February 2012 Pets of the Month: Gucci, Vos, Hank Ophelia, and in loving memory of Tula

I know that, thanks to the blog entries about Archie’s progress, this blog has been pretty parrot-heavy lately.  Dog and cat lovers, I haven’t forget about you!  My very next entry is going to be about cats (I promise!).  In the meantime, some very special birds deserve to be in the spotlight this month.  My client Mary Farley has a sweet little flock of parrots and ducks, and they all have a special story.


Mary adopted Gucci, a Black Lory, and his mate Jasmine in 2004 when they were 5 years old.    Sadly, Jasmine passed away in ’07 due to hemochromatosis, but Gucci has adapted to life as a bachelor and is an incredibly sweet, affectionate, and playful bird.  As you can see in the photo above, he loves giving kisses, especially to the ladies!  This picture was taken the second time I ever pet sat him, so you can see how quickly and easily he gets attached to his lady friends.


Mary got Vossy the Vosmaeri Eclectus from a breeder when he was a baby 15 years ago, and she is his favorite person in the world.  He loves her, and like Gucci, is partial to the ladies.  But he’s also taken it upon himself to be the protector of Mary and her home. “He is sort of the hall proctor of the place. Whenever I get to the house in Marfa, he does a patrol of the premises to check things out,” says Mary, and that sounds very much like what he does when I’m there to take care of them.  He likes to roam around and make sure everything is being done properly.  He’s a special guy for sure!

Hank and Ophelia

Mary was recently surprised by a pair of ducks that her boyfriend brought home.  Even though they were an unexpected addition to the flock, Mary says that this pair of Crested Blue Swedish Ducks are an endearing couple.  They spend their days outside, and then come to the back door when they’re ready for bed.  Mary doesn’t have a pond of her own, though, so she says they really need a home with a pond that they can call their own.


Mary got Tula, also a Vosmaeri Eclectus, from a different breeder than Vossy’s in 2002.  She was a very happy, lively, outgoing bird who loved to spend time with Mary and anyone who came to visit.  She liked to talk, laugh, and be the life of the party.  Sadly, about six months before I started pet sitting for them, Tula started demonstrating some troubling symptoms.  She started plucking her feathers, self-mutilating, developed a chronic sinus infection, and got quieter and seemed depressed.  Mary did everything she could to make Tula’s life better.  Several trips to the vet, changes to her diet and environment, herbal supplements, medication… she did everything she could, but the vets never could find the cause of her illness.  Then, on November 28, 2011, Tula passed away.  Even with a necropsy and histopathology, Tula’s vets still never were able to determine what caused her illness and death, but I know that she knows that Mary loved her more than words can describe and did everything she could to give her the best life possible.  I know she knows how much she is loved and missed.  Even in her illness, she was a sweet and gentle bird, and a joy to be around.  I wish I had had the privilege to know her longer.

About Emily Strong

behavior consultant. veterinary technician. crazy parrot lady. lifelong animal lover. cellist. yogi. hula hooper. horse rider. swimmer. singer. reader. writer. dreamer. music lover. amateur gardener. nutrition enthusiast. eternal student. language lover. aspiring polyglot. tattoo canvas. water drinker. overthinker. bountiful laugher. overenthusiast. attention deficit meditator.
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