Belle was purchased a few months after Copper so that he would have a companion. While she is sweet, she is not the people bird that Copper tends to be. She sings, climbs, hangs upside down on the curtains and sometimes grabs a ride on someone's shoulders. Copper taught her to say "Copper is a pretty bird."
The two birds play together on the blinds, check out any mirrors in the house, and have a specific call to find each other.
Copper comes when called, plays peek-a-boo, and chases the dog. When he walks beneath Shep's legs to get a drink from the dog's bowl, the Sheltie waits patiently.
It's a good idea for humans to guard their food. Copper doesn't hesitate to help himself to a bite of bread, watermelon or popcorn.
"Most of the time we have to put him in another room and shut the door so we can have our meal," Linda said.
While the birds seem to know their boundaries, the family is careful to keep doors that lead outside shut.
As the birds steal the show, Shep waits patiently for some attention. He can sit, shake and wave his paw. However, his best trick might be tolerating Copper's shenanigans. If Shep takes a nap, Copper pecks at his feet. No wonder he sleeps so soundly beneath cages when the birds are tucked in for the night. As Copper drifts off for the evening, he mutters an entire string of words as though he is afraid he might forget them if he doesn't practice.
Catherine, who is home schooled, is in the fifth grade. She is an aspiring veterinarian.
Linda Dugan said the family finds the birds entertaining as well as good role models.
"Every morning around 8, they get to come out of their cage," she said. "They're so excited because it's a brand new day and they enjoy life to the fullest. It's good to hear them sing early in the morning and they sing a lot during the day."
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlo...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1246.