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The Parrot Who Thought She Was a Dog    by Nancy Ellis-Bell order for
Parrot Who Thought She Was a Dog
by Nancy Ellis-Bell
Order:  USA  Can
Harmony, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

Sarah was a bright blue and gold one-legged macaw with an attitude. Born wild, she was caught in a net that tangled her up in a way that caused the loss of a leg, but she was still captured and sold to a woman who hoped to breed her. Unfortunately she didn't get along with the male macaw. The woman became so annoyed and upset with the birds' constant fighting and screaming at each other that she started hitting them, and finally relinquished them to a vet who sent Sarah to a wild bird rescue sanctuary in California.

When Nancy Ellis-Bell went to the sanctuary, she was looking for an African grey parrot, but the owner talked her into taking Sarah. Nancy couldnít bear the thought of this magnificent bird being caged, so she brought her home, where Nancy and her husband lived with two dogs, two inside cats, numerous outside cats, and a raccoon family that made its home under her deck. One more animal didnít seem like much.

A macaw is two feet tall, with sharp claws on its feet and a beak that can easily tear and shred anything from paper to wood to flesh. Nancy was sensibly cautious around Sarah, gentling the abused bird at first with soft talking and food treats. Soon she felt a bond forming between her and the bird. Even though she wasnít able to touch Sarah, the bird started to follow her around, and she was even able to control her somewhat with a feather duster, which for some reason the bird was wary of.

Unfortunately, Sarah was always more in charge than Nancy. The bird would steal toys from the dogs, chew up anything she could get her beak on, and shriek loudly when she was unhappy about anything. When Nancy let her out of her cage, she eagerly investigated every nook and cranny of the small house. Nancy described her as intelligent and curious, in need of stimulation and new experiences, sort of like having a three year old child who never grows older.

Any animal lover should find this an interesting and enjoyable book. This lively birdís shenanigans were a challenge to the woman who loved and cared for her and the husband who, mostly, tolerated her intrusion into his previously calm life. She talked, laughed, and even learned to bark like a dog, and in the end, she flew again.

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