How would compare or describe being a parrot owner versus

Discussion in 'Bird Boulevard' started by Saemma, 5/18/13.

  1. Saemma
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    Saemma Ripping up the road Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    being a dog owner, cat owner, or a fish in aquarium owner. What type of impact do these pets have on your lifestyle? Would it be accurate to say that having fish is similar to having a hobby? Thanks for your input. :)
  2. Mizzely
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    Mizzely Cruising the avenue Celebirdy of the Month

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    I think that having any animal could be counted as a hobby, to be honest. That doesn't mean that the animals are objects or possessions - it simply is a statement that says "this is what I enjoy doing in my free time." Fish still have fears, feel pain, have fun, have personalities, and sometimes even enjoying interacting with humans - and to say that fish keeping is a hobby but bird keeping is not to me is offensive. If one is a hobby, surely the other is also.

    I think the main difference I find in bird care versus cat or fish (both of which I have), is that I find that I need to be more mindful of things. For instance, today we are going out , so instead of doing my chores that I prefer to have the birds in cages for (cooking, cleaning the bathroom etc) this morning, I knew that I needed to get the birds out so that they can have ample time out of their cages before we leave later, and I can do those things after they are in bed. So, I had to arrange my schedule around to ensure I met their needs. Since the fish are in a tank they don't leave, and the cats essentially have free reign of the house with food and water always available, I don't find that I need to make these same considerations.

    Additionally, I am much more comfortable having someone stop by while I am gone on vacation in June to check on and feed the cats and fish, but was not as comfortable leaving the birds at home - so they are coming with.
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  3. sodakat
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    sodakat Rollerblading along the road

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    I'm just an animal owner. Always have been, including when I was a child. I've owned dogs, cats, raccoons, rats, gerbils, lizards, guinea pigs, birds and fish.

    My orandas are and my koi were a bit like pets. The other fish not so much. Talking about me personally here, not making disparaging remarks about anyone else.

    I do consider birdkeeping a hobby. I do not consider owning a dog a hobby. But my reason is because most people I know keep dogs and cats whereas they don't keep birds and certainly not to the degree and with the dedication I do. Again, I'm talking about me and people I know personally. I don't consider any of my pets to be my children but I do think of their welfare all the time, including when I pick out furniture. :D
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  4. Bokkapooh
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    Bokkapooh Joyriding the Neighborhood

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    I consider my large birds to be close companions. Best friends. Close family.

    I love my little birds and my snake, but they're more like pets to me. If I HAD to, I could rehome them. But my interactive birds are like family. They're like my children. And rehoming them would be like a mother having to give up their child. This is just my feelings on it.

    Dogs, cats, my untame unhandable birds, etc, are like pets. They're not hobbies. Hobby is book reading, studying, mountain climbing, etc.

    Pets and family take commitment and dedication. Hobbies can be easily given up on.
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  5. waterfaller1
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    waterfaller1 Ripping up the road Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue

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    I don't think of any of them as a hobby. I have all that you mentioned, insert bunny for cat. My dog is not a pet to me, he is one of my best buds.
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  6. birdlady
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    birdlady Joyriding the Neighborhood Celebirdy of the Month Avenue Spotlight Award

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    Birds are not my hobby...they are family, my life...just as my dog is...my hobby is gardening:)

    Sent from my SGH-T989 using Tapatalk 2
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  7. Ankou
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    Ankou Rollerblading along the road

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    Going to stick to birds and dogs here, since that's what I know.
    I'd say, in general, owning a bird requires a lot more dedication. If I were going to attempt to describe it in one word, I would say dog-owning is "casual."

    They are pretty simple creatures, in comparison.
    I don't need to worry about their diet, they get the nutrition they need from their dog food. They listen better and are obedient, they don't destroy my belongings because they have learned and respect what is appropriate to chew and what is not. They need toys, to play, but dog toys are simple things. Balls, Frisbees, a kiddy-pool filled with water, eachother. They need 1:1 attention, but less than a velcro-bird. As long as they are exercised, my guys are content to sleep and lay around most of the day. (Keep in mind Shadow is 11 and Bear is 8.)

    As far as lifestyle goes, I could take a dog with me camping or hiking easily, they love it in fact. Bringing Peanut would be near-impossible and extremely unsafe. This means I get out less in the summer than I would if it were just the dogs. It's also much harder to find someone to bird sit, normally, than care for dogs.

    I also worry more about what I bring into my home, a new appliance, furniture, or cookware, things I wouldn't even consider with just dogs. Even when I buy clothes I look at them and think "Wow, Peanut is going to hate this shirt," "Well, can't get this one, it has buttons..." or even trying to find plain, ugly bras with no lace or ribbons because the only one who is going to be near it besides me is Peanut. The dogs don't give a crap what I wear, they take an ugly, loud shirt in stride, if they even notice it.

    That said, for some reason if I had to choose one, I would choose birds. For all their complexity and difficulty they are such wonderful companions.

    I don't consider any animal-owning a hobby, it's really more of a lifestyle. As soon as you are changing your life to accommodate "a hobby," it isn't a hobby anymore. That is, of course, my own opinion and I'm not offended if other people consider it a hobby. As long as the animals get the care they deserve they can call it whatever they want.
    Last edited: 5/18/13
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  8. Saemma
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    Saemma Ripping up the road Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    Thanks guys! Very interesting info.:)
  9. Ribbit21
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    Ribbit21 Rollerblading along the road Mayor of the Avenue

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    I have birds, dogs, cats, gerbils, and snakes. Except for the gerbils and snakes, all the animals here require the same level of dedication just in different ways. My 2 big dogs require just as much space and money as the birds. They need the same amount of attention, perhaps even more than the birds when you count walks and time in the backyard. While the cats are more independent, they spend a decent part of the day seeking out attention from me. I almost always have a cat following me around.

    The one major difference is the birds are sooooo much messier! Cats are such clean animals and the dogs are pretty clean(except for rainy muddy days.) Also, since the birds are restricted to their cage when I'm not home it's more important to have structured out time for everyone. The birds have more set schedules, while the dogs and cats are free to do what they want most of the time.

    The gerbils and snakes require minimal care. The gerbils are a family unit and want no human contact at all. The snakes are on the same level.

    No one is more important than the other and they all have similar needs for attention, but they just get it in different ways.
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  10. Anne & Gang
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    Anne & Gang Riding the Skies Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award Avian Angel

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    We were always cat and dog people before we ever got birds...birds are way way messier and require far more care..however, we are hooked on birds...who knew they could provide so much pleasure and companionship
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  11. Holiday
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    Holiday Mac Mama Administrator Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    Well, I'll compare keeping Alice (GSD) and Zoe (RFM). Alice is funny and smart and interesting, not to mention easily trained. She can fetch, sit, lie down and come when called, and she's very fond of me, wags her tail when she sees me and licks my face. But I've not seen her dance and hum along to the Oompa Loompa songs in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, tell me "I love you, Best Friend" or identify a "wizard" in any movie she sees (they've got to be wearing a beard and hat), or grumble at me to "stop that!" when I tease her or tell me she's "still hungry" after I've fed her. Parrots are on another level in many ways. I don't consider them a "hobby" or quite a "pet." More like children, although not quite that either. Maybe halfway between pet and child, in my mind. They're companions in a different way. My dog is a pet.

    There's a world of difference between their minds in more ways than one. I just watched the movie "Rain Man" again last night, and I've always thought it was a good way to illustrate the differences. Raymond Babbitt, the autistic savant brother in the film, can do extraordinarily difficult math problems (offering answers five digits to the right of the decimal point), remember every name and number in the phone book (or any book), and count cards into a six-deck shoot in Vegas, but he can't carry on a normal conversation, throws himself against a door repeatedly in a self-destructive panic when the smoke detector goes off, can't have his hourly routines disrupted without stress, and repeats certain phrases or words over and over again: "I'm an excellent driver. Definitely, definitely." Raymond is high-maintenance, and needs round-the-clock care. The ordinary brother, Charlie Babbitt, leads a normal life, owns a business, has great social skills, knows just what to do or say in the everyday world, is even a bit of a con man, but has absolutely none of his brother's flashes of extraordinary genius. Parrots are like Rain Man. Dogs are like Charlie Babbitt. :)
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  12. Saemma
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    Saemma Ripping up the road Celebirdy of the Month Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award

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    Thanks Holiday.:hug8: What a great summary. The way you described Raymond Babbit made me think of Emma.:eek::lol:
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  13. dixiebliss
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    dixiebliss Meeting neighbors

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    When I was in 6th grade,I didn't own a dog like other kids. Instead, I used to constantly talk about playing and caring for my cockatiels. I'll always remember one kid asking, "How can you 'play' with a bird?" I was flabbergasted lol. It's a sad fact but many people or kids had not experienced the joy of owning a parrot! Of course, birds and dogs are as different as night and day care-wise, and personality-wise, :D but with dedication and the knowledge of birds, they can be your best friends. :) As as far as making them a hobby, I guess it depends on the situation. If you have parrots to enrich your life, like the reason so many people own a dog, then they are more than a hobby. But then again you have certain people who just enjoy breeding canaries, which may be considered a hobby. So it depends.
    Last edited: 5/19/13
  14. Merlie
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    Merlie Biking along the boulevard Avenue Spotlight Award

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    It's so weird that you used the "Rainman" comparison .. I've always thought the same thing in a way, but thought perhaps people might take "offense" to me comparing parrots to the "Raymond" character. It's so true though. To me, parrots have an extremely high functioning, albeit "special/different" intelligence from your more "common" pets .. i.e. dogs/cats.

    In the course of my life, I've owned so many different types of animals. My mother was, and still is, a huge softy for animals of all kinds. We had dogs, cats, birds, snakes, lizards, all sorts of furries .. etc. growing up. I often think my mother preferred the companionship of her animals to us kids sometimes .. lol .. she always said they gave her less grief and worry .. and appreciated her more than we did .. and I gotta agree with that!!

    I now only own parrots. No other animals. I miss owning a dog very much, but .. it's just not feasible for me to do so with the large flock I have and time limitations. It wouldn't be fair to a dog .. to live in my house right now, and to be quite honest, I just don't have it in me to go thru all the necessary precautions of keeping furs and feathers separate and safe. Keeping just my feathered butt heads safe from each other sometimes is a task in and of itself. :rolleyes:

    Parrots have been the most high maintenance of all the "pets" I've owned <I am just speaking for myself now>. I also don't consider them true "pets", not like a dog or cat, that's for sure. They don't just give "unconditional" love. It seems there are so many more dangers to parrots in the average home. I never worried about teflon, air fresheners, paint chipping, mold .. etc., with other animals. Trying to keep a parrot happy, enriched, occupied .. etc. is also much more challenging to me than a dog. Not to mention the whole vet/illness thing. Avian medicine still seems so young to me .. when a bird is ill .. diagnosing also seems to be a bit of a crap shoot. It could be this, but it might be this, then again .. we need to check for this too. Ugh .. it makes my head spin.

    Proper diet, foraging, enrichment, sunlight, training, maintenance .. etc., to me is in a whole other realm when keeping parrots as companions. I just don't remember investing quite so much time, energy and money on other types of pets ever. Again, just speaking for myself and the type of pets I've had experience with.

    Just an example .. I was gone for one night, and one day. If I had a dog, he would have been happy to see me when I got home. No pouting, no moodiness .. just glad mom was home .. cool .. things are all good, can I have a cookie and lets go play .. done! My birds .. yeah, not so much. I was evil and must be punished for leaving. I received a lot of suspicious looks, and a good bite, for my one day off. Bad, bad bird mom .. shame for having a life. :rolleyes:
    Last edited: 5/19/13
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  15. Sadieladie1994
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    Sadieladie1994 Biking along the boulevard

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    I think dogs are more care but have more services available. •Birds are time consuming with cage cleaning, feeding and vet costs are more. •Now days more services and toys are available. •Let me tell you how easy bathing a bird is compared to the dog/cat!! ••:omg:
  16. Bridgette
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    Bridgette Hit the Road

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    I can't compare it.

    I've had the gamut when it comes to pets: cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, fish, an iguana, green tree frogs. Nothing compares to the birds I've had.

    I find (at least for me) I bond with birds on another level. I loved and cared about all of my other pets, but I never had the same connection with them.

    I've had pets that required as much (if not more) care than parrots, specifically the reptiles/amphibians, but I never felt bonded to them. My last cat, Goliath, cost me more money with vet bills than Kiwi ever has (Goliath had kidney stones that clogged his urethra and thyroid cancer) but the bond was different. Goliath loved anyone willing to pet him; Kiwi is *very* selective about who he likes and he picked me - that makes me feel kind of honored. I loved all of my pets but I never felt the same sense of dedication to them.

    I've come to a point in my life where I realize birds really are the best fit for me and I doubt I will ever keep any other type of pet. The level of care I'm willing to give birds, combined with the sense of fulfillment I get from them, kind of sealed that deal for me.
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  17. Momto3boys
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    Momto3boys Rollerblading along the road

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    I see my birds as my family, I also have a connection with them that I have had with NO other pet.
    I currently have 3 dogs and 3 cats that I love dearly, but once they're gone, thats it, Craig and I have both decided that cats and dogs are not for us. Birds is my love and fish is his.

    We have a 220 gallon fish tank, this thing is massive. He also had a saltwater tank, my youngest son also has a tank in his bedroom. The funny thing is "fish people" actually look at fish keeping as a hobby. He is on many fish forums and they consider it a hobby, as do most "reptile people". (I do have a bearded dragon and a cornsnake).

    Collecting bird toys and food is my hobby :o: Or an addiction, I havent decided yet haha
  18. LaSelva
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    LaSelva Sprinting down the street

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    Reading the thread, and just to throw in a few comments on some of the things being said,

    I believe that one distinction of the “pet“ classification it that it’s an animal kept for pleasure. In other words, kept for a purpose other than a utilitarian one (such as livestock, guard dog, etc.). Pets are classified as a luxury. Poorer countries tend to not view animals as companions. For example, as China becomes more affluent and more of it’s citizens keep companion animals (pets) there has been a greater push for animal welfare laws. Sadly, and for thousands of years, China has viewed animals as strictly another resource, with the inherent cruelty associated.

    “I think that having any animal could be counted as a hobby, to be honest. That doesn't mean that the animals are objects or possessions “

    Sadly, it legally does. Even though as empathetic and conscientious pet owners we don’t view them in that way. In order for us to legally “have” them in the first place as well as the freedom to decide how best to care for them, they must be commodities in an industry. Again, it opens them up to the inherent cruelty associated with being objects of profit. And for many, animals can be given up as easily as one quits any other hobby such as playing the guitar. Our society and world wide attitude towards how we respect the sentience of another being has to somehow elevate. We are too conditioned to view the mistreatement of animals as having no ethical consequence. Also, it’s hard to demand our rights and then dictate to an industry that it should have standards that live up to our higher ethical conduct. The latter resulting from the fact that we tend to do more research and learning required of keeping a parrot. Which brings me to the topic of this thread. Parrots differ for me because of the way they have changed me more than any other pet I've had. The connection has been stronger. And I too see them as family, which alienates me from those who don't understand that. They've changed me as well, and in a very real way, due to the fact that they are poorly studied I've had to (and it's been a pleasure) do more learning and detective work. Digging through ornithology textbooks, viewing them in the wild, reading studies, to gain insight. It's also been to combat the anecdotal information that seems to be everywhere. I've learned so much that I probably otherwise would not have about biology, the mind and it's neurology, genetics, embryology, you name it, because one topic always leads into another.

    In keeping with the autism comparison Temple Grandin PhD (she’s autistic) has written IMO the most insightful as well as research-backed books on understanding animals out there. She compares the working of the mind and the way animals view the world to the way an autistic person does. The woman is simply too brilliant for me to begin so I’ll just say that anyone who wants to understand all animals better (including ourselves) would do themselves a huge favor and read “Animals in Translation.”
    Last edited: 5/19/13
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  19. tozie12
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    tozie12 Biking along the boulevard Avenue Spotlight Award

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    IMHO...

    i've had dogs and cats most of my life. the biggest diff i can see is dogs adapt to us. on the other hand, we adapt to our birds. i had candles, plug in smellies, strong cleansers with my dogs. now a strongly scented product is offensive to a dog's sensitive nose, but i expected my dogs to just deal with it. for my birds? i dont have them anymore. when i make a meal, parrot plates are ALWAYS prepared first, dogs get leftovers. its not that i dont love my dogs. i do. they are valuable members of my family. but they are not equals. my birds are equals. they get the same (sometimes more) consideration any other family member would receive. example: me telling son "be quiet the birds are sleeping!" but he works overnites, so right now he's sleeping. what is marley doing? hollering. :rolleyes:

    i used to have salt water fishtanks. that was most definitely what i would consider a hobby. tho my fish were living creatures and i cared about them, it wasnt the same. tho when my beloved puffer fish, Sluggo, died i lost the heart to continue. i sold my tanks for a fraction of their worth. i miss the peace and contentment i got from watching the fish swim. the joy i got from the beauty of the tanks. the pleasure of the scent of salt water. but it was all a hobby so i had little trouble and no guilt walking away. i couldnt do that with my birds or my dogs.
  20. Casey
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    Casey Somebirdie Downunder Super Moderator Celebirdy of the Month

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    For me it's all different, but each has their perks.

    I have dogs (well they live with my Dad now as I don't have a backyard and he'd be lost without them), a cat as well (my 6th birthday gift as I was a very lonely child, also with Dad).

    At my house I have my lizards, my snakes, and Harvey.

    Previously I kept moray eels.


    When it comes to the idea of a hobby vs a pet/family member, it truly depends on your purpose for keeping them.
    I love, love, love my snakes. Love them. Now they have absolutely no emotional attachment to me, snakes just aren't like that. Theres no biological need for them to be like that.
    I keep them to enjoy their behaviour from afar. To observe them as biological beings. The same was true for my moray eels. I was simply fascinated by their biological processes.
    Some people feel this way for birds, and lesser so for dogs and cats (I mean, people dont buy dogs and cats with the intention of letting them go wild to watch behaviour).
    For this reason, I'd call these pets a hobby. Not because they're any less special.


    My dog, Billie....
    Oh Billie, the heart warming spotted bundle of joy you see in my avatar. I cannot fault that dog, he is amazing and never fails to brighten up my days. He truly is wonderful and I'm lucky to have him in my life. He is always happy, always up for anything, and there's just no breaking that spirit. It's what most of us love about dogs.
    The only reason Id say he is easier than Harvey is because he understands MY feelings, and he cares about MY feelings. It's a mutual thing.
    The only flaw in this fantastic boy is his lifespan. I wish he could be around for as long as I hope Harvey will be.

    The same as the above can be said about cats. Vegemite, my cat, is very different to Billie and Harvey. She socially interacts with me, and actively expresses emotion as well as actively pick up on mine.
    Sure, they're normally much more grumpy or selfish than dogs, but the principle is the same. A great thing about cats is that they love you when you're there, but dont miss you when youre gone. Some people want an intense connection with their animals and would be offended by a cats indifference about their absence, though.

    Cats and dogs are typically not hobbies, in my view of the word, because they are brought into the home with the intention of being a companion.
    Not something to enjoy from afar as an organism acting out natural instinct, but as something to interact and bond with.

    Dogs and cats obviously cannot express wants, intelligence, or emotions via human language as birds have the potential too, but they 100% actively show an understanding of cause and effect. They easily convey what they feel and what they want, and if they could talk I dare say the schemas in their brain would have them IDing objects like parrots. I have no doubt Billie and Vegemite know what a lot of things are, they just can't communicate that understanding with words.

    As for Harvey,
    He is much more draining than Billie, my dog.
    I love them both dearly, but there's no denying my bond with Billie is just as close, he is just less stress to care for. He isnt as specific in what he needs or who he needs.

    I truly think the definition of hobby vs pet can be made by the reasons behind why the animal is in your home, and how you interact with them. It does not specifically relate to how special they are to you, their social value, and certainly cannot be defined simply by species or family.

    Im kind of saddened by the idea a bird is more of a family member than a dog or any other species. If you own it as a pet, you should see it as family. If you own it as a hobby, you should treat it with the utmost respect and give it the most natural and enriching life possible.
    Last edited: 5/19/13
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