The last thing Nancy Ellis-Bell expected to descend on her life was a neglected, too-tall, smart-mouthed, one-legged, blue-and-gold rescue macaw named Peg Leg. And yet, it made perfect sense. A lifelong animal lover, Nancy could never turn away a stray cat, dog, squirrel, or raccoon from her California farm. But the macaw, quickly rechristened Sarah, was a whole new challenge, as Nancy, her husband, Kerry, and their furry menagerie would find out.
Initially timid of her new surroundings, Sarah soon imposed her four-foot wingspan into the family homestead—first claiming the laundry basket, then conquering a prized dresser—and achieved complete household domination. Nancy couldn’t “bird-proof” the place fast enough, and it was not long before Sarah started stealing the dogs’ toys—using her enormous beak to disembowel Ben the mutt’s treasured stuffed bear—and bathing her richly hued feathers in their water bowl. She also peppered Nancy’s phone conversations with expletive-laden outbursts. There seemed no end to Sarah’s realm, nor her destruction, and it dawned on Nancy that the entire house had slowly transformed into a birdcage.
On the other side of the coin, Sarah started to abandon her own raptor instincts when she discovered that dog food was pretty tasty and that she had a knack for “barking” (and a few other sounds that alarmed the neighbors). As they all learned to live together, Nancy marveled that Sarah had truly found a place to call home, but she sensed that there was something she could give Sarah to make her feel more complete: a chance to fly again.
Touching, eye-opening, and laugh-out-loud funny, The Parrot Who Thought She Was a Dog is a tender tale of two worlds colliding, two lives enriched, and two souls restored. It is also a rewarding reminder that love can come from the most unexpected places.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of Business & Economics eBook: The Parrot Who Thought She Was a Dog|
|Release Date: 07-22-2008|
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|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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The Parrot Who Thought She Was a Dog
When I arrived home from New York, the massive black cage dominated most of our small living room. Looking out from behind the bars was the blue-and-gold macaw that my friend Samantha had given me without cost because of my track record in redeeming problematic or rescue animals. "Peg Leg," as she had been named by her previous owner, was a rescue bird, much larger than I remembered and, according to her previous veterinarian, vicious. I had seen her only once at Samantha's wild bird rescue ranch, but here in our ten-by-twelve-foot space she seemed far more imposing. She was nearly two feet tall, and her most impressive feature was certainly her feathers, brilliant blues and golds that extended to the tip of each two-foot wing. Then there were the eyes, soft black inside a white mask streaked with black lines like those of a Mayan shaman or African warrior. The effect was dramatic and not just a little intimidating, although not as intimidating as the beak, also black, which from nose to crown measured nearly four inches. She had only one foot. Her left foot had been cut off by her captors while they tried to release her from the parrot snare that had ended her life as a free bird in the Amazon basin. As I moved closer to the cage, her powerful gaze asked only one question: Predator or prey?
The bird I had originally wanted was an African grey, far smaller than a macaw and known for its high verbal fluency and mild temperament. I had first seen one at a "Parrot Weekend Experience" sponsored by Samantha and a group of breeders, rescuers, owners, and veterinarians. For three days I listened to lectures, heard amazing stories of bird antics and