Sunday, August 09, 2009

There's no place like home

Lola back in her cage where she belongs

HAMPTON — Sharon Chang said her beloved parrot, Lola, is back home where she belongs after disappearing last week. After three days Lola was discovered four towns away in Epping.

"She had a little adventure, but she is happy to be home, and we are happy she is home," said Chang.

The four-year-old African gray parrot, which had never been outside before, was safely returned to Chang thanks to an Epping couple who found the exotic gray bird with a bright red tail. The couple contacted Epping's animal control officer who remarkably located Chang via an Internet Web site.

"It really was a miracle they found her," said Chang, who had been desperately searching for Lola since she accidently flew out of her home on Sunday, July 26. "I couldn't sleep or eat."

Chang said Lola flew out a sliding door that was partly open in her family's newly installed sun room at their home on Towle Farm Road.

"Something startled her and instead of flying back to her cage like she usually does, she flew out the door and up into the trees," said Chang. "We couldn't get her to come down."

Lola eventually left the tree, her owner said, and headed west.

"I was up all night," Chang said. "I kept going out and calling her name.

"I would also whistle because she likes to do the music of the 'Charge' baseball theme," the Hampton woman said. "I was hoping she would respond, but there was nothing.'

Chang spent the next morning going door-to-door asking her neighbors if they had seen the parrot and spent the afternoon contacting every local veterinarian in hopes that someone had turned Lola in.

She also put ads in the newspaper, hung flyers all around town, and posted a description of her pet on the lost-and-found section on Craigslist.org.

"She was more than just a pet to me," Chang said. "She was like my little baby."

After three days, Chang began to think the worst.

"Now I'm not Catholic, but I was praying to Saint Anthony because I know he helps people find lost things," Chang said. "I really didn't think I would see her again."

It was then she received a call from Epping Animal Control Officer Bill Hansen who informed her that he had Lola in his possession.

"I couldn't believe it," Chang said. "She flew 15 miles away.

"I'm not sure where she thought she was going, but God bless her, she was OK," the Hampton woman said.

Hansen picked up the bird after a couple who lives on Prescott Road called around 7 a.m. on Wednesday, July 29, to report finding a "lonely bird."

"They knew the bird was domesticated because it was just sitting on their porch even though their cat was there," Chang said.

"Lola is not afraid of cats," she said. "I have five cats and Lola loves to terrorize them. She loves to chase them and bite their tales."

Chang said Hansen picked up the bird, brought it home and went on the Internet to see if anyone reported a lost parrot in the area.

That's when he discovered Chang's ad posted on Craigslist.com.

"Craigslist has gotten a bad name, but it does do good," Chang said. "I'm eternally thankful for whoever Craig really is."

Chang said Hansen took great care of Lola.

"She was just tired and very stressed," Chang said of the bird. "When we got into the car she kept saying 'Good night Lola. Good night Lola.'

"That is what she says every night when she wants to go back in her cage and go to sleep," her owner said.

Chang said she tried to give Hansen a cash reward, but he refused to take it. So she ended up giving the award to the couple who found Lola.

Since being home, Chang said Lola hasn't left her side.

"It was nice to hear her voice again," Chang said. "A lot of people think parrots just mimic what you say, but she actually carries on a conversation.

"The very first morning she was back home she watched as I poured more coffee and said, 'Do you want more coffee?'" Chang said. "I thought 'Ahhh, my baby's home.'"



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