Can Birds Be Therapy Pets?

The past year has been a difficult one. Seeing your child suffer from extremely low self esteem and major depression is not something that I thought I would ever be facing. Let alone suicidal thoughts and cutting himself. Yes, the year up to this point was difficult, but we persevered. Through counseling, medication and “natural” therapies my son has improved wildly over the past few months. We have become closer as a family and now he knows that he can talk about something if it is bothering him. Yes, the teenage hormones are still kicking in but regardless, his attitude has greatly improved.

I mentioned above counseling, medication and “natural” therapies as being part of the help he has gotten. Counseling is an important part of any type of psychological issues and played a huge part for us. Medication is a part of his therapy. I know there are naysayers out there about medication, but for “us” it was the correct decision. I will leave the medication discussion to other blogs and experts.

This “natural” therapy I mention is what I really want to talk about. During this difficult time, my husband and I started to think about getting a pet. Of course the first pet that came to mind was a dog, mans best friend… We started looking into getting a dog that could provide comfort and know when my son needed some extra caring, a therapy dog, if you will. We spoke about it on and off for about a month or so until my son came to us with an idea. Here’s what he told us.

I was down the street this afternoon at the neighbors house. He has a bird. Its a Cockatiel. It was so cool. I got to hold it and it did not run away from me. They let it stay out of the cage for a while. I really like handling it. So I was thinking…. (here it comes). Maybe I can get a bird. It will be really good for me, teach me responsibility because it will be my pet and I will take care of it. Also I can talk to it, especially about things that I can’t talk to you about…I mean I will still talk to you about things, but some things I can talk to the bird about.

So we thought about it and decided to let him get a bird. And it all fell together quite nicely. He started doing research, and a lot of it. He decided on a parakeet. Simple. Easy. Talking to the lady at Pet Supermarket, she got us set up with a starter cage and everything we needed. And she also took great interest in my son’s questions. On the side I told her the plan, and she said she had some experience with that because of a family member. We talked a lot to her and and go to visit her every now and then.

13044662_sMy son seemed to be very happy. He was handling the bird and trying to get it used to him. Well, long story short, we now have 3 birds. A Cockatiel and 2 Parakeets. My son is more than thrilled with his role with the birds. And he has set new goals for himself. He wants to work with birds. So we shall see going forward, what role this all will play later on in his life. For now, he is happy, feels wanted and needed.

I have been doing research on pet therapy and never really realized that there are roles for all kinds of therapy pets. I ran across this article Therapeutic Birds.

As addressed in the article written by Connie Cronley of Tulsa People Magazine:

Horton tells of non-responsive patients in wheelchairs who suddenly begin speaking again while petting a Cockatiel as their relatives weep at the transformation. She describes how a group of young but violent criminals — murderers, arsonists and rapists — clamored to touch a cockatoo named Bela.

“For a few minutes,” Horton says, “these hardened criminals became children again.”

Birds can make great therapy pets. I have seen it work with my own eyes!

What do you think about birds providing therapy? Let me know down below…

New Additions Mean New Bird Cages

We recently acquired two new bird cages (and have a spare)! As you probably have read we have a new addition to our family. My son got a new Cockatiel. There is a little story behind this new bird.

As a family, we decided to put together a chore chart in order for the family to get all chores done on a weekly basis. As well, the kids were not pitching in. The weekly chores are to be done by the entire family, not just the adults. With this new chore chart came the art of each child coming up with a reward they would like to earn. Of course us parents rewards are the rewards of teaching our children responsibility…I know…stop laughing….IT WORKS!

Even though I have been through this process many times in the past few years, this time it is working. The trick, let them choose something (that you agree with) that they really want to work towards. Justin chose to earn a new bird, given 2 months of performing his chores responsibly. This reward started out innocently enough.

Can you see where this is heading?

A simple second Parakeet, $20, and maybe we would need a larger cage. First month was going great. Justin doing his chores, including cleaning the bird cage each week. Well, Justin did his homework, and I don’t mean the school kind. He started looking into what was the best type of bird to get.

In the meantime, preparing to get a new Parakeet, we purchased a larger cage that will hold two birds more comfortably.

Prevue Hendryx Triple Roof Bird CageWe decided on the Prevue Hendryx Triple Roof bird cage. This cage is recommended for Parakeets and Cockatiels. The cage comes with 2 wooden perches and two food cups. Its spacious enough to add a few toys and other perches. This cage, like a lot of others, has a pull out tray on the bottom of the cage which makes for very easy cleaning.

If you look closely in the photo, you can see Sunny in her new home behind the hanging ball. She acclimated to the move just fine. We also found a cabinet to put it on. It has two shelves enclosed with doors. That is where all the extra “stuff” is stored away from sight.

With all of the new stuff set and ready to welcome a new bird, Justin announces that he thinks he wants to get a different type of bird. After doing his research he found that Cockatiels are much more interactive and social with their owner. I also learned that getting a hand raised bird is really important. They grow up used to being held and touched and hand fed. They do not really bite and are very friendly.

I listened to what he had to share. Not knowing that a Cockatiel cost a lot more than a Parakeet, and that they could not really share a cage, I thought that getting a Cockatiel sounded ok.

Over the next few days of discussion, I finally find out that they cannot share the cage. Ok, so we have the original cage, it should be big enough for the new bird. For the next few days and more research, and emails between Justin and a local bird shop, they tell him that they just sold out of all their baby Cockatiels. The other babies they have will not be ready for sale for another 4 weeks.

Well, Justin was not having any of that. He was upset but began looking for other local bird shops. Lo and behold he found one. Again, various emails back and forth to the owner, Justin told him to expect us that Friday.

Dome Top Bird Cage

We arrived, and the owner was very impressed with Justin and all of his knowledge. They discussed which bird to choose from the various Cockatiels in the cage. Just fell in love with the bird that chose him! The bird was on his shoulder in an instant and never left.

Then came the cage discussion! I thought for sure the cage we had was fine. He thought not. Ok. Now we need another cage. He showed us all the possibilities and ended giving us a deal on one. Its a dome top bird cage. The cage comes with two wooden perches, a stand with a shelf and wheels, a pull out bottom tray for easy cleaning and 3 metal food cups. It is the perfect size “just in case” we get a second Cockatiel down the road. Ok, I decided we were making an investment and we just went for it. It really was for the best, as I see it now.

Bird cage with swing out food cups

There is two really neat things about this cage besides it being on wheels. First, the metal food cups. You can fill the cups without having to put your hand in or open the cage. They swing out for easy filling. I thought that was really neat. Also, as I have come to know, this bird can eat! As soon as you get food in the cage she is on it. So this just makes it a bit easier.

The second thing about this cage is that the top of the cage opens up and you place one of the wooden perches between each half at the top and you have a little play area where the bird can hang out. We have not done this yet. But it looks like this photo.



That is how we ended up with one new bird and two new cages.

Justin told me the other day, “When I get my next bird we will have to turn the guest room into the bird room!” That was the funniest thing I had heard all day! I told him there will be no more new birds for a while. He will have to come up with some other reward for chores…..

5 Vintage Bird Cages for your Pet Bird

When talking about Vintage, there can be several different meanings or connotations to the word. The word vintage, for our purposes, refers to a past style of elegance that was well liked back in time and is still popular today. There are vintage bird cages  available for both decoration or for holding your pet bird. I will highlight several of my favorite choices of vintage style bird cages you can use as a home for your pet bird. There are vintage bird cages that are old and some that are new and made to look like the older vintage style. I will show you some vintage style bird cages that are new in age. Older bird cages are not the best choice for your pet bird’s home due to older materials, old paint (may contain lead) and bird cage size are some just to name a few. However, being the bird lover that you are, you most certainly can use the older vintage bird cages as decoration in your home.

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