my eight year-old son is good at saving money (unlike my 12 year-old daughter). max saved all fall, and combined that with christmas gift money to buy a bird — a cockatiel — and all the stuff that goes with it. he named the bird sammy, and has been a great pet owner. so what’s a parent to do when the bird gets his little leg caught in a wire on the cage and breaks it? we didn’t do anything for 24 hours, wondering if the leg would, well, correct itself. but when, the next day, the leg was still protruding back and to the side at an unnatural angle, it was time for the vet. now, $180 later, sammy has had an exam, an x-ray (jeannie and max saw it, just like a human x-ray at a doctor’s office), and a cute-and-pathetic little leg splint. they actually had to “set” his leg (which seems about like ‘setting’ a one-millimeter twig to me). i seriously gulped at the cost, and had sammy been a gift from us, i might have just suggested we get another bird instead — 1/2 the price. but, well, max had been so meticulous about saving that money and being responsible. we did have him ‘pitch in’ on the cost of the vet, so he’d have a sense of it. i just hope that’s a once-in-a-bird-lifetime affair!