Bongo marie Afrrican grey

by Sally Blanchard

Out of what seemed like nowhere, my loquacious grey started to say “Pork”. It became her favorite word. Instead of saying, “Good to see ya” when I came home, she started saying “pork.” One friend who had a little extra weight wondered whether she should take Bongo Marie’s greeting personally. Bongo usually had a large vocabulary but when she fixated on a word that might be all she would say for days. She often came up with words and expressions and a lot of the time I had no idea where she had learned them. 

In this situation, the light bulb suddenly went on. I had just adopted a toy fox terrier puppy. The people who had owned her took her camping and an animal attacked her and ripped her front left leg up. They didn’t take her to a veterinarian and the leg developed gangrene. The people told the vet to just put her down. The vet’s assistant called me instead and the puppy came to live with me right after her front leg was amputated.


The other people had named her Princess but didn't give a damn about her. While I was trying to come up with a new name for her, I called her the dog "formerly known as Princess" and came up with a little symbol for her. In a few days, I named her Kea. She was full of energy and ran all over the place acting as if nothing had happened. She could jump up on the couch, but she was afraid to jump down for a week or so. She would whimper and I would walk over to the couch to help her down. I would always show her sympathy by saying, “Poor Kea.” That was where the word, "Pork" came from. Bongo Marie just left out the "ea" at the end of the little dog's name.

My dogs eat a special recipe of ground turkey, oats, shredded carrots, and other healthy ingredients and they love it. When my assistant or I fed the dogs, we had to feed Kea, my 3-legged Toy Fox Terrier, in the bedroom with the door shut. She was one of those rare casual canine gourmets who took forever to finish her meal. The large dog, Dewey, gulped his food down and would quickly finish Kea’s portion if he could get to it. The silky terrier, KT, was also a gulper so her food bowl didn’t have to be defended from Dewey.

One Saturday, I fed the dogs their breakfast and went out to work in the office. The dogs usually came out with me, did their business, played a while, and then settle down for their perpetual naps. I got sidetracked with a project for a few hours. When I went back into the house, KT and Dewey followed me but I didn’t see Kea. She usually needs an engraved invitation to follow me so I figured she was still snoozing. When I walked past the bedroom door, I heard Kea whimpering and realized I had forgotten her. She had been in there all that time. As I started to open the bedroom door, Bongo Marie exclaimed, “Oh Kea, poor Kea, good dog!” I was happy Bongo no longer referred to as "Pork".





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