People & Their Pets III
Valerie Barkley de Pearson
Valerie Barkley de Pearson with macaws Paris & Hector and Cocker Spaniel Kiwi
(John Bouma Photography)
How did you come up with your pet’s name? I named one Paris after the town in France where I was born, and Hector after the prince of Troy in Greek mythology.
Share with us where you rescued Paris and Hector. What are they like, and what made you decide to bring them home? One day I found myself in a bird shop with exotic birds. As I wandered through the store I came across two one week old baby parrots stuck in a plastic box. I could not believe they were left in those conditions so I adopted them, nursed them (every three hours) and, eventually, they became my babies. I moved to Giverny, France for a year with all my pets to spend time with my mother-in-law. She was the curator of the home and garden of Claude Monet, the impressionist painter. My parrots became the super stars of Giverny. It was great to see tourists more interested in taking pictures of the parrots than the famous gardens. A year later we all returned to Miami Beach – the 2 parrots, 6 cats, our German Shepard Sunny and our little Cocker Spaniel Kiwi. They all get along well. They spend their time in the house, on the edge of the pool or in the aviary.
What activities do Paris and Hector like? What commands does your pet understand? Paris loves to dip her head and wings in the pool and shake. Hector loves to be on my shoulder. He is a mama’s boy! They both speak French and English.
When did your interest in pets/animals begin and how long have you been a pet owner? I have been a pet lover since I was a toddler. I used to hide in our German Shepard’s dog house. I have always had pets. Recently I rescued five cats from a shelter that was going to euthanize and a skinny cat off the street who was about to be poisoned.