by Lisa Seaman
"You got to have friends..." goes a well-known song. Not only is this true in the human world, but goes also for the bird world! A great example of this were "Buddy" and "Beaker." Beaker was a senegal parrot, while Buddy was a blue, female budgie. These two lively characters resided together at The Birdie Boutique store in 1997. What made this a great friendship story was that Buddy was Beaker's "guide-budgie." Beaker became blind when both eyes had to be removed due to a severe infection that developed in them as a week-old baby. Much debate went on about his future, until a unique idea was suggested. If blind people have "guide-dogs," why not have some type of "guide-bird" to assist Beaker?? It was then decided to go ahead with this idea while Beaker was still a baby and more adaptable to new situations. A baby budgie with no owner was selected for Beaker's companion and was named Buddy in honor of the first seeing-eye dog. The two baby birds were placed together immediately. From then on they would eat, sleep, and spend the rest of their lives as a birdie team --hopefully. The results were better than anyone could have expected!! Buddy helped preen Beaker, assisted him in finding food and water, and guided him around the cage until Beaker was familiar with his surroundings by touch. Beaker amazed everyone by doing all the things a "normal" senegal does except see. Occasionally, the "dynamic duo" had a disagreement, as all good friends do, but it was always quickly resolved between the two. They especially enjoyed the many visits from the TBB store customers and friends. The birds were also semi-famous since being the subject of a WTVD Channel 11 local news story by the reporter Don Ross. They truly were a great example of what friendship is all about!!