For the Love of Sonny!

We all know pets contribute to our happiness. The unconditional love of a dog greeting you upon your arrival home feels like a million bucks. But, would you give up your pet for its happiness? My friend did just that…

About a year after I’d made my acquaintance with Helen, she asked for a small favour. She knew I had a couple of budgies and was a bird lover. Would I be able to bird-sit her canary, Sonny, while she was out of town for a few days?

Helen, a sweet woman in her late seventies, lived alone in her apartment with Sonny, who was dear to her. I didn’t hesitate to help her and Sonny out. I did inform her that while I had budgies, I also had a dog and my daughter’s dog visited often, too. These two dogs were interested in the birds from time to time. After hearing this, Helen warned me under no circumstances was I to let Sonny out of his cage. I wouldn’t have, anyways!

Sonny was high maintenance compared to my budgies. He ate regular canary food, Nyjer seed for treats and a conditioning food for when he was moulting. There was more…he preferred romaine lettuce and white rice daily! It’s true. He’d get very excited whenever I brought him rice or lettuce!

Sonny adapted to being surrounded by the cages of my birds with ease. Since he was elderly, he had lost his singing voice. But, he’d open and shut his beak in an attempt to sing, and hop from perch to perch, acting quite giddy.

Helen had several out of town trips including a time when Sonny stayed with us for a month. Each time, when Helen picked retrieved him, she’d comment he was much more animated here than in her apartment. And, Helen catered to this little fellow! She even played CD’s of chirping birds to entertain him.

On Helen’s last trip, she commented he was happier in our “aviary” than at home. She asked if I would keep him…forever! That caught me off guard as I knew how attached Helen was to Sonny.

But, Helen chose to put her brilliant yellow canary’s happiness first. I couldn’t do what she had done. I couldn’t handle coming home to a quiet place. I love my pets, but I guess not as much as Helen!

It’s been over a year now and Sonny is one of the gang.The sweetest thing is when he clings to the side of his cage and a neighbouring bird does likewise, interacting with him.


And, sometimes, if you listen closely, you can hear little sounds coming from him as he tries to sing, once again. Yes, Sonny is happy here. And, my birds are happy, too. While they didn’t care for white rice, they all go crazy for their new daily treat of romaine lettuce! Pampered pets!



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