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Lifestyle // The Wild Side
Dr. John Kaya

Peewee And The Electric Slide

Dancing is an expressive form of communication. Interpreting the fine nuances can be quite challenging. Many times something is lost in translation, as was the case with Mr. Abe and his cockatiel Peewee.

It was a quiet summer’s day and I decided to take a look at my afternoon schedule, a luxury that I’m not often afforded. “Vaccination, diarrhea, coughing …” nothing seemed too out of the ordinary, but then there it was: “electric slide.” Huh? Unfortunately, I’d have to wait until my last appointment to quell my curiosity.

The day flew by, and soon I found myself stepping into my long-anticipated appointment.

“So, Mr. Abe, what’s going on with Peewee?” I asked.

“Well, Peewee’s just fine. He eats well, has normal stool and is as mischievous as ever,” admitted Mr. Abe. “What’s really cute is that several times a day he dances for me. We watch television at night and he must have seen someone doing the electric slide. The steps are not exactly perfect, but he dances with gusto!” Mr. Abe beamed as he spoke fondly of his feathered companion.

Cockatiels can learn to talk, but I’ve personally not seen any that dance. I tried to hide my expression of disbelief, but I think Mr. Abe noticed. Before we could discuss it any further, Peewee started chirping and jumped down from his perch.

Mr. Abe smiled and said, “You’re in for a treat because this is exactly what Peewee does before he dances.”

As I watched intently, Peewee started to spread his wings and move about his cage. First he moved to his right then bobbed up and down a couple of times. He then took several steps backward and shifted to his left while shaking his wings. Finally he hopped forward to complete his routine before starting all over again.

I stood with mouth agape. It really appeared as though Peewee was doing a dance. Watching him repeat the moves several times, I asked Mr. Abe if I could interrupt Peewee’s jig. He nodded in consent.

I tried calling Peewee but got no reaction. Next, I placed my hand into the cage to block his progress … still nothing. I came to the conclusion that nothing I did could stop Peewee from dancing. Mr. Abe said that this sometimes went on for several minutes.

It was as I feared. Peewee was actually experiencing a form of seizure. I explained to Mr. Abe that the repeated motions and trancelike state was a brain disorder.

He was shocked. Then a tear was quickly wiped from his cheek as he started to apologize to his little buddy. “I’m so sorry, Peewee. I didn’t know you were suffering. I just thought you liked to dance.”

We started Peewee on medication, and months later Mr. Abe reported that Peewee’s dancing days were over.

A happy ending is only fitting for happy feet.

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