As you can probably tell by the first two parts of this story, I really became attached to the baby Congo African Grey that I called Digger. My husband Mike was also sad to see the baby go. But from the start, I knew this kid had a bigger role in life to play than to just entertain us.
After Digger had been eating on his own for a week, I called to make arrangements to bring him back to his original hand feeder. We picked a day, I drove north with the baby in his cage.
I think Digger will like traveling in a car. He sat on his perch, clinging tightly, but the whole time he faced forward, and watched the traffic and scenery. He looked so intent, almost as if he thought he was flying down the freeway. Those moments, the last I would spend with him, are golden in my memory. A happy baby ready to take on the world.
Some time later, I had an opportunity to ask the bird lady about Digger’s meeting with his new owner and future companion. She told me that the bird was friendly and happy to go to anyone who would pick him up. I am pleased that he turned out to be well socialized as well as healthy.
His new companion, according to the bird lady, was equally thrilled and excited to meet his new parrot. This man has survived cancer, but can no longer work full time. His wife works and their children are grown, and he thought about what he wanted to do with his time. The answer was, he wanted to spend time with an intelligent animal that didn’t shed, didn’t need to be walked, and would learn from him.
Before I delivered Digger, he was already saying “Hi!” when I came out in the mornings. So I expect he will learn to talk quickly. There is so much possibility for a smart young CAG who will get lots of one on one attention early on.
Digger will be a therapy pet. Most of you are probably familiar with Therapy Dogs. https://www.therapydogs.com/ If you go through the process with them, your dog is listed on a register, you can carry a card and wear their merchandise showing your affiliation. But lots of animals can be used for therapy. In fact, ponies are being trained for seeing eye duties. They live longer than dogs, and are every bit as smart. And frankly, I’d rather clean up after a miniature horse than a dog of any size.
Pet Partners trains and makes available any animal that can meet the requirements of behavior. https://petpartners.org/learn/pet-partners-at-your-facility/ Not everyone is thrilled to be visited by a dog. Cats, donkeys, and even parrots are shown in photos on the web site.
There are still some hurdles and prejudices facing some animals, but eventually a place might be found for all willing participants. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/animal-therapy-animal/story?id=24649527 The results are obviously for the better, and help keep patients in a good mood, so important to healing.
Sadie and Jim
Remember, Therapy Animals are not Service Animals for persons with disabilities. Therapy is more often for the invisible disabilities like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or depression. Currently, only dogs can be registered as Service animals. But therapy animals are every bit as important, saving lives in many cases. http://www.forparrots.com/2013/09/07/parrots-as-animal-assisted-therapy/
Digger has met his challenge to be a sweet, happy companion for a cancer survivor, and possibly prevent a recurrence of illness. The bond between them will last for many, many years. I’m focusing on that so that I won’t miss the sweet baby so very much.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.