Newspaper helps reunite lost Cockatiel with owners

10 years ago

    PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Hopefully Gypsy’s roaming days are behind her.
In last Wednesday’s issue of The Star-Herald, it was reported that a gray Cockatiel had been found Aug. 5 in the gravel parking lot of an apartment complex between Griffeth Ford and the University of Maine at Presque Isle.
Fortunately for Tom and Gayna Cook, who reside on Phair Street, a friend of Gayna’s noticed the bird’s photo on the front page of the newspaper.
“My friend and I were having coffee and my husband walked in with the paper. A little while later she looked at the front page and said, ‘Isn’t that your bird?’” said Cook. “I ran out to the garage in my robe and told my husband, ‘Look at the front page of the paper! That’s Gypsy!’”
After a few calls to the Central Aroostook Humane Society, the Cooks were able to get the phone number of Donna Riley, the Presque Isle woman who rescued the bird and had been taking care of it for a week.
“My husband went right over there and Donna gave him a cage to transport the bird back home in,” said Cook, “while I stayed home and got her cage all spiffied up. I also made her scrambled eggs, which she ate when they got home. I tell her she’s a little cannibal. She also eats lobster, spaghetti … everything. She’s a little spoiled.”
As it turns out, the bird went missing July 15.
“We let her out of the cage, and she was on my husband’s shoulder, and our cat wanted to come in the house,” said Cook. “The neighbor’s cat had attacked ours, so my husband was trying to rescue it. He went out on the front step with Gypsy still on his shoulder, and as the cats were fighting, the bird got spooked and flew off. She’s used to our cat, but not the neighbor’s.
“We walked around a lot trying to find her. We knew the general direction she flew off in, so we walked down the tracks, and at one point, I heard her. I said, ‘That’s Gypsy!’ but she was so high up in a tree that we couldn’t get her,” Cook said. “My husband went to get a ladder, and when he went to extend it, that noise also spooked her. We never heard her again after that. We figured she was close by, and we even put her cage out in the yard hoping that she would see it and come home.”
Cook said she never notified the humane society or the police department because she feared it would be a lost cause.
“It was a bird; we just didn’t think there’d be any chance of finding her unless she happened to fly onto someone’s shoulder. We’ve lived in the same neighborhood for a lot of years, so we thought word of mouth would get her,” she said. “We were kind of losing a little bit of hope after a while. We were even going to do a memorial and put the cage out in the flowerbed.
“Our biggest fear was that she wasn’t afraid of cats and could have been killed, or that she would have starved to death. Our hope was that she would have landed on someone’s shoulder and they would have realized that she was someone’s pet,” said Cook. “My husband’s friend posted something on Facebook, but that didn’t lead us anywhere. Fortunately the weather was on our side. The results might have been different had it been winter.”
Gypsy has been with the Cooks for about 15 years.
“My daughter got her for either her 15th or 16th birthday,” said Cook. “Kids grow up and my daughter got out of school and moved on, and we kept the bird.”
Cook said she’s very happy to have been reunited with Gypsy.
“She’s our family. She’s been with us for a long time, and it was really quiet without her here. She’s used to watching the news, and my husband makes her popcorn. She’s really treated like royalty around here,” she said. “We’re thrilled to have her back. I think even the dog was happy to see her.”
Riley said she’s equally “overjoyed” that Gypsy has been returned.
“If it was my missing pet — that’s part of the family — I would be heartbroken, so I know how they must have felt,” she said. “Even though Gypsy was only with us for a week, we enjoyed her very much. It was very nice having her come light on your shoulder and watch TV with you.
“It was so exciting to get Mrs. Cook’s call around 8 or 9 that morning. It worked so quickly; that was awesome,” said Riley. “There’s so much awful stuff out there. We need some happy news and I’m glad this had a happy ending.”