Spreading the Word About Therapy Birds

Jo Lam and Jhun: Spreading the Word About Therapy Birds

A person smiles for the camera with a white pigeon sitting on his shoulder

Years ago, I would walk my dog Dash around my neighborhood and there was a little boy who always would run up to Dash, completely ignore me and solely talk to Dash.

He would say things like: “Hello Dash! How are you today? I am having a good day” or “Dash did you eat yet? I ate a sandwich today!“

I would tell my friends about these cute interactions and they told me that I should look into therapy animal work. Sadly, Dash passed away before I had opportunity to pursue registration with Dash.

Soon after, I got Jhun, who is a pigeon, from a rescue.

She is a very calm and fearless individual. I take her everywhere: pet-friendly stores, children’s parks, kayaking, hiking—I even used to put her in a pet stroller and rollerblade with her. People would be surprised to see a bird and would come over to pet her or hold her. She would do fantastic with them, even with children.

I found out Pet Partners accepts birds as therapy animals and began the registration process. We became a team in August 2021.

Jhun and I have been having so much fun, traveling around North Carolina to share joy and happiness with people of many ages, whether they are seniors, children, or college students. I love having people open their eyes to see birds are very affectionate creatures and can be just as loving as other pets.

A masked therapy bird handler and his therapy pigeon, wearing a Therapy Bird vest, pose for a photo.

—submitted by handler Jo Lam