My adoption story begins on 3-24-2007. I had spent the weekend before this date in the hospital with my first episode that involved my heart. I left the hospital looking at life in a totally different way and wanting to make some changes. One of those changes was the decision to add another bird to our flock so Zoe could have a companion. We had thoughts of a small bird like Zoe (Conure) or possible something a tad larger like a Senegal. So I spent some time looking for stores and breeders in our area. I located 2 relatively close to each other and about 45 minutes to an hour away from home.

We set out that day finding one store with no trouble at all. It was a beautiful place.

They had a wide variety of birds, it was clean and the owner was very knowledgeable. We held an adorable Senegal but I insisted we see both stores before we purchased. With that said, we set out to find the other store. We drove around and around for what seemed like forever. My husband getting crankier by the minute. I was determined to find the store so I stopped for some lunch and hoped that would buy me some more time with the husband.

full bellies we set out in the same direction again this time going out about 2 miles further then the last three. It paid off! I found the street I had been looking for and as the excitement grew, I found the store. When I walked through the door my first thought was yuck! It was dark, dusty and looked nothing like it did online. As I tried to get my eyes to adjust to the lighting and figure out a polite way to just turn around and leave, my son called out from the back of the place, "Mom, come see this, they have an Eclectus". (My dream bird).

As I walked toward the back of the store the store owner said if we wanted we could enter the back room to see the birds. The store was set up so you could see all the birds through a large glass wall but had to enter through a door to actually touch them. We went in the door and we were greeted by a huge "hello". I quickly took in my surroundings. There was a female Eclectus in an incubator maybe 4 weeks old. Two beautiful yellow fronted amazons, about 40 sun Conures, a male Eclectus (the one that said hello), a cockatoo, a female Eclectus heading into a nesting box and a pair of ekkies in a small cage on the floor that resembled a box. My husband went immediately to the male Eclectus that was talking and whistling up a storm. The owner came in and let my husband hold him but told us he was his breeding male and was not for sale. He then went on to tell us that we could have "that one", referring to Zazu, for ½ price as he would require a lot of work.

I stood there in a fog as he told the story of the male and female pair in front of us. He went on to say how they were hatched in the middle of a living room floor, unwanted not only by their Eclectus mother but also her human owner. Raised most of their lives on a seed diet when fed. How they were neglected and abused only to be dumped off in a box at his store. My heart was breaking with every word until I looked at my husband and he looked at the store owner and said, "We'll take him". Still to this day I wish I could have saved the sister that was with him. I often think of her and wonder what fate she has endured. I contacted the store owner once in the last year but I found it too painful so I have done my best to convince myself she found a wonderful home just like Zazu did.

Within one hour we had purchased Zazu (to be picked up later), been to another pet store to buy a cage a carrier and some toys, come home to clean and set everything up and headed back out to pick up our new boy.

After quite the struggle trying to get Zazu from the cage to the carrier I began to think oh my, what have I got myself into? Am I capable to handle this bird? What was I thinking? The ride home turned out to be uneventful. He made no noise and just sort of coward on the floor of his carrier. We brought him into the house and set him on the table in the carrier to adjust for a while before we would have to struggle with him again to get him into the new cage. We decided the less traumatic way to do things would be to open the carrier in front of the cage and let him go at his own pace. He seemed almost curious..

We let him settle in that night. I don't think any of us slept much. He was alone in a strange20place, missing his sister I'm sure, and I was so full of excitemt I couldn't wait for morning.

We woke the next morning and uncovered Zoe. I gave her breakfast and lots of attention because I knew I would be disappearing into the other room to help our new boy feel at home. I uncovered him and he greeted me with a hello that brought tears to my eyes. Little did I know at that time I wouldn't hear him speak again for months.

I brought him breakfast that he dug into with great enthusiasm…He then started to explore the things around his cage. He didn't have any toys where I found him so he may have felt a little overwhelmed…I was so excited that everything was working out so great for about 2 days….but then it happened. He started to regress. He became very shy, quiet and withdrawn. I knew he was missing his sister. This was what prompted my call to the owner of the place I bought him from. He told me the sister was acting the same way. I hung up the phone heartbroken, never to call again.

So began our adventure to earn trust. I never knew how hard this could be. I sat near his cage for days, hours on end reading to him, talking to him and trying to feed him from hand. I cooked for him and sang to him and did everything to make him feel like he was part of the family. After quarantine we introduced him to Zoe and sometimes they even played together.

&nb sp;Over the next few months he learned how to shower with a spray bottle (then in the real shower), how to play with toys and how to eat good foods.

As time went on the trust began to build and a bond started to grow. He became more vocal and less terrified of my hands. He also gained what I like to call some independence. It has been a rollercoaster of up's and downs. Good days and bad.

We have been lucky to have made huge progress over the last few months. It's like Zazu has become a giant sponge. Like having another child, learning at leaps and bounds. Every moment more fulfilling then the last. He has learned to say a large vocabulary of words and steps up with no trouble at all. He plays and entertains himself and is becoming a great dancer.He also enjoys going out for walks in the park or just sitting in the shade with him Mama.

Zazu has finally become a true member of our family.