Lovebirds to the Rescue at St. John Community

The soft purring of a cat or the wagging tail of a dog can bring joy and companionship to those who may otherwise feel lonely or isolated—reminding us that sometimes-in life, it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference.

As part of an agreement, the St. John Community relied on an outside company, which owned the birds, to provide the necessary care.  Unfortunately, in December of last year, the company decided to relocate and remove the birds from the community.

Sam Rapuk, Executive Director of the St. John Community, understood what the lovebirds meant to the residents, as well as, the limited options available for a skilled nursing facility to have pets. She immediately began a search on Petfinder, an online pet adoption website.

“I am big supporter of rescue animals…,” explained Rapuk, who used the site to adopt her own pet.  According to Rapuk, she found the “perfect match,” with the Parrot Education Adoption and Re-homing League, (PEARL) a nonprofit organization based out of Pittsburgh. Fortunately, PEARL had several birds available including Lovebirds, and Budgerigars.

A lovebird is a small and colorful parrot native of Africa and Madagascar. Lovebirds are about 5-6 inches long and come in a variety of bright colors, including green, blue, yellow, and orange. They are also known for their strong bond with their mate and are often seen cuddling or grooming each other.

On the other hand, a Budgerigar, also known as a budgie, is a small and colorful parakeet native to Australia. Budgies are around 7 inches long and come in a variety of bright colors, including blue, green, yellow, and white. They are well-known for their sociable and friendly nature. They are also quite active and playful, and enjoy climbing, swinging, and exploring their environment.

In the end, PEARL donated the birds to the community. The Lutheran SeniorLife Foundation provided a grant to purchase the cages and all the necessities to maintain the birds.

“It’s like everything lined up perfectly for us,” explained Rapuk. “They make a very nice addition to our community.”

In terms of upkeep, the community has taken on the responsibility of caring for the birds, including cleaning the cages, watering and feeding the birds.  “We have one resident who makes sure to take the cover off the bird’s home, so they are all ready to go for the day,” explained Rapuk.

Overall, lovebirds are wonderful pets and can bring many benefits to a senior living community including companionship, stress relief, mental stimulation and sense of purpose. “I love sitting and talking to the birds,” explained resident Sally Foster. “They are so relaxing.”

“They have been a huge success, the residents love them,” noted Rapuk. “This rescue, it couldn’t have worked out better.”