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|Pets: Four French divas|
|by Ryan Lee|
|August 06, 2010 00:00|
Amid the change the comes with growing up in a military family, one of the consistencies of Bill Furman’s childhood in Ohio, North Carolina and Texas was the presence of pets, especially a macaw parrot that became a sort of family heirloom.
“I grew up with a macaw that belonged to my grandmother,” Furman recalls. “When my grandmother passed away, my mother took over it, and so I grew up with it all through middle school, high school, and then when I went to school I took the macaw with me. I’ve kind of always had a bird in my house.”
Furman and his partner, Rob Walter, started exploring purchasing a large bird four years ago and Walter quickly became enraptured. Along with getting birds of their own, Furman and Walter have worked with an Atlanta vet to serve as foster parents to half a dozen birds over the last year, nursing them back to health and finding homes or safe environments.
Having a Red-lored Amazon or a Congo African Grey in their Atlanta home can be extremely chaotic, but Furman and Walter are permitted to fulfill their avian passions due to the grace of the true shot-callers in their house: four French bulldogs, and a lab rescue named Dante.
“My dogs pretty much run the house,” Furman says. “They let me live with them.”
The French bulldogs are used to getting their way, as they compete as show dogs and are lavished with affection.
“I’m a firm believer in starting a puppy as soon as possible, just working with them daily and essentially making everything a real positive for them,” Furman says, explaining the show-training techniques that he’s now employing with an eight-week-old French bulldog who won’t be eligible for competition until he’s six months old.
“He’s definitely got the outgoing attitude, and he’s very, very confident and self-assured,” Furman says. “You never know how they’re going to develop from a puppy into an adult dog, and he might not be the best specimen a year down the road, but right now he’s growing extremely even and he’s a really, really nice specimen of the breed.”
Furman confesses that the humans within the dog show world are as quirky and anal as they were portrayed in the mocumentary “Best in Show,” but if there were any doubt, all one would have to do is check out Furman’s blog — www.soumrafrenchbulldogs.com — which is written in the voice of one of his show dogs, Cootie.
“Like all babies, the pups are getting BIG!” Cootie reports about a fresh litter of French bulldogs that Furman and Walter are temporarily raising. “All of them have ears up now. I thought one was gonna look like a Pug <eeeewwwww!!>”
And in another post Cootie ponders, “Can we plug the oil spill/leak with Sarah Palin? If not, can I at least pee pee on her bed pillows?”
Top photo: Bill Furman’s partner Robert Walter & their Red-lored Amazon
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