Anyone who has ever lived with an African Grey parrot will tell you how awesome they are... how intelligent and observant... how cunning and manipulative...and how very loving they are. In Conversations with Cosmo, Dr. Betty Jean Craige takes the reader through her journey of learning to live and converse with Cosmo, her beautiful African Grey companion.
Like many of us, Dr. Craige originally chose an African Grey pet because of the species' communication ability; but again, like many of us, she quickly discovered how incredibly loving and endearing they are to us pet humans. She takes us through her process of teaching Cosmo to have conversations. She follows many basic principles for teaching Cosmo to talk, such as: 1) looking directly at the bird while speaking; 2) using the same words and phrases repetitively to describe the same situations; and 3) focusing on "power" words and phrases that teach Cosmo how to manipulate and control her own environment. For example, Betty Jean Craige taught Cosmo the power, action word "wanna" to help her Grey companion learn to request objects, such as, "Cosmo wanna water," "Cosmo wanna peanut," and "Cosmo wanna cuddle." She also played games to teach labels. One of their favorite games was called "what's that," which gave Dr. Craige the opportunity to teach the labels of different objects in the house... and as a result, Cosmo learned the names of things, such as "clothes" and "television." It also provided Cosmo with a verbal tool for asking "what's that" for any object or activity that intrigued her.
African Grey parrots are so incredibly smart! They have minds of their own and can teach themselves on their own, too. For example, my African Grey, Merlin Tewillager, turned "bye, bye" into a power word when she wanted the "bird groomer" who trimmed her nails TO LEAVE! Not all Greys are talkative; however, that does NOT mean that the less talkative ones are not smart. We learn to talk to communicate our needs, and a less-talking or non-talking Grey may not always need to talk to communicate when they are closely attuned to their human companions. I think even deeper than their ability to talk, African Greys have an ability to get into our hearts and souls and connect with us humans on a level that most other entities cannot reach. Therefore, if you have a Grey, and whether or not your Grey is a talker, you are among one of the luckiest humans on this Earth!
The key reason that Dr. Craige wrote this book was to sensitize humans as to the fact that animals are sentient beings capable of thinking, feeling, and communicating. They have purposeful lives, just like we do. When we learn to see this glorious dimension in our pets, it opens us up and reminds us of the magic and wonder that surrounds us every day. That's what life's all about. Good job, Dr. Craige!
You can learn more about the book at www.CosmoTalks.com . ENJOY!
Review By: Margaret Wright, Author & African Grey expert
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