Even a five-minute interaction with Mr P brightens the day of dozens of people that he meets.
While walking around my local shopping centre one day, I heard the distinctive voice of a sulphur-crested cockatoo: “Hello Cocky!” To my surprise and absolute delight, I met local man Clive and his cockatoo Mr P. “P for perfect,” he told me. I instinctively put my arm out in the hope that Mr P might jump on and was overjoyed when he did. We stood there chatting for quite some time before I put Mr P back on Clive’s arm. I thanked them both and went off to work, carrying with me the joy of that interaction for the rest of my day.
Since then, I have seen Clive and Mr P up and down the street many times. In fact, sometimes I can hear Mr P chirping away as they walk past our office. It always brightens my day. More recently, I was fortunate enough to sit and have a coffee with Clive. Meanwhile Mr P ventured around the outdoor seating of a local café entertaining patrons and passers-by.
Mr P is the star
Mr P is such a character and so very well known. My chat with Clive was punctuated with many people stopping to say hello to Mr P, and occasionally to Clive. I thought it was quite funny that most people stopped to talk to Mr P, have a pat, and perhaps have Mr P perch on their arm for a bit. They would then be off, saying something like, “I can’t stop for long today Mr P, I have to get to the post office and then I’m getting a haircut; but I’ll see you next time.”
They might then briefly glance and smile at Clive as they continue on their way. Clive laughs and says that Mr P is definitely the star of the show. He often feels invisible, or like a tree rather than a human.
Cockatoos live a long time
Mr P is 53 years old and has lived with Clive and his wife Vicki for most of his life. He was brought to them injured at just two years old and has continued to live with Clive and Vicki since.
Apparently, Vicki and Mr P have a beautiful connection and Mr P nuzzles the inside of Vicki’s cardigans and jackets. And although Clive and Mr P clearly love one another, Clive says that they sometimes “have issues”. For instance, if Clive ever ventures out without Mr P, the bird carries on like a little kid having a tantrum. Every time Clive sweeps their front path, Mr P pulls out daisies and tosses them over the newly swept path. Personally, I think that’s gorgeous, having daisies picked for you by your cocky pal. Clive, however, isn’t as impressed.
Mr P starts his healing career
Clive was approached some time ago by staff from a local centre for learning and therapeutic development for people with a disability. They asked if he would bring Mr P to visit the residents there. Clive said it’s truly heartwarming to see the difference Mr P makes to their day. People absolutely beam when they see him. Even the patients and residents with severe physical disabilities and limited movement will move as much as they possibly can just to get a glimpse of Mr P, their faces lighting up as they do.
Mr P seems to know when someone needs a little extra care. He has always been especially interested in people in wheelchairs or even on mobility scooters. Clive says that, while Mr P will happily wait outside a shop for ten minutes, he will immediately leave Clive or his perch to say hello to someone in a wheelchair, or who seems incapacitated in some way. And as we sat there having our coffee, along came a lovely girl in a wheelchair, with her mother. Sure enough, Mr P went straight over.
Clive firmly believes that Mr P’s purpose in life is simply to make people happy, and, if that is the case, then Mr P is definitely fulfilling his mission. I lost count of how many people stopped to say hello to Mr P and have a pat and/or a photo with him in the 45 minutes Clive and I were chatting. However, I can assure you that every single person’s face lit up with pure joy. I can only imagine that, as I found, the joy stayed with them throughout their day.
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