By Alex Matthews
This parrot will happily listen to Shakira whenever, wherever.
Gracie the 10-year-old African Grey is mad about the Colombian singer and happily bobs along to the hits in her cage.
The poor parrot was rescued by a concerned member of the public who spotted her at a car boot sale with a £300 price tag.
After attempting to look after her for a few weeks, she realised Gracie was severely ill, and took her to Pets4Vets in Bicester.
The in-patient has now become a live-in resident at the veterinary surgery, where she chats with vets, cheers the customers and shares a special bond with manager Michael Doherty.
And the music-loving bird loves nothing more than getting down to Shakira’s ‘Hips Don’t Lie’.
Michael said: “We were trying to get her interested in different things when one of the staff got their phone out and played Shakira.
“She immediately started dancing to it, and she does it every time.
“We think her favourite song is ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ but she’ll dance to most of it.
“In fact she loves Queen too. She has great music taste. Anything with a good beat and she’ll bob along.”
Gracie was brought into the Vets4Pets branch when the customer who had rescued her from the car boot sale was watching her deteriorate.
Gracie had become attached to her 21-year-old son, who had since moved out.
The poor parrot had plucked a lot of her own feathers, was not sociable and was showing signs of calcium deficiency.
Fortunately the practice has a specialist exotic vet Maria Bovis who worked fast to diagnosed a litany of problems.
As well as her calcium deficiency, caused by a lack of sunlight, Gracie had a respiratory problem and kidney failure.
Gracie was instantly proscribed daily antibiotics, calcium injections, dietary changes and far more exposure to UVB lighting.
But as she began to get better, her infectious personality caught on with staff, who decided to adopt her.
Michael said: “The lady who rescued her is a regular customer of ours. She told us she spotted Gracie for sale at a car boot. She had a £300 price tag.
“The lady decided she could not leave poor Gracie there. It’s an incredibly kind gesture to rescue her.
“She did not know much about parrots, but Gracie bonded really well with her son, which can happen.
“When he moved she started to get more unwell, so the lady brought her to us.
“She was more unwell than it first appeared. She had hypocalcemia and was on her way to liver failure.
“We hospitalised her for a while, and during that time staff fell more and more in love with her.
“We would chat to her, play with her and play her music.
“In the end the lady asked if we could keep Gracie because she seemed so happy. We were only too happy to have her.”
Gracie is now a great hit with customers and staff alike.
She can often be heard asking vets ‘What are you doing?’ to which they always respond, and she greets worried customer on their way in.
She has shown huge improvements in her health and staff are looking forward to working alongside her for a long time to come.
And her presence in the reception has the added bonus of letting people know where they can get their exotic pets looked after.
Michael said: “It’s a lot of fun having Gracie around. She’s become a little celebrity.
“She’s a real talking point, and it helps relieve people’s stress to have Gracie to look at and talk about, or even to, when their pets are facing surgery.
“I’m quite surprised by the number of people who come in, see her, and tell us they have had parrots, if not other exotic pets.
“The problem for them is they often don’t know where they can have them looked at.
“But Gracie lets people know all their pets can expect the same level of care as dogs.”