that!

The other important thing to know is that Hector is a girl. Both sexes of African Greys look the same, so the only way to tell the difference is with a blood test, or if the bird lays eggs. Hector was named before she laid her first egg, but she’s quite proud of her name, and didn’t want it changed.

Silly me thought it would be hard finding the right bird to add to our house. I start doing some research on bird rescues to see what was out there. My husband thought he was being funny and posted to Twitter about his decision to talk me out of a Lovebird and into an African Grey. The post was something about how he thought he might regret the decision, but it seemed like the right choice at the time. Be careful what you wish for!

The universe has a funny way of reacting to things some times, and the husband’s Tweet lead to a friend joking about how we should adopt the old Ambrosia Software parrot, Hector. Next thing you know, the guy that took Hector in when Ambrosia no longer wanted an office parrot was reaching out to my husband. John Magnus Champlin, from Ambrosia, had been working with Hector for a few years, and gave her a great start on moving from being an office ornament to actually figuring out how to be a pet. While John loved and cared for Hector, he also felt that he wasn’t a “bird guy” and hoped to find her a forever home someday.

My husband Dave runs The Mac Observer, Inc., a website about all things Apple. John loved the idea that Hector could move to another Tech home after being the Ambrosia mascot. So at 21 years old, Hector moved from New York to New Hampshire and became the new mascot for The Mac Observer.

John is a super caring guy, and insisted on driving Hector to us to help ease her transition. On the drive, John stopped for gas. It was a nice day, so he took Hector’s carrier out of the car for a little air. John says, “If I remember right they recognized the Ambrosia logo stickers and some other Apple related thing on my car and it spawned a conversation. They didn’t realize I was associated with the company. When they saw the bird and realized it was actually *the* Captain Hector it blew some minds.”

And Hector made her way to New Hampshire. She loves my husband, she loves my son, me? she tolerates. I’m the one who researches parrot diet, makes her homemade food with organic grains and fresh veggies, buys her toys, cleans her cage, and gives her the most attention, but she loves the boys. It’s OK, she mostly doesn’t bite me, and I love her.

When Hector first came to us, she rarely wanted to leave her cage although she would climb up on top to hang out and liked having her cage door open. She was super nervous about anything new.  If I bought a new toy, I had to hang it across the room for a couple of days, then slowly bring it closer to her cage. After a week, I could usually hang the new toy on the outside of her cage and then move it in after another couple of days. She is not a bird that likes change.

After five years with us, I’m happy to report that Hector is much more comfortable here, finally! She doesn’t really fly even though she could, but she loves to climb down from her cage and stroll around the house.  She chases the cats and looks for anything cardboard to chew up. While she has always talked and whistled, she is talking more than ever lately. I think she has finally realized that we are her forever people and she doesn’t have to move again. Maybe she’ll even learn to like me some day!

Reviews are coming!

I’m really excited to let everyone know that I’ve got some new reviews in the works! I have a couple of sample products from Stella & Chewy’s that I’m really excited about.  They seem like a great company that has some high quality food products.  I’ll be filling you in on their Freeze-Dried Raw Wild Weenies, and Meal Mixers very soon!

I’ve also got some Hemp Oil treats from Pet Ness to check out. I’ve been using CBD Oil with my dog for a while, I’m very interested to see how these treats work. Cali will soon be sampling “Happy” and “Calm” can’t wait!

And there’s more! I’ve got a cool product called a Wag Tag that I’m testing out, and reviews of TWO PetSafe Water Fountains.  It’s going to be a busy week!

Stella and Chewy’s:  http://<https://www.stellaandchewys.com>

Pet Ness:  http://<https://petness.com>

Wagtag:   <https://tinyurl.com/y5beevus>

PetSafe:  http://<https://www.petsafe.net>




Not pet related, but I can’t help thinking about Beulah the elephant today. Beulah  spent her life traveling around in small trucks and living in parking lots for the enjoyment of humans. She showed up at the Big E Fair in Springfield, MA this year sickly, and yet her owners were still collecting money from people to take selfies with her.

Poor Beulah was photographed sleeping in a parking lot on her side this week, clearly ill.  She soon disappeared from the public eye, and now we find out that poor Beulah actually died at the Big E.

Please consider signing this petition to help stop fairs and circuses from taking advantage of wild animals.

Circus Petition

Pet Products

What do you use? What do you love? I plan to start reviewing pet products here. I’ve got a couple that I use regularly that I plan to start with, but what are you interested in?

CBD Oil seems to be on everyone’s mind lately.  I’ve been using it with my dog for several months now, I’ll do a post about it soon. Anyone else use CBD for their pets?

Another one of my favorite pet products is my Water Fountain. I know it seems a little silly to have a water fountain for your pets, but I have grown to love mine! I’ll do a post soon about why it’s really a practical thing.


Before Hector D. Byrd

My history with pet birds starts in middle school.  My first bird was a little cockatiel named Rosie, not the most original name since she had “Rosie” red cheeks. Rosie was cool, she whistled and loved to fly across the living room. She was a sweet little bird that loved to have her head scratched.

While taking care of Rosie, I met Maverick, a Red Lored Amazon Parrot. He belonged to the local pet store where I bought supplies, and he was not for sale.

Poor Maverick, (that was my name for her, the pet store hadn’t bothered to name her) lived in a too small, dirty cage perched high on a shelf in the back of a strip mall pet store. She would stare down at people when they walked in the store, and had learned a lovely string of swears courtesy of the local teens that would come in and pester her. I always spent extra time in the store when I shopped there talking to Maverick. I dreamed of having a big bird some day.

Eventually, I noticed a sign that the store was closing. What was to happen to the parrot, I asked? You want it? Of course! Maverick came home with me. First task was a new and bigger cage.  Second was reading up on parrot diet and care.

Maverick wasn’t the friendliest bird, but I could pick her up, she would ride on my shoulder if she was in the mood, and she would bite my ear if he wasn’t. She watched TV with us, laughing along and often imitating noises she heard. Maverick quickly became part of the family. When we ate dinner, Maverick had a place at the table. If she wanted something, she would run across the table and grab it off your plate. She loved to climb down from her cage and bite toes as someone walked by. If you screamed when she bit you, she would laugh!

After a couple of years, I headed off to college, and my mother took care of Maverick. When graduation came, I moved into my own apartment and Maverick came with me. Unfortunately, Maverick was not built for apartment life. I found myself feeling bad I wasn’t home enough to give her the time she needed, and my neighbors felt that Maverick was too loud.  Although it broke my heart, I knew Maverick needed a new home. I found a bird sanctuary and breeder that was interested in taking Maverick. They promised a large aviary, lots of good food, and even some birdie friends for Maverick to hang out with.

Over the years, I always wanted another pet bird, but I knew how long they could live, how much attention they needed, and how messy they were! I was also afraid to get into a situation of having one and not being able to keep it again.

Many years later, married with my own home and quickly growing children, I saw an article that the local animal shelter had seized dozens of lovebirds that needed new homes, I felt it was time. I went to look at them and loved their cheerful little tweets and pretty colors. My husband, who knows me very well, was afraid that a tiny little lovebird was only going to make me long for a big parrot again. He mentioned to a friend how he would probably regret saying it, but he felt I should get another big parrot, maybe even an African Grey like I had always wanted instead of a little lovebird. Yup, you read it right, my husband convinced me NOT to adopt a little lovebird and instead to wait for the right opportunity to bring my dream bird, an African Grey, home.

Check back soon for part 2 – Hector Comes Home…

Logan’s story

Baby Logan in 2008

Unable to sleep tonight, so it seems like a good time to catch up here. I have been wanting to post some of the stories of how we got our pets. Hector D. Byrd is the oldest age-wise, at 26, but Logan the cat, has been with us the longest, so I think I’ll start with her.

Logan and I met when I was volunteering at the local animal shelter. I love volunteering and have done many different volunteer jobs over the years.  I’ve walked dogs, cleaned small animal cages, done some Humane Education, exercised and cared for horses, and I’ve fostered cats.

My very first time fostering, I volunteered to take a mom with a litter that needed a foster home until the kittens were old enough to be adopted. I went to classes to learn about kittens and what they would need, I set up an area of our house just for our new guests. Mom cat’s name was Angel.  Angel had come in as a stray and almost immediately gave birth under the desk of one of the administrators. She only had two kittens, so they thought it would be a nice, easy first litter for me. The kittens were just about two weeks old when we brought them home.

Kittens! My kids were ecstatic! Each claimed one and named it, Pirate for the boy kitten, that looked like he had a black patch over one eye, and Logan for the girl, because my daughter had a doll named Logan and she liked the name. Pirate and Logan were so tiny and soft and my kids loved to snuggle them up in their little hands.

Everything seemed fine for a day or two, the kittens were nursing, and Angel was taking care of them. Very soon, I noticed that Pirate’s eyes looked a little crusty. I called the shelter and they said it would be OK, clean the eyes, and keep an eye on them. The next day he seemed a little sneezy. I brought him to the shelter and the vet there thought he had a respiratory infection and gave me some medicine for him. I was very careful to make sure he got all his medicine on the right schedule, but he didn’t improve. I took all three kitties to the shelter to get checked out again. They asked me to leave them over night, and when I called to check on them the next morning, they told me Pirate didn’t make it.

My son was devastated, that was “his” cat, but I felt it was important to continue with what we had started, so I picked up Angel and Logan and brought them back home. I was told what to look for with Logan to make sure she didn’t have any signs of sickness.

Logan thrived. She grew and played. Before we knew it, Logan was 8 weeks old. Time for the kitties to return to the shelter, get checked by the vet, and then get put up for adoption. This was definitely a hard part!

We all said our good byes to the kitties and wished them a happy life in their new homes. I cried all the way home from the shelter. I knew they would get adopted quickly, but they had been in our home for 6 weeks, it was tough to let go!

My daughter and I cried, a lot. My husband said to just go get the cats if that’s what we really wanted. Our current older cat didn’t really get along with Angel,  so we decided just to go get Logan.

I left a message for the shelter saying that we wanted to adopt her, and to please hold her for us. When I picked my kids up from school, I told them I had to stop by the shelter to do some paperwork.  My daughter tearfully asked if she could visit Logan while we were there. She didn’t know we had decided to keep the kitten! We went in, I did some paperwork (to adopt Logan) and then they brought Logan out to us. My daughter looked so confused. I smiled and handed Logan to her. She cried. She didn’t understand what was going on. She asked me why she had to say goodbye to Logan again. “No Silly Goose, Logan is coming back home with us for good.” She buried her face in Logan’s fur and cried happy tears.

Things were great for a couple of days. Logan settled right in and became part of the family. She seemed to be eating and drinking, but she wasn’t using the litter box. I took her to the vet, but the vet seemed very busy, didn’t really listen to what I was saying, and convinced me that the kitten needed diarrhea medicine. My instincts told me something was off. I kept a close eye on Logan. Just 24 hours after starting her on the new medicine, Logan was in bad shape. She seemed very dehydrated, she wasn’t eating, and I still don’t think she had used the litter box. I was devastated and thought we were going to lose her. I stayed up with her all that night. I fed her water from a dropper, and snuggled her in blankets to keep her warm. I brought her to another vet as soon as they opened in the morning.

Logan wasn’t exactly sick. Logan had been eating cat litter, and it had blocked her intestines. The vet kept her for the day and worked on getting the blockage cleared. We were able to bring her home that night, but things were shaky for a couple of days. Nothing like an expensive vet bill to start things off with our new kitten, but we were just thankful that she recovered quickly.

That was 2008. I did foster another litter of kittens after that. There were five or six of them, they were all grey and all looked exactly the same, and they were terrors! They climbed the walls, curtains, couches, our legs, everything! They didn’t snuggle, they ran all the time. I was happy they were almost six weeks old when we got them, so we only had them for a couple of weeks.  We worked with them and tried to teach them the joys of cuddling, but they were intent on the joys of running.

Now in 2019, we still have Logan, and we haven’t fostered again, (yet.)

Logan now

Have you ever volunteered for an Animal Rescue Group? Have you fostered? Do you have any interesting stories about where your pets came from? Let me know in the comments.


Not Surprised, but Disappointed

On August 13th, I saw pictures of an adorable smooshed brown face that belonged to a French Bulldog puppy named Pammy. Pammy needed a new home. She was the first adoptable Frenchie I’ve seen that could live with other dogs, cats, and even birds! I wanted her. I paid the $10 application fee and carefully filled out their 4 page application. Then I waited.

I knew they would get 100s of applications for a puppy like that. I knew she was located in Pennsylvania and they would probably pick someone closer if they could. I didn’t expect to get her, but yesterday when I received the email saying I was not chosen to adopt her, I was still sad.

Now I’m not sure what’s next. Part of me really wants a 2nd dog. I love seeing two play together and snuggle together, but do I want the extra hassle and expense of a second dog? If that second dog was Pammy, I have no doubt that she would have fit right in and I would not have had any regrets. Now I’m overthinking things.

I may look into fostering. It would give me a chance to help a dog that needed it, and to see how the household reacts to a 2nd dog. It’s been a while since we had more than one. If the foster “fails” and I want to keep it, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but if it doesn’t work out, I haven’t made a huge commitment.

Anyone fostered? I’ve fostered kittens before. I’ve successfully fostered litters, raised them, and brought them back to the shelter for adoption. Only one of them is still here, her name is Logan, and she’s 11 now.

Dog Day!

Happy National Dog Day!

As I’m sitting at my computer with my Dad’s Portuguese Water dog under my desk, his other Portie by my side, and my own morkie on the other side, I’ve got plenty of dogs to help me celebrate!  Happy Dog Day everyone!  Give your furry friends an extra pat today.