- by Kathy Woodward -
This month's happy-ending story is one
of a different sort. It's one that isn't necessarily
related to the SPCA but one that had a huge impact
on me, both personally and as an agent of the Kelowna
SPCA. After speaking to Joel's wife, Darlene, regarding
the abandonment and seizure of several exotic birds
at the coast, she suggested I speak with Ray Parks.
Ray Parkes and his wife Valerie run a rescue group
for abandoned and abused birds, they call their
life work 'Parrot Island', and they too had concerns
about the placement of these same exotic birds at
the coast. During my conversation with Ray, I invited
myself out to their sanctuary in Peachland.
I was curious about their setup, and overwhelmed
by the obvious passion
he had for the birds in his care. I also hoped that
his facility would offer a refuge for the exotic
birds that occasionally enter the shelter.
Although we would never refuse an animal at the
shelter, we lack the expertise, time, and equipment
necessary to house these exotic birds. Ray welcomed
my visit. Monday morning, Bernice, our volunteer
coordinator and myself drove out to Peachland. When
we arrived at Parrot Island, Ray and his wife greeted
us. They eagerly gave us the 'Grand Tour' of their
grounds and facilities.
The first part of the tour was a fenced area, where
they housed and cared for horses. The grounds were immaculately kept
and the animals were obviously well cared for.
Next it was on to the area where the dozens of rescued
birds were kept, well kept, I might add. It was
truly a sanctuary!! At first I was overwhelmed and
saddened by what I saw, not by the facility, but
by the neglect and abuse these birds had obviously
endured before being rescued. Many had plucked their
feathers out, from stress, boredom or frustration,
others called out in loud, shrill cries when we
entered. It was apparent that these birds shared
the same love and respect for Ray and Val as they
did for them. Upon realizing it was them that had
entered the shelter, the birds calmed and waited
eagerly for the Parksą as they acknowledged every
bird in the facility, one by one.
My sadness was quickly replaced by an incredible
feeling of 'warm fuzzies',
I couldnąt get over the respect I felt for these
two people who gave so much of themselves for these
birds. As they introduced us to each one, they told
us how they acquired them. Most were from people
who hadnąt realized the tremendous commitment these
creatures need to survive, a commitment Ray and
Val are willing to give to each and every one.
After the tour, we had coffee and shared stories
and dreams we each have for the animals in our care.
We learned of the tremendous amount of work and
money involved in running such a rescue group, but
not once did the Parksą complain. It is their life
and their passion, I wish them every success in
their endeavors, and invite you to share in that
passion by visiting Parrot Island.
It is well worth the drive!