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The Parrot Who Thought She Was a Dog

a review of the book written by Nancy Ellis-Bell

Before opening this book, I was sure from the title and the cover picture that this would be good. A Blue & Gold Macaw with a milkbone in her beak looks natural to anyone who has ever shared their life with a macaw as I have.

This is a story about the author and the macaw that came to live with her and her husband in their little home in the mountains. There are no dates in the book, but I suspect that this story occurred many years ago when information was not as readily available as it is now.

Nancy Ellis-Bell wanted a parrot, but did not know if she was prepared for an untamed Blue and Gold Macaw. This macaw had been captured in the wild and injured during the capture. She spent some time as a prospective breeder where she was abused and then sent to a rescue where she was found by the author. It turns out that she was not prepared for everything involved with this bird. Rescuing a bird is a noble thing, but a bird that has been traumatized needs special treatment from experienced people.

I am also not sure where she got the information about Macaw Wasting Disease, as that was simply incorrect.

Ellis-Bell tells how they adapted to having this large bird in their home and how Sarah, the macaw established her place in the family among the dogs, cats, people and later, other birds.

The way that all this happens is presented in a way that does show the true personality of macaws. I would not recommend many of the methods used by the author to look after this bird, but since each bird is unique, every parrot owner must use his or her own discretion.

She did not do everything 'right', but she she did many things right and she learned valuable knowledge to carry on. Many bird owners look back to their first birds and realize that they did some things wrong, but few admit their mistakes out loud. She did make serious mistakes, but it took courage for her to write about them in this book. Ellis-Bell allows the rest of us to benefit from the mistakes she made with Sarah.

Of course, there are ups and downs in every pet owner's life and Nancy takes us through those instances with descriptive explanations. I found myself laughing through some chapters, crying though other chapters cringing in some chapters and simply being amazed in other chapters.

I had a hard time putting the book down to accomplish other things I should have been doing.



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