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Friday, February 8, 2013

One Owl of a Dream

I had the weirdest dreams last night... Well, actually early this morning because my husband woke me up during the last one, which was really the cute one. I was walking on a dirt road. I came across a person who had a bunch of dogs and animals in a white squatty chicken house looking thing. I reached in and picked up what I thought was a chicken or a rabbit. I held it in my palm and turned it around so I could see what it was. It was a baby owl with great big blue eyes that  looked like jeweled buttons. It's feathers were like fur. I asked where I could get one and they sent me to a feed store. At the feed store, they took me to the back where the
guy kept his owls. He had a bunch of babies, but The most most beautiful one was full grown. It was dressed in a little outfit made out of blue fondant (like you use on cakes). It was a little dress of sorts that matched it's eyes. The dogs nippled away the outfit until it was gone. Without it's dress it's feathers where white with a double tan border around the bottom. It stood like an owl but it could also walk like a dog. When it walked on all fours, it's coat looked like that of a Maltese, which reached the ground and looked like it had been
flat ironed until it looked like silk.  The man walked outside to show me how child-like the was was. It stood looking out the glass door missing him. When the man returned through the door, the owl grabbed onto the bar of the door and held on while it swung closed then jumped in the mans arms giving him hugs and kisses.  Just as I was turning to tell tell my husband I had to have one.... He woke me out of the dream and told me it was time to get ready for work. Bummer!!!!  Now, I wanted a pet owl.  I got to work and emailed a description of the BEST DREAM EVER to my friends and co-workers, then I googled Pet Owls... Turns out, I really don't want a pet owl. Like a lot of things in life, the dream was better than reality would be. I sent a second email to my friends and co-workers just in case they too thought a pet owl would be cool.  The following list came from the website...

Top 10 Reasons You Don't Want an Owl for a Pet

10. Taking a vacation or going on a business trip is difficult. You can't just take the owl with you (especially since in the United States permits are usually needed every time you cross state lines.) It takes a trained person to take care of an owl, and if you have a human-imprinted owl like Alice, they may be aggressive with anyone else who comes to take care of them. Owls also like routine, so disruption to the normal scheme of things is very stressful for them. Alice once lost half a pound when Karla was away for nine days...and she only weighed four pounds to begin with!

9. Owls can be very destructive. They have a natural killing instinct that can be applied to blankets, pillows, clothing, stuffed animals, and just about anything else that can be shredded. Alice also has a habit of clearing everything off her perches, which means she deliberately pushes and drops everything onto the floor from dressers or anyplace else she wants to be. Talons are also really bad for woodwork.  They bring out the natural grain of the wood really well as they strip off the finish.

8. Mating season involves a lot of all-night racket. Remember, owls are active at night, so that's when they'll be hooting and calling during mating season. Since she thinks she's a human, Alice directs her hooting at Karla, and Karla is expected to hoot with her. Alice can get quite crabby if Karla doesn't spend time hooting with her several times a day (early morning and late evening) during this time of year. If you have neighbors nearby, they won't be very happy about the noise.

7. Owls don't like to be petted and cuddled.  Captive owls still retain their natural instincts, and traditional "petting" doesn't fit into the owl scheme of things. Even though Karla has lived with Alice for over 10 years, Alice still bites if Karla tries to pet her on the back.

6. Owls are high maintenance. They require daily feeding, cleaning, and attention, especially human-imprinted owls like Alice. Owls that are capable of flying need to be flown regularly, or housed in very large cages where they can get adequate exercise.

5. Owls are long-lived. A Great Horned Owl could live 30 or more years in captivity if things go well. Small species could live 10 years. Taking on the care of an owl is a long-term commitment.

4. Beaks and talons are sharp. If an owl doesn't like what you're doing, it's going to let you know. And you might wind up bleeding because of it. It's also easy for an owl to scratch you even if they aren't trying if they step up onto your gloved fist but stand off the side of the glove on your bare arm.

3. Owls need specialized care. Most veterinarians don't have the necessary training to properly care for owls, so you'd need to find a vet who's comfortable working with an owl. And you as a caregiver need to know quite a bit about owl health also, including what "normal" poop looks like, which very subtle behaviors might indicate health problems, provide proper perching surfaces, a healthy diet, appropriate housing, and regular talon and beak maintenance. There is a LOT to know, which is why proper training is normally required before permits are issued.

2. Feathers, pellets, and poop! Owls molt thousands of feathers every year, and they wind up everywhere. Owls throw up pellets of fur and bones wherever they happen to be at the time. And poop happens. A lot. In addition to "regular" poop (like most birds), owls also empty out the ceca at the end of their intestines about once a day. This discharge is the consistency of chocolate pudding, but smells as bad as the nastiest thing you can imagine. And it stains something awful. Keeping owls involves non-stop cleaning.

1. FOOD. You can't just go down to the local grocery store and buy Owl Chow. Owls are strict carnivores and require diets of whole animals for proper health. For Alice, that translates into her own chest freezer stocked with pocket gophers, rats, rabbits, and mice. Each day Karla thaws an animal for her, removes the organs Alice won't eat, and serves it up for Alice. Leftovers from the previous day must be located and removed, as owls like to cache (or hide) leftover food for later. If you're not prepared to thaw and cut up dead animals every night of your life for 10 years or more, you aren't up for having an owl.

I got a mixed reactions about my dream.....  They were....

D: " You are so strange.  That is all." (Hmm, thanks D, but it's not necessary to state the obvious)

The next was more analytical, and probably extremely accurate....

S: " It seems to me, because your dream incorporated so many human (actually infant) characteristics, i.e. big eyes, wearing a blue fondant "outfit",  white, soft, fluffy, eventually crawled on all fours (like a baby?); when the owl's coat became like that of a Maltese dog, could that be a baby blanket?  the owl is a manifestation of a baby.You need a Grand baby! :-)"

And regarding the 10 reasons not to have one, she said.... (BTW, I love this co-worker, she is like so smart it makes my brain hurt)

S: "Ok, I still see a lot of similarities with babies here...except perhaps the requirement for a license to cross state lines.
And that one should probably be considered for legislation!"

10.  Babies will sometimes only eat for one person, usually Mommy
9.   Babies destroy things
8.   Babies stay up a lot at night
7.   Babies can also bite when being cuddled, especially when    
6.   Word for word... except for the flying part.
5.   Babies are no-doubt a long-term commitment.
4.   Probably existing cases of blood-letting - but no personal
     recollection of that. I did throw my back out lifting a baby
     into a shopping cart - couldn't stand straight without pain
     for a week. So yes, "handle with care".
3.   Permits and specialized training should be required for
     baby care. Unfortunately , that's not the case.
2.   Daily intestinal evacuation seems to be a highly common 
     denominator. The staining could be limited to what the 
     intake consisted of.
1.   Even more complex, babies are both herbivore and 
     carnivores! AND they also hide their food in unlikely

Yeah, she totally gets me.

The last one got me too and was equally grossed out by the eating and pooping thing....

T: "I'm out.  Not going to cut up dead animals nor am I going to remove their organs.  NASTY!" (yep, that pretty much ended it for me too)

I  agree with S, I do miss having wee ones around, but not enough to get a pet owl. I'll just wait for the real thing.



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