lundi, novembre 24, 2008

Alex the gray parrot

There's a good reason the anti-abortion centers (crisis pregnancy centers is the term used by the movement) show women ultrasounds of the fetus. Once you can see that, at a fairly early stage of life, the fetus has a human form, it's much harder to get rid of it.

We don't eat cats and dogs, having developed relationships with them. I don't know if they still do so in China, but it is so beyond my ability to imagine that it seems almost impossible.

I'm thinking of giving Dr. Pepperberg's "Alex and Me" to some friends for Christmas this year.
Alex was the grey parrot that the doctor bought at a store and who became in some way her friend.

Here's a few paragraphs from the review in today's Times :

“Alex, the African gray parrot who was smarter than the average U.S. president, has died at the relatively tender age of 31,” read an obituary in The Guardian of London. “He could count to six, identify colors, understand concepts such as bigger and smaller and had a vocabulary of 150 words. To his supporters he was proof that the phrase ‘birdbrain’ should be expunged from the dictionary.”
As his owner and colleague, Dr. Pepperberg, writes in her charming new book, “Alex & Me,” the parrot she bought in a Chicago pet store in 1977 would help open a new window on the capacity of birds and other animals to think and communicate. "

See the review, linked above, to learn more about the bird who taught Dr. Pepperberg a lot about communication, and perhaps something about love.

Scary, isn't it? Communication can often usher in affection, and sometimes love. Then you take a look at some of the things you used to do without thinking-- and ask yourself whether you really want to do them anymore.

There's not one answer. But darn it, we need to at least do our some of animal companions the honor of trying to understand them...understanding us -- perhaps more than we know.

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