‘The right fit’ by Abi S

When working with rescue animals, it’s quite easy to fall in love and never want to let them go. I’m here to tell you why that isn’t always the happiest ending possible.

We take in these poor, often neglected, ill, and even abused birds, and when they finally start showing us some trust and love, it’s virtually impossible to not love them and want to keep them, but we have to act in the best interests of the bird, at all times. Even if the bird in question is a fit in your household, and you get along just fine, and everything is sunshine and rainbows, there’s no saying that there’s not a pot of gold waiting for this bird elsewhere…

Letting go of a bird, be it a foster, one you personally rescued, or even one you’ve previously adopted, is hard. It’s heartbreaking and soul-destroying. But seeing them even happier with someone else makes it all worthwhile.

We deal with surrenders every single day, and often, these are due to the bird simply not liking the person that chose them. This is why we allow our birds the choice.

A recent example is a middle-aged CAG. She has been saved by her rescuer. She was injured, ill, and just in bad shape all around. And now she isn’t. She’s thriving, enjoying healthy food, enrichment, interaction, and really living the best life. But she hates her owner. So despite this bird having her needs met, and being content, her owner has made the devastating decision to rehome her responsibly through our organization, where she will be allowed to choose her forever family, and reach a level exceeding contentment.

Another such example is my beloved Cubby. As I’ve said before, every single person in Cubby’s life has absolutely adored him. Unfortunately, since his original owner passed, the feeling has not been mutual, until he met me. I didn’t do anything special, I didn’t try to win him over, I simply aligned with his energy and he’s decided that he loves me. He will fight for me, as evidenced by the scar on my partner’s neck. As is illustrated with every person he’s ever met aside from me, who has either been bitten, or been saved by me prying his beak off before he gets clamping.

I can tell you now, Willow, this tiny budgie who has defied all odds, who has cost me my mental and emotional health, as well as taken a chunk out of my bank balance, owns my heart. I can also tell you openly that I am not what she needs. I do not have everything she deserves readily available to offer her, and so I will eventually move her tank from the kitchen counter where she lives, and break my heart into a million pieces by sending her on to a home that deserves her.

Of course, the other aspect is your duty to your existing flock, and any potential birds that may choose you down the line. Is it fair for them to have to share you with yet another bird? (I say this as I’m about to jump from 9 aviary birds to 26) it’s a fact that torments me daily. We owe it to our existing flocks to maintain the life that they have grown accustomed to. I am only taking on the extras because I owe the unwanted a place to call home, that’s how I sleep at night. They will be loved as much as the rest, but in reality, I won’t be taking another into my indoor flock for some time.

This is our responsibility. It’s the very least we owe the birds that will never know true freedom because they were created out of greed.