Pet Parrot Enriches Quality of Life for Atria Couple
Posted on August 18, 2014 by Michele Macmartin
In the animal kingdom, birds rank near the top when it comes to smarts. Their capacity for learning and inquisitive nature makes them a fascinating, captivating pet. Birds that are bonded with their owners constantly learn from the person’s behavior, and often delight them with surprisingly human-like antics. Think about it: When is the last time a dog looked up at you and said “Hello”?
According to Atria Carmichael Oaks resident Doris G., there’s nothing like coming home to Gypsy, an African Grey Parrot, who has been greeting her with a big “Hello” or “How are you?” for the past 23 years.
At 31 years old, Gypsy is an intelligent, quirky and mischievous bird measuring 13 inches tall with an intelligence level of a five-year old and the temperament of a two-year old. “If you tell a five-year old to do something, they won’t – well, that’s Gypsy. She does what she wants, when she wants. Gypsy is the boss and she calls the shots.
In addition to being the boss, Gypsy is a favorite attraction of residents, staff and visitors at the community. “Gypsy gets people talking,” said Laurie Taylor, the community’s Engage Life Director. “People love listening to her noise impersonations like washing hands, water dripping, the beeping sound a bus makes when it backs up and a fire alarm; she can also say ‘Hello’ into the phone. Gypsy loves music and whistles renditions of ‘Old MacDonald’, ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ and ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’.”
Being the mischievous bird she is, Gypsy used these antics to get the attention of Doris’s now husband, Al. Doris and Gypsy met Al and his former wife, Lucy, when they first moved into the community. They became fast friends before Lucy became ill. A couple of years after Lucy’s passing, Al asked Doris out to dinner – they eventually got married.
Since then, Al and Gypsy’s relationship has blossomed. They all share a special breakfast ritual every day at the kitchen table. “First thing in the morning, she goes right to Al for peanuts and then comes to me for Cheerios,” said Doris. “Then, it’s time for her favorite TV show – SpongeBob SquarePants. While watching the show, Gypsy whistles and dances by moving her head and walking up and down her bird stand.”
“Bottom line: Gypsy brings joy and laughter into the lives of all who have the pleasure of knowing her,” said Doris.