Posted on May 09, 2019
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
Living my life, everything just seems normal to me. But when I have guests over, I see my life through their eyes and realize how funny it all is: dogs constantly barking out the windows, Zazu screaming along with them, and a chicken, Peggy by my side making cute purring sounds. People often ask me how I’m able to work with all the noise and distractions, and my only answer is that I can’t work any other way! I don’t really notice how loud Zazu is, I guess the noise becomes part of the fabric of my animal-surrounded, fur-covered, feather-dusted, pet-loving life.
I met Zazu soon after I met Jay. She had belonged to his ex-wife and kids. She wasn’t getting any attention, was locked in a cage all of the time, and once I realized how deprived and neglected she was, I arranged for her to come live with Jay and me. Because she was bored and alone, she had plucked out all her feathers, except the cluster on top of her head. She seemed empty, wide-eyed, and desperate for attention. I made her a big house full of toys and activity, but never closed the door so she could be with us. She took bird baths in the sun, played with toys, ate dinner with us, sat in our laps while we watched movies, perched on my shoulder as I worked at my desk, and even created meals in the kitchen with Jay, hanging off his shirt while he cooked, watching his every move.
In time Zazu’s feathers grew back and she was soon covered in pure white, with peach and yellow highlights. Today Zazu is gorgeous! My favorite time of the day is late in the evening when everyone is clean, fed, and cared for, and I can cuddle with Zazu on the couch. She sits on my chest, puffs up all her feathers, and closes her eyes as I kiss and pat her. She is so affectionate!
Zazu has an interesting relationship with our human kids. She is jealous of them because of her early years locked up in a cage watching them get all the attention, but she also wants to play with them. Because she has bitten them in the past, we’re careful not to let her very close, but she loves to dance with our youngest daughter. Cheyanne is a dancer and plays music and practices every day. When it’s rehearsal time, Zazu gets very excited, putting the feathers on her head straight up in the air, jumping up and down, and spinning around in circles to the beat. Zazu will dance as long as Cheyanne will. It’s adorable!
If I were queen of the world, I’d make it so birds couldn’t live in captivity. Birds are designed to live in huge flocks, screaming, chewing things, socializing, and flying free. Even though we love Zazu, and she is as happy as she can be with us, I sometimes feel so sad thinking about the life she should be living in the rain forests with fifty other birds, having babies, playing with friends, and loving a mate. She could never do those things now, so of course, we’ll love her, nurture her, and provide for her for the rest of her life. And we hope that dancing with our kids, barking with the dogs, playing with toys, and loving us will be enough to make her happy!
Want to love Zazu with us? Please sponsor Zazu, get emailed, behind the scenes updates about her with new pictures, and be involved in her life, for the rest of her life. Thanks for being a part of our gentle family and loving animals with us!