~This story was written by Maria from The Eclectus Connection~
Tito, a Vosmaeri Eclectus, came to us when he was 6. His daddy, a very busy and successful executive, used to work long hours and Tito was alone at home for 12-14 hours/day. Despite this, I know he was happy, well loved and well cared for. I first met Tito at the office, I was new there; his daddy and I used to work for the same company and he would bring Tito to the office prior to leaving on a business trip to Europe. Tito was then taken to a boarding place for a week or more.
It was love at first sight for me, I’d never seen an Eclectus parrot before…I kept watching this beautiful parrot walking through the office, searching for his dad, couldn’t believe my eyes how quiet and good he was. He angrily refused the treats his dad gave him (to make up a bit for his upcoming absence). I went to him and offered my arm without knowing that it could have been dangerous; Tito just stepped on, taken by surprise!
In the meantime, Tito’s dad had gotten married and his wife was expecting the first baby. One day I heard Tito’s father asking everyone in the office whether they would like to take Tito. He and his wife felt they couldn’t take good care of Tito and the baby at the same time. Tito’s mother was not a parrot lover.
I was shocked and saddened!
When his dad asked me about Tito, I promised to discuss this with my husband; we had long discussions, neither of us was really convinced that we needed a pet at that time. I was extremely depressed after major tragedies in my life (my parents’ death, my beloved dog’s death) and couldn’t even think of another pet. I used to have parakeets years ago and for some reason imagined that it wouldn't be that difficult to take care of Tito. We started reading books about Eclectus parrots and searching the Internet; the more we read, the less ready and more concerned we felt. Such a responsibility!!!
We finally decided to bring Tito into our home…He came with his huge, expensive cage, favorite toys, and 6 years of a happy life with his special, intelligent dad. When I picked him up he was in a small carrier, scared and vulnerable, trying to get his dad’s attention. In the car, while I was holding the carrier, he was very agitated and desperately called his father’s name in a sweet voice. It was the first and the last time he called his dad… I felt so sorry for him, I was almost crying.
After we released him into his cage (it was already at home, with his toys and beautiful bowls), he felt better and tried to take a nap. At bed time we left him in the living room and went upstairs, though we worried about him. When I heard him moving through the cage, wing flapping (exercising before sleep) I was so worried, thinking he was sick. The next day we left him alone in his new home, as we had to work. He must have felt so lonely and lost. Tito was always very good, though, quiet and well mannered. We never heard him screaming. He would make sweet noises, sometimes asking “What” in French.
A week later, while Tito and I were alone at home, I heard someone talking in a very deep voice in the house…I was frozen, my heart almost stopped!!! When I was able to move, I started running through the house checking on every door, window and closet. All the horrible thrillers that I used to see when I was very young came to my mind…I was ready to call my husband or the police when I heard the voice again; I was terrified, and ran to see how Tito was. Tito had been taking a nap, but opened his eyes and watched me for a while. He was so calm that I decided I needed to calm down too. I suddenly had a feeling that Tito might have been the one talking, because he called his father in the car... but that deep voice?! I was so anxious to ask his daddy the next day that I wasn’t even able to concentrate on my work after my horrible sleepless night. He confirmed that Tito had such talking abilities! I wish he gave me more information on Tito before!
Tito was a “closet talker”, and he spoke French... but after 3 weeks he was calling my husband's name, hesitantly at first, then perfectly pronounced within several weeks.
Another surprise was to discover Tito on the top of his cage when we came back from work. We would usually leave the cage door closed during our absence. What had happened, had a stranger broke into our home and released Tito?! I found out later that it was piece of cake for Tito to open the door.
It's now been 7 years since that August day when Tito became a family member.
He's been through a lot since then (we have moved twice, and our new apartment building has undergone repair/demolition works for 4 years – extremely loud noises such as jack hammering, etc.). When I came home once I saw Tito desperately flying and crashing against walls/windows... I understood what he had been through during my absence! I had to take him to a boarding place (very nice, clean, professional people, but still a boarding place, noisy because of the numerous birds) where he spent many months, coming home only on week ends, going back on Mondays... Every separation was heartbreaking, we were already very attached to each other and our little boy couldn't understand why he didn't have a home any longer.
In 2006 I wasn't able to stand that situation (repair works going on forever, Tito deprived of a real home, me stressed on daily basis) and started looking for a new home for Tito.
I discovered Carolyn and asked for help. She was wonderful, gave me advices, supported me... I will never stop being grateful for her kindness and understanding.
Many people were interested in taking Tito; we even met with a few people from the TEC list. I probably exchanged hundreds of emails at that time. Tito was watching me with a sad look, I was sure he understood what I was doing. All the people we have been in contact with were very nice, however I couldn't find that special home I was hoping for... The last tentative attempt to place him was when we took Tito to someone's house, they were extremely nice people, who liked him very much. We were determined to leave Tito with them. Tito, though, was terrified, stressed and started obsessively calling my husbands' name. It was too much for all of us, so we just took him home and he stayed with us.
For the next 2 years we've been “under siege” (I was working from home at that time, while my husband was sick): very loud repair works all day, every day even on week ends, moving Tito's cage all around the apartment, desperately trying to avoid those disturbing noises. On several occasions we rented a small room for myself and Tito in order to escape the nightmare. Not even once was Tito a bad, nervous boy! All the people who met him said how well behaved and mannered he was: always sweet, patient, dancing, enjoying our company, grateful for every moment we spent together. He is so sensitive, he knows when I am depressed or sad...
For the last 2 years we haven't heard him saying long sentences any longer, probably because of the stress he had in his life with us. I don't mind that he never calls my name and that he stops me when I raise my voice or he thinks I am not nice enough to my husband (he adores him from a distance).
He still doesn't like showers (he loves to take a bath in his bowls), he never lets me do his nails or hold him on my lap. Tito gave me kisses very shortly after he came to us; however he would rather talk to us from a distance, watch us, dance. But he has never failed showing us his love!!!
We were dreaming about taking a companion girl for him, he's been too lonely. Unfortunately, not the best moment now... I feel I still have tons of things to do for Tito, but I am not able to achieve all of them: we don't really take him outside very often, he doesn't see many people. Tito doesn't have many toys...He has 2 trees and the living room as his own room. His diet is good, thanks to Carolyn and all the other members, who posted advices. Carolyn has been with me for all these years, she has helped us so much!
Thank you, Carolyn, for understanding my concerns, my fear and our stress!!
I learned so much through Tito, from Tito and for Tito!!! We love him deeply and I hope he knows that...
Thank you, Meg, for giving me the chance to write Tito's story!