By Linda S. Rubin
I Just Can’t Move Another Muscle
Some chronic illnesses can cause a great amount of fatigue that may make it necessary to budget any expenditures of energy. Think of new short cuts that will work for your unique situation. For example, keep a covered garbage pail near bird cages so you do not have to go far to empty cage litter. Store precut plain paper or other prepared cage litter within easy reach to make cage cleaning an easier task.
If you are wheelchair-bound, turn it into an advantage by training your bird as a shoulder companion. Oftentimes, people are afraid to look directly at disabled people in wheelchairs because they’ve been taught that it is rude to stare. Keeping a harnessed or, wing-feather trimmed parrot on your shoulder can be a way for people to learn to relate to you by admiring your bird, asking questions and opening up conversation.
Even if you are bedridden, you can still use the time to your advantage. In the first few months that I was confined to bed, I taught my male cockatoo to talk. Today, he can mimic quite a number of words, phrases and whistles – and I know he understands everything he says. But since I’ve returned to walking, he’s hardly learned a new word.
Whether you are wheelchair-bound or bedridden, with some assistance you may still have opportunities to connect with birds, such as the ability to handle chicks, tame young birds and interact with your dear companions.
Birds Do A Body Good
Caring for another living creature gives the disabled owner a sense of responsibility and purpose. Our feathered companions also trigger an inner peace and happiness to our well-being. They can sense our frailties and instinctively know when we are not feeling well. The close, emotional bond that develops between a treasured bird and a chronically ill owner can be a rare gift, unlike any other. The unconditional love and joy generated by that bond greatly contributes to our overall wellness and quality of life.
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