|Death: ||Jan. 19, 2008|
Many saddened by bird's death
Charley For 17 years, he perched on carts, took rides on the shoulders of patrons and made smile many who came to Pet Supplies Plus for dog food or kitty litter.
Charley, a blue crown conure, wasn't just another pet store parrot. He was practically an employee, a bird who greeted and lured customers, some of whom came only to see him.
"You could go in there in a grumpy mood and Charley would cheer you up," said Cindy Moulton of Jackson, a regular and longtime shopper at Pet Supplies Plus, 1094 Wisner St.
"He was really part of the store."
Shortly before closing time Saturday, a visiting dog lunged at Charley, who was perched in his usual spot near the store's fish tanks, and the bird died minutes later, said Daria Grinenko, who with her husband, Pat, owns the store.
The loss shook employees and saddened customers who looked forward to visiting the small, green-feathered animal, who was expected to live to age 25 or 30.
A memorial service is planned for 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Pet Supplies Plus, and the store is to begin collecting donations and ideas for a way to commemorate Charley.
"He was an icon," Grinenko said "There are a lot of people who have a bond with him."
The bird had his wings clipped so he was not able to fly, but the Grinenkos never confined him to a cage.
Customers were free to pick him up and take him with them as they shopped, and often did, Grinenko said.
In the summer, he sat near the registers, perched on the bag racks. In the winter, when being by the doors got too cold, he sat among the fish tanks.
He would say "hi" to passing shoppers, eat snacks employees left at the cash registers and sometimes laugh out loud, employees and customers said.
"I didn't even know a bird could laugh," said Moulton, who fondly recalls Charley nipping at her earring as he hitched a ride on her shoulder.
Without him, the store is quiet, said Sarah Parkinson, who has worked at Pet Supplies Plus for about two years and was operating a cash register Saturday night.
She picked up Charley after the attack and he died in her arms, she said.
"I am surprised I am not crying," she said as she relayed the story Sunday.
Her and other employees plan to have T-shirts designed with Charley's photograph on their fronts, she said.
"He was like one of our own pets."
Created by: May you be blessed wit...
Record added: Jan 21, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 24092384