Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Why I’m Pretty Sure I’ve Been Banned From Heaven

Many religions and people around the world hold certain animals to be sacred. Hindus revere the cow, Finnish Pagans believe that bears are deity incarnate, whales are seen as omens of good luck in many South Asian cultures. From the Greeks, to the Egyptians, to Native Americans it goes on and on. 

Christian tradition holds the dove in high esteem because of its prominence in the Old and New Testament. Specifically because it was chosen by God to be a symbol of the Holy Ghost or Spirit and was the sign of divine approval at the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist.

White doves are a sign of peace and are released at ceremonies denoting love and brotherhood. It is for these reasons that I’m pretty sure somewhere on St. Peter’s list outside the Pearly Gates my name has a big black line through it. 

How did I get to this terrible state of being? 

When my oldest son David was about two years old my husband Buns came home from a trip to Texas with a pair of white doves. His parents bred exotic birds and he thought it would be a  good idea to bring these beautiful birds into our humble home so that they could continue to procreate and replenish the earth in our guest bedroom. 

In my usually supportive way I welcomed the newest members of our family with moaning about having to clean out a filthy bird cage and groaning about having to feed the little darlings all the time. Since we lived 2000 miles away from my in-laws at the time there was little to no possibility of returning the pair to their previous owners. 

About three days after they arrived, David came walking into the living room holding the female he had named Dove. He toddled over with his adorable chubby little cheeks to show me how much Dove “liked” to be hugged. 

I noticed immediately that Dove’s head seemed to be hanging off at a weird angle for someone who was enjoying the love and attention of a little boy. As Dave continued to tell me how much he loved Dove, in horror I became aware that he had managed to hug her to death. 

“Uhhhh, let me see her for a minute will you?” I asked in shrill voice. “I’m going to put her down for a nap.”
After that, any time he asked where Dove was I would just say in a slightly crazed way “she’s sleeping, yeah, that’s right she’s sleeping.” It was at that point that I first developed what would be a lifelong eye twitch that would kick in whenever doves were mentioned. 

Dove Dove, the widower of Dove was moved to a secure location on top of a high shelf where it would be much more difficult to be reached by a curious toddler. Dove Dove made it clear immediately that he did not appreciate being deprived of his mate. I’m convinced he had a nervous breakdown. He would sit in his cage rocking wildly on his swing and laughing like a maniac. 

In case you were unaware, when a white dove is being aggressive they laugh like a killer doll in one of those ridiculous horror movies. It is completely unnerving. For the longest time I didn’t know it was Dove Dove making the noise, I was beginning to think that our apartment was haunted by the ghost of a child comedian. <eye twitch> I began to feel the nervous breakdown making it's way from Dove Dove towards me. 

Dove Dove also turned out to be the Harry Houdini of the bird world. No matter what I would do to the latch on his cage he would figure out a way to get out. I seriously think he was using that long slender beak to pick the lock. He would loose himself and then spend whatever time he could pooping on the living room furniture.

One day when I left to go shopping he once again got out of his cage. Unfortunately on that particular jail break he came face to face with our mostly outdoor cat who had sauntered in to recover from a night of carousing. The cat who was notorious for harassing the birds outside decided this was a gift strait from heaven. He proceeded to give Dove Dove the what for. 

I returned home laden like pack horse with grocery bags, diaper bag, and two year old all in my arms to find the cat sitting on top of Dove Dove. All of the bags and nearly the two-year-old, went flying up into the air as I raced towards the cat. He took off at light speed and I was left nose to beak with poor Dove Dove there on the floor. 

He was not in good shape and after a consultation with Buns and a call to the vet it was decided that there was only one thing to be done. We called my brother who is an expert shot and that brother took Dove Dove out back.

I cried like it was the end of Old Yeller out there. 

All in all I had been involved not once but twice in the inglorious death of a dove of peace. I was sure that the first offense may have been passed over as forgivable but the second was just not going to fly, or so to speak. 

Since that time our family has religiously kept a bird feeder in our yard. The kids like to watch the birds but I mostly keep it up in the hope that somehow it will make up a little bit for the “Dove episode.” 

The thought is that hopefully if I feed the neighborhood doves for the rest of my life that will have a little sway when I get to the other side but somehow I think it may all be for the birds. <eye twitch, eye twitch>




  1. Oh my. I must give serious consideration to our friendship. I had noticed the eye twitch and wondered.

  2. I disagree with the folks who say birds are good pets. They are loud and stinky and belong outside, hanging out on the powerlines perfecting their aim on innocent passersby and parked cars. That said, I laughed and laughed whilst reading your post.


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