Monday, November 17, 2008
I am an animal lover to the core and I have had some incredible bonds with a few animals. It is this reason that I loved Alex and Me. It is about Irene Pepperberg and her parrot Alex, and how she taught him how to communicate. Dr. Irene Pepperberg is a scientist who has made some of the biggest advances in the field of animal cognition. Her star pupil was an African Grey parrot names Alex, for Avian Learning Experiment. Everyone seems to have seen a documentary or article about Alex and his extraordinary communication abilities. he is, quite literally, the most famous parrot in history.
Despite Alex's fame, Dr. Pepperberg has struggled throughout her career to be taken seriously; first because no thought Alex would achieve the ambitious goals that she set out for him and second because she is a woman in a scientific field dominated by men. But they persisted and after years of living hand-to-mouth and moving from one university to another, Dr. Pepperberg and Alex had only recently been recognized for their considerable achievements.
Then last September, tragedy struck. After a normal day in the learning lab, and the nightly exchange with Dr. Pepperberg, "You be good, see you tomorrow, I love you" Alex was found dead in his cage the following morning.
The outpouring of grief over Alex from people who didn't know him, but whose lives he touched nevertheless, has been monumental. And although Dr. Pepperberg has been known for referring to Alex as a colleague and not as a pet, ironically his death made her realize what Alex had known all along. They were mates. They were companions. They were as fully bonded as they come.
Harper Collins $23.95
Posted by Sandra at 6:15 PM