Monday, 5 March 2012

Dandy's Book

After creating a blog book about our first six years together in Canada, I also decided to convert Dandy's Diary to a book. Reading back, most memories were so happy, some were so painful. Trying to see the world through Dandy's eyes, I have always tried to portray an honest view of his life, the ups, downs and final difficult decision we had to make in the end.

Looking back (and looking in from the outside) it is easy to see what we should have done, where we went wrong, etc... truth is such things are never easy. I have learned so much from Dandy, one thing I am convinced about is that unlike for example cats, dogs or horses, parrots do not belong in and around the house - they belong in the wild among their own kind.

Anyway, here it is, his life in book form. Dandy, we will always love you... and I still miss you even after all these years. If you wish to get a copy, contact me and I'll see what we can do.


Monday, 9 August 2010

My Last Dandy Entry

Finally, after all these years, I have converted Dandy's entire diary to Blogger. Originally, his diary was written in html, the language of the 90's. However, time has not stood still, and I decided it was time for a complete and utter update. The only thing that will still remind of the dial-up times is the quality of the pictures. Back then, it was paramount to keep them as tiny as possible, and I don't have the original scans anymore. Welcome to Dandy's Diary (the modern term, of course, is blog) for a peek in the past!
If you wish to stay updated on our lives here in Canada, please follow me at Sophia Burns' Blog!

Sunday, 20 May 2007

RIP Sweet Dandy

We got a sad letter from the aviary's vet. Dandy was taken ill to their sick bay, where sadly he passed away. They did an authopsy, and it was reveiled that he died from a malfunctioning stomach gland syndrome. It paralyses the nerves within the stomach so that the animals dies; presently there is no known cure for it.

Our baby would have been 9 years old coming November.


Thursday, 9 March 2006


A lot has changed in my life... I got married and moved to Canada. Of course I am very happy with my new life, but I will miss visiting Dandy! However, I am glad to know that he is VERY happy... he has a large aviary to play in and certainly doesn't miss his old life. We got a lot of flack from some people, who thought we abandoned Dandy, didn't love him, didn't even try... all I can say is that we always did the best we could, and that we always had Dandy's very best interest at heart. We thought it would be very selfish of us to keep Dandy in an environment where he was very unhappy, just to satisfy our needs. Perhaps we could have done some things differently, we did not have the knowledge I acquired later. Dandy, my sweets, I still miss you!

Saturday, 6 April 2002

Happy Dandy

Finally, finally, finally, we have seen our sweet Dandy again. Temporary, he lives in the winter quarters until the weather is well enough for him to move to one of the huge aviaries outside, where he will stay for the rest of his natural life. He is in a large cage now, which he shares with about 12 other Greys. We were so happy to see him again that we all started crying. Dandy was completely flabbergasted to see us and then very, very exited! We whisled his favorite tunes and he whistled him right back, he wanted his head scratched all the time and kissed us through the cage. We were all so happy to see him; we just wished we lived closer to the place so that we could visit him more often. We will visit him again in May, when he will be outside. Just now, my heart is very heavy, because the memory of the first good-bye is all back. Dear Dandy, why couldn't you just be happy with us? But don't worry, we know you are happy now and we will never allow you to be unhappy again!

Monday, 4 February 2002

His New Life

They say that you get used to everything. This is true, but still we miss our Dandy. We phone to the refugee center regularly to ask about our Dandy, and the answers are always the same: Dandy is still in quarantine but fine, he has adjusted well, he has stopped picking his feathers, he is between other Greys, although still in the same cage on his own. We are not allowed to visit him yet, but we will, as soon as his quarantine period is over!

Tuesday, 1 January 2002

Miss You!

The house is still very empty without our Dandy. Every time when we come upstairs, we get a shock to see the empty space in my room. We have given Dandy's aviary to the refugee center for them to use, so I have rearranged the items in my room and bought a large plant to hide the emptiness. We just wished the emptiness in our hearts would be filled... not a minute goes by without thinking, talking and dreaming about our Dandy!

Monday, 31 December 2001


This morning, Sophia phoned the Parrot Foundation. It seems that I am still a bit shy and cautious, but I have started to readjust already. I am quiet now and have been eating a little. After the quarantine period, I will move to the largest aviary in the world (see picture below). From then on, I will have so many new things to experience and friends to make, that I won't be able keep up my diary. I wish to thank all my real life friends and Internet fans for their love and support these three years. I am sure Sophia will continue to run this site and make people aware of what it means to live with a parrot, but this will be the last entry of my own diary as seen through the eyes of an African Grey Parrot.
Thanks again, everyone! Come and visit me if you can, you are always welcome at the Foundation Dutch Parrot Refuge. I am sure you will like it here, whether you belong to the Psittaciformes or Homo Sapiens!

End of Dandy's Diary

Sunday, 30 December 2001

Trying to Cope

The humans are still in a gloomy mood. Every moment of the day they picture me in all my favorite places and imagine they hear my voice. They keep wondering how I am doing and if I have started to make friends already. They feel as if they have given up their own child and wonder if I feel betrayed. Still, they know that they have made the right decision taking me there. They realize that I will like it better to be around my own kind. I will lead a busy life in a the largest aviary in the world, instead of pining away in a living room. Without me knowing it I was not happy, so my family knew they could not be so selfish as to keep me there solely for their own pleasure. Nevertheless, at this moment I miss you people so much! Don't leave me here, take me back home, please! Ah, there is an answer back, as if by telepathy: "We miss you too, Dandy! But we know we acted in your interest... soon you will be happier than you have ever been before!"

Saturday, 29 December 2001


Today, I have lived through enough emotions to last me a life time. Boy, has my life changed! It started normal enough: Jan and me woke Sophia up around nine and we went downstairs. Then, before I even knew what was happening, I found myself in a traveling cage and in the car! When we got to the Parrot Foundation, Sophia put me in a nice clean cage. There were some more birds; my next door neighbor happened to be another Grey! Naturally, I was much too shy to make acquaintances with him or her at this stage, but soon enough I will. When the humans had signed the papers and said their good-byes, Jan and Sophia burst out in tears. They know that it is for my own best and that they will visit me soon, but still they couldn't control their emotions. They just love me so much, so very much...

Friday, 28 December 2001

Big Decision

The family has made their final decision: tomorrow will be the Big Day. Nobody in the family has had any sleep last night, because they kept worrying about me all night long. Although for the first time in days I seem to be a little bit happier again, three days from now it will be New Year's Eve, with all the fire crackers that go with it. That would be enough to bring a huge relapse again. All in all, the humans are happy that my last evening with them has been a pleasant one. For the first time in days, they have heard my lovely sweet voice go through my entire vocabulary. I have eaten my tummy thick and round at that is a good thing too, because tomorrow morning I have to be ready to move... into a whole new life!

Thursday, 27 December 2001

My Happiness

Although the worst of the crisis seems to be over, Jan, Hilke and Sophia are still discussion the possibility of taking me to the Parrot Foundation. They read about how parrots are treated there and how they recover from much worse circumstances than can't even imagine in my worst nightmares. Sophia can't bear the thought of letting me go from her life, but she realizes that it will be for my own good. Perhaps it will be the best solution for my happiness and after all, that is what is at stake here.

Wednesday, 26 December 2001

Lost Confidence

My depression is growing as my feathers are declining. It seems that I have lost all my confidence in life. When my family members leave the room, I cry for them and immediately start chewing my feathers. Sophia has searched the Internet and found the site of the Foundation Dutch Parrot Refuge. There, parrots can live in huge aviaries with lots of other birds and be happy for the rest of their lives. Would that be an option for me, perhaps temporary to gain confidence again?

Tuesday, 25 December 2001

What To Do?

All throughout my diary, I have honestly reported everything that went on in my life. Today, I heard Jan and Sophia discuss something that they have been discussing for that past few days: whether it wouldn't be better for me to find me another home, so that I can start afresh with a whole new life in new surroundings. Sophia has been in tears all day long, because she is afraid that I will end up the way a lot of parrots end up: moving from home to home and being abandoned from all of them in the end. Besides, who can take better care of me than my own humans, who have lovingly provided for me since I was a helpless little chick? No, moving to another family is definitely not an option. But what is? Something must be done... before it is to late!

Monday, 24 December 2001

Not Good

Sophia has had a couple of days free from work, so she could observe me a bit better. It is impossible to cheer me up and what is worse, I have seriously started to chew off every the feather on my chest. A completely bald spot has appeared where once I had a thick layer of feathers! This situation must end and soon, or else the whole family will end up in nervous breakdowns.

Saturday, 22 December 2001


Right now, I am going through a difficult period. The hammering and drilling seems to have robbed me of my joy in life. I have always been a rather nervous bird, but right now, every sound from outside the house sets me off with a panic attack. Jan, Hilke and Sophia feel so sorry for me, but there doesn't seem to be anything that can cheer me up. Sophia has tried to trick me into my favorite games (go-fetch-the-object-I-throw and hear-me-bang-the-bell), but I just sit there and watch with apathy. I don't know what is wrong with me, but it seems I am having the bird's equivalent of a major depression...

Thursday, 20 December 2001

Even More Noise

How long does it take to install a new kitchen in a house? Again, for the third day in a row, there was noise from the neighbors. Naturally, the humans understand it is necessary at times to improve the house, but it is driving me towards a nervous breakdown. I have seriously started to pick on my feathers. My whole chest, neck and back are covered with feathers that are fringed on the edges. Although the neighbors finally finished their job around three in the afternoon, every tiny sound sets me off flying wildly around my cage. My humans treat me as normally as possible and don't pay attention to my panic attacks so as not to encourage this behavior. Life with a parrot is not just a bed of roses...

Wednesday, 19 December 2001

More Panic

Half past nine in the morning... everything very quiet... Suddenly... a DRILLING in the concrete wall - followed by HAMMERING - followed by more DRILLING!!! My day was ruined already and it did not stop at that. I haven't eaten a bite since yesterday and all I do is climbing around in my cage, climbing, climbing... I am making the whole family crazy but myself most of all. This noisemaking must end, and soon!

Tuesday, 18 December 2001

Big Fright!!

If you live in a house on a row, it is inevitable that you hear the neighbor with their occasional odd jobs. Today of all days, they decided it was time to install a whole new kitchen. Being a parrot (and a neurotic one at that), I hated the constant drilling in the concrete walls and especially the hammering drove me crazy. When Sophia came home from work, she met one poor little shy bird and a very upset Jan... But tonight everything was quiet again so gradually, I became more quiet again.

Wednesday, 5 December 2001

Learning Phrases

Sophia is enjoying a day off work, oh joy of joys for me. I have been singing and chatting all morning. I am still practicing my "Hoe gaat het met jou?" (How are you?), which is extremely difficult for me. Just now, suddenly, Sophia heard it! Between all the "Hilke", "Haatcheeeeee" and "What's up?", suddenly I ALMOST said it: "Hoe gaat het met jou?" Everybody cheered and I was most proud of all. I have been saying it for the rest of day to try to get it just right.