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Old 09-15-2014, 02:03 PM
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Best species for pet therapy

In the past I have done work with pet therapy using my Eclectus Joaquin. He was very good at this kind of work because he was friendly, calm, beautiful, and had a special talent of taking in others pain and helping them feel better.

I do understand why Eclectus can make good parrots for pet therapy but I want to expand on what other species would be suited for this kind of work. My experience with mini macaws, Joaquin and Valentino have taught me a lot with what traits are needed for pet therapy but my experience is limited to what parrots I have lived with.

I don't know if anyone else takes their parrots out for this kind of service but I would like to hear from people that have or do this kind of work themselves. I am thinking of a medium to large medium size bird because the this size is much more easier to handle and travel with and less intimidating for others.

Valentino is not suited for Pet therapy at this time. He is too loud, moves too fast, is fully flighted, stubborn with potting in the correct spot (he is potty trained but will refuse to acknowledge he is potty trained. If you know what I mean). That does not mean as he matures he might become suited. If he never is suitable that is alright with me. I love him no matter what. Valentino is my lovable wack job. LOL. I envision so many unacceptable behavior scenario for taking Valentino in for pet therapy.

I would love to hear from others who do this kind of community service. Thank you.
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Old 09-15-2014, 02:13 PM
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Re: Best species for pet therapy

I think rather then a specific species you have to go for individual parrot personalities.

I've been asked to do events with Rosie, but she can be testy with strangers and be a little nippy and always polity refuse. Kenji is completely out of the question. A gentle older bird who's been socialized well would be great. Buying a younger bird specifically for therapy is not good in my opnion, as they mature and go through puberty you'll have a few years of unpredictability.
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Old 09-15-2014, 02:28 PM
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Re: Best species for pet therapy

I do remember I started working with Joaquin my Eclectus when he was around 2 years of age. Valentino at 2 is a total PITA. LOL. Although other bird experienced people LOVE him he is just "too much" to be social around non bird people. I so picture him flying/jumping on someone not use to birds and him trying to eyeball lick them or sticking his tongue in their nose, mouth or ear. LOL. Not good for what I need. Can't have the parrot behaving like that.

Maybe such a parrot will cross my path someday. I like to think about what can be and what I would like to be doing but life will be life.
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Old 09-15-2014, 02:29 PM
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Re: Best species for pet therapy

Hmmm...I don't know about being therapeutic, but someone might NEED some therapy after meeting Kiwi

In all seriousness though, I think there are very strict rules and regulations on what traits a licensed therapy animal must have, and I think they also have to pass some kind of testing to become certified. I would look into the requirements where you live and go from there. Remember all parrots are individuals, but I would imagine some of the more known for being "friendly" species like conures, cockatoos and cockatiels ext... may be a good point to start.
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Old 09-15-2014, 02:40 PM
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Re: Best species for pet therapy

I use to volunteer in hospice and when/if the situation was alright I use to clear Joaquin to be brought in to visit the patient. I also use to take him to the nursing homes and brought him to visit the severely depressed.

I did clear Valentino for the Hastings Veterans home so that I could take him there when I visit. I tend to go there at least twice a week and many people have been asking for him. Right now I am not comfortable bringing Valentino there because he is "not ready" or mature enough to behave in the manner I need him to behave.

Since I don't trust his "potty training" to be spot on I debate using the flight suits to keep poop contained. I juggle this idea because this is the main reason I won't bring him to Hastings. I have brought Valentino for play dates and he has done well but the home was a bird friendly couple and they didn't freak if Valentino "missed". I really do think if I can either have Valentino be consistant enough with potting without making a mess or use the flight suite bringing him to Hastings would be very good for him. I need to socialize this boy more.

Who knows maybe as Valentino matures he might be suited for visiting the homes.
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Old 09-15-2014, 02:46 PM
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Re: Best species for pet therapy

An RFM is PERFECT FOR PET THERAPY...

PINCH! GOTCHA! QUIT FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF... (Runs away laughing! Can't catch me!)
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Old 09-15-2014, 03:06 PM
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Re: Best species for pet therapy

I think Valentino visiting the Vets home will be a positive experience for both. Valentino loves people and is not shy with talking in front of stranger. People love talking parrots but don't feel the need to "touch" them like a dog or cat.

I just don't want Valentino crapping all over me or all over the vets and the home. Just gross. This is my biggest problem at present.
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Old 09-16-2014, 12:53 AM
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Re: Best species for pet therapy

I have learned that my little GCC Cache works miracles. Something about having a bird lie on their back in your hand, close their eyes, and just snuggle, or run up to you for cuddles, snuggle into you as you pet them, these things can be very healing. However, she is my ONLY bird that I can trust not to bite someone with little or no bird experience if I glance away, and she really prefers children. I dont know if I would ever use her for a therapy bird per say, but I have several friends who come to see her when they need some love
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