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#23581 - 12/04/02 04:21 AM What it takes!  
Joined: Feb 2002
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Jerry Offline
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Jerry  Offline
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Ohio Valley
This is neither a buying or rescue question. What this is... is a real life rescue letter I just received that I wished every single person could read. I hope you find it as thought provoking as I did.

From John..... Thank you for your no-B.S. site. Right on the money! I don't believe that large birds should be outside of their wild habitats except for the modern, professionally run zoological environment.

My wife and I have a lifetime committment to our 8 year old Umbrella 'too, Popeye. After we are dead and buried, he lives with my son, who Popeye adores (mutual). I cannot call him a pet, he is simply a foster child who we rescued from neglect at age 2 1/2. After being kept on a display T-bar along with a macaw (who bullied him) by his first owner, he spent months in a pet shop where he demonstrated his total hatred for the males of the human species. The owner maintained that Popeye inflicted the most severe bites that he'd ever received from a parrot.

The second owner bought him when his wife requested a white bird for her birthday present. Desirous of keeping the budget low, he bought him a large cockatiel cage, which effectively inhibited movement. Even his 'umbrella' popped out of the top bars. His only company were the two small dogs that the never-present owners also kept. He still loves dogs today.

Our first cockatoo, Calvin, died of beak and feather disease. We'd purchased him from a shop where he was referred to as a boomerang bird, ie kept being returned. The little bugger had already had eight owners when we took him in (for a price, of course!). We had NO idea what the hell we were doing. Being cockatiel owners, we simply thought that it was a larger package. Didn't realise the astounding realities of avian intelligence. We learned everything the hard way, not to mention the complete heartbreak of having to kill him at the vet's when it became apparent via blood tests and visible conditions just what was happening. Calvin, to his credit, kept a jovial personality despite the horrors that were happening to his little body. However, in no way were we going to 'take him back'. He was our responsibility and we took it, including the guilt of realised stupidity.

Courtesy of Popeye and the passage of almost five years, I have two scars on my upper lip, one two stitches, the other five. I also have in excess of twenty deep puncture wounds and areas of permanent surface nerve damage on two of my fingers. In the correct light, the scars on my hand are numerous. Fortunately, the ones on my arms healed up well and I can't see the one where he tried to fit me for an earring. Like I said - he had truly learned to hate men. My wife, who took her share of abuse, fortunately didn't have to deal with the same level of severity. He liked women.

I've swatted at him more than once to divert his dreaded on foot, floor level attacks. Having done my homework after Calvin, the swats weren't reprisals or threats, just close enough to try to distract the overwrought commando. We could see it in his eyes...they would literally glaze just a fraction before he would go banzai on me. Too late to warn.....just to cringe at the inevitable. I'm sure our friends thought we were insane to put up with this level of abuse. If Popeye had been a dog, I would have had him put down. However, he was never a pet. He is welcomed as part of the family. Its a good thing, since he quite literally demands it anyway.

Our avian vet, Dr. MacDonald predicted that within five years of our rescuing Popeye, that he would be an ideal companion. During those years, I've often wondered, but never gave up. He has cost a fortune for his home (I refuse to call that mansion a cage), vet bills, toys and the food formula that I've concocted for him over the years. He is a permanent comittment and responsibility.

Finally, about a year ago, he made his last attack on me. I didn't know it at the time, just chalked it up to one of many. Since then, the psychotic eye changes have disappeared. He has accepted me as a member of his flock and is FINALLY comfortable with both my wife and I. I've always loved him, though at times with a jaundiced eye! It was amazing to have it returned.

My relationship with Popeye is one of the highlights of my life. To have come to a mutual respect, love and understanding with an avian is just wonderful. You have to be nuts....or at least it helps.

If we lost Popeye due to disease or accident, I wouldn't think twice about rescuing another. I will NEVER buy one from a breeder/pet store. I even wonder if the concept of recue isn't just a form of enabling, but I can't stand by and do nothing.

Excuse the ramble...just had to give your site two thumbs up and share some of the delights and travails smile

regards, John

#23582 - 12/04/02 06:21 AM Re: What it takes!  
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Maluka Offline
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Southern California
I had to comment as that was one of the best letters I have ever read. Here is a person that through it ALL did not give up....He has my utmost applaud. There is much that could be said about this one letter. You are right in the aspect that it does provoke alot of thought. I wish all Cockatoo could have owners as dedicated as this individual. I am so happy for both the bird and the owner...they have found trust and commitment in each other.

#23583 - 12/04/02 05:57 PM Re: What it takes!  
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Vijay Offline
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Canada
Also helps to remember that he is a rescue and was probably neglected initially. Hence, all the extra efforts were recquired. Maybe a new too in a good home will adapt more easily. This is something to consider for all those who wish to rescue a Too.

#23584 - 12/04/02 08:28 PM Re: What it takes!  
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Jerry Offline
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Ohio Valley
Yes.. the fact that the bird was a rescue was mentioned several times. The point is that any bird (even a rescue) is prone to "come around" given enough time, patience and compassion. Whereas the hand fed one owner bird may (and most likely will) grow up to have problems, rescues are often much worse at times.

In either case... people need to be aware that there are NO short term "fixes" for most of these problems. In this instant gratification world of ours... neither a "pet" bird nor a rescue is something most people would want or tolerate in the long run. Only special people with special personalities and attitudes should ever consider taking on such a challenge.

#23585 - 12/04/02 08:53 PM Re: What it takes!  
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Vijay Offline
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Canada
Agreed with everything said in the previous post. In addition, some maybe lead to believe that a rescue can be a free/cheap bird. On the contrary a rescue bird may never fully recover, involve more time and in terms of Vet Bills etc., may endup being more expensive in the longer run. Something to consider about rescues.

Vijay

#23586 - 12/04/02 09:18 PM Re: What it takes!  
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Lori Conarro Offline
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Salt Lake City, Utah
This sounds like Peaches the M2 we got in March to a "T". My husband can relate to the bites. It's nice to know that things got better over the years from someone with experience. As always, I want all of you to know how grateful I am to all of you who offered your comments and advice.


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