Sometime, in the process of helping parrots, I encounter a situation that etches itself into my mind and heart. The story of Dania, a small female African Grey Parrot is just that situation and parrot. Dania was thrust suddenly upon my life, and her story will live on eternally as a part of who I am in Parrot Advocacy.
I named Dania in honor of a sweet, young lady I met through a parrot website and have become good friends with today. She is an avid bird lover, and has a deep desire to one day be actively involved with endangered species of Macaws and other parrots. It was with her help I learned to communicate with a terrified grey parrot who needed my help. This feathered little grey girl came to be part of my life over a year ago, when her life was changed by tragedy.
Dania and her flock family were heading to visit friends in a city miles from their own home when the unspeakable happened and their car was hit head-on by a pick-up truck. The Police found Dania in her carrier in the back of the car, she was screaming in terror. Dania was the only survivor of that horrible accident. Thankfully an officer knew of our rescue after having visited a few weeks prior to meet a bird she was interested in adopting. (Never forget how far your advocacy goes, we never know who will be touched.)
Dania was brought to our door that day in a state of trauma. There was hope that family would be located in her hometown area and would come to pick her up in the future. We took Dania in and worked toward that end of reunion and renewal.
From the first day Dania was traumatized and screamed in terror at every sudden sound, movement and if something approached her cage too quickly. Falling to the floor on her back in fear was her only response to feared stimulus. Emotionally scarred and unfamiliar with the English language we began trust building to overcome her fears and the ever present language barrier. The beautiful thing about language is even when the words are foreign, the soft voice and kind movements carry the same message of love. Slowly we made baby-steps toward understanding and communication. To be sure there were days we stepped backwards, but with every step backwards, we worked together again, to gain ground. Dania's world had dramatically changed in an instant, it surely would not heal and repair in that same amount of time.
After many months Dania became a part of our rescue flock legally, when her overseas extended family gave permission for her to be permanently surrendered to us.
Knowing Dania's future provided a foundation of confidence. Now we knew her future would be part of our work together, and we would be able to provide for her properly without any doubts as to her happy ending.
Of course this couldn't change Dania's fears of noises and fast, unexpected movements. But it did change the question mark in the story, to a certain extent. Dania's story is an example of advocacy laid out first (the police officer knowing of my rescue beforehand) and advocacy in action today. Her story and the new changes I see in her today strengthen the work of New Wings as well as my own resolve to continue forward.
Today she spoke her first English words, with a happy " Whatcha doin'?", and very carefully reached out to take her favorite treats from my fingers. She looks to toys as wonderful employment opportunities, and as a means to relieve her own stress when she feels uncertain. What massive steps she has taken in a short time span! Reaching out, viewing life with less fear and speaking her new language with a tender confidence of trust building. I can't help but smile and know in my heart it is all worth it at the end of every day of our advocacy here at New Wings.