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Oscar Enjoying Ravioli - Video 1

Oscar Enjoying Ravioli - Video 2

Yes, we know ravioli isn’t good for him…but an occasional treat never hurt anyone!

Oscar’s Friends

Archimedes (aka “The Boss”)

Red-Lored Amazon

Archimedes was rescued in early 2006 from an extremely abusive situation. He was being kept outside all year round, in the blazing Florida sun, in a small cage with another parrot who was bullying him. It’s likely that he was being terrorized by neighborhood children, because even after many years, he still gets nervous when hyperactive children are nearby.

He was being fed parakeet seed, and had never experienced the finer foods in life like pistachios (now his favorite), scrambled eggs, water chestnuts, and nearly everything else his human slaves eat.

Even though his slaves constantly insist that caffeine is bad for him, and will only allow him tiny sips, he loves to drink coffee and soda. LOL

His vocabulary is limited, because he spent his first 12 years outside, away from human contact. He can say hello, bye-bye, good boy, pretty boy, uh-oh, yeah, and good morning. Visitors to the pet store, where he reigns supreme (hence his nickname of “The Boss”) are always enchanted when he wishes them a cheery “Bye-bye!” as they leave.

His best friend is Phantom, the handicapped cat (pictured below). Every day while he’s being chauffeured to work, he grooms Phantom, to the surprise and delight of other drivers.

Archimedes, the red-lored amazon who rules the pet store

Phantom (aka “The Princess”)

Abyssinian mix

Phantom first appeared in our neighborhood in late fall of 2007. She was so afraid of humans that she would fade into the darkness anytime we saw her. She was, at the time, a very small kitten. We laid food out for her for several weeks, without managing to gain her trust. Then she was accidentally injured by the neighbor dog who tried to play with her (sweetest, most loving dog in the world...dumb as a box of rocks! LOL). At that point we were able to catch her, and take her to the emergency vet.

X-rays showed that the growth plates in her spine had shifted, causing spinal damage which, despite therapy, became a permanent condition. We also discovered a b.b. pellet lodged in her liver. The vet recommended leaving it alone, since it wasn’t causing her any trouble.

Phantom requires two different medicines, and multiple diaper changes, every single day. The vet initially guesstimated that she would probably only live about three years, but she just passed her sixth birthday, and is still strong and healthy. She gets around just as well as “normal” cats, either by scooting around on her diaper, or with the use of a wheelchair that was specially made for her by the wonderful people at Best Friend Mobility.

Phantom rules the house (and the store) with a velvet paw.

Archimedes the red-lored amazon, grooming Phantom the cat
Phantom the handicapped cat working hard at the pet store

Best Friend Mobility - Pet Wheelchair Manufacturers

AKC Dog Calming Coat and Calm Cat Coat Demonstration


Red Iguana - RIP 12/2/2015

Oscar was rescued by an elderly couple out on Melbourne Beach just before the 2004 hurricanes, and was given to us a few months later. His actual age is unknown, but we believe he was pushing 18 years old...a whopping 80-85 in human years. Possibly he was even older; we will never know.

From the very first, Oscar delighted customers by allowing himself to be petted, hugged, carried, or fed by anyone. He visited many schools, daycares, and public events over the 11 years we shared with him. Even children (and adults!) who were afraid of reptiles fell in love with him, and learned that "different" isn't always a bad thing.

He passed away last night after several recent bouts of poor health caused by his extreme old age (wild iguanas only live about 8 years, and even in captivity, most never live past 15 years).

Coco - RIP - 9/21/2013

Blue-Crowned Conure

Coco was literally dropped on my desk late one afternoon in Cocoa Village by some people who had “gotten sick of all the noise he made.”  They were not able to tell me his age, only that they were tired of him, and I could keep him or sell him, as I chose. I never saw them again…thank goodness!

His cage was way too small–barely larger than a parakeet cage–and his beak had grown nearly down to his chest. The first thing I did was trim his beak (which earned me some gashed fingers–he was terrified of the clippers!) and the second was to triple the size of his cage. Eventually he moved into an even bigger one with a large playground on top, which became his permanent home.

Over time, we were able to piece together the sad story of his prior living conditions. Conures are very sociable birds, and will make noise if they feel like they’re being ignored. His prior owners apparently paid him no attention, so he chirped to say “Hey! Feed me! Play with me! Love me!” This annoyed them, so they isolated him even further–before finally losing their patience altogether, and leaving him with us.

Conures are quite capable of learning to talk. In seven years, we only heard him say a few isolated words, and those were barely understandable. It’s clear that they never worked with him at all, even to hand-tame and socialize him.

He lived at the store for three years, and we had every intention of rehoming him. But somehow the “right” people (i.e. people that HE liked) never came along.

Then one of my customers saw how he bobbed his head at me, and made the most darling “rrruff!” sound to get my attention, and told me that he’d already found the “right” person, and that she knew I’d never be able to rehome him.

She was absolutely right. When we were forced to close our store in Cocoa Village, Coco came home with us, and took up permanent residence in our home office. Archimedes’ cage was on the left side of my desk, and Coco’s cage was on the right. I frequently laughed that I was being henpecked between the two of them, because they’d often vie (quite noisily at times) for my undivided attention.

When we moved our store to the Renninger’s Market in Eau Gallie, I started taking Coco with me every weekend. He settled into the routine quickly, riding on my shoulder in the car, grooming Phantom, and delighting customers by bobbing around on his big open-air perch and chirping happily at them.

Tonight tragedy has struck. Shortly after returning home, Coco suddenly toppled off his perch in the office. It was immediately clear that he’d suffered a stroke. Conures are prone to strokes, especially if they’ve been malnourished or mistreated earlier in life. There was nothing we could do for him but keep him calm and comfortable. He died in my hands on the way to the emergency vet.

I can’t begin to count the number of animals we’ve rescued. Some we’ve rehomed; many we’ve kept as permanent friends. We’re not supposed to have favorites…but right from the very first day, when he looked at me with those wise, bright little eyes and said “rrruff!” to get my attention, Coco has been my absolute favorite. His devotion to me was absolute; his entire life revolved around spending time with the human he’d chosen as his bond-mate.

Love is a precious gift. I grieve for the loss of my dearest feathered friend. There will never be another bird like him.

Rest in peace, darling Coco. You will be loved, and missed, forever.

Rowena - Born 5/3/2011

Florida Snapping Turtle - Adopted Out in August 2015

Rowena was the runt of the litter, barely the size of a nickel when she was hatched. Another turtle bit her tail off, leaving just a tiny nub behind. We put her in the infirmary tank until her tail healed, then…since she wasn’t “perfect”…we decided to keep her as a store mascot. She grew slowly at first, but over time has filled out nicely in her 40-gallon “breeder” (extra-wide) tank.

In 2013, a representative from the Turtle Man “reality” show called and asked if we’d sell her to them. We discovered that their “reality” show is anything but…they wanted to do an episode where they tracked down a “wild” turtle they’d already captured and released, but the “wild” turtle had escaped its holding tank and disappeared in the creek before they could film the episode. Needless to say, we would not sell her to them.

Customers are always amazed when we confidently reach into her tank to rub her chin or scratch her shell. They refuse to believe that a snapping turtle can be hand-tamed. We always point out that there’s absolutely no reason any animal that’s hand-raised and treated decently should ever be aggressive. She certainly is not aggressive, nor are any of the other turtles in our store.

Below are photos and video clips from her 4th birthday party.