Diane Miller and her therapy bird Rocky Rockafeller, an umbrella cockatoo, can regularly be found at local seniors care facilities, where the feathered attention hog is in his element, being admired by residents.

Therapy that is truly for the birds

Rocky the umbrella cockatoo ‘brings out everyone’s inner child and, in that, he heals people,’ says owner

There is nothing Rocky Rockafeller loves more than being the centre of attention — that’s when the 21-year-old therapy bird comes alive, puffing out his white head crest and feathers to give a little dance and a song.

After Diane Miller took ownership of Rocky six years ago, she realized the outgoing umbrella cockatoo needed to light up more lives than just hers.

“He’s a miracle bird,” said Miller. For the past couple years Miller has been bringing Rocky to local seniors homes where many residents suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Some haven’t smiled or spoken a word — until they see Rocky.

“Rocky has them smiling, laughing and talking again. This one woman had a real growly face and so I put one of Rocky’s feathers on her hand and blew on it a bit and Rocky did his thing. The next thing you know she is smiling,” said Miller. “There are extremely moving moments with Rocky.”

At Magnolia Gardens, Rocky attended a 94th birthday party, where he took off people’s hats and made everyone laugh.

“I was told that was the best birthday that man had had,” said Miller.

They doubled her hours at one care home because of the response Rocky was getting from residents with dementia.

Patricia St. Hilaire, recreation co-ordinator at Evergreen Care Home provided Miller with a letter of appreciation for the therapy work Rocky has done.

“He brings out everyone’s inner child and, in that, he heals people —he’s healed me.

“If someone is grieving, he can help pick them back up again.”

He enjoys bopping to Elvis and loves cream soda. He gets into mischief when you aren’t looking and can say several things, including his name.

Miller brings him to big events like the Canada Day celebrations, Cloverdale Rodeo and events in downtown Langley.

“Everybody loves him. We can’t go anywhere without him being swarmed. But we love it, he makes people happy,” she said.

“Including me.”

Miller was fleeing an abusive relationship when she found Rocky.

“I guess he kind of rescued me,” she said.

“Rocky helped me put the tears away and live again. I knew I had to share his gift with everyone.”

She is Rocky’s third owner. Before Miller, Rocky lived on the road with a truck driver.

“You have to make a commitment to a bird because they live so long, and that’s what I’ve done with Rocky.”

Cockatoos and parrots demand attention and get bored easily. If they are left alone too long they will pluck their feathers out, she said.

Miller has also made it a point to spread the word about the BC Exotic Bird Society. The society is non-profit group of bird loving members who exchange information about proper care, feeding and habits of all feathered friends.

Rocky is available for birthdays and any special events. Call Diane at 604-363-7060.

Just Posted

54-40 thrills Aldergrove Fair crowd: VIDEO

54-40 were joined on stage by the band members’ dancing children, the “Aldergrove Rockettes”

VIDEO: Critter Care opens its doors

Thousands attend open house at Langley wildlife rehabilitation centre

ZONE 3: Luck played no part in getting Riley Ward to the BC Games

Langley baller flouts misfortune on the floor; he’d rather get by on hard work

New zipline breaks in Langley City park

Brydon zipline will remain closed till end of summer

Top Cheese Tournament returns to Langley Events Centre

For box and field lacrosse players hoping to get in a few extra reps in

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

Fraser Surrey Docks mechanic dies on the job

‘This is a very sad day - a worker went to his job this morning and didn’t go home’

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

PHOTO GALLERY: BC Games Day 2

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Most Read