Spice Pets

Cinnamon and Sugar

We own two parakeets. Their names are Cinnamon and Sugar. After hearing about Ginger, my daughter’s boyfriend pointed out that our pets all have “spice names.” For some odd reason (incipient dementia?), I hadn’t noticed my penchant for aromatic-sounding monikers until his observation. As the lively debates echoed in the kitchen, we considered a variety of names for our new puppy, including Pepper (another seasoning). The final two choices were Ginger and Rufus. The latter would have been the name of our dog had we chosen a male from the litters available.

Ginger seems quite oblivious of Cinnamon and Sugar. In fact so much so, that she has barely glanced in their direction since arriving in our home 10 weeks ago today. Her notable disinterest has me concerned. I have to ask myself, “What self-respecting dog wouldn’t have at least tried to secretly make a meal of them by now?” Is she betraying her very nature? There they sit, two little tasty treats, and she has yet to yap at them or jump up when they fly past.

Of course, should she actually succeed in eating them or hurting them in any way, I would be horrified. It’s just that Ginger is a dog, and I presume that she will act like one. A couple of days ago, she sat for about 10 seconds (a long time for a puppy) and studied the parakeets. Anticipating a leap at the cage, I watched expectantly. And then, with a cock of her head, she ran off. Clearly unimpressed once more.

Back when I worked for a pet service company, I occasionally brought dogs into our house while their owners were on vacation. We played host to a variety of terriers. These dogs were originally bred to control rats and rabbits and even bigger animals like foxes and badgers. Each and every one of those dogs of dignity made a play for the birds (a cockatiel and a parakeet at the time) within minutes of entering our home. Before bigger dogs like the German shorthaired pointer and Labrador retrievers boarded with us, I secured the birds in another room. Those hunting dogs detected their potential prey right through a closed door.

For now, the birds scoff at her as they flit overhead. Why Ginger stands for their mockery, I don’t understand. Perhaps, she is laying plans to attack after our complacency (mine and the birds’) is well-established. She did pounce on a housefly the other day. Maybe there is hope for her yet.

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