My Life with Dogs #12

Friends: I have decided to share with you My Life With Dogs. These Blogs taken from my book, 14000 Dogs Later, may be one page at a time, or more. I don’t want to dump too much on you at a time. I hope you enjoy. Feel free to make comments here, or on Face Book or Twitter. Best, John

This, by the way, is the continuation of my last entry.

Two weeks later I sold the Mccaw to a DC cabbie who wanted an unusual attraction for his clients.
Mynah birds are a conundrum. They can speak, whistle, and find the smallest sunflower seed at the bottom of the food bowl. But they are loud, outspoken, and the dirtiest of all birds in that they sling food everywhere. (Note: Always teach birds to talk before teaching them to whistle. It they whistle first, it’s near impossible to get them to talk.)
A new book store was opening in DC and its proprietor asked if I could do something special for his ribbon cutting ceremony. I trained two Mynah birds to wolf-whistle anytime a female passed their cage in the new store. Two weeks later he returned the birds. He had not realized that the birds violated his franchise agreement. I took the birds back and the next day two sisters of the cloth came in the pet shop. They passed the Mynah cage and the birds wolf-whistled. They loved it. The birds had also whistled at them at the book store opening.

dog and monkey (2)
A DC doctor asked Mr. Tuck to get him a chimpanzee. Back then, in 1963, exotic pets were not difficult to bring into the United States. Mr. Tuck placed the order, and three months later the four-foot square wooden crate arrived at the airport. By the time we got the crate to the shop the chimp had been caged for 48 hours without food or water.
“He’s all yours,” Mr. Tuck told me.
We set the crate on a table. I removed one of the side panels and peered in…and there, scrunched as far back in the corner as he could get, was Hester, a fifty-pound chimp and a hell of a lot bigger than what we expected. I didn’t have a lot of experience with monkeys. As I said earlier, God never made one that didn’t bite at maturity. With this in mind I tried verbal enticement, food, and water to get Hester from one crate to another. He wouldn’t budge.
Finally, more out of desperation than good sense, I balled my hand into a fist and I reached for him. Ever so slowly my fist nervously entered his domain while I talked as soothingly as I could summon, all the while wondering if I were putting my hand in a meat grinder. When I touched his chest he grabbed my fist with both hands and put the whole thing in his mouth. I immediately realized this was not an act of aggression. If it had been he could have taken my hand off. Rather, he had been backed into a corner and was as scared as was I. I garnered the good sense not to panic. Instead, I bent down, stuck my head into the wooden crate, looked him in the eye, and continued to talk with him.
The stalemate was on…surprisingly, though, not for long.
Fifteen minutes later he released his hold on my fist, bounded from the crate and jumped into my arms. Hester and I became best buddies.
WIL: Taming and training of cats and monkeys is significantly different than that of dogs. Firmness is often called into play in the training of the canine species, whereby seldom is this successful with cats or monkeys.
To be continued…

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