Today was a day that I will never forget. Not as a Companion Parrot lover, nor as a Rescue founder and owner. It was a day that will forever stick out in my memory as the reality check to why I do what I do. Why all Rescues do what they do, and the hard truth of the owners that are involved with the Parrots that enter our Rescues.
It was by chance I spotted an ad posted on an internet site requesting "someone" to remove two Cockatoos, and it had to be today!" Feeling that something wasn't right of course I was compelled to respond immediately. I left my Rescues name, and a contact number with hopes that the advertiser would call. The call came quickly, with the brief request that I had to get there as soon as I could, bring something to put them in, and their cages would go with them, but they would need a cleaning.
I left very soon after ending the conversation, with two crates, some food and water dishes to drive the two and a half hours to collect the two unwanted Cockatoos. What I saw when I arrived is etched permanently into my memory. The filth, the lack of light, water and empty food bowls. The larger Cockatoo was terrified of hands, screaming weakly as we removed him as quickly as we could from his dirty cage. His friend, a smaller Cockatoo was in slightly better condition physically but lacked the essentials. With mixed information regarding when they arrived there, their names, ages and what they ate we left as fast as possible. The larger Cockatoo was in immediate need of medical care, he was extremely thin, weak and plucked from neck to tail. His shaky frame hiding within darkness of the crate.
The hardest part was to talk to the former owners with understanding, to not pass an immediate judgment of their care or lack of care for the Cockatoos and to remember the whole reason I rescue has nothing to do with judging former owners, but with helping Companion Parrots in need. I had to over-ride my natural nature to speak as politely and caring as I could in order to get as much information about the two surrendered Parrots. It would have been so easy to pass a judgment, to attack them for their neglect, to yell or rant at them for their lack of responsibility. The means to the end was to rescue the two Cockatoos, to get them Veterinarian care and hopefully assist them to trust humans again. Anger will not correct the problem, Rescuers need to keep their eyes on the true outcome, "to rescue and help Parrots in need."
I will never forget today. It was a lesson in human relations, in accepting the end result, without wavering on the road to reaching it. To have lost my focus on the rescue of the two Cockatoos could well have meant they spent another day in an unhealthy situation.