In Memory of Harry
“No, I don’t want to do that…” “Meh, I don’t think so…” “How about NOPE?!”
Harry is one of those birds who has impressive self-assurance and a strong “NOPE button” that he isn’t afraid to use. Earlier in his life with us, he was openly hostile towards humans, rejecting our perceived authority. He wouldn’t choose to interact with the humans, and if he did it wasn’t always pleasant for us. Before MAARS, his past was full of humans trying to tell him what to do: play with this, do this trick and you can have a treat, don’t chew on that, step up now…
He would spend most of his time hanging out with fellow birds in the Big Bird Room, avoiding humans whenever possible. Over time and the passing of his favorite feathered friends, he began to have a little more faith in us. He sought out his favorite humans for comfort after his loss. NOPE button intact, he actually chose to hang out with us. He loved supervising the building maintenance and kept us busy by flinging toys for us to pick up (so he could do it again, naturally). He always had input, on virtually all things, at MAARS, and he never hesitated to use his loud outside voice to say it.
Of course, some things are off-limits for safety reasons, but he always told us what he wanted to do. The beauty of MAARS and similar organizations is that we work with the birds instead of shaping them into what humans want. They don’t have to “perform” for us to love them for the beautiful creatures they are, inside and out.
While he passed away in January 2021 to join his beloved feathered friends, his legacy continues to remind humans that animals are NOT here for our entertainment or to do our bidding. Each being possesses their own sense of self, their own desires and wishes. Kudos, Harry, for being firm with your humans to protect your autonomy. We love you and are forever grateful for your NOPE.