African grey spray bottle

BONGO MARIE: Gonna Getchew Spray Bottle Game

by Sally Blanchard

Bongo Marie loved the many games I played with her — particularly the games where she attacked the ‘evil squirt bottle.’ Although when she first came to live with me and for at least a year afterward, she was terrified of a squirt bottle, I gradually and patiently worked to make her comfortable with being sprayed. Knowing that red is a flash color for greys, I looked around until I found one with a blue nozzle. Then I would the nozzle on mist and never spray her directly but to the side of her as an invitation for her to move into the mist.

It took a while but she learned to love her spray showers and when she saw that I had the bottle, she started the game with “I’m gonna getchew!” In fact, if she wanted a shower, that is what she would say. When when I sprayed her, she exclaimed “Pow Pow” and“Ooh ooh, ya got me!” The more dramatic I was, the more dramatic she was.

She really loved it when one of my employees turned the spray bottle game into a high energy free-for-all with a dramatic death scene for the bottle when Bongo threw it on the floor. There was lots of “Oh no,” yelling, moaning, and maniacal laughing. Bongo loved it but sometimes it was difficult to figure out who was providing the most drama




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