Over at the Pet Connection Blog, Christie Keith points out a study that reinforces something a few of us have already known instinctively: posting pet adoption ads that scream of desperation might get a lot of views and pity, but it doesn’t help the cause (either long term or short term). The article talks about pet adoption ads that actually end up reinforcing people’s fears about shelters, and by extension shelter dogs.

Similarly, I know from my conversations with other people that many individuals interested in birds rule out adopting a parrot — instead opting to go to a breeder — because they think they can’t handle the baggage that comes with a “rescue bird”.

Ann Brooks, founder of the parrot welfare organization Phoenix Landing, shared her thoughts on her attempts to change how people think of rehomed birds:

We need to change our paradigm about pet birds, and the jargon that we use to describe their lives in captivity. If we can help people understand that rehomed birds come from bad AND good situations, perhaps people will be more likely to consider adoption first.

We also do a huge disservice to birds if we use the term “forever home.” Very few healthy birds are able to stay in the same place for their entire lives. Even the smallest parrot (a parakeet) has the potential to live longer than a dog.

We can all agree that animals should not live in neglect, and certainly many birds do. They certainly deserve better. However, I hope we can all begin to acknowledge that birds should not go from the good life to the bad either, just because they need a new home. My long-lived Phoenix will surely outlive me, and she deserves a safe and healthy new family as much as the bird that was dumped at the shelter. The best thing I can do to insure she has a good future is to help change our perception about why birds need new homes.

In other words, not all rehomed birds are “problem birds.” Birds may need new homes for any number of reasons, chief among them that parrots live a very long time.

I’ve had the fortune of learning a lot over the years about the work Phoenix Landing does and I know that there are many adoptable parrots in foster care who just need someone to love them for the great pets they already are.

To learn more about Phoenix Landing’s work and read about some of the birds, large and small, available for adoption, please visit http://www.phoenixlanding.org/ and click on the newsletter from the homepage.