I “found” Murphy (first named Kazoo but he wanted a more dignified name!) one day when I was out buying supplies for my Amazon parrot, Maybelline. Murphy is a young parrot that through neglect, failed to learn people are “good”. In fact, Murphy was very afraid of people and would lunge and bite if anyone tried to touch him. Labeled “mean”, his behavior really was a sign of his fear. Concerned about taking on another “project” at the time, I decided to give Murphy a home and hopefully retrain him that people really can be good providing not only food and general care but also love and companionship.
It took time and patience for Murphy to realize good things come from people. He still can be reserved and nervous when new things are introduced but I always give him an “out” and allow him to learn new things at his pace, not mine! This is so important… Having a choice is a good thing and with that choice, Murphy has decided to trust people that he won’t be hurt.
Murphy has also helped me. It is easy to focus on one’s own problems which can lead to anger, frustration, and depression. I’ve listened to many people talk about their problems similar to mine but instead of remembering what they can do, they complain of deficits. These people seek sympathy from friends, family members, and even “strangers” online which does nothing for their actual problems. I believe in doing less complaining and more actual living to whatever extent that is possible! For me, this means helping others even if that help right now is a neglected parrot!
Murphy lives in a large cage with many toys. Some of these toys are made of wood he can chew and destroy. Other toys are interactive where he has to manipulate the toy to get a treat. And some toys are bright and shiny that jingle and make noise. Murphy LOVES playing with his toys!
Murphy is fed a fresh-food diet daily composed of fruits and vegetables. He also has a nutritionally complete pellet option if he chooses. And he has a seed mixture in yet another bowl. These different bowls not only provide a nutritious diet but also give him yet another choice on what he might prefer to eat at any given time of the day. Murphy quickly learned his water source comes from a hanging bottle on his cage. This keeps his water clean and fresh for whenever he is thirsty.
Toys and food are important but so is time spent out of his cage which he is provided with daily. This is a fun time when he can be directly interacted with by the people around him or he can choose to watch the world go by on top of his play stand which has different toys then the ones in his cage.
Murphy, and Maybelline, have a room to themselves. This room is off the main part of our house so they can easily see what is going on in the house but they also have the privacy to not have people and other animals bombard them. At night, the door can be closed to ensure they both get enough sleep. Parrots generally live close to the equator where days and nights are closer to twelve hours in length. Sleeping twelve hours a night is a normal for parrots compared to most people.
I really wasn’t expecting to take on another “pet” but after meeting Murphy, I knew I could give him a better life. I just knew this. And while Murphy wasn’t sure of me initially (I have a few scars from some vicious initial bites), I think he has come to enjoy his new “home”. There are many animals in need of “forever homes”. While helping this one parrot won’t change the world, for Murphy, his world will be forever changed.