Dear Members, Supporters, and Friends,
Sometimes it’s hard to see how one small act can make a difference in this world.
But whether it be a word-of-mouth recommendation, renewing a membership, donating a bag of nuts, or leaving a “like” on our social media posts - your combined acts of kindness change our parrots’ lives.
YOU are our parrots’ best advocates, ambassadors, volunteers, and influencers,not just monetary donors. So today, we turn “Giving Tuesday” on its head and instead are Giving Thanks for you.
See the difference you made for Rigsby.
Rigsby is one of those parrots who came to us with the odds stacked against him. Sure, he was a handsome African Grey with real character and medley of sounds but… he also had no feet. And because he wasn’t handled in his former homes, he didn’t want to be picked up and preferred interaction through his cage bars. (His original home was a small wooden box with chicken wire. A pair of Good Samaritans removed him from that situation and made sure Rigsby got into PEAC to be rehomed.)
Rigsby was insecure moving about, even though he was interested in (and wanted to be part of,) what was happening around him. His wonderful foster mom learned that he had a great sense of rhythm and loved bobbing along to the music. You may have seen one of his “dance parties” on our Instagram feed! However, not having feet to “grip” a typical perch or move around via climbing on the cage bars meant he needed a special setup. Thus, Rigsby stayed in a large horizontal cage (meant for a rabbit,) with platform perches and toweled padding. This allowed space for toys and room to move horizontally. Everyone at PEAC was brainstorming how to make his cage even more comfortable when… IT HAPPENED.
It. Happened. Someone was interested in meeting Rigsby! Of course, we wondered: do they know what they’re getting into? Is this real? Oh my gosh, was it ever -> Rigsby (and PEAC,) were in for a happy surprise...
Meet Heather and Kevin (and Doodle!)
When Heather was a child, she had a friend who owned a monkey and an African Grey parrot. Heather never forgot about that parrot and once grown, she chose to adopt one through a rescue organization while living in Oregon. After he passed, she found Doodle, a female footless Congo African Grey, who had only half of her wings. Doodle was in an exotic pet store and kept in a tiny cage with a kangaroo. The store listed Doodle’s price as $3,000, much more than Heather could afford. Fortunately, when Heather made another trip to the store, she found out the city was shutting it down and she was able to rescue Doodle for much less.
Once home, Heather realized Doodle was very sick and had been on a seed-only diet. Through patience, persistence, and lots of love, Doodle was able to make a complete turnaround. Soon, Heather and Kevin made their way down to sunny San Diego and decided to stay since Doodle was a huge fan of the weather!
One of the most important things Heather wanted to give Doodle was the same ability to move and navigate her cage like other parrots. Being footless, Doodle couldn’t grip a “typical” perch and it was easy for her to slip. Heather was determined to create something better.
The perches started as plain, flat, (wide,) wooden “planks,” but at one point, Doodle cut her foot on the wood, so Heather created something softer, that was also easy to clean. She used various lengths to stretch across the cage and tiered them (one, just above or below the other,) to form “stairs.” She then wrapped the wood in foam followed by two-millimeter plastic from Michael’s. Following this, she used stainless steel staples to secure the foam and plastic and made sure the staples were covered up as much as possible. (Tip! If you try this, be sure to unroll the plastic and let it air out for a few days to dissipate any odors.)
Once Heather figured out how to design the perches, she created what she calls, “the turnaround platform.” These platforms are situated at the corner where two perches meet and allow Doodle to navigate from one perch to the other without hurting her nubs. She also uses scrap organic sheepskin purchased from Etsy and places these scraps next to or on the rest stations for a “soft landing.” (Please see some of the enclosed photos. Heather also designed a “wrap-around patio” which is a “U-shaped” flat, padded perch, that sits at the highest level and goes all the way around three sides of the cage.) Finally, Heather keeps a table next to Doodle’s cage, so she has her own expanded play area when her cage door is open.
Recently, Heather decided she wanted to adopt another footless companion bird and found Rigsby’s online profile. For Heather, it was love at first sight. Rigsby put on the charm when they met, and she knew he was the one for her! PEAC’s adoption team was very impressed with Heather and Kevin, and especially the cage Heather had modified for Doodle, (who navigates it like an expert!)
Since bringing him home, Rigsby has slowly come out of his shell and has begun talking more and learning new sounds such as the squeaky toy her Chihuahua, Ginger, likes to chew on, along with Ginger’s bark.
Although they are not in the same cage, Doodle and Rigsby have bonded at a distance and Rigsby loves having his feathered “sister” as part of his flock. More importantly, Rigsby has learned to move around his cage and perches by watching Doodle! We could not be happier and know Rigsby will continue to bloom under such loving care.
PEAC was so inspired by Heather’s clever engineering that we wanted to share all the details. We hope it will inspire others with differently-abled parrots to modify their setups and allow them to more easily explore their world.
With Rigsby’s challenges, things were looking pretty bleak for him. But YOU were there, ensuring he had a “soft place to land” until the RIGHT home could be found. Each donation, gift, and act of compassion you provided changed his world for the better.
Donation Incentives Available on Giving Tuesday
This year, GlobalGiving will have special incentives available to donors who give to PEAC on GivingTuesday. PEAC is entirely supported by your private donations. A gift of any size will always be gratefully welcomed to support our parrots (and their veterinary bills!)
Here’s how you can help us with this special bonus opportunity.
Donations received by GlobalGiving, starting Monday, November 29th at 9:01 pm Pacific time, and ending November 30th at 8:59 pm Pacific time will qualify PEAC for a portion of a matching “incentive fund.”
Additionally, any new recurring donation will receive a 100% match for their first donation (up to $200) to be received after four monthly payments. It’s a great time of year to renew your individual or family membership and make your gift go even further!
Don’t forget, many companies have annual matching programs for their employees or provide grants at their employees’ request. Please reach out to your Human Resource department to learn about what opportunities may be available for your company’s generosity to directly benefit our parrots!
We hope you can share this magical time of year celebrating with your loved ones, friends, and family as we prepare for Christmas and the year’s end.
Hanukkah Sameach! For those celebrating the Festival of Lights, our flock wishes you a peaceful season filled with joy.
With deep gratitude for all of your support and well wishes,
Kelly Flynn, President; Beth Lipski, Director; and Kris Feneque, Vice President; Parrot Education, and Adoption Center