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My Horrible Day

by Kelly Caulk

I had always had birds and knew what was right and what was wrong. So why did I have non-stick cookware (i.e., Teflon™, Silverstone™, etc.) pans in my house? I figured like anyone else, "It can't happen to me" I know to be careful.

My life changing moment began at 11:00 AM on July 17, 2000. Out of the norm, my husband was going fishing on Sunday. This is something he usually does on Saturday morning, but it was okay. I usually boiled eggs for him to take, but since this was a Sunday outing I hadn't boiled the eggs. So he did it that morning at about 3:30 AM. He took the eggs out of the pan, turned off the stove and left the pan on the stove.

The evening before, my neighbor gave me a pretty flower from her garden, so I put it in a little vase on the top of the stove, to admire while I was cooking. Sunday at 11:00 AM, I woke to find the flower knocked down, and the stove on, OH MY GOD, its burning ... No water was left in the pan. I think my cat jumped on the stove to get the flower and turned the burner on.

I tried to pick the pan up, but it was melted on the burner and there was no black left, the Teflon had turned white. I ran to the windows and opened every one. As I passed my two canaries' cages, I saw it was too late for them. Frantic, I ran to my Blue and gold macaw Horatio's cage. She was alive, OH MY GOD, ALIVE.

I put her on the porch and called the Emergency Vet. I said I am on my way. I drove 35 minutes. When we arrived I ran in, they grabbed Horatio and put her in oxygen. I was to call the doctor every 30 minutes to check on her progress. The doctor was one of the sweetest veterinarians I had ever met.

I went back home, had to get a hold of myself and try to find my husband, but I couldn't he was on the boat fishing. I tried to pass the time, not knowing anything until the first of the series of calls. Thirty Minutes passed.... I called. Doc says no improvement, but not getting worse, call in another 30 minutes. I remember I was watching Shawshank Redemption. I really don't know why I remember watching this, except I can't watch it to this day.

After a series of 30 minute calls, it was almost time for another, and my phone rang.

"Kelly? This is Sonya (the doctor), I am so sorry, Horatio passed away. We did everything we could. We tried to revive her for almost an hour"

My life changed forever that day, I can still hear the sweetest doctors voice in my head ("I'm so sorry") This doctor cried with me on the phone. When I went to pay the dreadful bill, the doctor had saved her band and 2 tail feathers for me. Since this day I have started a grieving support group and named it Horatio's Angels, through the help of a a parrot rescue called Phoenix Landing . I also volunteer my time with Phoenix Landing, and try to educate the bird owners of the dangers of non-stick cookware.

I started a support group, because when Horatio died, I didn't have anyone to talk to when I needed to so badly. People would say to me. "It's only a bird" or my favorite was when my husband went back to work, a coworker said, "Do you want to watch my bird?" Jason said I didn't know you had a bird.... The guys laughed and said "I DON'T!!" People can be so cruel. I have also joined every Yahoo group I could find to help pass the word that it can happen to you. I have since become a stronger more educated bird owner.

I slowly but surely filled my flock, to include another Blue and Gold Macaw Riley, an African Grey named Shayna, and 2 Senegals named Buddie and Friday. The newest is a rescue from Phoenix Landing named Kelly She is a Quaker. My email address is You don't have to grieve alone.