Diary of a blue and gold macaw – notes on Hurricane Sandy, by Sarah Inglis, LVT

About two and a half weeks ago, our human mom started acting very concerned. She spoke of a big ” hurricane” coming. I wasn’t concerned initially, because I had no idea what a hurricane was. But, as we watched pictures of this hurricane on the news, I and the other 3 birds in my flock became increasingly concerned. We quickly learned that a hurricane is something that humans worry very much about. This was going to be one of the biggest storms to hit our area in centuries, and folks were advised to start making preparations. Our mom told us that we would have to leave our house for a bit to make sure that we would be safe. We lived close to the “ocean,” she said, and there was a chance that this “ocean” – whatever that is – would come to our house (which at first didn’t seem bad – it was just water, after all) and that there was even a bigger chance that our house would lose electricity. Mom tells us that this “electricity” is what keeps us warm and keeps the lights on in the house.

Mom’s biggest concern became getting us – her flock- to a safe place during the storm. After some research, she found a place called the “Veterinary Center for Birds and Exotics.” She assured us that this place would not only be safe, but also even be fun! We learned that this place is an animal hospital that only takes care of birds and other exotic pets – no scary cats or dogs – and that they even have big cages for macaws like me!

Needless to say, I and the rest of the flock were skeptical. Rarely would I ever say that a doctor’s office has been “fun.”

We arrived at the hospital on the day the storm was coming. The whole staff of this ” Veterinary Center for Birds and Exotics” was there, making sure the building was ready to weather the storm, and taking care that all of the animals staying there were warm, comfy, and out of harm’s way. I was first to go into my private “hotel room.” Mom walked me back to the room where I’d be staying; I saw that they had hung some of my very own toys inside the cage, and my favorite foods (even some almonds!!) were waiting in my bowl, with lots of clean fresh water. I was still very nervous, but all of the nurses and the doctors were very nice. They spoke to me softly and encouragingly until I relaxed into my new settings. I was worried, but Mom told me that this was the safest place for us. Within minutes, the rest of my flock joined me in their own cages. Just like me, they had their toys hung to Mom’s specifications and their favorite foods available. We chattered quietly to each other, discussing what was going to happen next. We were concerned, but mom kissed us all goodbye and told us that she’d be back as soon as it was safe for us to be back home. That first night was a little scary, but we had each other to talk to and even a bunny and a tortoise to watch! That bunny was very silly. He always had something he called ” hay” hanging out of his mouth. I’ve never seen a mammal eat so much! (Talk about “eating like a bird”!).

The next morning, the doctors came in to check on us and told us that the storm was passing! We were very glad to be in such a warm, secure place, as we heard the doctors and nurses talking about the damage the storm had caused. That’s when lots of other animals started coming in to stay. Apparently, most homes had lost electricity, and it was too cold for their flocks (feathered, furry, and scaled) to stay home.

Since then, we’ve been having a great time here at the Vet Center! Every morning, the nurse comes in and opens the shades on the big windows in front of our cages. We get to watch the world go by all day! It’s really nice! Also, we’ve been watching a lot of TV, and also DVDs of really fun kids’ shows!! (I don’t know who this Scooby Doo guy is, but he’s hilarious – even for a dog!) The nurses come in several times during the day to check on us; they clean our dirty cage papers twice a day and make sure we have fresh food and clean water. We like it best of all when they bring us tasty veggies and fruit as treats! They also play with us and talk to us in very silly voices. We’re not sure why they do that silly voice thing, but it sure is funny to us!

Today, one of the nurses told us that our mom called, and we should be going home very soon. We’re so excited to be with Mom again, but we’re so thankful that we had a safe, warm, (and especially, even fun) place to stay during Hurricane Sandy! Although we love our Mom and our home, we are all hoping secretly for another chance soon to visit the Veterinary Center.

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About Veterinary Centers for Birds and Exotics

If you have been looking for specialized care for your bird or exotic pet, look no further! We have you covered. At our unique animal hospital, we provide care to birds and exotics ONLY—no cats and dogs! We are the only bird and exotic veterinary hospital with a full-time, board certified bird specialist, Dr. Laurie Hess. Dr. Hess, who, with her two associates, Dr. Amanda Marino and Dr. Amanda Dewey, are the only full-time veterinarians in Westchester County who are residency-trained in bird and exotic medicine and surgery. Call to schedule an appointment for your pet!