Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sam Conure, R.I.P.

Sam was a conure, about ten years old, owned by my friend Bobby.

When Bobby draws from a bong, he draws deeply, which usually results in a minute long fit of squeaks and sputters as he tries, sometimes unsuccessfully, to avoid coughing.

From long experience, Sam knew what was coming the minute he saw Bobby reach for the bong, and he would begin imitating Bobby's squeaks, sputters, and coughs. This was usually rewarded by the single finger salute from Bobby, along with a two syllable curse, the second syllable sounding like "q."

A few years ago, Bobby got home from work to find Sam sitting in the bottom of his cage, which was a little unusual as the cage door had been left open for him and his wings weren't clipped.

Getting Sam to hop up on his finger, Bobby set him on his perch in the cage. Sam teetered a little and then - flop! - back to the bottom of the cage. Bobby took him out and examined him, then set him back on the bottom of the cage. Before long Sam had leaned forward and was supporting himself with his two feet and his beak.

Somewhat alarmed, Bobby took him to a veterinarian. The vet examined Sam but could find nothing wrong. He told Bobby he'd never seen anything like it, to take Sam home, and if he wasn't better to bring him back in the morning.

Bobby took him home, set him in the cage (three point stance again), and kept an eye on him for the rest of the evening. On waking in the morning, Bobby found that Sam was back to normal.

Several nights later, Bobby grabbed a little grass for the bong, sat down, and began to smoke it. The usual series of imitative sounds from Sam ensued, followed by the usual salute and epithet. And then, and then . . . Bobby watched as Sam flew down to the baggie on the table and began eating the marijuana buds!

Obviously, the bird had gotten himself stoned, causing the crisis of several days before. Equally obviously, he liked it and was doing it again. Bobby acquired the habit of putting the baggie in a drawer where the bird couldn't get to it.

But there's a sequel. Bobby sometimes gave Sam a small twig from the bag, and Sam diligently chewed it up, getting a little stoned in the process. And when I visited and Bobby and I got pizza, a stoned Sam would eat it with us - and no, not just the crust, but the cheese and sausage as well. Soon after that Bobby would put Sam in his cage and Sam would be out for the night.

1 comment:

dramlin said...

Sorry to hear about Sam, give his smoking pal a hug from me, okay?