H mugThey say a man’s best friend is dog, a slobbering, long-tongued, furry beast that occasionally leaves its feces on the nicest of furniture. Forget dogs. I have birds; I have seven birds. It was kind of a buy-two-get-five-free deal. Seven cockatiels and one person; there might not be enough of me to go around.

It all started on a sad day in middle school. A bunny, I wanted a bunny. A soft ball of love that adores carrots the way I do with things that actually taste good. But no, Mother did not like the idea of a running poop machine.

I walked in that day at Petland and talked to the birds to ask them what pet I should get. “Chirp chirp,” they said to me. And that’s when I knew it for sure; I really didn’t want a dumb bird.

I used to have parakeets, around five of them because my neighbor grew tired ofthem. It was an awful decision from the start to have an odd number; who was little Fluffers going to love? But we set them free during my preschool days and I never saw Fluffers and the Fab-4 again.

After hours of begging Mother for a rabbit at the age of 13, I was at a crossroads. Should I look for another pet or be lonely for the rest of my life? I decided to go back to Petlandand talk to that bird again.

He was a cockatiel, a medium-sized, colorful, chirping ball of happiness. I put my hand out, and he bit me. It was love at first bite. I got the bird, which is now named Zooz. We’ve made many memories, like I’ll never forget the time I sat on him while I was trying to eat Cheerios.

We got him a female buddy a while later named Ali. Months later I found that Zooz, the supposed man in the relationship, had laid an egg. At that moment I thought he’d just eaten too much lettuce and it was time to, you know, release. But no, an egg plopped right out, and from that day forward Zooz was pronounced a female. Queen Zooz and Prince Ali they became.

Ten batches of eggs with no hope of hatching, I decided to teach Zooz how to be a mother—because I have so much experience. I shunned her and forced her to sit on her eggs in a dark corner. 27 days later, an egg hatched. I’ll never forget the chirping from the ugliest fetus my eyes have ever laid upon, but at the same time it was a happy moment. Minutes later, others started hatching and I didn’t know how to stop for it. My receipt said one baby, not more, not less, thank you.

Out of six eggs in this batch, five hatched, and one came out a little…slow. He/she loved to eat and didn’t figure out it had wings for a while. I question the gender because it’s too hard to decipher, and I’ve just been guessing up to this point.

Now seven birds flying around, my house became a poop parade; exactly what I didn’t want with a dog. It was not as bad as you’d think, and it’s too bad my invention of the “bird diaper” fell through. Having so many birds is not weird, as so many people have thought.

Some people hoard cats, some people birth 19 kids (and counting) and some enjoy splendid activities with their goldfish (RIP Michael Bublé Eskildsen). Having pets is a great experience, and if nobody will listen to your problems, there will always be a dog, wall or bird there to listen. I recommend people have pets, because they really make life great and filled with strange but memorable experiences.