The Kindness of Creatures . . .
In an article titled "What Does a Parrot Know About PTSD?" (New York Times Magazine, January 28, 2016), Charles Siebert writes of some very special parrots who help soldiers deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). After some time of getting acquainted, Siebert says good-bye to Cashew (not depicted above), "a six-inch-tall female caique parrot from the Amazon Basin":
Nearing Serenity Park's exit, I decided to turn back and step inside Cashew's quarters for a moment. I had only to nestle close to her perch and she immediately hopped on my back. Crisscrossing my shoulders as I had watched her do with Lilly Love, she stopped at one point for what I assumed would be the parrot equivalent of a kiss. Instead, she began to clean my teeth: her beak lightly tapping against my enamel, the faint vibrations strangely soothing. Immediately afterward, she took a brief nap in my shirt's left breast pocket - it felt as if I'd grown another heart - then re-emerged and crawled to the top of my head. She strolled about there for a time before plucking out one of her own deep blue-green feathers and then descending to gently place it on my left shoulder. I have it still.And to think that we used to call them birdbrains . . .