[Cross posted from Sixteen Small Stones]
As a child and a young man I owned a lot of pets. My poor mother, who is not a “pet person” at all, was more than a little patient with my ever expanding zoo, which overflowed from my bedroom into many other parts of the house and yard. A lot of my earliest spiritual experiences involved pets. I experienced the magic and excitement of new-born life and the sting and stillness of death in a very real, personal way.
My collection of life included a number of different birds. I had a parrot, cockatiels, budgerigars, zebra finches, canaries, a rooster and some hens, a bantam rooster and hens, ducks, homing pigeons, and ring-neck doves. I didn’t get an allowance and breeding pets, especially doves, and selling them to Utah Valley pet stores was my primary source of income.
Close personal contact with doves, especially in contrast to the other birds I had, gave me some insights into why the dove has been used as a symbol of peace, and in the scriptures as a sign for the Holy Spirit of God.
Parrots and parakeets have sharp, hooked bills and when they feel threatened or trapped they will squawk and screech, complain and murmur, and give you a painful bite– sometimes drawing blood.