Wednesday, February 02, 2005

My Precious Princess Chloe

In March of 2003, Margaret, a home care nurse, had gone to the home of a new client. While she was taking care of the lady of the house, she heard the loud squawking of a parrot coming from the garage. When she ask about the squawking, she was told that there was a parrot in the garage. It had been kept there for the past five years, because it was too loud to keep in the house.

Margaret went to the garage. When she turned on the light she found an Umbrella Cockatoo, in a cage that was just big enough for the bird to stand up in and that was all. The cage had no perches, no toys and had Kibbles and Bits in the food bowl. The bird was completely featherless from the neck down.

When she went back in the house she went through the roof. She called the police but they could do nothing because the bird had food and water, even though it was dog food. The client told her to"Just take the bird and get out of my house."

Margaret took the bird home and set it up in a large cage with her other three parrots. But after 6 weeks it was obvious that the bird was too afraid of her dog and other birds. She called her friend, Michelle, who owns Double R Pet Supply. Michelle's dad is a breeder of parrots and Margaret knew that they could help.

Michelle took the bird to her house but after a month, she realized that her young son was allergic to the dust that Cockatoo's have in their feathers. She took the bird to her Pet Supply store and set it up in a large cage with lots of toys and a big variety of veggies and fruits as well as a good grade of bird pellets.

During my lunch hour, I had gone to Double R Pet Supplies to get food for my three parrots. Next to the cash register was a cage with an awful looking parrot in it. She had a white head but nothing but white down below her neck. She had no feathers on her wings, back or any tail feathers. She was cowering in the corner and shaking as if in fear of everything that came by. I felt bad for the poor thing. Especially after I read the story about the past five years. I tried talking to the bird but it just cowered in the back corner of the cage and shook.

I got my supplies and went back to work. But the whole afternoon, I couldn't get that bird out of my head. I really felt sorry for it and kept wondering how anyone could be so mean to such a beautiful bird. All bird people know that Umbrella Cockatoo's are absolutely gorgeous birds. They are the most loving, caring and loyal parrot that you could have. Why would someone lock one in a dark, cold, stinking garage for five years. The only thing I could figure was that they were just complete jerks and one day they will be put in a similar situation.

After work I went back to the store. I talked to the bird. I sat on the floor next to the cage and talked. I stood next to the cage and talked. This went on for the rest of the week. By the following Monday, the bird would come over to my side of the cage. It had no idea what a perch was so it just hung on the side of the cage. I would rub its feet and talk and rub its legs and talk. I told it how pretty it was and I wouldn't hurt it. I realized one day that I was telling it that I wouldn't let anyone abuse it ever again.

After three weeks of lunch time and evening visits, I ask Michelle if I could take the bird out of the cage. Her comment was "Good Luck!!"

The cage door folded down and made a porch like arrangement on the front of the cage. I coaxed the bird around to the door and as it was hanging on the inside of the door, I opened it down. There it was. I stood there looking at it and it stood there looking at me. I think we both wanted to say "Sooooo, what now?"

As we stood there staring at each other, the bird picked up its foot and said, just as clear as you and I could have said it.... "Chloe step up?" You could have heard a pin drop. I was shocked. Everyone in the store was shocked. I reached down and she stepped up on my hand. She ran up my arm like she was trying to get up on my shoulder. I know it isn't good to let a parrot on your shoulder, so I tried to catch her. But instead of my shoulder, she stepped over on my chest and snuggled her head under my chin and started a little clucking, cooing noise.

I held her and rubbed her back and wings and talked to her. I walked around the store talking and rubbing. She never moved. She just kept her head snuggled under my chin. It was past closing time so I took her back to her cage. I told her what a sweet girl she was and I put her back in her cage. I told her I would be back tomorrow and I went home. I was in love.

I went back and did the same thing for the next three weeks. Sometimes we would go outside and I would lay on the grass and she would dig around with her beak. But she would never get away from me. She always had to be close to me. If I moved she would constantly be turning and looking back for me. If I moved too far she would hop over to me and snuggle up against me.

One day, Michelle said that since I got along with her so well, I could have her. "WHAT ?? Take her home ?? To my house?? What is my wife going to say ?? This is way too big of a bird for me... I don't know anything about this big of a bird... Besides, everything I have read on the internet says that these birds can be hard to keep and we already have three other birds ..."

I went back to work and put her story on a number of cockatoo chat boards. I ask what these owners of Umbrella cockatoos would do. What did they think I should do. To be truthful, I was hoping they would say "Gary, the bird has been abused for too long. Leave her alone." Instead, every last person said "GO GET THAT BIRD!!"

I had been telling my wife about Chloe. So when I told her that Michelle had said I could have her she wasn't really surprised. She came with me to meet Chloe. She fell in love too. Michelle made me a super deal on a large Macaw cage. I got lots of toys and perches and got it all set up at home.

On October 9, 2003, we went to get Chloe to bring her to her new home. I got her out of her cage and we went outside just like every other day. But this time I started toward my El Camino. When I opened the door, she got scared and quick snuggled up to me. We got in the truck and I put her on the seat between my wife and me. I started the engine. Chloe stood up just as tall as she could, trying to see out of the windshield. She looked at me and said "Go bye bye?" I picked her up and said "That's right sweetie. We're going home. We're going home."


8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

as an owner of an unberlla cocatoo the story was a very moveing one. these birds are the most wonderful and loveing birds.my emotions went from anger to sadness to pure joy in a very short time...PEOPLE PLEASE IF YOU FIND YOU CANT TAKE CARE OF YOUR BIRD GIVE IT TO SOMEONE WHO WILL.THESE BIRDS ARE THE MOST LOVEING BIRDS I KNOW AND DESERVE TO BE TREATED WITH RESPECT AND LOVE.....

6:11 AM  
Blogger Graehstone said...

From one "rescuer" to another ... GOD BLESS YOU MY FRIEND.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Pat Pissanos said...

This is a wonderful ending to the story of the life of this sweet baby
God bless you both
Pat

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Mona said...

What a beautiful story. It's people like you and your wife who give me hope...thank you for opening your heart and your home to this beautiful creature.

Sincerely
Mona

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cried when I read your story. I don't know how anyone can treat such a wonderful and beautiful bird that way. Bless you for taking her home. I'm sure she loves you very, very much.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

boy

Why did I read this. I was considering adopting a male Umbrella and was about convinced I should NOT. I have a cage full of finches now, and thought maybe I should reconsider.

I thought about how many articles I read said that this is not to be your first large bird..

Well after I get these tears out of my eyes, sorry if the typing is not spelled correctly but am having trouble seeing the screen.

I'm going for it.

I will let you all know how we are getting along

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Shirley said...

I had the honor and privilege of meeting Chloe and her family June 2005 - while visiting from Indiana with several of our birds. She is a most magnificent lady Cockatooo, and she and Gary are privileged to have each other!

I've read this story many times... and I cry every time!
Thank you Gary for writing it for us.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Gary,

I too cried while reading your wonderful and heartbreaking story Chloe is a true Princess and you are a wonderful wonderful man.

God bless you both

5:09 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home