Say hello to Polly the African Grey
Paul Adams has sent us this lovely story about Polly his African Grey. Over to Paul who tells us his heart-warming story.
I was out shopping in the lovely town of Chichester in West Sussex in October 1993. I was looking to buy some fish food as I was into tropical fish at the time and had forgotten to buy some the day before.
So I asked someone if they knew where I could buy it and was directed to a small pet shop down one of the lanes. The shop was busy and near closing time and as I waited in the queue two lads came into the shop carrying a very small cage. It turned out it was a Budgie cage. They said that they had a Parrot which had been attacked the night before from someone’s dog. I only heard snippets but they stated that the Parrot was a wild Parrot and would bite if anyone tried to touch it.
The owner of the shop told them just leave the cage over there which they did and both left the shop. Curiosity got the better of me and I knelt down to see what was in the cage.
It wasn’t until later that I found out it was an African Grey. She had no feathers and had some wounds. My heart sank when I saw this bird as she was in a mess shaking and looked very frightened.
I put my finger inside the cage where she grabbed it very gently but tightened her grip as I tried to pull away. The owner of the shop kicked the cage so that she would release my finger. Then I asked him what the hell was he doing but he didn’t answer so I paid for my fish food and left.
I didn’t sleep that night and at 9am I phoned the pet shop. and I wanted to know what was going to happen to her. All he knew about it was that she was a wild Parrot and said that she would never allow anyone to touch her and stated that it would be better if she was put out of her misery. He hinted that he was going to wring her neck and ended the call.
I was emotionally drained angry and as the day went on getting myself into a state. At lunchtime I called the shop again but the owner was not in so I had to leave a message. It was late in the afternoon before he returned my call so I asked if he still had the Parrot which he did so I asked if I could have it he said no but I could buy it if I wanted the bird that much.
He wanted £500 and would throw in a bigger cage. That’s a lot of money today but back then I just didn’t have that sort of money and I didn’t know anyone who had anything like that. I had my rent money which was around £250 so I went to my boss and asked if I could get next month’s pay today.
He laughed me out of his office when I told him that I wanted to buy a Parrot. He said I was mad to even think about spending my money on a bird. In the end I managed to borrow £100 from him but in return I would have to do extra shifts so I agreed and he gave me the £100.
I was still upset so called the pet shop and told him all I had was £350 so would he take that? Considering that he got the Parrot for free he laughed and said he would give me 48 hours to come up with the money or he would take the Parrot round the back. His words.
So I phoned my dad and told him everything. I knew my dad would help as that’s where I get it from, so my dad sent me a registered letter with £200 on the condition I didn’t tell mum about the money, which he said was for food etc.
I had another sleepless night but first thing in the morning I caught the bus into Chichester and waited for the shop to open.
He said he was surprised to see me and made some comments but I just bit my lip and handed over £500 pounds.
The cage he gave me was a second hand one which he had in the back wasn’t much bigger but at least the Parrot had enough room to move around until I could afford a better one for her.
I called a taxi and took her home and was naïve and just didn’t know what I was going to do. I just knew I couldn’t leave her there so after a week I phoned the RSPCA and told them what had happened and asked for help. An officer came out to see me with some books and some toys for her and they continued to help until I had the confidence to look after her myself.
They weren’t sure if she was going to pull through she looked like a plucked chicken but at least had stopped shaking was told it was going to be a long road but with a lot of luck she might make it.
In my flat I had a Victorian picture rail all the way round the living room so I bought a broom handle and put it in the corner of the room, high up. This was above her cage and I left her cage door open when I went to work.
I was hoping that she would come out while I was at work. I kept this up for two months and when I came home one night there she was outside the cage and was sitting on this homemade perch.
It was fantastic to see and if I’m honest I think I shed a tear that night.
I knew then she was going to make it. Well it took her two years for her to talk. I came home and she said “hello” and I think it was around six months later she jumped onto my shoulder.
This time it was me that was shaking. I was told she was about two years old when I bought her home and in October 2018 she will be 27 and doesn’t shut up.
Her feathers grew back; it took a while but she got there in the end. She still pulls out her feathers when she hears dogs barking but they grow back just as quick and she only goes in her cage when she wants to sleep. The rest of the time she is free to go anywhere she wants as she’s part of my family now.
The two lads that bought her into that pet shop had named her Polly. This poor bird had been through hell so I kept the name.
Polly makes me laugh. Last week I was hoovering and she flew past me and said “Hello Paul” and she won’t do the toilet in her cage; she does it on newspaper under the window.
She only eats her food as long as it’s been in the fridge and her favourite is boiled eggs and palm nuts and the odd potato peeling.
She loves chasing wind up mice around the living room and tearing up boxes. Polly is doing great.
I often wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t walked into that shop 25 years ago. As I have MS and when I’m not well she likes to sleep on my stomach. I like to think she’s paying me back for helping her by helping me.
PS: The pet shop closed not long after as I reported them to the RSPCA. When they visited the shop it seems they didn’t have a licence to sell animals.
My dad never told my mum about the money and when I told my landlady why I couldn’t pay my rent she told me to pay £260 per month until it was all paid off and I worked on my days off to cover the money my boss gave me.
What a heart-warming story. If you have a tale you’d like to tell about your Parrot, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your answers to these questions.
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