Polly want a cracker? How about Polly want a loving home with a veteran?
Parrots for Patriots is an organization that works with the Department of Veterans Affairs to match veterans with parrots and other birds up for adoption. A parrot can be a wonderful companion. They do not require as much effort to care for as a dog (you don’t have to walk them) and they can talk back!
Christoper Driggins founded Parrots for Patriots in 2015 to help veterans find healing and hope. Parrots and other pets can bring smiles and solace to those in pain or brighten up a dreary day. The organization is not unusual or the first. Birds and bird song have been used to calm and quiet the mind and reduce anxiety and stress. In Los Angeles, the West LA VA Medical Center started a successful therapy program that includes learning to care for birds.
Driggins says “birds are helpful because they provide routine and responsibility some veterans—especially those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder—feel they lack after leaving the service.”
The veterans are not the only ones who benefit. Some of the birds come from sanctuaries with their own scars to heal and can form a bond with their masters on the road to recovery.
Parrots for Patriots is working to attract more sponsors as well as volunteers, so they can help more veterans as well as help defray the costs of purchasing a bird along with all the necessary supplies. They are currently working with the Northwest Bird Rescue of Vancouver, Washington to find the right bird for each veteran, with a particular focus on helping homebound and disabled veterans, but any veteran can apply. They are also looking for individuals who would like to sponsor a veteran as well as retailers willing to offer discounts.
Do you know someone who started an organization that helps veterans? Nominate them for next weeks AmericanTown’s Heroes.