The gift of Gabby – by Suzi Van Stelten
Our love of birds started when my then 5 year old daughter kept pressing us to get her a parakeet. At age 7 we finally caved and got two parakeets. Sadly, one of them died within the first week and it was just heartbreaking as the one who died was the one my daughter picked out to be her bird and was a beautiful hue of purple. Little “Indie” had a very short life, but in the short time we had her we fell in love so she had to be replaced in order for my daughter’s broken heart to heal and so “Hulk” my son’s green parakeet would not be lonely. Jazzbird filled Indie’s absence and two years later we still have both parakeets, plus one “Squid”. When we were able to get a much bigger cage for the parakeets, we couldn’t help but get another one to share our love with.
My husband and I have always been intrigued by the possibility of getting a larger bird to add to our family. There were many, many times it took all of our self-control not to leave the pet store with a Conure my husband fell in love with. But the timing just wasn’t right. I am a firm believer that if something is meant to be, things will just fall into place, as it did with our Gabby.
In late January of this year my husband and I were in the kitchen and somehow the subject of birds came up and how we would really like to get a parrot (we were thinking a smaller one, like a Conure) and we should just go ahead and do it! Then we realized “I bet there are a lot of parrots out there that have been rescued and are looking for a home” so that’s when Ryan googled “Parrot Rescues” MDPR was not the first one that popped up, but for some reason we clicked on their link above any others and we loved what we saw! We filled out an application for a particular bird but when the rescue got back to us we found she had been adopted over the weekend. I continued to look through the birds available and read their stories. I found particular interest with one named Stevie, an Indian Ringneck. I requested information on her and a short time later Steve’s foster dad got back to me with lots of wonderful information on sweet little Stevie. I thought for sure she was the perfect bird for us, but I was surprisingly wrong. This is when Art (Stevie and Gabby’s foster dad) mentioned Gabby to me… At first I’ll admit I was not interested in Gabby because she is a Blue &Gold Macaw which I had never even considered before and on top of it she was a special needs Macaw… I was terrified! How could I possibly take care of a very large parrot with special needs with such little experience with birds and NO experience with large birds?
To make a long story short, the more we learned about Gabby, the more we realized we just might be the perfect fit for her, and she for us! We completed all of the necessary online courses through the rescue, had our home check, bought an appropriate size cage for a bird of her size and showed up to the adoption event with the hopes of taking sweet Gabby home with us, and that’s exactly what happened.
From the moment Gabby joined our family, she has brought us nothing but joy, laughter, family bonding time and the most amazing learning experience. It has been an incredible journey that will last a lifetime. We do not see Gabby’s disabilities, all we see is her beauty inside and out. She’s had a rough 20 years of life and we are going to make up for what she has been through by giving her the love and life she so deserves. Gabby’s new family consists of two adults, two children, three parakeets, three dogs, a bunny and some fish! Not to mention all the other family that comes to visit quite often always giving her a special treat when they stop by! Some might think we are little crazy with all of our pets and jokingly call us the Van Stelten Zoo, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. All of our creatures are our family.
MDPR was the most amazing rescue to work with. They truly love their birds and without a doubt will make sure you are matched with the perfect bird, even if it’s a completely different bird than you ever imagined walking away with!
Suzi Van Stelten