Woman forced to re-house "disabled" birds
An animal lover who turned half her home into an aviary to house twelve "disabled" birds with "special needs" has been left devastated after an allergic reaction rendered her unable to look after them.
The aptly named Pat Avery, 57, from Highfield Drive in Ewell, has been taking in injured and unwanted birds for the last 15 years homing up to 30 birds who she has lived side by side with giving them free reign of her upstairs three-bedroom house.
Cockatiels, budgies and lovebirds, each with their own disabilities, would sleep in the same room as Mrs Avery often waking her up by perching on her face and would even have breakfast with her.
One cockatiel, Bonzo, would even come in the shower with his owner or perch on her head while she took a bath.
But after contracting pneumonia last February, Mrs Avery developed an allergic reaction to her beloved birds forcing her to sleep downstairs on the sofa and wear a mask whenever near them.
Mrs Avery, a former reservations consultant at Beachcomber Tours, said: "It started off with a chest infection and turned into pneumonia and I couldn’t breathe for a while.
"Then they found out I had lung problems and I have been off sick for nearly a year now. So now the birds have both upstairs bedrooms and I sleep downstairs on the sofa because I’m not allowed to be with them.
"You can’t believe how devastated I am. I love my birds so much."
Despite her illness worsening because of her birds, Mrs Avery has refused to give them up.
She added: "I can hardly breathe at the moment, but they make me so happy every time I go into their rooms.
"Now I sleep downstairs I have a baby monitor so I can hear what’s going on upstairs all the time.
"Quite often they fall off their perch or have a bad dream and I have to go running up and sort them out.
"If something disturbs them during the night they get scared so they shout and I have to go running up. But the trouble is I can’t run up anymore."
The birds have pulled off all the wallpaper and paint in her upstairs bedrooms and to cope with their mess, Mrs Avery has put down linoleum floors and plastic mats which she washes every day.
Many people have offered to house the birds for Mrs Avery, but she has said that simply an outside cage would not be good enough.
She said: "Just sticking them in an aviary with no love or affection is not re-homing them. They need people to sit with them and give them interaction.
"Love birds need an awful lot of stimulation. You can’t just stick them in a box."
Despite her family urging her to get rid of the birds, Mrs Avery, who is going through a divorce and will be selling her home, is hoping to rent a property where she will be able to build an outside aviary.
She said: "They want me to get rid of them but I won’t. They are my life.
"I have had birds in my life for 20 years. They bring me so much happiness. I just can’t imagine life without them. But obviously no one understands that.
"We have compromised on an outside aviary and that I mask up. I really don’t know if that’s going to be enough but I have got to give it a try before I get rid of them completely.
"I love them so much. They are all I have got left."
Source: Your Local Guardian