PARROT WHO THOUGHT
SHE WAS A DOG
with a macaw is always an adventure, since they are easily bored
and have the maturity level of a perpetual three-year-old. Ellis-Bell
captures this ongoing sense of discovery perfectly.”
—Booklist, starred review
is a delightfully mischievous creature the reader grows to love
as Ellis-Bell did.”
amazing story full of intriguing characters, both human and
animal, and a biologically accurate account of bird behavior.
I couldn’t put it down.”
—Marc Morrone, pet expert on the Martha Stewart Show
two feet tall and with a four-foot wingspan, Peg Leg was a daunting
creature. Her life in the Amazon basin had ended when her captors
had to cut off her left foot to release her from their nets. In
captivity since the age of two, she had not flown or bathed in
several years. Now she was a vicious bird, trying to bite whoever
fed her or tried to touch her. But Nancy Ellis-Bell saw none of
this. She saw a beautiful bird with a broken spirit, one who deserved
to live as she once did, happy and free and with owners who respected
In THE PARROT WHO THOUGHT SHE WAS A DOG (Three Rivers
Press; Publication Date: July 28, 2009), Ellis-Bell recounts the
heartwarming story of how her family was turned upside down by
a smart-mouthed, dog-food-stealing, furniture-chewing, and utterly
loveable blue-and-gold macaw.
chose to rename the parrot Sarah, because it stood for princess
in Hebrew. Over and over she would repeat the words, “Hello,
Sarah; you are such a beautiful bird,” rhythmically erasing
the terrible sound and memories of the name “Peg Leg.”
And with this, the trust between woman and bird slowly began to
form. Many owners before her had given up on Sarah, but if there
was anyone to rehabilitate this bird, it was Ellis-Bell. From
a very early age, Ellis-Bell had a way of attracting lost animals.
When she adopted Sarah, she had no fewer than two dogs, two cats,
and even a family of raccoons in her care. But nothing prepared
her for the whirlwind experience of having a bird like Sarah.
more comfortable Sarah became with her environment, the more she
sought out new challenges. Firmly believing that wild birds should
never be kept in cages, Ellis-Bell released Sarah from hers after
only a couple weeks. She quickly conquered the living room, the
kitchen, and anything else that came her way including the daybed,
the dogs’ food and chew bones, their toy basket, and even
the underwear drawer! As Sarah continued to spread her wings and
explore the house, Ellis-Bell could not keep her indoors any longer.
The decision would ultimately change their lives forever, but
Sarah’s new life and happiness proves that it could not
have happened any other way.
PARROT WHO THOUGHT SHE WAS A DOG is an unforgettable memoir
about one of the most unique animals in the world and about how
we love and protect those closest to our hearts. With humor and
humility, Ellis-Bell reveals what it’s like to open your
heart to new experiences and be ready for what the world, and
its inhabitants, has to offer.
The Parrot Who Thought She Was a Dog
By Nancy Ellis-Bell
Three Rivers Press
Publication Date: July 28, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-307-40628-6; $14.00 Trade Paperback Reprint