Richard and I went away to Finland to see my family for 6 days but we had to leave Elmo and Georgie home. The cheap airline we used doesn’t take animals, and even if they did, I wouldn’t subject our pigeons to a flight unless they were in a seat next to us. (The thought of Elmo and Georgie alone in a noisy, cold cargo hold, scared and confused, makes me shudder. Couldn’t do that to them!)
Anyway, so we were away visiting family and skiing, skating and sledding in lovely snow-covered Finland, whilst Elmo and Georgie stayed at home with a team of pet sitters popping over to care for them. We really went all out to ensure that they had regular visits during the day and had the interaction they need.
Georgie was sitting on eggs when we left so her care was pretty straight-forward: simply clean out her cage, give her fresh seed and water, and let her out for a few minutes to flap about. She doesn’t like to be away from her eggs for long so I left a note explaining this all (a long note. … Actually it came to three A4 sheets of instructions and info. One cannot be too careful when it comes to our animals).
Elmo was the same: clean, feed and exercise, with the addition of play and chill-out time for a few hours. Elmo sleeps free in the bedroom and is allowed to roam about the flat when someone is there. He loves and needs human company, something we made sure he had whilst we were away.
So, with three people roped in to help (mum, my co-worker and a professional pet sitter) we had the 6 days covered. We also had the webcam in the bedroom so we could check in on Elmo. It made our time away much better when we could have a moment to see what Elmo was doing. I advise any pet owner to set up a webcam. Gives you peace of mind! The downfall is that you miss your animals more because you can see them but cannot be with them.
We checked on Elmo one day when we knew my co-worker was coming to spend time with him and Georgie. When Elmo saw her he went bananas! He ran about and did his mad pigeon dance, cooing and bowing away, and when she knelt down by the bed he rushed at her and bumped into her face! He was so happy! It made us very happy to see him greet his pet sitter like that. And we knew he and George were in good hands.
Georgie stayed on her eggs for the first two days we were away, then she decided she’d had enough and spent her time sitting on or near her pet sitters. I was worried that she might act up and they’d not know what to do since Georgie’s behaviour can be hard to read when she’s incubating, however, all went smoothly. Georgie was a very good girl and didn’t give anyone any trouble.
We got home late in the night and Elmo was very happy to see us. Georgie wasn’t impressed with being woken up in the night (she gave me some pecks and cooed angrily), and Elmo was tired, so we quickly gave them cuddles and kisses and went to bed. The next morning Elmo woke us up with cooing which he hasn’t done in a long time. He was obviously eager to wake us up so he could be with us. Sweetheart!
Ps. We saw some pigeons in the town of Tampere (see ‘Finnish pigeons’ post dated Feb 12th 2010) which was nice, however, it was very cold and I felt very bad for them. … But they were born in Finland and live there so I’m sure they get by during the winter.