Everyone needs a friend — especially when they’re going through a hard time — and that’s just what Coco is for Lucky Lou, a bird struggling with lung cancer.
The pair have been through so much together already. They found each other at the World Parrot Refuge in Vancouver, Canada, after being dumped by their former owners, who didn’t realize how much work keeping an exotic bird was.
“The refuge was kind of like Canada’s dumping ground for unwanted parrots,” Danita Morrison, who runs the online shop Things for Wings and the parrot owner help forum Avian Avenue, told The Dodo.
“Lucky started pulling out her feathers and she came to the refuge literally cussing because her former owner had started cussing at her,” Morrison said.
Lucky’s struggles didn’t end once she came to the refuge. Last year, the refuge got overcrowded and started losing money — and then the owner got sick and passed away. All 584 birds at the refuge needed rescuing yet again.
That’s where Morrison found Lucky Lou and Coco, huddling together in a cage. She immediately knew she had to help these friends, so she adopted both of them. And Dr. Anne McDonald, a veterinarian at Night Owl Bird Hospital and Greyhaven Exotic Bird Sanctuary, stepped in to help rehome the other birds left homeless when the refuge closed.
Ever since, Lucky and Coco have been inseparable in their new home. And that’s why, when it was discovered that Lucky was sick with lung cancer, Coco has been beside her as much as possible. She even visits her when Lucky has to be admitted to the hospital, thanks to Morrison, who drives her there since she understands how important it is for Coco to be there for Lucky.
Currently, Lucky is staying at the hospital so she can be nearby an incubator when she goes into respiratory distress. And Coco misses her terribly, especially at night, since they usually sleep in the same cage together. “Coco cries at bedtime,” Morrison said. “She misses her for sure.”
During the day, Coco clings to Morrison more while her friend is away. “I carry her everywhere at home on my shoulder so she can manage,” Morrison said.
Coco also blows off some steam by doing her favorite activity: dancing.
But sometimes only a visit to Lucky helps calm Coco. “Coco loves to visit Lucky and bounces all the way to the clinic when I tell her where we are going,” Morrison said. “Lucky just snuggles into both of us when we get there.”
During Coco’s latest visiting hours, she nuzzled up to Lucky’s head with her little beak, as though she were giving her friend a kiss. And the missing is mutual. “Lucky puts her wings around both Coco and me when we visit,” Morrison said.
Until Morrison gets an incubator for her own home, so that Lucky doesn’t have to go to the hospital for emergency oxygen, these visits help everyone feel hopeful. But it’s still hard to say goodbye.
“I put my hand up to leave and she put her little foot up,” Morrison said. “I never believed in miracles really, but now I dream that perhaps Lucky has a miracle.”
Even though Lucky may not have much time left, she’s surrounded by love. And, in a sense, considering where she came from, that’s the greatest miracle of all.