From a Parrot To a Dog

September 26th, 2014


Memories & Thoughts

This text was fully written by humans.

  • In this article, I share a personal story about my family’s journey to get a dog, starting with my childhood desire for a pet and progressing through various stages of owning parrots, hamsters, and rabbits.
  • I recount the challenges and experiences they had with each type of pet, including accidents, misunderstandings, and lessons learned about animal care and behavior.
  • Finally, the I reflect on the joy and companionship our dog, Magic, brought to our family and the emptiness felt after her recent passing.

How To Get a Dog?

This blog was supposed to be about science, but hey, this is my own ground online! So, let me change the rules for a bit. What happened? Well, Magic, our family Belgian sheepdog just died. It was a dog which my sister and I had been waiting for years and years. It appeared in our house thirteen years ago, “on trial period.” And it stayed.

The whole story is long and it begins over twenty-two years ago, when I was still in kindergarten and my sister and I started running a pro-dog campaign. We bought books about dogs, we read about cynology, and we kept on trying to persuade our parents that getting a family dog was a good idea. What we heard in response was: “No, you can’t have a dog. But you can have budgies instead.”

How To Get a Dog, Stage #1: The Parrot Era.

And so my parents bought parrots, a pair which quickly turned into six parrots. We let them out of the cage every day to let them fly — six little helicopters that had to be caught afterwards.

It was a difficult task, because no self-respecting parrot wants to go back to the cage. The best technique was to throw a wet rag over the parrot. It would then freeze and wait for events to unfold. And then grab them! — and throw them into the cage.

How To Get a Dog, Stage #2: The Hamster Era.

Then came the era of the hamsters, several in a row. I remember one in particular and its wonderful transformation. I was nine back then. I went to student camp with my classmates for three weeks. When I came back, my hamster was looking strange. 

First of all, it looked similar to the previous one — a tricolor with a black head and rump, and a white stripe in the center — but with one small detail: it was missing a small black spot on a white background on the back. Besides, he was more nervous and lethargic than before. 

It quickly turned out that my beloved grandmother had changed my hamster, because… the previous one had poisoned herself with lettuce. She was so afraid of my reaction that she spent several days walking around the city looking for a hamster that looks similar enough to the previous one. Well, the awl came out of the bag. 

Anyway, the second hamster also had an accident: he bit the lid of the bottle from which he drank the water and pierced himself in the stomach. To death. Hamsters are sooo vulnerable!

How To Get a Dog, Stage #3: The Rabbit Era.

Then it was time for a rabbit, which we somehow managed to negotiate with our parents. “Closer and closer to a dog!” — so we thought with excitement.

The first rabbit was an innocent white creature that unfortunately fell victim to our ignorance. Namely, rabbits must not be given too much food, because unfortunately, they have no limits and they will eat whatever they can — until their stomach breaks. 

So, I noticed that my new rabbit ate the food I gave him in the morning. I wanted to be a good, caring rabbit-mum, so I gave more in the evening. And so on and so forth. A week later my little rabbit was three times bigger than he had been at the beginning. The other day, he straddled himself and gave up his ghost without any notice. 

My parents forgave me for this lack of knowledge about rabbit physiology, and proposed to buy another rabbit. We called him Giuseppe. He was all black and turned out to be quite intelligent as a rabbit. He had learned a lot of tricks, like jumping a slalom through books in exchange for carrots, back and forth. As a result, he was the hero of all family celebrations, because distant relatives could not believe that a rabbit can be trained like a dog. He was my personal pride!

How To Get a Dog, Stage #3: The Actual Dog Era.

And then, finally, it was high time for the dog. I was 13 years old at that point, which means that battling for a dog took my sister and me the whole seven years!

My sister was very stubborn about buying a Border Collie, a breed considered to be extremely intelligent. Luckily, somewhere in the forest near Katowice there was indeed a breeding of Border Collies. My sister used to go there often to learn to handle these dogs, and we ended up buying a puppy, a marbled border which we named Arti. Unfortunately, after a week it turned out that the puppy had distemper and the disease turned out to be fatal for him. 

The breeder felt guilty and in return gave us another puppy from the same litter, a black and white border named Buddy, which turned out to be extremely aggressive for a change. It was necessary to fight him non-stop, because he did not waste any opportunity not to fight for dominance in the herd. He bit me twice, throwing himself down my throat. To this day I have a scar on my arm after this incident… And it could have been much worse. 

In the end, we gave him back because he was dangerous even as a puppy. So, there was a justified fear that he would really hurt someone when he grew a little longer.

And then, in exchange for Buddy, almost fourteen years ago, Magic came to our home. She was a Belgian sheep dog Tervuren and originally came from the Czech Republic, from the Belgian Shepherd Dog Breeding in Kovarna. She had already had a name when we were given her, so we left her name intact. 

Anyway, “Magic” was an informal name, because the full pedigree name was ‘Imagine Me (from Kovarna).” She was six months old when we picked her up and she had been picked up from some previous place where she had been bullied. So, she was very fearful at first. 

She made a bad first impression, barking all night, biting the curtains, and making a big pile of shit in the middle of the room. She was supposed to be with us only for a trial period, but she settled down somehow and stayed. 

In the end, she turned out to be a great dog. She had her flaws. She pulled on a leash so that you could tear your hands to blood. She climbed up to the second floor of the house when no one was looking, despite the fact that she was forbidden. She destroyed the grass in the garden by running around the house like crazy for the whole day. So much so that there are ruts, and a large part of the small bushes that grew in front of the house has no trace, because they have been trampled mercilessly. 

We All Miss Her!

But whatever. He was a lovely, always happy dog, with a very good personality. And very beautiful. When we picked it up, it was an inconspicuous, small brown, tan ball. And it grew into a large, beautiful fur that you could always cuddle to. She knew whom to bark at and when to be brave, and when to tuck its tail and run away. 

Anyway, when she finally passed away recently, the neighbors cried together with our father, who was with her on that last day. It was such a good dog.

You can feel the emptiness of the beloved dog, especially since it was the last stage of the upbringing. There will be no more pets — horses, tigers or elephants in the line behind the dog. Now we’ll be saying: “No, you can’t have a dog, but maybe you can have a parrot…” Oh, we will.

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Please cite as:
Bielczyk, N (September 26th, 2014) From a Parrot To a Dog. Retrieved from:

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