Lila's Sponsorship

Me and Lilas story. 

Thirteen years ago, I walked into this pet store, and in the very front was this beautiful young african grey being poked by a child with his toy. The cage was tiny and rusted, and Lila was in the back corner huddled and scared. I went to the child and told him to knock it off, and while he ran off to his mother, I went immediately to the store manager, "What is the story on that parrot in the front room? Don't you know that you can't stick an african grey in a small rusty cage in the front of petstore?". 

I had just finished reading several books about being a parrot owner, I wasn't feeling ready, but I was obliged to save this poor thing, or at least attempt to change her habitat for the time being. 

The store was on its way to closing permanently, and the manager replied "Do you want her or not? I'll give her to you for $600." He says to me as he walked over to her cage with a big glove. SHE LOSES IT, starts to scream and run to the very far corner of this cage. I was like "STOP! I don't need to hold her, let her be." 

I left to process my decision. But it wasn't for very long because I couldn't bare the thought of her having to go through that abuse any longer.  She looked sick and frail. 

For many years, it was me and her. And for many of those years, all I could really do for her was have her out a few hours a day, feed her dried fruits and veggies with her pellets, provide one-on-one training and attention. This was more than enough for her. She would sit out with me on her perch and be completely content.

But as the years passed, Lila grew up and started to need a lot more.. More time with me one-on-one, better diet, a partner, more toy variety, more enrichment, more time out of her cage prison. All things I've tried to give her but I'm 32 years old now, with a full time career and relationship with a guy that she wants nothing to do with despite his best efforts. My life is changing, and I feel like all of those things will become less of something I can provide for her. 

I've contemplated for years rehoming her, but the thought causes me immediate despair and guilt. Guilt that I will make the wrong decision for her ultimate happiness. I want Lila to have the best life, because she deserves it. Shes extraordinary. She doesn't scream, she doesn't pluck, shes been the best companion.

Lately, she's always begging to get out of her cage, especially in the morning, but when I let her out, shes trying to get to me (I'm getting ready for work). I feel her sadness. Every evening, I get her out from 4-5pm until about 7:30pm for dinner on her massive perch out with everyone. She eats happily, but after, she is trying to fly to me, but I am usually getting ready for the next day, making dinner, spending quality time with my boyfriend. Her sadness increases and I feel it. 

She won't let me cuddle her as much anymore because the bond is weakened by my lack of appropriate attention she needs/craves/yearns for! It kills me inside. Its time, I need to do whats best for her, and stop being selfish. 

I searched high and low for answers. I stumbled across Florida's Exotic Bird Sanctuary and immediately knew, "This is it!".

I toured there and the amount of effort put into caring for these exotic birds is nothing short of amazing. Patricia Norton, aka bird mom, loves EACH and EVERY bird she gains. Her acclimation system is catered to each birds personality. I feel instantly relieved that this will be Lila's forever home where she will live out her days (could be another 40 years +) with her very own kind outside in a massive space. She will get all the dietary needs met and veterinary care anytime if needed. I am so elated. 

Parrots are expensive, and to give Lila to this beautiful sanctuary will cost me a sponsorship of $3,500. This will cover the rest of Lila's life here at the sanctuary, e.g. food (pellets +fresh fruits and veggies daily), toys, around the clock veterinary care, and maintenance of the facility.

This is a very small price to pay for my beloved Lila to be the happiest she could ever be! But I need some help, will you please help me help Lila get the life she has always deserved? 
Lila will be 14 years old this November, 2018. Please help me give her the best birthday gift I possibly can! 
My dream for Lila is to experience same species companionship and the warm Florida sun on her feathers! 

Thank you so much for considering and a little bit goes a long way here! God bless! 

Dana and Lila
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Dana Pippin 
Gainesville, FL
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