Rosie the people-loving parrot craves attention

Lesha Koch of the Hillsboro Animal Clinic shares a cup of coffee with Rosie, an affectionate eclectus parrot, which is native to the Solomon Islands. Koch and Rosie have been common companions for the past two years.Animal patients, and the people who love them, can always count on warm greetings at Hills?boro An?i??mal Cli?nic. But sometimes that welcome will come from 10-year-old Rosie, a sensitive and lovable eclectus parrot.

Lesha Koch, a doctor of veterinary medicine at HAC, said Rosie is ?very social? and likes being petted.

?It takes a bit for her to warm up (to someone), but she is social and likes to be around people,? she said. ?Rosie does get upset if she thinks an animal is hurting, too, like a puppy crying.?

Even so, Koch said HAC is a perfect place for her,

?Parrots require a lot of attention,? she said. ?Rosie sees people go in and out, and she?s never lonely.?

Along with human contact, Rosie has other clinic critters to keep her company.

Ruby and Tiger are two in-house cats, and Tucker belongs to HAC owner Jessica Winter, doctor of veterinary medicine, Koch said.

?If I am in the office doing paperwork,? she said, ?Tucker and Rosie will be on the floor together. They are buddies.?

Cats respect Rosie, she said, and the bird isn?t afraid of them because it has a strong enough beak it can use to protect itself.

?She runs the place,? Koch said.

Even though Rosie has a cage in the office and at Koch?s home, she rarely spends time in it.

?If I walk by her cage (or another staff member does), she will jump on a shoulder, and most, but not all, people don?t mind if Rosie is in the exam room,? she said.

Rosie?s native land

Rosie hails from the Solo?mon Islands where there are four sub-species, Koch said.

The females have mostly bright red and purple/blue plumage and the males have a bright emerald green and yellow plumage.

?We don?t see females as often here,? she said.

Even though Rosie is a decade old, Koch has only had her for about two years.

?I met (Rosie) when I was on an internship as a vet student, and then I came back five years later and practiced (in Lyons) and got to be her doctor,? she said.

Although a healthy, happy parrot, Rosie was injured a few years ago after running into a window.

?It damaged her beak, and now it grows crooked so we need to keep it trimmed,? she said. ?We also trim Rosie?s nails every four to six weeks.?

Koch said they routinely conduct health screenings, complete with blood work.

?We do it to make sure she has no diseases that could be transmitted to other birds or parrots that come in (to the clinic),? she said.

Her first home

Rosie?s first owner had the bird for eight years, but he was taking on a new job that would demand a lot of time from him.

?Because he loved Rosie, he asked me if I would take her,? she said. ?He knew I would give her more time than he could. He loved her and wanted to spend time with Rosie, but he knew what was best for her.?

During those early years of Rosie?s life, her first owner socialized her well, she said.

Two years ago, when she received the call from her friend asking if she would want her, she told him, ?absolutely.?

?Rosie was going through puberty and was more ornery back then,? she said.

Prior to moving to Hillsboro, Rosie was with Koch at another vet clinic.

When she said the opportunity to be at HAC came up, the two came here, but it was hard for the other office to see both of them go.

?They were all extremely gracious and kind in letting Rosie come with me when I left,? she said.

Rosie?s routine

Twice a week and on weekends, Rosie goes home with Koch.

?The days in the middle of the week is when Rosie takes a shower and she has her own perch,? she said.

If Rosie doesn?t get her bath in the shower a couple of times a week, Koch said, she will dunk her head in the water bowl to give herself a bath.

?It?s Rosie?s way of telling me she is ready.?

Like most pets, Rosie has her little quirks. For example, Rosie enjoys coffee breaks.

?She only likes hot coffee, but I don?t let her have much because of the caffeine,? Koch said.

Rosie also likes jewelry or anything that?s shiny.

?She likes earrings a lot. She also likes eating almonds,? Koch said. ?She will roll the almond around in her mouth peeling it, and then very carefully will spit it out and the almond will be all white.?

Rosie doesn?t like ice cream, though, and will spit it out because it?s too cold.

She is observant and she likes most everyone, Koch said.

?Very rarely does she not like someone,? she said. ?When that happens, we say she is a good judge of character, but it doesn?t happen often.?

Koch said she takes Rosie outside on her shoulder when the weather is warmer.

?She likes the sun,? Koch said.

Along with walks in the sun, Rosie likes visiting the hardware store where sales clerks give her ?Smarties? when she walks in.

?Rosie also likes going to the bank and the girls there love to see her come in,? she said.

In addition, Rosie likes to go on-call, but prefers not to get involved in cattle work.

?When she?s in the vehicle, she likes to sit up high and look out the window. When I stop, she will sit on the dash and see what?s going on,? she said.

To keep her safe, Koch said she usually leaves Rosie in the vehicle.

?She rarely gets scared, but if she does, I need to be conscious of that.?

Buddies

Even though Rosie likes most everyone, she does act differently around Koch than she does with other people.

?Rosie has bonded with me,? Koch said. ?I have spent a lot of time with her. She knows my voice and she has very good sight.?

Rosie is intelligent, and people don?t always realize how intelligent birds are, she said.

As for other animals and why Koch said she became a veterinarian, it?s because she loves animals.

Feathered, furred or scaled?it doesn?t matter.

?I have always wanted to become a vet,? she said because she loves animals and the people who own them.

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