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My Horrible Day

by Kelly Caulk

I had always had birds and knew what was right and what was wrong. So why did I have non-stick cookware (i.e., Teflon™, Silverstone™, etc.) pans in my house? I figured like anyone else, "It can't happen to me" I know to be careful.

My life changing moment began at 11:00 AM on July 17, 2000. Out of the norm, my husband was going fishing on Sunday. This is something he usually does on Saturday morning, but it was okay. I usually boiled eggs for him to take, but since this was a Sunday outing I hadn't boiled the eggs. So he did it that morning at about 3:30 AM. He took the eggs out of the pan, turned off the stove and left the pan on the stove.

The evening before, my neighbor gave me a pretty flower from her garden, so I put it in a little vase on the top of the stove, to admire while I was cooking. Sunday at 11:00 AM, I woke to find the flower knocked down, and the stove on, OH MY GOD, its burning ... No water was left in the pan. I think my cat jumped on the stove to get the flower and turned the burner on.

I tried to pick the pan up, but it was melted on the burner and there was no black left, the Teflon had turned white. I ran to the windows and opened every one. As I passed my two canaries' cages, I saw it was too late for them. Frantic, I ran to my Blue and gold macaw Horatio's cage. She was alive, OH MY GOD, ALIVE.

I put her on the porch and called the Emergency Vet. I said I am on my way. I drove 35 minutes. When we arrived I ran in, they grabbed Horatio and put her in oxygen. I was to call the doctor every 30 minutes to check on her progress. The doctor was one of the sweetest veterinarians I had ever met.

I went back home, had to get a hold of myself and try to find my husband, but I couldn't he was on the boat fishing. I tried to pass the time, not knowing anything until the first of the series of calls. Thirty Minutes passed.... I called. Doc says no improvement, but not getting worse, call in another 30 minutes. I remember I was watching Shawshank Redemption. I really don't know why I remember watching this, except I can't watch it to this day.

After a series of 30 minute calls, it was almost time for another, and my phone rang.

"Kelly? This is Sonya (the doctor), I am so sorry, Horatio passed away. We did everything we could. We tried to revive her for almost an hour"

My life changed forever that day, I can still hear the sweetest doctors voice in my head ("I'm so sorry") This doctor cried with me on the phone. When I went to pay the dreadful bill, the doctor had saved her band and 2 tail feathers for me. Since this day I have started a grieving support group and named it Horatio's Angels, through the help of a a parrot rescue called Phoenix Landing . I also volunteer my time with Phoenix Landing, and try to educate the bird owners of the dangers of non-stick cookware.

I started a support group, because when Horatio died, I didn't have anyone to talk to when I needed to so badly. People would say to me. "It's only a bird" or my favorite was when my husband went back to work, a coworker said, "Do you want to watch my bird?" Jason said I didn't know you had a bird.... The guys laughed and said "I DON'T!!" People can be so cruel. I have also joined every Yahoo group I could find to help pass the word that it can happen to you. I have since become a stronger more educated bird owner.

I slowly but surely filled my flock, to include another Blue and Gold Macaw Riley, an African Grey named Shayna, and 2 Senegals named Buddie and Friday. The newest is a rescue from Phoenix Landing named Kelly She is a Quaker. My email address is You don't have to grieve alone.

“Dr. Yetter’s professional & compassionate care enabled us to have Lady as a member of our family for over 17 years. Through his knowledge, extensive research, and willingness to reach out, he provided Lady with a long quality life in spite of numerous health issues. We are eternally grateful.”

— Diane & Terry Svob

“Dr. Yetter and the staff at Prairie Ridge have given excellent care to my family of pets for about 20 years. I always feel comfortable asking questions and knowing I will get complete, caring answers. Dr. Yetter researches to find the best treatment options. My cats and dog are family to me, and we trust Prairie Ridge Veterinary Clinic.”

—Janis Blout

“We are so grateful for the hard work and extra research Dr. Yetter did for our Tansy-cat to find out why she wasn’t eating. If there is a time when your most precious friend is ill and you need to trust someone to care for them, Dr. Yetter is definitely that person! He went above and beyond to do everything he could to save our beautiful Tansy.”

— Tom & Bev Berberett

“My pets have been patients of Dr. Yetter and his great staff for many years, and I have always been grateful for their efficiency and helpfulness. Having good care right here in Havana is a big plus!”

— Jan McFarlin

“I began to bring in my labs into PRVC when I started working there, and was happy to have such a caring and knowledgeable doctor to take care of two of my best friends. It always amazes me just how much care goes into each and every animal, let alone the perseverance of Dr. Yetter and staff (I should call them family) in working out how to treat each and every problem.”

— Chris Johnson