Therapy pets can be quite helpful.
Especially in situations where you don’t feel comfortable talking about your issues with another human. It has been scientifically proven that some animals can decrease your overall anxiety and help you live a longer and more fulfilled life. However, whenever we talk about therapy pets, we always think of dogs. But as it turns out, there are also therapy parrots. And they actually get a certificate beforehand that proves that they have been trained.
This is where Mrs. P comes in. She has started on a path towards getting that certificate. It is not easy and it requires a lot of effort from her human but they are excited to embark on this journey. Below are some of the things that come with being a therapy pet and how one can go about getting the certificate:
Every hospital is different, but for mine, Mrs. P had to first get signed up for a screening evaluation where she was held, pet, had to nicely take a treat, be okay with someone with a walker, a dog, and loud sounds, etc. She didn’t have to be perfect for the screening, just show that she had the capacity to handle people and the right temperament, and she passed just fine. We had to then take a 6-8 week course where we learned about how to work within a hospital setting, etiquette around patients, and how to read our animals.
Most of it was geared towards dogs, so Mrs. P didn’t attend, and most of her training was left up to me at home. I got her flight suit she’s wearing with the patch and cross about 2 weeks before her final evaluation and she worked with it each day to get comfortable- I wanted her to be able to wear it for the evaluation so by the time she’s entering the program, she’s able to wear it fine to interact with people.
This is Mrs P and she is training hard.
She has already gone through a lot of evaluations.
And thankfully she is always fine with most of the handiness.
It will take a bit more time before she is ready to see patients.
According to her owner, many people are afraid of birds since they think they might get attacked or they will bite them, which is understandable. However, that is why they keep her on a leash of sort and she has slowly gotten used to the harness. This way, she doesn’t approach people, but others feel much more comfortable stepping beside her and petting her as much as they want. She will definitely help lift the spirits of many patients and we are happy for everyone who gets to interact with this beautiful girl.
However, she is as ready as she will ever be.
Her human is also excited about the prospect.
I mean, who wouldn’t smile when looking at that face?
There aren’t many therapy birds around.
But it is slowly changing.
As people realize parrots are great at sensing emotions.
And Mrs P is always ready to help people.
Before her evaluation, I had to get her vet checked which included a fecal within the last 6 months and the vet basically saying she’s safe to participate, and I of course had to do lots of paperwork as the person. She did her eval which was essentially the same as the screening but with more handsiness to make sure she really was alright with being touched, potentially by people who didn’t do it right at first, and she had to be more up close with someone who was walking strangely and had medical equipment. Again she did fine, growled a bit when her wing was touched as she doesn’t like that but she never bites and just very gently vocalizes until you leave her alone.
And no, she doesn’t bite people.
Right now she hasn’t seen any patients yet!- I have to do shadowing with a therapy team before I take her for an actual visit, but she has seen lots of people outside. I take her on walks frequently and she got to meet a little boy once who had autism and was very very touchy, but super gentle and wanted to make sure I was treating her right. He asked me a lot to please let her go fly lol, he scolded me when she was chilling in a tree because he didn’t want her to fall off and hurt herself.
Would you ever want a therapy bird? Comment down below and let us know. Don’t forget to share so others can read about the wonderful life Mrs P as well.