|Petey is a tiny yellow,
white, and black canary with the heart of a lion who brings a smile to
the face of anyone who spends very much time around him. Nothing much scares
or intimidates him, although he does make it pretty well known that he
prefers to call the shots as to just how much familiarity he will allow.
Anyone who recognizes this, and respects his right to choose when, and
where, he allows those big huge creatures called humans to get too near,
gets along with him perfectly.
Petey started out his life in a noisy pet shop where all kinds of those big humans were forever intruding and peering through the glass at he and his cage mates ... even when he or his friends were trying to take an afternoon nap ! They had absolutely no respect for a guy's privacy !!! All the other canaries with whom he shared the big cage complained as much as he did but it didn't stop the pet shop owners from using he and his friends as an attraction, or even taking away his chums and selling them to those humans.
Petey decided very quickly after he arrived at the pet shop that the best way to avoid being placed at the mercy of one of those big rude humans was to stay as much in the background as he possibly could. If he kept to himself, and didn't make a show of himself by singing or flitting around, he might go unnoticed and be left alone. After all, there were much more colourful canaries who were always showing off and attracting attention to themselves.
|He would just be smart
and lay low. At least here he knew what to expect ! Sure, the girl who
looked after the cleaning of the cage and refilling the seed and water
dishes was occasionally a pain in the butt but mostly she didn't bother
them too much. He could put up with her because, in all honesty, she really
was kinda nice.
He sure wasn't too crazy about her idea of a bath though !! Who says spraying a guy with some kind of weird spray bottle constitutes a bath ??? How the heck does a fella keep his feathers clean and fluffy, not to mention keeping his face and his feet clean, when he never gets a real honest to goodness bath ??? Yeah, yeah, he knows she is busy, and goodness knows those crazy budgies next door made enough racket to drive anyone bonkers, but really ... !!! couldn't she find time once in a while for a guy to get a chance at a real good bath ?? Especially a guy who never causes trouble and who stays out of the way most of the time? Heck, he even made sure never ever to sing, or even to cheep much ! (Sure, sometimes he forgot himself and let out a peep when the bigger guys chased him away from the seed dish when he was still hungry, but never when people were around for gosh sakes ! )
One of the few neat things about living in a pet shop was all the strange sights you got to see . There were a lot of different looking birds around. For example.. the big white bird with the red and white feathers on his head who lived in the very next cage. A cockatoo or some such silly name. He really thought he was something special ! When ever people stopped to look at him he sat there preening himself as if he was the star attraction for crying out loud. He wasn't so great ! And holy cow !! Who would want a beak like his ? How the heck did a guy preen his feathers with that hooked monstrosity ???
|Mind you, he was better
looking than that noisy big pink guy who lived on the other side of the
He was forever screeching at goodness knows what! He heard someone say the screecher was a parrot or something like that. Petey didn't have a clue what a parrot was, but he sure was glad he wasn't one !
Why, just listen to that new bunch of birds in that big cage in the centre of the room ! All they ever did was squawk, and eat, and fight with one another. He really was lucky he had the good sense to have been born a canary ! One thing for sure ... canaries were definitely much more refined and dignified than any of those characters. And they had MUCH better singing voices.
Yeah, the pet shop was OK but, if the truth were known he was getting pretty sick of never being able to rest when he felt like a nap because of all the noise and commotion, and those blasted humans who kept looking at them all as if they were some kind of freak show really, really bugged him. He sure did feel sorry for all those poor puppies cramped up in those cages he could see across in the doggie section. Gee, they had it a lot worse than he did ! Those darn humans NEVER left them alone. And he had a pretty good idea that the puppies REALLY did not like cages. ( He couldn't understand that as a matter of fact, because anyone knows a cage is the safest place to be ... but then of course he was a bird, not a puppy. )
|There were others
around here he sure didn't want to be anywhere near though.
Cats ! The little kittens looked cute and soft and cuddly but they
were scary as heck. They looked at he and his canary friends as if
they would love to get hold of them and do goodness knows what! He
sure wasn't interested in being their friend ! They might be cuddly to
some but they certainly were not his idea of someone you could trust. Why,
just a few weeks ago one of those sweet looking fluff balls had pounced
on one of the canaries who got out of the cage and almost pulled out his
tail feathers before the girl who looked after the canary cages had managed
to get the canary away from him. He would definitely choose a puppy as
a friend rather than one of those sweet looking kittens any
In fact, his very, very, bestest and newest friends around this place were the puppies who had moved in to the puppy cage directly opposite his cage. He had made friends with them right away as they were a really friendly bunch, especially the one called Coquette. She was a REAL honey. (if she was a bird he'd definitely be in love ! ) Boy !! Absolutely nothing scared her, and even being brave didn't stop her from also being sweet and kind and lovable. She was also very beautiful ... or so he heard the pet store people say. ( He really didn't know what a beautiful puppy should look like.) ... Now ... if you were talking about a girl type canary... that was a whole different story! He KNEW what a beautiful canary looked like for sure ! Anyway, Coquette was very special ... that was something even a canary could figure out. Most of the rest of her family were mostly black but she was a sort of a cinnamon brown colour and had the softest, most sparkly eyes he had ever seen. Yep, if she had feathers he would be in love for sure !
|There used to be a white curly doggie called Fluffy in the cage where Coquette and her family now lived. Fluffy had been his friend for ages and ages but he had been adopted by a human family just the day before Coquette and her family arrived so it was kinda neat that he met Coquette so quickly 'cause it made it easier to see Fluffy leave. He sure hoped those humans who adopted him were being good to his old friend. He knew from watching and listening that some of the humans seemed really nice but there were some he wouldn't want to get to know at all. He sure did hope Fluffy was doing ok.|
|He was sorta worried
about that because of what had happened to Joey ( a bird who shared the
same cage as Petey). Joey had been adopted by a girl human who took
him home with her a few weeks ago but she brought him back after a few
weeks because she didn't like it because Joey wasn't singing ! EVERYONE
knows canaries don't sing when they are molting. It wasn't Joey's fault
he didn't feel like singing. It was scary stuff going to live with a stranger
for crying out loud ! Joey couldn't help it that being frightened
and nervous made him go into a molt. Gee, if that was what happened when
you got adopted he sure didn't understand why everyone around here talked
about adoption as if it was the best thing that could happen to you. Joey
still wasn't over being hurt because his human changed her mind, even though
he did try to let on he didn't care when any of the others asked him about
it. It must really be awful to think you had found a home and someone to
love who would love you back, and then to find out just
when you were starting to relax in your new home and beginning to trust
and love them that the human didn't really like you after all.
All of the canaries, and even the other pets he had talked to from time to time, really did hope to be adopted and find a family to love but it was a scary thing to think about if you were really being honest about it. After all, it took courage to trust those big humans and to open your heart to them . No one wanted to risk being rejected as Joey had been. That must hurt something awful ! He knew that as long as he could remember he had felt he would know instantly when the ones meant to be his family came along. That was one of the main reasons he always kept in the background. By doing that it let him really check out the adopters without them realizing it. At least this way he had a chance to make his own decision about who was going to adopt him.
Yep, he would just keep doing as he had been all along. He'd stay quiet and out of the way when the humans came around looking for a canary to adopt. No way did he want what happened to Joey happening to him. Sure, he'd love a family to love but only one that was the RIGHT one. He'd know if they ever came around. He'd know as soon as he saw them. And then he would make darn certain they noticed him ! One thing though .... he surely did wish they would hurry up and show up ! He was getting more than just a little sick of this pet store !
These days it seemed there were even more adopters around than usual. Probably because it was just about Christmas. He was a little worried he might miss spotting his Right Ones because of the crowds. He was also worried because he had heard from some of the old-timers who had been around last Christmas that it was not good to be a Christmas gift a lot of times. They explained that the one getting you as a gift hadn't really picked you out themselves and sometimes wasn't really interested in loving you, or having you love them back. The old-timers said a lot of the Christmas adoptees ended up back at the pet store a few weeks after Christmas. Sometimes even hurt physically as well as mentally. No one, not even a bird, deserves to be thrown away like a used up toy.
He sure would love his Right Family to come along , and he sure would love to find them in time for Christmas, but maybe it might be better if they waited until things quieted down around here. One thing was definitely more important than having to put up with spray bottle baths for a while longer. His adopters just HAD to love him as much as he would love them. That was worth having a little more patience. So what if he had to spend Christmas in a cage in a pet store? After all, after hours could be a lot of fun in the pet store because all the toys around the mall got a chance to play and party once all the staff had gone home. Why just last night he had hopped on a train ride with a bunch of them and it was really a lot of fun ! They even let him drive the train for a while !! (Although that bossy rabbit was REALLY awfully selfish about letting anyone else toot the train whistle ! ) It was only when the toy bulldog insisted that the darn bunny give up his seat for a while and give Petey a turn that he got his chance. It really was a lot of fun. But even if he hadn't had a chance to be the Chief Tooter, the ride would have been worth it anyway.
|Mind you, he had heard
some of the others talking with Fluffy a few weeks ago about
some jolly fat guy in a red suit. Fluffy had told him he was called
Santa Claus. They all claimed he often granted Christmas Wishes if you
asked him really politely, and if you hadn't been too naughty during the
year. Apparently that guy was due to visit the pet store any day now to
pick out which of the animals he would be taking with him on Christmas
Eve for the children who had asked for a pet for Christmas. Maybe he should
plan to make a Christmas Wish and if he got the chance when Santa
Claus was here he could pass his Wish on to him. Heck, he had nothing
to lose .. he would try it !
Everyone told Petey that Santa was a really good friend to all of the animals and birds. In fact, they even said that Santa always made sure he had extra time to spend with them, even on Christmas Eve ... the busiest night of the year for him. One of the older birds who had been in the pet store for a long time said Santa had actually stopped at the pet store last Christmas Eve to pick up some puppies which were going to be adopted as Christmas presents by some of the children he would be visiting, and joined in the fun with the toys and the pet store birds and animals who hadn't been adopted and taken away to be Christmas presents. He said the treats Santa brought them made the most scrumptious feast they had ever seen. The old bird told them it was the best meal of his life. Santa definitely must be a really neat guy. Yep ! he would think about it carefully, plan what he would actually wish for, and ask Santa to please help him get his Christmas Wish !
|Just how should he
word it ? He really had to think about this carefully. He wanted
to be adopted but only if the adopters were truly the Right Ones. The family
he hoped for had to be kind and gentle and loving. They had to realize
that even a tiny bird deserved to be treated with affection and that they
should only consider adopting him (or her) if that bird really, really
would be considered a part of the family and not just a sometime plaything.
The family he had dreamt of for so long would surely include him and let
him share in family living and not expect him just be there to entertain
them when they had nothing better to do. It was for darn sure that if he
ever found such a family he intended to give back every bit as much love
as he received !
He decided to word it exactly that way, wait for Santa to come on his pre Christmas shopping visit, and tell him his wish, and hope for the best. In the meantime he would spend as much time as possible preening his feathers so he looked really spiffy if Santa was able to grant his wish and his Right Family were to show up. Gee, it might be kind of tough to hang onto his perch and preen feathers with all of his toes crossed while he waited to see if his wish would come true ... ( because as everyone knows birds don't have fingers. ) It would sure make Christmas pretty darn wonderful if he was lucky enough to have his wish come true.
He told Coquette about his wish and his plan and she promised to cross her toes also and to hope he got his wish although she said she really didn't want to see her new friend leave her so soon. She promised to keep his secret and not tell any of the others in case they laughed at him for being so fussy about wanting just exactly the perfect family when he had always acted as if he wasn't at all interested in being adopted and had kept so much in the background. Coquette also promised she would keep her ears open and listen to what the visitors said when they were around the puppy cages in case the family stopped by there (as so many humans did), before going on to the bird cages. She promised she would let him know if she found a family who sounded as if they understood the responsibility they were considering taking on. After all, as Coquette pointed out, Petey knew that responsibility was something he had to consider as well and it was only fair that the humans be expected to do likewise.
As Petey waited for the day Santa would visit the pet store he continued to keep in the background but listened and watched even more closely than he had done before. He certainly didn't want to miss his new family if they happened to show up ! Somehow he had started to believe that it just might be possible that they would show up really soon. He didn't believe much in hunches usually, but he couldn't shake the feeling that something really wonderful was about to happen. In fact he felt so sure about this that he even told Coquette he would bet her that he would be with his family for Christmas. The days passed, Petey watched and listened harder than he ever had before but as the days passed and just the usual crowd of humans came by the cage he started to get a bit down. Maybe he had been kidding himself after all. Maybe they were never going to show up.
And then one day, Coquette called to him all excited and said "Petey, watch for the lady with the green coat and the man with the black jacket ! I just heard them talking about wanting a canary to love and to be part of their family ! They said it just that way Petey, and they really sounded nice and were really sweet to all of us pups. I think they may be the ones you have been waiting for ! " He immediately moved over to the side of the cage so he could see the walkway between Coquette's cage and the bird cage but he didn't see any lady with a green coat ! Where had they gone ? Maybe they had found another canary in the other cage already and he had missed being able to check them out. Darn it !!! This being in a cage made things tough at times ! He waited for ages and didn't see any sign of them so he went back to his corner of the cage trying not to let his disappointment show too much. Oh well, maybe Santa would come tomorrow and he could ask him please to listen to his Wish and help him.
Petey 's hunch had been right. Santa came the very next evening. Petey waited until it seemed Santa had finished what he had come to do and then he rather timidly approached him and said, (because Santa of course understood 'canary talk' ) " Excuse me Santa, but could you PLEASE help me?" Santa immediately stopped and said, " why of course Petey, what can I do for you ? " Gee, Santa even knew who he was ! Maybe he really was magical as the others had told him ! Maybe there really was a chance he would help make his wish come true !
"Santa I really want to be adopted, but only if the adopters are the exactly right family for me. That's why I have always kept in the background when someone was picking a canary to adopt. I was afraid I'd be adopted by the wrong family, but now I really do want to find my family and my home so I figure it's time I take the chance and try to get adopted. Will you help me ?"
Santa smiled and said, "Of course I'll try to help you Petey, but you have to help me too by telling me what you hope to find in a family. Can you do that ? " Petey eagerly nodded and said, "Yes Santa, I can. I know exactly what I am wishing for in a family. A family who love one another and who will love me too. I want to be a part of the family for always ... not a toy, or a temporary interest to be thrown away when they get bored with me. Am I asking for too much Santa, is it possible for a canary to find a family like that ?" By now Petey was feeling less nervous because Santa was paying close attention to what he was saying and even had a twinkle in his eye. He definitely liked Santa !
Santa told Petey he understood exactly what Petey wanted and he would certainly do his best to see that his Christmas Wish was granted if at all possible. He even promised to look through his records to see if he had any such family on file but he also told Petey he might need to have patience a wee bit longer, maybe even till after the holidays, because this time of year was such a busy time for people. He pointed out that because of the busy holiday season the special family Petey was looking for might not be available until after the New Year.
Although this disappointed Petey a bit he knew he would need to have patience and trust that Santa would do his best to help. After all, he had only decided a short time ago that he should take a chance on adoption and anything a guy really wanted was worth having a little patience about. In any case, he was very happy he had talked to Santa , and that he had actually met this wonderfully jolly and friendly man.
As the days passed and Christmas drew near, the pet store was very, very busy. He saw many of his friends and acquaintances leave to take up residence in their new homes with their adopters, which both saddened him, ( because he would miss them) and made him happy for them. All of Coquette's sisters and brothers had already gone to new homes and Coquette was due to leave the day after Christmas. Her new family wanted to be sure the hubbub associated with Christmas had quieted down before they took her to a strange new home. Lucky Coquette. Her new family understood, as they had explained to her, just how scary such a move could be for a tiny puppy, and were making it as easy for her as they could. She was one of the lucky ones for sure. She had found her Right Ones. No doubt about that.
Petey had to admit, although only to himself as no way did he want the others to know, that he was getting a little discouraged about his Right Ones showing up. He had been keeping in the background, but watched and listened very carefully as each human came to the canary cage and decided which canary they wished to adopt. Most of the loudest singers were gone by now of course. He did hope they were happy in their new homes. None of the adopters had impressed him enough to make him want to be noticed and certainly none of them had been the ones he was waiting for with so much hope.
Just when he had about given up hope a man and a woman appeared at the front of the window of the cage. She was wearing a green coat and the man was wearing a black jacket ! Could these be the ones Coquette had spotted a few weeks ago? They did have kind faces and they seemed to be looking around as if searching for something out of the ordinary. He heard the lady say to the man, " I definitely want a yellow canary with black and white markings. Those are the colours a canary is supposed to be. I do not want us to adopt one of those orangy red ones or any other new fangled colour." The man smiled at her as if to say, "yes Dear, it is your choice."
Petey decided to move
out a bit into the open and see what happened. As he did this, he
heard the sales clerk say to the lady ," you should pick one of these brighter
coloured canaries, they are all singers. Some of those drabber colours
are not." The lady shook her head and said again , " I want a yellow canary
.. in fact I want that one near the corner sitting by himself. "
She was talking about him !
But wait, it was ok , the lady was disagreeing with the sales clerk and insisting she wanted Petey. She even said, " we need to select a cage for him as no way are you putting him in a little closed up box for us to take him home with us. We even have a warm blanket in the car which we can use to cover the cage and keep him warm." As they moved away Petey's heart was in his mouth ! He did hope so much that the lady would come back. He REALLY liked her. As they went to walk away the man leaned close and said , "don't worry little guy we will be right back, when she makes up her mind there is no changing it, believe me !" Petey wanted to believe him but was almost afraid to breathe as he waited for them to return.
For crying out loud ! As they came back to the cage that darn sales clerk was now telling the lady that the pet store provided a sixty day warranty. If any canary did not sing within that time you could return them and select another bird.! But wait !! He LOVED the answer the lady was giving her . She said, " Excuse me, we DO NOT need that dumb warranty. He will not be coming back ! When Petey goes home with us he is there to stay, whether he sings or not. He is going to be part of our family. He is not a toy you discard or something you can throw away. He is going to be a very much loved family member! "
He felt his heart swell up in his chest he was so happy. Santa had really kept his promise. These people were really and truly the family he had wished to find. He wanted so very much to make this lady happy by singing to let her know how happy she had made him but he knew it would take a few days for him to get his voice tuned properly, as he had only used it a couple of times while practicing a little bit when no one was around. He would have to work on it but he would definitely surprise her with the most beautiful song he could manage as soon as possible.
That dear, sweet lady was now insisting that the clerk put food and water in his dishes for the trip home. She had thought of everything ! As the man carried the cage to the door he said , "you and Petey wait here Dear, I'll go get the blanket so Petey isn't cold. " When he returned he stuck a piece of green stuff in the bars of the cage and said, " I thought Petey might enjoy some lettuce Dear so I took some out of the grocery bag in the car." He was just as nice as the lady. Goodness, Petey was even luckier than he had hoped to be. He didn't know what 'lettuce' was but he bet he was going to love it. He also was absolutely, positively, sure he was going to love these two people more than any canary had ever loved his adopters. And he kinda was pretty darn sure he was also going to be loved more than he had ever dreamed possible.
He couldn't wait to surprise his new Mom and Dad with a beautiful song just as soon as he could get his voice in shape. He was so gosh darn happy, he might never ever stop singing !
As they walked toward the entrance to the store Petey called to Coquette and quickly said good bye and wished her a Merry Christmas. He told her "Coquette, you were right, wishes really do come true if you have patience and believe hard enough. I am so grateful to you and to Santa for helping me. I am SO happy, and so very lucky. I have really, truly, found my absolute RIGHT ONES and I am on my way HOME.".
Petey felt he should pinch himself to be sure he wasn't dreaming. Home was even better than he had ever imagined it would be ! In only a few weeks he felt so much at home that when Mom and Dad offered him the chance to explore the house he didn't even hesitate. He took a couple of days to get used to flying around the rooms but it was FANTASTIC to be able to really spread his wings and fly.
Mom and Dad seemed to understand that he really wanted to do it by himself and didn't try to grab him or catch him. Thank goodness ! Because he sure didn't want his feathers all messed up . They even understood and respected that a bird was pretty fussy about his feathers. He had certainly been right to wait for the exact Right Ones to adopt him ... Dad even let him ride around on his shoulder when he didn't feel like doing the flying bit.
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Wreath animations and Christmas pups courtesy of Moon and Back Graphics
Animated birds and hat animation(c) Kitty Roach.
Petey's Christmas Wish Copyright © 2000 Slim's Place
December 12 2000