Stash's Story

Breed: Umbrella Cockatoo

We are happy to say that Stash has found his home! He went home on July 8th and we hope to give you an update soon!

Update fresh from the press: As I sit here today hanging out with my two newly adopted “babes,” Stash and Nina (our young pup), one of my favorite songs comes on, Hope Now, by Addison Road. So, I decide to do an update on Stash which I promised Richard and Karen a while ago. Every time I hear this song, I am reminded of all the animals out there that somehow find themselves in dire circumstances- some neglected, some abused, without any trace of hope. How terribly sad it is for these special creatures to endure such times of harshness and darkness, and of complete isolation, where love is as remote to them as the moon is to most of us. At the same time though, I think of how these innocent souls reveal to us that not all hope is lost, for in rehabilitation and adoption, they too, like us, can be made new again through mercy, compassion, patience and grace.

The main part of the song says, “Everything rides on hope now, everything rides on faith somehow, so when the world has broken me down, your love sets me free” and that is exactly what the Refuge does for these loving creatures, it helps them be free once again and that is a beautiful thing. Two days ago marked the third month of my long-awaited adoption - One that I am absolutely sure would not have been as successful thanks to Karen and Richard’s suggestions and love for this wonderful bird kingdom we are privileged to have. I thank God for people like Karen and Richard. I can’t imagine doing what they do - 24/7 unconditional love for so many birds is something absolutely remarkable, and I am blessed to have come across their path as well as blessed to have come across my loving Too and friend, Stash.

So for an update on Stash for those of you at the Refuge who love him to death, here is the latest on how he is doing: A few new ones are, or maybe not so new at all, only blasts from the past, maybe? Who knows...? He blew a kiss at me the other day, but hasn’t done it again. Oh well, at least that’s what I thought I heard. He now asks what? and says 'hola' – of that I’m sure. He loves to dance to the Salsa beat, and he screams out these hilarious tunes I never heard before when he is around children. (I am sure he thinks he sounds very professional!) He now officially barks when he wants to be put to bed, instead of screaming it out. Dogs love him by the way, and he loves them too – of course we keep a close watch on them just in case, but the love is definitely there. Stash also likes to be bathed now on a more regular basis. Our home is a two-story house and he was extremely nervous the first few times we took him upstairs to be bathed, but now he actually looks forward to it. I’ve also been trying different types of foods. He loves Trader Joe’s Gluten & Dairy free homestyle pancakes and their brown rice. He is not a big veggie eater except for corn, which is not the best, I know, but I still let him splurge. Grapes and green apples are his favorite fruit, but his favorite food of all time is definitely scrambled eggs. I have a feeling if I fed him only eggs, he’d never get tired of them, ever!

I’d never had a cockatoo before, only Amazons. I’ve learned however that they are completely different, although similar in many ways. The first few weeks with Stash, I thought that taking him from the Refuge wasn’t such a good idea after all. I felt he was miserable with us and missed the Refuge too much. I was also beginning to worry since I am gone two days a week for a long time. Eight hours to be exact. That first day when I left him and came home, I found he had torn an entire two phone books to shreds and filled his cage half way with paper! His cage looked like a paper pool and his little eyes were looking at me as if saying: ‘where were you!!?? I was bored, lonely, aaaaahhhhh!! Even his feathers looked a little frazzled. In my panic, I called Karen, who, thankfully, assured me he did the only thing he knew to do from getting bored, since I had spent the previous four days with him on and off the entire time. Well of course she was right. In time, he has become more comfortable with our routine, and I with him. Richard as well has always been there to reassure me that Stash would be fine; after all, Stash just happens to have been one of his special babes for many years before I ever even came along. Thanks guys! I hope I’m doing a good job.

Stash is an amazing being. He is the coolest bird around, and one of the coolest things is that he likes me for me and likes most of my creations. I love making all his toys with paper rolls and boxes and more phone books, and more paper rolls- the possibilities are endless, because it’s what he loves most, cardboard and paper and so, the recycling goes on and on. He’ll let me know which ones he likes and which ones he doesn’t by either ignoring them or absolutely tearing them into a thousand tiny little pieces. So now I know that while I’m gone, he’s going to be either looking for nuts and berries in his prop tunnels and such, or spending some time shredding those phone books he finds so enticing, or spending time inside his beloved boxes; something I don’t think he will ever outgrow or get bored with either. Oh yeah, one of the funniest things is that he shreds all my junk mail, I mean, it’s like having a living shredder or something right out of a Flintstones’ episode in my own home, lol! At first, I really wasn’t sure about getting a cockatoo since I’d never had one, but I’m so happy Karen and Richard thought Stash would fit right in with us. I want to say though that cockatoos are not for everyone. However, if you’ve ever had a big bird, and you like to spend time with them, then a cockatoo might be for you. Toos are also love bugs and if you are like me, someone who likes to chill out with her bird and share some preening, then a Too might be for you. Keep in mind also that unlike cockatiels and the smaller species, they are messier and louder. The screaming, if not curbed, can be quite distracting, annoying and frustrating. It is one of the main reasons they are given up, so please think about it before you decide to get one – you need to commit to them, otherwise you’ll end up being part of the problem as well. If you are anxious about getting a bird like a Macaw, a Cockatoo or even an Amazon or Grey, please take your time in doing so, and don’t adopt one on impulse. Listen to what Karen and Richard have to say and don’t take it for granted, disregard it or get upset if they feel a cockatoo would not be best for you or any type of bird you ‘think’ you might want for that matter. They know these birds, and they know what type of personality will be good for you and who you will be good for also. Remember that you too are a potential match for a bird out there, so wait for each other and the perfect one.

Until next time to all you wonderful volunteers, to Karen and Richard (who were meant to be one) to the waiting birds, who have been fortunate and blessed enough to have landed at the Refuge and who are here on earth to make our existence a little less painful and a whole lot brighter, full of wonder, intrigue and love.

Much love always,
Alex & John Quijano/Stash’s mom and dad

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