Old World Aviaries

Sassy the Senegal

Gayla McGill

Sassy, the Senegal, was either mutilated in the nest or born with a birth defect. She has one good leg, on which she stands, while the other is drawn to her body with only one toe on that foot. She has one good wing while the other looks as though it has been folded in half. Now, if you could ask Sassy about her handicaps, she would simply tell you that she has none. Sassy is a very lucky bird to have had a breeder like Scott Lewis, who recognized just how much she had to offer someone that could accept her disability.

When I was given the opportunity to adopt Sassy, I knew instantly I wanted to be her “mom.” I must admit though, I did have some reservations about owning a handicapped bird. I was afraid that I could potentially be an enabler and thus, prevent her from growing into the best creature she could be.

After adopting Sassy though, it was quite apparent that she is a very independent “little girl” who does not need to be enabled. She has had to have a few accommodations but, overall, she has adjusted very well. She has a specially made cage in which her perches are kept low. She also has an acrylic platform that she accesses easily. It is from here that she is able to look out the window which she thoroughly enjoys. Regardless of the challenges, Sassy finds a way to adapt and compromise. For example, because she does not have good balance, she lies on her back to beat up her toys. There is nothing that she can’t find a way to achieve.

Sassy has watched and learned from my other birds and can do almost everything they can do. She climbs up to the top of her cage and hangs with her good foot. When she is on her perch, she grabs the side with her beak and swings herself down. In turn, she has developed incredibly strong muscles to compensate for her disability.

Now, I must tell you about Sassy’s real attributes. She is merely a year old and is an incredible talker. Better yet, she knows exactly when to say the right things. Not only does Sassy have an expansive vocabulary, she has a tremendous personality to match it. Sassy has vast potential and it continues to be a daily pleasure to watch her mature.

Sassy is a beautiful little girl that has added so much joy to my life. I could not imagine my life without her. I am sincerely grateful that she was not euthanized and her life and care was entrusted to me. Not only have I found that she is really easy to please and care for, she makes life more fun. If the opportunity arose, I would not hesitate to adopt another handicapped bird and I encourage others to consider the possibility as well.

Sassy’s Proud Mom


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