The full transcript of my 1 hour presentation at the Long Island Parrot Society's EXPO on October 1, 2016. It is my personal belief that what is contained in this transcript is all you really need to create a great relationship with your parrot. Because that's really what we are all after; a great relationship.
There's many shortcuts in life for most anything. Typically a shortcut is just a faster way to lessen the joy and success you could have had, had time and attention been invested. That's how it is with companion parrots. You can short a process to get to what you want from your parrot, but you'll be shorting the relationship that could have been built going the long way.
Furniture to us, is a landscape of foraging and chewing events to them. This is natural on their part, even expected considering who they are in nature. But alas, negotiations are required to realign the flock goals. Rocky is really good at negotiations. (most Cockatoos are)
The global context of companion parrots is a narrative sorely missing from companion parrot advocacy. Too often we apply out own socioeconomic, national and native context to another's situation. Too often that leads to judgments rather than solutions. There is no easy fix to the advocacy needs of companion parrots globally. But that fix does start with understanding.
I have just discovered this site and your (this) is the first article I have read. How timely, in a way, for me. I am having to change avian vets. Sadly and reluctantly. Its a very awful story...awful to me...Ihave been going to him for 14 years with my parakeets. All the birds I will be talking about are parakeets.He and his staff have been great support to me through learning about rescue birds. Then helping me with my first female keet ever, in having (as of now) 40 years (yikes!) of parakeet expereince. My uncle gave me my first bird for my 13th birthday and I have had at least one in my life at all times since..Back to the vet: They have helped me learn to care for more tahn one bird at a time. Until 12 years ago I had never had more than one at a time. Yes I know its wrong and I will never do it again. When I saw my guy met his new friends. I cared for a chronically ill bird, we lost him a year half ago...not from the illness but he flew into the wall. I know he was tired and did that on purpose. In Jue I lost my precious Pulsipher, who was 12 years old. I had him his whole life, and he is the longest living bird I have cared for.I miss him, well all of them. ANYWAY: The trouble started in May. Vets wife is also office manager. From time to time over those many years, Dr. K has let me make payments. There was a time Ihad no income, my SS Disability had not been approved, I had no helath insurance...my mom had to pay in payments. And he did surgery at that time on my girl Peridot..so you know that was not cheap. We have ahad a fantastic relationship over the years. I alaways told the staff and doc how much I appreciated them. I would take treats froma local bakery-I live an hour away_ that ehy alwayus enjoyed. I gave rally cool Christmas gifts. A couple of years ago I had aldy who made flet irds, had her make one that looked like Doc K's first bird, a tiel named Max. And also made a stocking for the clinic Blue Pionus, Pie-Pie. It was so beautiful and elaborate, the Blue Pious she receated on it is beautiful> I takk such joy in givng , because i know that there are pretty no other vets that would let you make payemt. And it was not all the time anyway. But with the chronicaly ill bird I had (digestive probs) the costs added up. It was $50 every few weeks just for a med. Plus office visits..That was an especially rough time and everyone was so great. I was always caling the clinic or the emergency pager it seemed. I will try to be brief (heh) and not give incident by incdent details. So...since May they have been acting strange. Secret whisperings at the reception desk when Itry to pay for a toy. I heard "let me see that acct I don't want her charging anything else. " and that is how it started. I had no idea what was going on and thought it was a one time thing.I did hear and empahasozed. I am paying for the toy. I had just made a payemtn andhonestly did feel funny about buying a toy..but...going on. My 12 year old Pulsipher had been diagnosed w/ nerve paralysis, his toes, one at a time stared bending under. The other vet diagnosed him, but anyway one day in June I woke up and both of his feet were in little balls. So I knew...took him in and talked to the vet. I knew Pulsiphers time was coming, and I asked how long did he think PUlsipher had. He said he did not know and I said, well nothing can be done I know. He said, "well xrays --BUT that's not in your budget..." wha??? I was shocked. it continued. PUlsipher passed away about 36 hours later. I called to tell them and brought him in about a week later for cremation. There was another "look at the aaccount" moment and I got all upset. Stood w/ tears in my yes and thought. Pulsipehr sbody was still in the car. I di not want to be there...wanted to leave. so I said "is there soeplacce else I can get Puslipher cremated? a lady check ing out her dog told me of a place and I asked if we would have to go throught the clinci and she said yes. I told her I didn't want to dothat. The staff behind the desk justkinda looked at me. But I was fighting back tears...stood and thought, and thought thei s is PUslipehr's time. He has come here all his life. Forget the crap, and just take care of him. So I did that. Ihad asked to sit in a room with his body for a bit.And asked if Dr. K could stop in when he had a sec. I thought that was the least they could do for 14 years. ANd it had been done for the chronically ill bird who passed. when I asked I was told I may have to pay for office visit. then that was dropped, but someone I don't remember who-came in and told me Dr K had to do an exam in the back b/c I was in there. When he came in I said somethign finally and was told they were having $ trouble and there was no more credit. oik I thought. and turned my attention back to my Precious.They called to tell me his ashes were back. And then the vet tech said "and your balance is"....and I cut him off and said oh no you just did not..and ranted and raved. It went on. I was aftaid to get the ashed b/c I knew something wa sgong to be said. I was ready. I was goingt o tell them they were insensitive, inappropriate and unprofessional" and to put the ashes back ( I had my own urn) and I was going to go back out tot he car, come right back in and we were going to start all over. But nothing happened. I recently adopted my uncles two girls they were horribly neglected, and my Benny needed a pal, so it was nmeant to be. Took them for their well check. ANd I was asked very loudly across the waiting room if I knew how much the charges were gong to be for that day. More than once. I was speechless. But I had checked of course I had. Got in the exam room, the tech came in and told me how much the charges would be...omg I was livid at this point.she left, after Ihad inadvertently insulted her..hey I didn't now she had been a tech there for a while, I had talked toheron the phone but...anyway stood and looked at my girls and thoughts rushing. They have no ties to this place and I again wanted to leave so bad. And it was not Dr. K but the other vet, otherwise I am sure we would have gone. That was about mid August I guess. I had kept thinking all they had to do was tell me, upfront, back in May when it all started.No problems.It was hard to scrape the 2 well check $ together but I did b/c the girls needed to move in w/Benny. I was not able to get all the tests...but...sigh....and it just stood there. A FB friend has been helping me find a new vet and ther is one very good prospect. and another clinc Ihave heard of , but over the years the things I have heard about them have been mixed. The other is totally new to me, she is an exotics vet, but cares for birds at home and seen photos of examing birds on the FB page, website, done my research. SHe requires a well check w/exam b/c she has not seen them ( a good thing) but I don't have 3 well chck $$ plus nail exam $ right now. I have not left the "old" practice yet. Last Sat I took all 3 in to Dr. K for nail trims. Made it clear I knew the charges...heh...Afterwards told him I needed to talk to him. I told him everything. I mean everythig. What I was gong to do if something was mentioned when I came to get the ashes. how I felt , what I thought...everytime there was an incident. And what did I get? Pretty much what I expected I guess but it was hard to hear. Excuses. I never ever heard the word "sorry". Not even for the things done to me during taking care of Puslipher who had passed. He said I "should not have had to go through that". Grabbed a papaer and pen and said they would talk about that at next staff meeting...WHA??? you mean nonone is professional enought there to know not to do that? In 14 years,. losing 3 other birds,it had never happened. And the one time was the little girl w/ surgery I posted earlier-whenI had no income etc.and you know I had quite a balance then...Oh and "when he does a euthanasia now, they light a candle in the reception area so everyone knows to keep their voices down" huh??? you mean they are not proffesional enough to not get boisterous anyway? After all these years he just came up with that? I am thinking someone had complained and that was their solution, I mean the way they are treating me...why would it not be anarchy all over the place?<< said nothing just shook my head knowingly.Oh and he "just did a home euthanasia, and the mother and daughter were so upset I did not mention the bill, we just did it through the mail" And ??? you want a cookie??<<<said nothing, just shook my head knowingly. for the "not in your budget" comment: "yes I remember that" I told him "yeah so do I" in not such a pleasant voice. then told him all they had to have done was explain in MAY what was going on...that's it. But "I don't like confrontation" huh??? well you're getting it now I would have been ok if you would have told me I'm a big girl<<<<but I said nothing.But then the excuses REALLY came pouring out...this is what I heard...blah blah blah...$100,000...rent going up...raise prices...Dr. B is gone (the one who did the girls well checks left to be on staff at an emergency clinic (the timing on that I would love to talk to her) so losing that revenue...it will be a while till can get another vet...blah blah blah...it was left with the "we'll talk about the grieving time BS at the next staff meeting" declaration...so you see why I have to leave?? I am so sad...and my point YES THERE IS ONE! as I read what you wrote, first of all I was saddened about my (former soon to be) vet and that you care enough and that I am going to miss that support./ And what if that new vet-whoever it turns out to be-does not give like this (former ) vet and staff did in the past? they were so so good, there are so many good memories from the place and people...its a scary time for me and my guys-eventhough now I have 2 girls and a boy I still say "guys" lol-I do want to conclude everythign with this vet. Ihave to have my say, maybe that is not a good idea? I would just like to spell it out why I am leaving. I am sure he thinks I am gone. And a friend told me don't expect him to try and win you back.I told her" I honestly never even thought of that until you said it. I know its not going to happen".just so sad...and here's another thing: I don't want to burn any bridges., I want that good vet reference. Which is too bad . because..well...don't know how far to go,want to be clear on how hurt I am...anyway...if you have, thanks for sticking this out and reading this much I just thought maybe you would have some thoughts or something, I am really scared about our "new adventure" that we really didn't want....
When you mentioned your mom I had to laugh a little. My mom was a LD teacher for elementary school kids and she gave me the best advise when dealing with my kids.. I laugh because I just realized that advise would/could/just might work with my feathered child! Structure is key but as mom told me sometimes "if all else fails. BRIBE!" Worked for my kids and now my fid! lol
No does not mean we turn our backs on the situation. We have to step out of the full circle and work from a short distance to help the situation. Sometimes it only means offer help in correcting an existing "issue" within the family-parrot relationship, other times it means assistance in placing the Parrot into a new home. NO is not a rejection of assistance but a different means to the same end!
Twue Twue, my friend. Parrots thrive on predictable schedules, but, being long-lived creatures, they can also adjust to major changes in their situations. As long as it is done
with love, and including them as members of the flock, they can usually handle it.