By Gerald Hausman
Bokeelia, FL, USA
George the parrot was stolen from a nest in the jungles of Mexico. He was sold to a pet dealer friend of ours. We got him 30 years ago.
George is a tough customer. He's fought birds, dogs, cats, snakes and anything that moves too close to his cage, including people from whom he's drawn his fair quarter of blood.
He's afraid of nothing. I've rescued him from hawks and hot wires, poisonous lizards and toxic cleaning fluids.
The most consistent thing about George is his antipathy for other animals. He loathes our cat Dirty Harry. Chases her on foot, pigeon-toed, head down, beak at the ready.
Harry flees for her life every time George charges. When cornered, with nowhere to go, Harry flattens out, looking more bathmat than pusscat. Yesterday George cornered her, bit her on the flank. Harry hissed and swiped at George, who laughed shrilly, and went in for another chomp.
What a surprise, when we adopted Zora, the Great Dane who survived Hurricane Katrina.
Zora and George
We wondered - will she survive George?
From the start, Zora ignored George.
George tried to trim her nails.
Zora never blinked.
Guess who babysits Zora when we go out?
This is the story of the misanthropic parrot who loved no one for 30 years - until he met Zora, the Great Dane.
George will tweak her whiskers, affectionately, of course. And sit in front of her dotingly for hours, just looking at her.
It's hard to tell what Zora thinks - maybe nothing - but I'm telling you George, the world hater, is in love. When not chewing wires, he's chewing the fat with Zora, who's more a listener than a lover.
Yesterday I came into our office and Zora had a new tail of red, gold and green. Wait a minute! What is that?
It was George. Zora had rolled over in her sleep and all you could see was George's tail-feathers sticking out from under the 150-pound dog.
I dug George out from under, and he said: "Oh-oh. My. Ohhh."
But he still had that lovelorn look in his eye.
I think it's a relationship. Or something.
- Splash/Header Parrot Photo by Jason L. Buberal