Playing to your strengths
Some animals know good and well how to get noticed in a crowd. You know the type. They’re the ones out front always doing cartwheels for attention. "Hey you! Look over here!" Not every animal has such a front-and-center personality, of course. Others do all they can to blend in with the background. Raggedy Ann, a blue crown conure, falls squarely in the second camp. She tries to disappear whenever somebody walks into a room. Which is interesting, considering that’s what found her a home in the long run.
Susan Tuck of Boston was at Best Friends attending the How to Start an Animal Sanctuary workshop. While at the Sanctuary, Susan preferred to use most of her free time volunteering at the Parrot Garden because she didn’t have as much experience with birds as she did with dogs and cats. All along, she had no intentions of adopting an animal. Famous last words, right?
The first time Susan volunteered at parrots she didn’t notice Raggedy Ann. That invisibility trick worked a little too well, apparently. Good thing Susan came back the next day. When she finally did notice Raggedy Ann, her heart went out to her immediately.
"I have a thing for the underdogs," explains Susan.
Raggedy Ann certainly fits that description. She came to Best Friends as a retired breeding bird, which means that for 19 years she had basically zero contact with people. Her mate Andy, who came with her, has since passed on. In addition, Raggedy Ann has feather damage all over her body (some done by herself, most from over-preening by Andy). So there she was alone, afraid of people, and trying hard to make sure nobody noticed her. But Susan noticed, alright, and then couldn’t stop thinking about her.
During her time at the Sanctuary, Susan visited Raggedy Ann on a daily basis. You might guess a friendship started to grow between them, but that really didn’t happen on a deep level. While Raggedy Ann could be "bought with walnuts" as Susan likes to explain, she was still afraid of stepping up or being handled in any way. Even so, Susan couldn’t stop feeling here was a chance to really help an underdog. She decided to adopt.
Back home, Raggedy Ann (now named Annie) continues to keep to herself for the most part. Susan isn’t sure how much that may change over time. "If she never wants to be handled, then she never wants to be handled," Susan says. However, don’t count Annie out just yet! She has begun to act more confidently than ever before. She’s exploring her cage and really starting to vocalize with chirping and chattering back and forth. All great signs. She might just turn over a new leaf in the end.
Come what may, Annie will have a safe and loving home from here on out. She’ll have an opportunity for affection if she ever chooses to take it, and she won’t ever have to feel lonely again. An underdog she might have been, but she's found a happy ending no matter how you look at the scoreboard. Congrats to both of you.
Written by David Dickson
Photos by Molly Wald
Currently Best Friends had more than 40 birds that need forever homes. If you're inclined to adopt a feathered friend, please check out our adorable birds.