What does it take? What do you have to do to be a committed parrot owner? Well, sometimes it takes a hell of a lot more than you ever planned. And then you sort of get sucked into the “lifestyle.”

And then, stuff happens when you’re too busy cleaning out a cage to notice. The world goes on and keeps spinning while you’re scrubbing the floor. People move on with their lives without you when you’re off to the store to search for organic carrots. They make changes in their life all the while you’re getting the dander dusted off the TV and changing the furnace filter.


I just found out a guy I used to date got married. And he moved to the Islands. And it bugged me. It really bugged me.

Sometimes you have to give up a lot in order to do what you do. Was I bummed out? Yes. “Well, why?” I hear myself asking myself. Well, because for some Godforsaken reason, I feel I missed a boat somewhere. I was left behind somehow. I was too damned busy showering my greys and running out to Kanab, or Phoenix or Chicago with speaking engagements. There is regret. There is a feeling of loss.

It’s stupid and I know I’m feeling sorry for myself. Bill told me flat out to just get the hell over it and knock it off. Yes, “Mr. Sensitive” he isn’t. But he is right. There wasn’t any decision to make. And thinking about it, I would have had to have made a choice. It would have been him or the birds. I just know that in my heart.

Photo on 8-20-12 at 2.10 PM

You make a decision and you have to honor it. You brought the little hellions into your life. And when you did that, you knew it would change your life somewhat. Nobody said this parrot thing was going to be easy. Nobody.

But if you’re anything like me, you had no idea at the time how much having parrots would change the life you lead, morph it and turn it upside down and inside out.  A lot of shit happens when you aren’t looking. And this sudden discovering that this man moved on without me simply stunned me. And what really just bakes it is the fact that this happened over the last few years and I never noticed. Maybe that’s the part that upsets me the most.


But then it’s time to look at the big picture. By not choosing that path, I gained something different. I probably never would have begun this blog. I most likely never would have written for the publications I have.

I never would have gone to Kanab, or the Cincinnati Zoo. Or South Dakota. I never would have gotten to know Jacque, or Bonnie. Or Rebecca. Or Jason. Or all of the hundreds of other people I’ve met and loved getting to know.


I don’t know who took this. If you did, let me know so I can credit you here.

 I never would have been able to help the parrots I’ve helped. I never would have raised money for Florida Parrot Rescue. Or the Alex Foundation. I never would have been able to promote the Chop Concept and do the work I’ve done. I never would have met Irene Pepperberg and become friends with her. Irena Schulz would just be some dancing cockatoo’s Mom who posted a video that went viral.

Copyright J Hilton20120327making chop0022_edited-1

Photo courtesy of Janet Holt Hilton.

And Parker? Well, Parker would probably belong to someone else. Maybe several someones. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today. I’d just be some guy’s girlfriend living in the Caribbean in a beautiful house. With a four-seater airplane to tool around in. And I most likely wouldn’t be writing. At least I wouldn’t be writing about parrots. It would be a different me.

Maybe it all comes out in the wash. Or maybe not. Either way it doesn’t matter. I chose this path because I thought it was right for me. And it is right for me. But there are times when it gets tough. And this is one of those times.