I have always loved animals. More than humans most days. There was one animal I had always wanted to have in my life, and that was a bird. A large exotic bird to be exact. I had experience but a bird of my own, I did not have. I loved the majesty of Macaws, the intelligence of Congo Greys, and the rarity of the Cockatoos. Yet, when I became a Vegan and my eyes opened to the plight of animals, and those in the exotic bird trade, I decided against not having one. For years I would lust after the thought of having a parrot on my shoulder, but never once did I dare buy from a breeder, or a pet store. It’s simply unfair to cage an animal that should be flying miles and flocking in the treetops.
Then, I met Doris.
Doris, small and fragile, sweet yet salty. Doris was a woman who you tried to avoid until you got to know her. Doris had cancer. She faught valiantly for 5 years against a very aggressive form of Pancreatic Cancer. Doctors said that they were amazed she faught so well. Doris had a horse. And this is how we met. I won’t be the first to say that I should have been closer with her before she died. But having this equine common ground gave Doris the avenue to give me the best thing in my life. That thing, was Chloe.
Chloe is not a horse, but in turn, she was not a human. In the early summer my Husband and I had started taking care of Doris’ lawn. To which she was greatly thankful. For her family seemed absent in all of her suffering, I did my best by the proud woman to do what service I could that she would allow. I’m not sure if this show of affection and the hours of hard work taming a 5 month old lawn, or a mutual friend Pat had mentioned; but one day, Doris let me in her house (Which was a miracle) And asked me if I would be interested in taking one of her birds. Then is when she told me, teary eyed and shaking. She knew and accepted she was going to die. She had apologized profusely for the state of the birds. She had been unable to properly care for them for some time. Multiple hospital visits, and lots of drugs had her so delusional most days she forgot she had birds. The cages were caked in feather dust and feces. They had little water and little food. At one point a family member of Doris’ had migrated the birds into a very small upstairs room with no ventilation so that Doris could “have some peace and quiet while recovering.” This led to very un-tame, unpredictable and scared birds. In total she had three. I managed to find a home for the others, But Chloe, the one who was most attached to Doris had plucked herself bald. She had not been handled in two years. I could tell in her eyes that she had undergone hurt and neglect so bad that she needed love and patience more than anything. This very meeting launched my family and I into a very ridiculous journey to owning a Moluccan Cockatoo named Chloe.
I brought Chloe home, Mid-Summer. Doris swiftly passed a month after. It took my new avian child two months before she even spoke. And three before her first step up. Thousands of dollars in vet visits, multiple medications and training sessions later- Chloe is only 40% better in terms of her social anxiety, and in the last week has just started to grow 50% of her feathers back.
My experience has inspired me to write a book in honor of Doris, and to show people that Birds should be left in the wild. If you want a bird, please think about it. They’re destructive, loud, and aggressive. If you still want a bird, think some more. If you STILL want a bird, Please adopt a bird like Chloe, who could never survive the world without help because of what humans did to her. There are billions of birds in the world like Chloe, and I won’t say the journey is easy. It’s one of the hardest things I have had to do, But is it worth it? To me? Yes.
XOXO Sweet Baby Cadillac