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Why does it matter whether or not you choose to care for a parrot in need? Your choice matters a great deal to the parrot that you choose to nurture. It matters that the companion parrots needing to be re-homed can find a new home and be given a chance to fulfill their potential in a happy environment with caregivers that not only care about them, but also understand and accept them for who they are.
Many people want to share their life with a pet. They have many reasons for bringing a pet into their home. But most do not consider that they will not be in a position to care for that pet for as many years as it lives. Some people have been able to provide a loving home to a pet for 15, 20, or even 30 years. This is sufficient for a cat or a dog, but it represents not even a quarter to a half of some parrots’ life expectancies. With good nutrition and vet care, a parrot can live for a very long time, some up to 80 years. These companion parrots will outlive even the most dedicated caregivers and will need new homes sometime during their life. The number of parrots needing to be re-homed constantly increases as more people buy young parrots as pets. These parrots will also need new homes eventually, many as soon as 1 to 9 years after the initial purchase. 
The problem continues to grow as more parrots come into the system. This is because many people purchase a parrot thinking that is will be fun and neat, but without understanding what is really involved. They have no idea what it takes to PROPERLY care for one of these long-lived, complex creatures. Unfortunately, because of their inability to understand and appreciate what they are getting themselves into, they commit to caring for a parrot unprepared and with unrealistic expectations. This can be a tough and stressful learning experience for the caregiver. And the experience is costly for the companion parrot as well, since these people quickly become disillusioned about having a parrot to look after.
Parrots, like many companion animals, can teach us a lot about how we need to care for them in a way that is physically, mentally, and emotionally appropriate for them. Unfortunately, many companion parrots come from homes where the lesson went unheeded and the parrot’s needs were not met. Many will move from home to home and end up with new caregivers. The new caregivers may not be any better at hearing the parrot’s message, and in some cases the situation may be even worse than the previous home. Many people who acquire companion parrots as a pet are not capable of properly caring for them. They may have very good intentions, but are limited by their own lifestyle and available time. What they are willing or able to offer their companion parrot may not be enough to meet the parrot’s needs. 
It is unfair for us to expect these sensitive creatures to bear the burden of people figuring out what they want in a companion parrot as a pet and/or what they can handle in properly caring for one. The real work and commitment required to keep a companion parrot happy and healthy often far outweigh the fun and novelty that was anticipated. When the parrot does not live up to the unrealistic expectations of their caregiver, the caregivers give up and move the parrot to a new home. Again. These parrots have to start from scratch with another caregiver, in the hope that this one will understand what they are all about and what the new caregiver is getting into. For most companion parrots, their entire lifetime is a revolving door. They move into and out of homes, trying to adjust to different caregivers and trying to be heard.
Then there are the forgotten ones that languish in homes where they are not being cared for properly and the caregivers are unwilling and/or unable to give them up to a potentially better home. And where else can they go? Where can these caregivers go to give their companion parrots up? If there is no one who is willing to take these parrots needing new forever homes, where do they go? Who is listening and willing to hear the unheeded cry of these lonely, languishing companion parrots?
People have used the term “slipping through the cracks” as if the problem of too many unwanted parrots is a minor event and is of no consequence. The assumption is that there are few unwanted parrots in the system and that there are rescue organizations and people out there (wherever “there” is) that will step in to take care of unwanted companion parrots needing to be re-homed. This assumption is very far removed from the real situation.
The term “slipping through the cracks” minimizes the problem. The crises of too many unwanted dogs, cats, companion parrots, and other animals are not sufficiently exposed through the mainstream media. How many dogs and cats are euthanized each year because there are no homes for them? How many parrots are languishing in homes, not being cared for properly, simply because there is nowhere else for them to go? Hundreds? Thousands? More like hundreds of thousands across Canada and millions in the United States. What is happening with all the companion animals that are slipping through the cracks? Just because people don’t see and experience this happing on a daily basis, doesn’t mean that everything is okay.
The sad situation is, that the people who would be very good companion parrot caregivers are usually the ones who understand exactly what they are getting into by assuming this role. They fully comprehend the responsibility, the time requirements, the amount of attention needed, the emotional cost, and the lifestyle choices that must be made when choosing to care for one of these extremely complex beings. Because they are so aware of the responsibility, they are usually the ones who shy away from taking on the care of a companion parrot. 
It is very often the people with the most compassion and who have the most potential for a successful relationship with a parrot who are somewhat hesitant to begin caring for parrots needing to be re-homed. The most common excuse is that there are just so many unwanted parrots to care for, so how can one person, caring for one companion parrot, make a difference?
I understand this, I also have used the same excuses in the past for not helping or not taking on an animal or parrot to care for that was in need of a new home. I convinced myself that my small participation could make no real difference. The problem was too big and the flood of unwanted pets was too unrelenting to stop, or even to slow down. Breeders, pet stores, and the attitudes of people are too much to go up against sometimes. Pets, including parrots, are viewed as novelties and commodities. It is a fight that cannot be won. This can be construed as an admission of failure. In a sense, it is a failure. No one person, no organization, not even an entire country, can put a stop to what is happening all around us.
But when a compassionate and concerned person is altruistic enough to offer an unwanted companion parrot their time, energy, and a forever home, that new forever caregiver is not stopping a parrot from slipping through the cracks. They are placing their hand in an avalanche of unwanted companion parrots and saving one individual out of the thousands that are available at any one time. And to that one individual parrot, it makes a difference.
As with other unwanted species of pets, there will always be a flood of unwanted companion parrots looking for new forever homes. There just are not enough good homes, with caregivers who are willing to do what is required to properly care for a parrot. And are willing to do it forever!
But, if you are one of these special individuals who understands what it takes to care for a companion parrot for the next 2, 3, or even 4 decades, then the one companion parrot that you decide to give your home to as a forever place to live is the one that it MATTERS TO THE MOST.
Companion parrots are not free to make choices in their lives. Because of humans, they are put into cages to amuse us. All the decisions in their life are made by their owners, made from the owner's perspective, and made for the owner's convenience. They are our novelty, and our property. If they do not meet our expectations, they are sold and replaced. And because of humans, companion parrots are completely dependent on us. We have chosen to tame them and deny them what we take for granted: the freedom to choose who they want to be with and how to live their lives. It is up to us humans to be there for them. Always.
Companion parrots experience anxiety, loneliness, boredom, wanting, hormonal, and desire issues throughout their long lives. No parrot ever asked to be locked up in a cage for 30-80 years just to keep us company, or to be shuffled from home to home endlessly. It is up to us to pick up the pieces and generously care for these complex companion parrots that are part of a human-created problem. A problem that will never go away. Ever.
Why Does It Matter? Because it matters to the parrot!

by Wesley J Savoy Parrots Forever, April 6, 2014

“The Rescue’s Song” 
Will you take me home with you?
I can't promise I'll be good.
No one taught me how to act,
Or behave as a parrot "should".
My first owner didn't treat me right
He said I was "bad".
He never forgave me for that first bite
After that, he was always mad.
He shoved me back into my cage,
And I started to scream.
Then he hit me in rage
And my life became a bad dream.
So, now I scream and yes, I bite.
I'm angry and misunderstood.
But, please take me home with you,
Love me and I'll be good.
Please let me come home with you
And spend some time with me.
I can be sweet again, I know.
Take me home, and you'll see.
My next owner swore at me,
I learned to say things back.
So now my words are crude and rude,
Please cut me some slack.
If you let me come home with you
I'll learn some nicer speech.
If you are kind and give me the time
I'll change my vulgar screech.
I'm really just a baby,
And so misunderstood.
Please let me come home with you,
I can learn to be good.
My next owner just HAD to have me.
She thought I was "way too cool".
But now she doesn't have the time for me.
She's busy with boys in school.
That's why I began to pluck,
I'm not pretty any more.
I won't be much of an ornament,
If that's what you're looking for.
I may never grow new feathers,
My chest may always be bare.
But my soul, I know, could heal itself
If I only had someone who cares.
My last owner died and left me,
She said she made plans.
But she never followed through on them,
And I've fallen into bad hands.
Please take me home and treat me right.
And let our friendship grow.
Please let me come home with you,
This time it will work, I know.
Please overlook my failings,
Please end this pain and strife.
Please, please take me home with you,
And I'll be your friend for life.

Now that I'm home bathed, settled and fed,
All nicely tucked in my warm new bed.
I'd like to open my baggage
Lest I forget there is so much to carry
So much to regret.
Hmm... yes, there it is, right on the top
Let's unpack loneliness, heartache and loss,
And there by my perch hides fear and shame.
As I look on these things I tried so hard to leave.
I still have to unpack my baggage called pain.
I loved them, the others, the ones who left me
But I wasn’t good enough - for they didn’t want me.
Will you add to my baggage?
Will you help me unpack?
Or will you just look at my things
And take me right back?
Do you have the time to help me unpack?
To put away my baggage,
To never unpack?
I pray that you do - I'm so tired you see,
But I do come with baggage
Will you still want me?
by Judith R. Archer  Copyright 1997
For permission to recopy please email Judith at
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