Addict Or Enthusiast?Too Many Pets!
By Renee Riley

The love and enthusiasm we have for our pets goes so deep. We want to save them, feed them, care for them and we want them to depend on us, much as if they were our own children.
For some of us, this runs very, very deep in our veins and sometimes we have to stop and ask ourselves if we are addicts or enthusiasts.

I know this is a controversial article, so I'll try to deliver it as easily as I can. There are no attacks intended, only factual information geared toward helping us to understand ourselves and our environments.
Cases of animal abuse swarm the country. At any given time you can go to the news and find something about someone abusing animals. Many of these cases are unfounded in the end, but many aren't. Cases of "collection" of animals are common more and more often in the larger cities. Birds in the hundreds being found in people's basements, stacked in teensy cages and in bad environments without much sunlight are being found yearly.
It's the cases like this which prompt my questioning as well as wondering what makes someone do something like that.

Studies show that people who become collectors are commonly lonely individuals who only want the best for the animals. They want to save them all, or to breed them to make money to take care of the rest. Sadly, too often they collect so many that they accidentally neglect them. This is one of the saddest types of a disorder, because the person's best intentions were geared toward the animal and never toward neglect.

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Sometimes it just becomes too much for them to handle and so they are afraid to seek the aid of a rescue organization or to give the animals away because they are afraid that someone won't take good care of them.

In the U.S., there are serious cases coming up left and right. I caution that if we are breeders, we need to only keep what we can care for on our property and if we are rescue oriented programs, that we rescue only as many as we can properly care for. I know our hearts run deep, but the lives and care of the birds are more important. It's a hard line to draw for some.
There are questions we should always ask ourselves first, before venturing onto a new bird as bird enthusiasts if we have more than 2 birds.

1. How many birds am I comfortable in taking care of every day, for the rest of my life?
2. How many birds can I provide food for, even on a tight budget if something goes wrong?
3. How many birds am I able to provide medical care for without monetary troubles which may effect the rest of the birds?
4. How many birds can I love at one time without someone else feeling neglected? This is a tough question. We can love millions of birds...I know I certainly can, but I can care for only 6 or so large birds at one time. That is the fact I have to realize every time we are begged to take in a new bird. We now have 3 and it's comfortable.

Should we end up with 6, it will still be comfortable. Should we take in 7, it will no longer be comfortable, time wise, for me to spend an hour a day with each bird.

There are lines we must draw. I prod every one of us to make our boundaries and to stick to them, because the best of intentions can so easily end up being the worst of a situation.

I applaud the rescue programs and I applaud the wonderful, dedicated individuals who breed parrots to keep the gene pools alive and to help to preserve the population of parrots. I applaud every one of you who has the strength to go back to a cage to try to love on a Moluccan Cockatoo who keeps embedding his beak in you every time you want to pet him because he was abused. I applaud all those wonderful people who dedicate their lives to the birds and their preservation, but I also caution each one of us that we must draw the line somewhere.

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