What if your best friend can't talk?

Via Nick Packwood, I learned that philanderers should think carefully about what animals they select as pets. A British parrot named "Ziggy" (named for David Bowie, of course) spilled the beans on his owner's girlfriend:

LONDON, England -- A computer programmer found out his girlfriend was having an affair when his pet parrot kept repeating her lover's name, British media reported Tuesday.

The African grey parrot kept squawking "I love you, Gary" as his owner, Chris Taylor, sat with girlfriend Suzy Collins on the sofa of their shared flat in Leeds, northern England.

But when Taylor saw Collins's embarrassed reaction, he realized she had been having an affair -- meeting her lover in the flat whilst Ziggy looked on, the UK's Press Association reported.

Mr. Taylor ended up dumping his girlfriend and poor Ziggy (the latter had to go because "the bird continued to call out Gary's name and refused to stop squawking the phrases in his ex-girlfriend's voice").

I understand his reasoning, but personally, I'd keep the parrot. These birds are adept attention grabbers, and they have an uncanny knack for discovering key phrases most likely to arouse emotional responses from humans. (Hence, parrots often learn embarrassing, foulmouthed, and downright pathological phrases -- anything to bring the master running.) Who knows? Ziggy may well have loved his owner and hated the girlfriend, who complains that Mr. Taylor "spent more time talking to [Ziggy] than he did to me."

Ziggy did his owner a favor, and I think if Taylor had kept the bird, he'd have developed emotional calluses which would have been better in the long run to help him over the trauma. Getting rid of Ziggy strikes me as a tad ungrateful.

An easy thing for me to say, because Coco can't talk.

(But if she could, I think what she'd have to say would be far less interesting than the fact that I had the world's first talking dog.)

posted by Eric on 01.21.06 at 04:19 PM


This reminds me of an incident about 10 years ago. I had stopped by a pet store with my best friend, a monk-priest in full vesture, including klobuk. When he approached a very large cage, the parrot, which had been silent until then, said "What the Hell!?" and flew to the farthest side of the cage.

Aristomedes   ·  January 22, 2006 7:44 PM

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