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Happy Endings

- 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.

Boomer 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.

Melita 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!

Parrot Island
5090 MacKinnon Road
Peachland, BC V0H 1X2
Phone: (250) 767-9030