November 30, 2012
I first discovered Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary when I search the internet for an established and credentialed bird sanctuary where my beloved 16 year old African Gray parrot, Jocko, could live out her life in a safe and secure close-to-nature environment with personalized care. It is also most important to me that she would never be sold, given away, or used for breeding. Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary was the only sanctuary that met all my criteria. I had to make the heart breaking decision to re-home Jocko because my health was in decline due to a lung condition. I was becoming so weak and frail that I didn't expect to be strong enough to care for her much longer. Her remaining life expectancy was about 44 more years! I was 74 years old. It was through the internet search for a bird sanctuary that we learned about "Bird Keeper's Lung" (Alergic Alveolitis) caused by allergic reaction to powdery bird dander which African Grays produce. My family and I recognized that this is what was slowly taking away my life! Separation from Jocko was the only choice we had. We contacted Patricia Norton at FEBS and she accepted Jocko at once. She helped us with information about flying with a parrot, and directed us to a pet-friendly hotel near the sanctuary. Within 2 weeks we arrived with Jocko. When we drove through the gate into the facility at Wesley Chapel, Jocko started happily bobbing her head at the sound of hundreds of exotic birds squawking and screeching. Patricia gave us a tour of the meticulously clean grounds and we had the opportunity to see for ourselves her interaction with the birds. She knows many of them by name and lovingly cares for them all as her own. I was at peace saying good-bye to Jocko knowing she would have a wonderful home there and would have the freedom to be who she is and live with other African Grays in a secure environment where she could even fly. I couldn't have re-homed her anywhere else. Jocko is still in an acclimation room with another gray because she pulls out her feathers and cannot withstand cold temperatures. Patricia is giving her special care and will be monitoring her feather growth until the plucking has diminished enough for her to be safely released into one of the aviaries. She sends me updates every few weeks and has even sent a picture mail photo of her. She has lived there since June 25th this year. I am happy to say that my health has dramatically improved! I have regained my strength and breathe normally. I am sure that my breathing issue was due to allergic reaction to powdery bird dander. I am so thankful and glad to be alive and well. Thank you, Patricia Norton, Board of Directors, Trustees, volunteers, donors, and staff of Florida Exotic Bird Sanctuary!! You have given Jocko a great home in bird paradise, and you have saved my life!
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