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Success Story - Paco

by Margie Gear

One day back in 2000, I found myself perusing the shelves at my local pet store chain for some emergency bird food.   I thought I heard a muffled cry.  I peered over to where the sound came from and all I saw was a stack of boxes.  I ventured over and peeked behind them.  I saw a small cage containing a male moustache parakeet.  He was very thin and dusty, in a cage containing no food or water or toys.  He looked up at me and vocalized again.   I went and picked out a toy for him and brought it back, only to find that his cage was locked.

I hightailed it up to the nearest employee and asked why there was a bird in that location with neither food nor water.  She shrugged and said that she didn’t know it was there.  I went directly to the manager, who seemed rather apathetic and impatient.  I told him that it was inhumane to treat him that way, and to give him some food, water, light, and toys.   He looked at me with disinterest and said that he’d make sure it was done.  I left, unconvinced. 

I returned in a couple of days to check on the little moustache.  Sure enough, he was still in the same place, with no light and little air.  This time he had about a half inch of dirty water and some shells of seeds that had already been consumed.  When he saw me, he rushed towards my side of the cage and called out.

I called Tammy [Mickaboo’s President] and told her about the situation: what looked like a short and miserable life for the bird if we didn’t intervene.  She gave me the green light.  I marched into the manager’s office and told him that I was from a bird rescue called Mickaboo and that his treatment of the bird was inhumane and constituted animal abuse.   His response was that the bird was for sale for $599, but he’d sell it to me for a discount.  Seeing that the ethical argument wasn’t working, I turned to his language of economics.   I replied that his “inventory” was about to die and would be worth nothing in a day or two.   This apparently worked, as he finally relinquished the bird to me.

After a good deal of medical attention, good food and lots of TLC, the moustache parakeet, now named Paco, blossomed.  He now resides with his partner, a Nanday named Winchester (also a Mickaboo bird) and lives in bliss.  He says several phrases and uses them to charm his audience.  He’s always game for a step up and kiss on the beak.  He wouldn’t be here today but for Mickaboo.