Who and Why
Our foster program aims to put birds who need one-on-one attention with people who need one-on-one attention. The expectation is that the bird candidate cannot typically be cut loose in general population, but can offer emotional support in varying degrees from home only care to going everywhere.
The typical foster is someone with a special need who will form a special bond with the animal. These needs can range from a simple companion to unable to safely function in public without their ESA.
ESAs are ideal for mood disorders, especially PTSD typically consistent with veterans of combat (see Psychology Today, Lafeber, and Today). Mental scars never heal, but the right ESA can smooth.
Service animals like dogs and ponies adapt to our needs. Conversely, the person adapts to the ESA. By adapting, the person's emotions become focused on the animal and it takes priority. Some people you don't want to run into without their ESA. If their ESA was a dog, the dog would join the fight and only make things worse. Psychology doesn't always fit into nice little boxes.
Parrots are the opposite of dogs in many ways and fragile. They are a lifelong commitment like a human partner. Many species are tool makers, with great ape intelligence. Like people, they are independent with complex social relationships. They choose and unchoose you. Getting into a scrap could void your parrot relationship or damage them permanently.
A parrot ESA comforts and distracts you from potential triggers by providing a positive relationship. Like any other partnership, they want to please you as much as you want to please them. Most will go out of their way to reserve their pooping for a special area. Many will readily potty on command given a safe range to do so in.
Domestication is a trauma for parrots. Some get overly bound to one person and consistency of handling. Changes can be devastating to them, which makes them so perfect for this job. If you love your bird, the last thing you want is something to cause them to start plucking, mutilating, or escalating their existing nervous conditions.
Many ESAs are home-based and do not need to be socially agreeable. Registry makes it easier to show the animal is not just a pet. It is protected by The Fair Housing Act and other disabilities accommodations. They only protect one animal.
If your ESA is to go in public, then only an ESA who is socially agreeable can participate. You don't want to take an animal out into public as an emotional support animal who attacks people. A parrot will invite people and put smiles on most faces, which adds to reducing the potential triggers of a mood disorder.
We no longer offer registry services.
It is advisable to register and get a card (as low as $20 on Amazon). When asked if your parrot is a service animal, you answer only with the card to avoid legal problems. Many states are now citing and fining people who misstate emotional support as service animals. Many establishments are now using this as an excuse to literally chase you down and refuse service.
The ADA and many state law makers still don't appreciate the importance of mental health or ESAs. Many grocery stores and offices of social security refuse ESAs while hospitals, doctors offices, nursing homes, most restaurants, etc. do. Our advice is to not patronize those places that refuse your ESA.
Come as a volunteer/visitor and leave as a foster parront. Like dating, it sounds easier than it is because the criteria for completion is commitment to a loving marriage for life. That doesn't happen in one visit. It happens in as many visits as it takes to form the right bond. We aren't here to send pets home for free. We are here to help two living beings in need.
We will not look at your service or medical records or ask about them, nor do we need to. We have staff qualified to see if you have a valid need or not to participate. It is your responsibility to have a regular record to show the need for an emotional support animal. Talking to us is confidential, but if you are seeking counseling we are likely to refer you to professional services.
We have two types of fosters: those who can support the animal, and those who can't. We do not charge a fee and this is not an adoption. The animal remains the technical property of the sanctuary. You cannot sell or convey it, and upon your death it comes here. Upon its death, we need a necropsy for our records. The difference is whether we or you provide for medical expenses and healthy diet.
We do screen for problematic living conditions, but generally to help you with establishing a safe and enriching environment for the bird. We do not expect perfection and we aren't here to judge.
We see animals and people living happily in a full range from pristine to hording conditions. We also see them miserable. We simply want healthy and happy. We are here to help make sure things will work for you and the bird. Our visits and communications are protected as confidential.
Special needs animals who cannot be admitted to the property due to communicable disease, behavioral issues, species conflicts, etc. can be part of the program but would require the participant and person surrendering the animal to make arrangements. We would simply make the contact and the animal is never in our system. They can qualify as emotional support animals for housing purposes, but you won't need an ID card for that.