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#215969 - 01/28/10 01:29 AM Cockatoos are better AAT animals  
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Jackielu Offline
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Jackielu  Offline
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Tulsa, Oklahoma
Hey everyone,

I just finished calculating the results of the Animal Assisted Therapy(AAT)experiment that I did with Paco and compared it with a study done in 2008 that used a yellow Labrador retriever.

PACO WAS OVER TWICE AS EFFECTIVE IN REDUCING STRESS!!!!

I can't believe it! Everyone at the nursing home told me that he was much better than any of the dogs, but--WOW--twice as effective. Go Paco, Go Paco.

Last edited by Jackielu; 01/28/10 01:32 AM.
#215976 - 01/28/10 02:56 AM Re: Cockatoos are better AAT animals [Re: Jackielu]  
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JeanneT Offline
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Wow is right! People who love animals of course love dogs and cats, but bring in a bird to visit-that's taking it up a notch-something unusual and people are so amazed because they have no idea what a great companion animal a bird can be, and how much personality and affection they can show! I know an occupational therapist who routinely takes her cockatoos and Macaws to nursing homes. Also, I have a really stressful social work job, must be why I have 8 birds, 2 dogs and a cat! Go Paco, Go Paco!


JeanneT, Lily(U2), Beau(M2)
#215981 - 01/28/10 03:23 AM Re: Cockatoos are better AAT animals [Re: JeanneT]  
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EchosMom Offline
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Doesn't surprise me in the least. Good job Paco and JL!


Birds are angels who lift us up when our own wings forget how to fly.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has!" ~~~ Margaret Meade ~~~

Noelle, A Rehabilitation in Progress
#216055 - 01/29/10 11:30 PM Re: Cockatoos are better AAT animals [Re: EchosMom]  
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Janie Offline
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Yes, I am an advocate of volunteering. Can you tell us how was the study measured?
KiwiU2 is a 'volunteer ambassador for parrots' She is a regular visitor at our local library where I volunteer often.

I would like to take this opportunity to share how we have dealt with her volunteering.

We have received permission from the staff. Kiwi wears a flight suit so birdy accidents are not an issue. She also receives very regular vet checks and monitoring to assure her health and the health of the public per advice of the vet. Our library receives 40,000 visitors per month on average.

Kiwi's mission statement is: Parrot's are not an animal easily cared for. I need a bath every day, expensive parrot food and lots of fresh food, my water and cage need changing three times a day. I need exercise every day, I am very messy, I need lots of attention, I am not a good pet for children. I will always behave like a impish 2 year old human, and cannot be trusted alone out of my cage, my beak can do a lot of damage quickly. My cage is huge and expensive, but I am not a cage animal. I need lots of human flock interaction. I am so smart my humans have to use behavior modification when I get bad habits. I must see a special expensive veterinarian several times a year. Lots of times people cannot deal with the needs of parrots and they are abused or given away to unsuitable homes. I moved 4 times before I was a year old. I am one of the few lucky birds, I now have a forever home.

It is not uncommon to have a dozen or so people clustered about while I reiterate Kiwi's mission statement and answer questions about her.

We are often asked if Kiwi can be petted. I have a procedure for this. I first asses her comfort level, I then make sure folks know where and how to pet her. Neck and head scritches only, while my hand is on her beak, rubbing it. Kiwi is told "Kiwi Pet" and I massage her beak as a reward for her allowing the petting action from others. I particularly watch small children's hands which can appear like a snakes head (natural predator) to a cockatoo. I usually ask her to show off a little with a few of her tricks like "can you be an eagle?" She almost always verbally engages with people. Children are entranced and delighted. When it is necessary for us to move on, I ask Kiwi to wave good bye. The bird is always perched on the handle of a book cart which she loves to ride no matter how fast I turn corners etc.

She was acclimated gradually to her volunteer experiences. She tires so giving her a break and a snack is important.

The library elevator frightens her even though it is extremely slow moving. I think it is the sensation of going up or down without her having in control. We have a comfort mechanism for Kiwi, and that is called cuddle snuggle. It is her cuddling to my chest. She asks for it every time we ride the elevator.

I am always extremely aware of her body language and what she is telling me. I am very attuned to her.

The staff is often asked if 'Kiwi is here today.' She and I have done special programs for children about parrots.

One of my more rewarding experiences occurred when a patron asked to pet her and Kiwi stepped up on her wrist. I held my breath, Kiwi said 'love you' and the lady broke into tears. She said, " you precious, precious bird, how do you know how much I needed to hear that today." She has remained one of Kiwi's special friends. It was interesting to see how the bird was particularly attracted and attuned to this stranger, and remains so.

We have a family member who now resides at a nursing home, so Kiwi visits there on a casual basis with us. Again the flight suit and health checks are important.

I would suggest that volunteering with a bird be carefully thought out, and all necessary safety concerns are recognized. The bird and their handler should have the necessary tools of trust, reward and the handler knowledge of the birds needs to avoid unpleasant volunteer experiences.

#216072 - 01/30/10 04:44 AM Re: Cockatoos are better AAT animals [Re: Janie]  
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Winter's mom Offline
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YAY PACO!

#216078 - 01/30/10 08:20 AM Re: Cockatoos are better AAT animals [Re: Winter's mom]  
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Jackielu Offline
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Jackielu  Offline
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Tulsa, Oklahoma
Janie,
Thank you for sharing your AAT experiences, Kiwi sounds very special.

The stats come from a scientific experiment in which 80 adult college students signed consent forms, and then answered 3 questionnaires concerning their current mood. They then either interacted with Paco individually for 5 minutes or 15 minutes or they interacted with him in groups of 10 for 5 or 15 minutes. After that they filled out another questionnaire which was a modified version of one of the previous questionnaires. The data was then calculated and compared with a study done in 2008 that used a yellow lab. we replicated the first study exactly.

the 80 participants were broken into 8 groups
10 men individually for 5 minutes
10 men individually for 15 minutes
10 men in a group for 5 minutes
10 men in a group for 15 minutes
10 women individually for 5 minutes
10 women individually for 15 minutes
10 women in a group for 5 minutes
10 women in a group for 15 minutes

In Paco's study, for some unknown reason the results were significantly higher for the men than the women. (Any suggestions why?)

There was a near significant trend between the 5 and 15 minutes in every condition indicating that more time was beneficial.

We haven't been able to compare the individual conditions between Paco and the dog yet (computer problems) I hope to have that done Wednesday if the weather is o k.

I also do AAT with Paco at nursing homes. His story is different from Kiwi's. He has never known anything but love. My niece bought him and her daughter became allergic to him, so she gave him and his stuff to me. (She didn't want to sell him because she wouldn't know if he was going to a good home).

Paco loves everyone; he will go to them and sing, dance, give squeaky kisses (just the sound, not touching his beak to them) and of course say "I love you."

It's amazing to see the progress of the patients especially the Alzheimerís patients. They really love him and the feeling is mutual. I know that he is special and most birds are not that trusting, but--that's Paco. He loves going out to see people.

When people comment about wanting a cockatoo, I tell them that it costs more to take care of him than a horse (which surprises them) I tell them that they are a lot of work, scream everyday, and that they are better off just playing with Paco once a week.

#216175 - 01/31/10 09:42 PM Re: Cockatoos are better AAT animals [Re: Jackielu]  
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Janie Offline
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Beak fright factor??? Novelty factor??? Male tendency to approach the unknown as a challenge??? I've noticed that men are more apt to directly approach Kiwi immediately, and most women hold back. I can almost always tell if a person has had some bird experience. Mom's are really careful when the little ones want to touch the bird. I really watch children, there are always some who have no fear. The longer I spend with a group, I notice that folks become more relaxed and intrigued.

Kiwi loves everyone too. I don't know what her first two homes involved, but the home we adopted her from was very loving. I do strongly suspect she was syringe fed as a baby. Once when medication was necessary, I was in a quandary as to how to go about that. I had her on a counter and I let her lead the way. When she saw the syringe, she positioned herself at my side, assumed a baby like crouched position with her head up, and from there on in we had no problem. I feel she equated the syringe with feeding.

We were just at the library and they had a children's program in process. Several of Kiwi's "flock spotted her and left the room, and all of the children started to come out. We went in to prevent a mass exodus. I had already read your last post, so I made a effort to observe. There were about 40 people there, moms, dads, and kids. Kiwi loves it. The bigger the crowd the better. Children were first forward, Dad's next, Mom's held back while cautioned little ones to ask permission to pet. I kept my hand on Kiwi's beak massaging it, told her "Kiwi pet", and showed everyone how to pet her. I acknowledged the Mom's beak fright, and Kiwi was petted by as many as 5 children at a time. By the end of my talking about her, and the children had all had a chance to touch her if they chose, the Mom's all stood around continuing to ask questions and became more comfortable. The adult males in the room moved back to the tables where the activities were being conducted and continued with what they were doing. There were 2 women who had bird experience, and they were the only two to directly approach.

I have several instances of folks startling when seeing her and has been women. The 3 different incidences of fear of birds being expressed by someone has come from women. I have had many instances of folks saying, That bird is real. That has been at least 90% women. Kiwi sits so still on her book cart perch or the handle of a shopping cart that folks think she is an ornament. Non of this is scientifically based of course, just observational. We hope it helps. I've many times had people say to me, 'thank you, you've made my day!' this too has been mostly women. Keep us posted with the continuing results of your survey. Janie & KiwiU2

#216221 - 02/01/10 08:23 AM Re: Cockatoos are better AAT animals [Re: Janie]  
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Jackielu Offline
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Jackielu  Offline
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Tulsa, Oklahoma
Thanks Janie,
(I have a daughter named Jaynie)

Paco does get stressed if too many children gather around him at the same time (circling him), so I have them get in a single file line. He is usually around grade school age children, so this is no problem. Five children around him would freak him out.

Paco is also afraid of a certain type of walker; I have no idea why, so the CNAs always move those walkers before we go to those patients. I never thought about having him ride on a cart at the nursing home but he does ride on them at the different pet stores. He loves to sit on my arm and ride on golf carts (I have his aviator on him so he doesn't get hurt and I go slow.

As for the men having greater reduction in stress, my theory is that they were scared (as you said beak fright), and after they had "conquered" their fear, the stress level dropped drastically.
But of course, that's only a theory.

My study was done with college students and I had no trouble getting the girls to participate. In fact, I had to turn them away. However, it was extremely difficult to get the guys to participate; I even had to go to a second college to get enough men. I think that had to do with fear--no I KNOW it had to do with fear. They would say things like--"I'm not going near that thing" of "I don't need extra credit THAT much."

The people at the main nursing home that we go to told me that Paco was much more effective than the dogs that go up there. So I guess I shouldn't be that surprised. Maybe people will start acknowledging the benefits that birds have to offer.

#217834 - 03/01/10 02:38 AM Re: Cockatoos are better AAT animals [Re: Jackielu]  
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winnies mom1 Offline
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Our club does educational shows with the bird from our club. I knew children would love it, when we went to the assisted living complexes the people were so mesmerized by them We would stay and talk to everyone and let them hold the birds they would be in tears that they got to see & hold these majestic birds. It is something I love doing and so does Winnie U2 and Peaches G2. Keep up the good work.

Last edited by winnies mom1; 03/01/10 02:39 AM.

You gotta love the baby
Winnie's mom
#217838 - 03/01/10 04:31 AM Re: Cockatoos are better AAT animals [Re: winnies mom1]  
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RK1 Offline
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RI
no matter how bad of a day i had, my birds always put me in a good mood.

#217959 - 03/03/10 06:31 AM Re: Cockatoos are better AAT animals [Re: RK1]  
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Jackielu Offline
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Jackielu  Offline
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Tulsa, Oklahoma
I know what you mean. Paco is soooooo funny. When I get home, I'd BETTER pay attention to him or he starts saying "I love you" over and over--how can that not melt your heart? He is so sweet.

I'll be presenting my Paco data at two conferences in the next 5 weeks. He's going to get to go to the big one, but I don't think he's going to get to go to the other one; they are charging $200.00 for him to stay in the hotel. Oh, well. Thatís life.


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