Richard Horvitz, Proprietor of the Golden Cockatoo
I just got back from The Golden Cockatoo, a bird supply store north of me in Deerfield Beach, FL. I needed to get some supplies and I thought while I was at it, I’d get the Greys groomed. I have no idea why this sends me right over the edge, but I hate it worse than the birds.
Years ago, I used to cry when I had them groomed. I’m a pretty tough nut when it comes to people. I’ve had a couple of people die right in front of me at work and I never turned a hair. But animals? Forget it. I’m a complete wuss.
Now, I realize my Greys need grooming on a regular basis. I get that. I know that in my bones. I’ve lost count of the number of groomings Parker, Pepper and Nyla have had. The point is, I hate it. I hate the growling, the screaming, the fuss, the seeming discomfort and the stress it appears to place on the birds.
This is a self-portrait of me after ten minutes at Angels Rest in Kanab. It’s not after a grooming, but you get the picture.
Katie does their grooming. I love Katie. I try and tip her well. I trust Katie. She’s fabulous.
That’s Katie on the left. Well, obviously…
And she does a beautiful job with them. The Greys forgive her instantly, and they come away happy and whistling, none the worse for the experience. I, on the other hand, have to go home for a stiff drink and a lie-down. Katie is so kind to my birds, and she’s fast as hell. She spends more time comforting the birds than the actual grooming because she has it down. She doesn’t futz around and knows exactly what needs work. She’s precise, accurate and as non-invasive as she can be. And she’s constantly interacting with the birds while she’s grooming them.
Katie with a baby. Obviously not one of mine. I’m a “Grey Girl!”
And me? I’m on the other side of the store having a stroke. Usually, I’m leaning over the counter at the register trying not to pass out while Owner-Manager Ian sits and says, “I know. It’s hard. I know.”
Next time, I’m demanding oxygen and a sedative.
Ian. Such a great guy. He needs a raise. Do you hear me Richard?
So what’s my problem? It certainly isn’t Katie. It’s me.
I think it has to do with subjecting something to my birds that they don’t understand. They don’t like it, it’s uncomfortable and there is no way in hell that I’d be able to have a “sit down” with them and explain why this is necessary. I can towel them. I can clip the odd grown-out wing feather here and there. I can file down a toenail or two. They have no problem with that.
Katie at the Alex Foundation Benefit dinner. We had a great time!
But if I started sawing on their beaks, there would be hell to pay. So I guess I’m paying Katie to be the “Bad Guy.” Strange thing is, by the time it’s all done, they are just fine with her. And I have no idea how she gets away with that, but she does. After all is said and done, they have no problem with Katie. It’s simply magic.
And that’s okay by my book. But I don’t know how long it’ll be before I quit blowing a gasket about getting them groomed. My birds are fine and happily playing on their perches. Pepper is screwing around with her water bowl, Nyla is napping and Parker is chomping on the brand new “guilt toy” I bought him. And now, I’m off to see about that “Lie down.”
September 5, 2011 at 5:31 pm
Patricia, I am with you 100%! I dread taking my grey to the vets for a grooming although like your Katie he is kind, gentle and quick. A sandy perch has reduced the need for toenail trims quite so often and I have one valium left over from my last medical procedure. I’m thinking I’ll designate a driver and take it before we leave next time!
September 5, 2011 at 9:52 pm
I totally understand! When I take my grey in to be groomed, I end up standing in the back of the room, facing the wall, while plugging my ears and mumbling a prayer for it to be over soon! Like your gal Katie, my groomer is gentle, loving and very accurate and capable.
Perhaps we should form a support group to get each other through the terrors of grooming day….LOL!
September 5, 2011 at 10:36 pm
Hey, my mum has to trim my beak at least once a month. We DO understand why….and I can prove it.
When my beak overgrows I start to get a bit cranky, I let her know by getting a tiny bit nippy, and I tug on her ears and suchlike. If these hints fail I actually walk over to the dish where the file is kept and shove it around angrily. At first she thought this was a coincidence, but I have now done it so many time she KNOWS what I’m telling her.
And yes, sometimes I make a fuss while she does it, sometimes not. I really hate it being done, but my joy after the fact is so blindingly obvious….I feel like a young man again, and I let her know by preening her and chatting away happily.
So we do understand, and we don’t hate you for it. It’s just that we enjoy it like you enjoy the dentist….it’s great once it’s over.
September 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm
Awww my Angel’s first Mommy is Ian…LOL he is part parrot, and I have told him that before. He understands them very well. Although I groom my U2, I understand not wanting to. I shower and blow dry her, do her nails and her wings….She screams like I am killing her when I bathe her…lol but she is a drama queen so I give her lots of hugs and praise when she is all coiffed!
September 21, 2011 at 2:10 pm
I’m just now catching up on my PN posts (a full-time factory job and 5 parrots will keep a gal crazy busy), but I wanted to relate this tale: My husband and I rescued Rico, my blue crowned conure, about a year ago. This bird is only about 4 years old (we guess, the vet said that was accurate) but he has been hit, abused, and then abandoned. He had (and still has, I guess) trust issues and would strike, bite, and hiss if we came near him. I brought Rico into the vet for his first exam shortly after his arrival to our house. He needed his nails done, his beak trimmed, DNA sexing, and his band removed (extreme situation in which he began chewing on it and it became sharp and dangerous). I asked to remain in the room while they did all this, and the vet agreed after some hesitation. However, nothing prepared me for the crying Rico let out, and I felt terrible. They did a great job with everything. Ironically, after the great vet tragedy, Rico and I went home and it was the first day he let me hold him. While he’s not like my other 2 conures when it comes to closeness and cuddling, he doesn’t mind being on my hand or shoulder and doesn’t lunge at me anymore. So, I guess something great came from that terrible visit!
August 24, 2013 at 7:24 pm
My wife and I just got back from a store called “the perfect Parrot” in North Hollywood to take our Amazon, who we had for many years and loved dearly, to be groomed.
While grooming him, they killed him. Has anyone out there ever heard of similar things happening? We are heartbroken. He was such a sweet and friendly bird and we could never replace him.
August 24, 2013 at 7:31 pm
So sorry for your loss. Was this in California? I have not heard of losses through grooming before. I am truly so very sorry for this. My heart goes out to you.