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Zoe and George

We noticed, first, that our new neighbor had a parrot. The parrot’s cage is next to the front window, so when the shades are up, the parrot is on full view, and looking out into the backyard full of potential birdy friends. The parrot’s name is Isabel, and she has an anxiety disorder that makes her pluck out her own feathers, so she’s a little scruffy.

Isabel behind bars.

Isabel behind bars.

Isabel.

Isabel is giving me the beak.

The first bark could have even been mistaken for a parrot squawk, but not the six barks after that. There were dogs in that there apartment. Two dogs.

It was at least a month before I met them in person. George and Zoe are a little bit bigger than Cricket and Butterfly, but not by much. George is a white Havanese with a very outgoing personality. He likes to wave his front paws in the air to ask for attention. He’s very curious and keeps trying to go up the stairs to a stranger’s apartment to say hello. His older sister, Zoe, is a black and white Poodle mix, with an almost Dachshund length back that seems to have extra hinges in it. She is more demure than her brother, a bit more reserved and circumspect, but she will climb over him to get her share of scratchies.

That's George!

That’s George!

Zoe needs more light, but George is a glutton!

Zoe needs more light, but George is a glutton!

George and Zoe are both in middle age, or late middle age, like Cricket and Butterfly, and have their share of complaints: a hip here, a back muscle there; but they are still full of beans.

Whenever we walk past their building, my girls start sniffing feverishly. Butterfly seems to think that she must go inside, but she’s pretty shy when the real life dogs are around. Zoe and George had a little trouble with Cricket at first, because they’re all alphas and none was willing to cede power. Butterfly just stood by looking innocent and uninterested and let everyone sniff her butt.

Puppies? Where?!

“Puppies? Where?!”

I was able to take George and Zoe for a walk and it was pure joy for all of us. They are much better behaved that Cricket and Butterfly and appreciate any and all attention. Zoe has ballerina-like turn out in all four feet and almost gallops. George keeps his feet facing forward and sniffs everything and pees on everything he sniffs, and then he smiles like it’s the best day of his life.

“More walkies? We’re ready!”

There should be a puppy place in the backyard where all of the dogs who live here can hang out, so that I’ll never run out of my doggy vitamins. If I could just sit on the lawn and play with puppies for a few hours a day, I’d never have to take anti-depressants again!

Zoe finally gets her moment in the spotlight!

Zoe finally gets her moment in the spotlight!

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About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

71 responses »

  1. ramblingsofaperforatedmind

    Ah, puppy therapy! It never fails.

    Reply
  2. This is so cute! I am so excited by the new neighbors–even Isabel. We have doggy parks and doggy beaches here; I just sit and watch them all. So much fun. Wouldn’t it be great to have a doggy park right in your apartment complex? Oh, yes!

    Reply
  3. I agree, a few hours every day out on a lawn, in the sun, surrounded by puppies who so anyone a whole world of good. 😀

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  4. The dogs are very cute of course. But, Isabel? I think I’m smitten!

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  5. Rachel, I agree with you about puppy power. My pooches really cheer me up. Out of interest, have you heard anything about fleas becoming resistant to treatments? I think we’ve finally got Bilbo flea free but Lady is still giving the odd scratch and I’ve hot washed their bedding and they have flea collars and the oral meds. Bilbo is improving but has been on cortisone and antibiotics for his flea allergy. He’d never had a flea allergy before so it’s a bit of a mystery but may not have had fleas either. Any ideas? xx Rowena

    Reply
    • I’ve never heard of flea-treatment resistance, but I’m sure it’s possible. Are you sure that the itching is from fleas, rather than another allergy? They make all kinds of flea treatments, natural and chemical, so maybe they just need to try a new one?

      Reply
    • Yes! Our “bug guy” told us that fleas will evolve and become resistant to what we treated the yard with. Get something good and different from your vet. Stores will sometimes get Knock offs that are still the brand name, so don’t trust them. Seriously.

      Reply
    • You should google Fleabusters. It is an all natural powder that you sprinkle on your carpet and upholstery. It is safe and rids your house of fleas guaranteed for one year. Flea collars are not good and not safe. Frontline is not effective anymore since the fleas have developed a tolerance to it. Ask your vet about the new kind they are recommending (I can’t remember the name).

      Reply
      • Thanks very much Stacey. I’ve got some of that flea powder and put it in the kennel. I will Google flea busters and thanks for the tip. The dogs are much better but I’m sure it’s like the kids with nits, you turn your back and they’re back worse than ever. Fleabusters sounds perfect! xx Rowena

  6. I love Zoe’s extra hinges–I see that clearly! And I haven’t heard someone described as full of beans since my mom used to say it! Loved this post, Rachel–thanks!

    Reply
  7. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a Havanese before. Thanks for the introduction.

    Reply
  8. Soooooo cute!!! my dog is a Lhasa Apso and he’s really unwell 😦 has a liver and kidney issue 😦 but when I see all these cute photos on your blog it reminds of how happy and playful he was at one time! thank u

    Reply
    • I’m so sorry, but I’m glad the puppies could give you a few moments of relief.

      Reply
    • You should give your dog milk thistle (you can buy the pills in the health food section of a good grocery store). My Buddy (age 15) has kidney failure and 6 months ago we were sure he would not survive (stopped eating). We give him daily sub-coltanious IV injections and (as our vet told us it would), it has saved his life. We also switched his food to a custom food that I make or buy from Paw’s Custom Pet food (google it). He is back to his old happy self and loves eating multiple times a day. The trick is to limit the protein to 30%. He is also on C-alum-hydrox gel. All three of those factors have saved him.

      Reply
      • Oh my! thank you so much! I will do exactly all that. I have changed his food to “renal”and we do not give him any food but what is made at home. But like you said we can not give him too much protein and he has shots everyday and on weekend he get an extra shot for vitamins and supplements. But I will search for the dog milk thistle you suggested. Thank you for your inputs ❤

  9. Is Isabelle in jail? Glad you are enjoying extra puppy time. We really are better than anti-depressants! BOL! Licks and wiggles.

    Reply
  10. I love your stories about the dogs, we are so much more accepting and forgiving with them. Life lessons. Hope your studies are going well.

    Reply
    • I don’t know why dogs seem to bring out the best in us, and people kind of don’t. I’ll have to ask Cricket about this, but I’m not sure she’ll share that particular secret of her power.

      Reply
  11. Zoe and George are perfect neighbors, and I’m sure they are thrilled to have you walk them! They are truly precious!! Nothing is better therapy than our dogs…they rescue us by giving us our very best selves…for as long as they live.

    Reply
  12. What delightful neighbours! Pip

    Reply
  13. What great neighbors!

    There is an apartment complex that we considered that actually did have a play area for all the people with dogs! Unsurprisingly, they had no openings, so it wasn’t to be (and also, I have no doubt why there were no openings – a super dog-friendly place is always going to be popular!). Now, we’re in the house, but I would love to live somewhere with a play area for dogs if ever we need to find a place to stay again.

    Reply
  14. I’m reminded of a story aired on NPR’s This American Life, about the puppy channel! http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/233/Starting-from-Scratch?act=1#play

    Reply
  15. The little doggies are awesome but with regard to Isabel, she’s probably pulling out her feathers due to the stress of captivity. I’m sure your neighbor means no harm but parrots shouldn’t be pets. They’re not domesticated the way dogs and cats are. Please watch the PBS documentary Parrot Confidential and maybe your neighbor could watch it too.
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/parrot-confidential-parrot-confidential/8496/

    Reply
  16. A parrot who pulls out her feathers is either bored or frustrated.

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  17. That poor parrot plucks herself because she doesn’t get enough companionship. These birds are highly intelligent, very highly intelligent, and they need stimulation. They also have high emotional needs. In the wild these needs are met by other parrots.
    People have animals they don’t understand. I had an iguana for 17 years. Because I was just a boy when I got him, we grew up together. That animal was thoroughly socialized. He loved being around people. Hence no biting, no tail-whipping, no hissing, and no pooping outside his cage.
    In most relationships with animals, you get out of it what you put into it.

    Reply
  18. There is nothing better than hanging out with happy dogs. It should be a daily requirement for all. I do think you solved healthcare. LOL

    Reply
  19. The Sunday morning papers on Monday afternoon with a cup of tea – equally enjoyable x

    Reply
  20. My parrot tale goes back a while, to some friends we had in the valley when we first moved this way. They owned an English Setter who was extraordinarily disobedient, and who became obsessively jealous when his owners also acquired a parrot. English Setter – Hector; Parrot (uninspiringly) Captain. Hector initiated it: he didn’t like a bird on his territory, and emphasized his entitlement by setting upon Captain whenever the poor creature was within reach. But revenge is a seed dispenser better filled cold, and Captain’s revenge was dire. He learned all his new owners’ vocal and whistled instructions to Hector, so convincingly the poor dog was driven mad with constant harassment. In the end, I’m told (we lost touch) one of them had to go. It was Captain…

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  21. Lovely neighbours but I do feel sorry for Isabel, I hate it when birds are in captivity unless they’re rescues and are too injured to be returned to the wild, or are really happy. But perhaps being your new neighbour may help her!

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  22. They are adorable! Wonderful that you can take them out and Butterfly and Cricket have new friends!

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  23. Nice dogs. My poodle is 11 and has a little alpha attitude.
    As for birds, our neighbor let’s their bird be outside sometimes. For the longest time we thought some kids was calling out “Daaaadddd” but it turned out to be the bird. Now it also says “MmmmCheeellll” (for Michelle) thanks to my mom when she’s calling for me.

    Reply
  24. Looks like Isabel’s an African grey. It’s said that they’re super smart and need a lot of stimulation. It might be difficult to keep that big brain of hers ticking over if she’s left alone for hours at a time or kept in a small cage a lot, even if she’s let out once in a while. They really need to be played a great deal, just like children. Of course, your neighbors might be doing all of this and the problems are caused by something completely different.

    Reply
  25. Isabel the bird is a African Gray. They are very smart and can have a large vocabulary.I know this because I have a African Gray her name Sasha. She is very smart and makes me laugh every day and she laughs with me.She has a great sense of humor . Yesterday my neighbors dog was lose so I brought him in the house and Sasha growled at him just like a dog. You see Sasha hangs out with my dogs to much.She barks and sounds like a toy poodle, she is practicing her howl. ( I hear practicing her when I leave the room.)I would never buy a African Gray because I don’t condone taking them out of the wild and breeding of them. You see Sasha was abandoned by her owner and I stepped in to give her a home.

    Reply
  26. Cats rule, but dogs heal.

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  27. Zoe and George: what characters! How lovely that Butterfly and Cricket have found some new friends 🙂

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  28. Oh lovely post , yes I think I would be in Heaven cuddle with puppies. Such a tonic and and will lift my mood and well being..instantly. I love those little guy’s . My sister has African Grey parrot , oh what fun he is. He sings talks and is so much fun to watch.

    Have a lovely week
    Hugs
    Sheila

    Reply
  29. “The Secret Life of Pets” — Did you get to go see that one? I’m not a big animated movie fan, but who didn’t mourn the loss of fearful Ricky the duck?

    Reply

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