Free As A Bird
After a three-year stint in the Army as an ammunition specialist during the late 1970s, Christopher Driggins, now 57, found himself still fighting, long after his military career ended. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had taken hold of his life and he withdrew socially. His salvation came in a surprising form: a Goffin’s cockatoo named Cezar. Read entire article
Helps Veterans Find Healing and Hope
Early every morning, a perfect falsetto disrupts Paul Thomas’ dreams as Magoo, one of his talking African gray parrots, alerts him that it’s time to face the day.
Within minutes, another parrot, Sabrina, and a cockatoo named Murphy are also chiming in, leading Thomas to sigh and reach for his slippers, then smile, knowing that his birds will greet him with friendly squawks and a wisecrack or two.
“I tend to them and they tend to me,” says the former Air Force firefighter… Read entire People Magazine article
Ladd is one of many veterans turning to birds as therapy or emotional support animals thanks to Parrots for Patriots, a program that pairs abandoned birds with veterans in need throughout the Northwest. Birds are helpful because they provide routine and responsibility that some veterans — especially those who have post-traumatic stress disorder — feel they lack after leaving service, founder Chris Driggins said. Read the whole article here.
Serenity Park is a sanctuary for rescued birds. Begun in Los Angeles, as a partnership between VA and a nonprofit organization on the grounds of the West LA VA Medical Center, it is a program that treats homeless veterans for alcoholism, substance abuse, and PTSD. Started as an experimental partnership the program offers a career training program in avian care as part of the veterans therapy program.
LA Times March 11, 2015
NY Times Article Jan 28th 2016