Our Community Outreach Program covers 5 different areas:
- Helping Hands- It is our goal to help the parrot to be able to stay in the home instead of being surrendered if possible. This could be due to a variety of needs. We will always encourage behavioral counseling if there is a behavioral problem. If the problem is financial (with proper vetting) we might be able to help a person who has lost their job, gone thru a divorce, etc. to have food and necessary medical for a very short period of time while they get back on their feet. This is NOT a guarantee as it always depends on our financial state as well. The person will be asked to provide proof of financial need.
Another reason Helping Hands might need to step in and help would be for a bird that has become aggressive. We would like to be able to go into the home (in person, with volunteer help, or via phone/skype) and help to counsel this person to work with the bird and be able to keep him. Many people don't have anyone to turn to when a bird starts to display serious behavioral problems. We want to be able to step in and help instead of having yet another bird be surrendered. Please note- this service is not always free. Each circumstance will require our team to make the decision that is necessary. Even if we can't step in and help we have a few behavior counselors we can refer you to.
- Safe Haven- Helping parrots that belong to victims of domestic violence situations. This program has not been started yet, but our dream is to offer a place for birds that belong to victims of domestic violence a place for their bird to be safe. This program will offer a 90 day free Haven, each case being reviewed after the 90 days to decide if the stay can be extended. All birds will be required to have disease testing.
Some Statistics you should know:-
- 60% of domestic violence victims have had a pet killed by their abuser.
- Over 40% of abused women delay going to a shelter because many shelters don't welcome pets.
- 85% of homes where domestic violence occurs also have a pet being abused.
- 70% of animal abusers also have criminal records for other crimes. Battered women have been known to live in their cars for over 4 months until a space opens at a pet-friendly safe house.
Now let’s look at some more facts...
Reasons why batterers abuse or kill pets:
- Used to display power and control over the family
- Helps to isolate the victims, women, and children
- To make victims be submissive
- Helps to instill terror in the victims
- A way to retaliate for “disobedience”
- A way to force victims to participate in the abuse or to keep the abuse secret
- Pet may be viewed as competition for the victims' attention
- To force a victim to return home after leaving
- Buys the silence of a child who is being abused or watching a parent be abused
What can we do to help?
- If you are a victim of domestic violence:
- Develop an emergency plan for yourself and your pets
- Make arrangements with trusted friends to take your pet in an emergency
- Establish ownership of your pet
- Have your pets needed care items together in one spot for quick exit
- If you must leave your pet behind, contact law enforcement and animal control for help removing the pets from the abusers' care
- If you are a victim of domestic violence:
- Nursing Home/Rehabilitation Visits - We want to be able to take some of our more gentle birds into the nursing homes and visit with the residents. Many of these elderly (and sometimes young handicapped people) don't have anyone come to visit them at all. We want to be the people who show we care. Our ability to do this will depend on our Haven's circumstances at that time and whether we even have a gentle bird we can take in.
- PTSD- Veteran Help. There are many veterans out there that have serious baggage from their time in the war. The same can be said of many of our parrots. It has been proven over and over again that animals help to calm people down and birds are no different. This program became a goal after the director contacted and visited Serenity Park- a parrot organization that is on the property of the VA Hospital in Los Angeles California. They are making a huge impact on the veteran community and we believe (while we will never have as much impact as they have due to the involvement of actual counselors and psychologists) that we can help to bring mutual healing between the birds in our care and the veterans that come here to volunteer. Check out www.parrotcare.org to see how they are changing the lives of these veterans on a daily basis.
- Special Needs Program - Wings of Love Bird Haven has partnered with Soaring Eagles- a day program that provides social, educational, vocational, and residential needs for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We were able to partner with them on North Texas Giving Day and have continued to partner with them in various ways.
- They have come here to our facility and helped us with our toy-making for the parrots. These adults just love knowing that they are helping to make a difference and we LOVE having them and seeing their passion. We look forward to working with other groups along the way. We hope this will eventually include us being able to partner with some special needs students in some of the k-12 schools. Students can get involved in making toys, making snacks for our birds, etc. If you know of a special needs group in the Ferris/Red Oak/Waxahachie TX area that would like to partner with us please let us know.