During their 30 years together, Irene Pepperberg and her African gray parrot, Alex, said "I love you" to each other nearly every day.
It's Animal Week on Fresh Air; during these last days of summer, we're featuring rebroadcasts of our best conversations about animals and how we live with them.
Although his brain was no bigger than a walnut, Alex the African gray parrot could do more than speak and understand — he could also count, identify colors and, according to his owner Irene Pepperberg, develop an emotional relationship. When Alex died in September 2007, his last words to Pepperberg were "You be good. I love you."
In her book Alex & Me, Pepperberg explores the world of animal cognition and describes her unique relationship with Alex.
Pepperberg is adjunct professor at the Department of Psychology at Brandeis University and a lecturer and research associate at Harvard University. She is also the author of The Alex Studies.
This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 12, 2008.