I'm a sucker for a great animal book. Well, a great animal anything, really, but this is a book review, so we'll stick to that.
Usually I go off recommendations when embarking on a new reading adventure, but in the case of Nancy Ellis-Bell's The Parrot Who Thought She Was a Dog, I just pulled it of the bookshelf blindly, read the jacked description, and decided it might be for me.
The Parrot Who Thought She Was a Dog is a memoir about Ellis-Bell's insatiable appetite to make things right for and with the once-wild bird, Sarah, she adopts. The ups and downs of their relationship are touching at times and shocking other times, and you wonder how her husband, Kerry, and her dogs–not to mention her other critters–put up with it all.
I could relate to Ellis-Bell, especially when the book began with a description of her childhood:
When I was a child, lost animals always seemed to find me–mostly cats and dogs but sometimes hamsters or guinea pigs. When I was six, I had a gopher friend for whom I would steal carrots from the refrigerator, then sneak outside to feed him in his burrow. Even after I became an adult, cats and dogs still gravitated to me, along with the occasional squirrel or raccoon. When I met Kerry, my family was small–one dog and one cat–but I warned him that more would show up; it was only a matter of time.
I expected it to be a simple animal story. I love memoirs and find the truth as entertaining as anything made-up. Sometimes, you just can't make stuff up. The story was anything but simple. I have cared for parrots before, but I've never thought about having one, myself. Ellis-Bell's story made me think it might just be the greatest idea ever, and then suddenly slam the door on all of those considerations. What a ride!
I think bird lovers would especially take to this story, but animal lovers of any kind or even just readers who love a story of finding love in difficult, unlikely ways will find this book inspiring. More so than a story about a bird with a mistaken identity, The Parrot Who Thought She Was a Dog is a story about a bird and a person finding the right identity.