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The Parrot Who Thought She Was a Dog

3.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  194 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
The last thing Nancy Ellis-Bell expected to descend on her life was a neglected, too-tall, smart-mouthed, one-legged, blue-and-gold rescue macaw named Peg Leg. And yet, it made perfect sense. A lifelong animal lover, Nancy could never turn away a stray cat, dog, squirrel, or raccoon from her California farm. But the macaw, quickly rechristened Sarah, was a whole new challe ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 22nd 2008 by Harmony (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Oct 03, 2008 trina rated it liked it
Recommends it for: animal lovers, people in search of a light but not stupid read
this is a quick read. i read it in about two hours. but it's actually quite funny and touching, in addition to be cute (an undependable word at best), and i defy anyone who reads it to not immediately desire a macaw companion of their own.

on second thought, that's a stupid thing to say. if you are an animal lover and extremely patient, maybe. if you are in possession of a few masochistic tendencies, more likely. otherwise this is the stuff of nightmares: a super-intelligent, two-foot tall, four-
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 25, 2008 Jen rated it liked it
This book was sent to our bird club, so I thought I would read it and report back to everyone.

It was fun to read a book about parrots, since we live with some and can relate. When she described some of the behavior - both good & bad, I was like, yup, been there.

However, I didn't feel good about the idea of letting her macaw, Sarah, play outside without any kind of harness or flight cage. She was free to play & fly wherever. It was fun reading about her love for playing in the dirt and he
Jul 03, 2009 Kris rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-choice
I think the title is wrong - the parrot didn't think she was a dog. In fact, it was pretty clear that she knew that she was way smarter than a dog (no offense meant to dogs!). This was an interesting book. I'm glad I had read some of the reviews, so that I knew in a general way what was going to happen. No spoiler alert here. The author's household sounds like it was pretty chaotic - dogs, cats, raccoons all in a modified mobile home - and then she added a huge macaw, which promptly took over ev ...more
Edward Simpon
Jan 21, 2014 Edward Simpon rated it it was amazing
I have 3 macaws, blue&gold, Scarlet and a green wing. I felt sympathy for Sarah as she only wanted to give back to this bird what it deserved, what had been taken from it. Good on her. None of mine have any behavioural problems or displaced aggression. The breeder of 50 years lets his macaws have free roam of 25 acres, never lost a bird. In fact they only prefer to go out when he does, returns when he does etc...

It's sad to see ignoramus's miss the point of this educational book or claim tha
Jul 19, 2010 Marcus rated it liked it
This book is definitely only for bird lovers. We have a blue and gold rescue parrot, so I enjoyed all of the behavioral quirks, many that we've seen with our bird. But if you don't have a soft spot for animals, birds in particular, this isn't for you.
Feb 20, 2009 Minrose rated it did not like it
This was one of the most depressing stories I have ever read. Fasinating look at life with a parrots and all that it could do.
Sep 12, 2011 Chade66 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2011, parrots
This was an interesting book. I think it shows some of the joys and hazards of trying to keep large parrots as pets.
Jul 31, 2011 Laura rated it liked it
Good book. Couldn't live that way myself, but enjoyed some of the images.
Nov 02, 2010 Melanie rated it liked it
I loved it until the end. I can't discuss for fear of spoiling but.
Kimberly Michelle
Apr 28, 2013 Kimberly Michelle rated it really liked it
Very entertaining read about a woman & the parrot she loves.
May 12, 2009 Sarah rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, animals
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 29, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 29, 2010 Kris rated it liked it
I thought this book was really sad! I felt so sorry for the poor birds. I have read alot about the large parrots - and so many people get them and don't know what they are getting into. It's really very hard for the people and the birds - unfortunately, it's the birds who really suffer.
I did laugh at some of Sarah's antics, but on the whole, since she was a captive bird, I knew that she would never be truly happy - just like the author felt - until she was free. Sadly, that did not end well for
Oct 19, 2015 Angie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am conflicted on my rating of this book. The story is great and I think Ms. Ellis-Bell believes she is an animal lover, but there were parts very puzzling to me. She opens her home (small by her own description) to a menagerie of different animals and even takes care of the wildlife around her northern California home, but then writes about eating other animals. I am an ethical vegan, to the best of my abilities, and I really thought I had met a kindred soul and couldn't wait to read this book ...more
Aug 26, 2009 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: animal lovers
Shelves: animals
I picked up this book because I love animals and animal stories. The Parrot Who Thought She Was a Dog follows Nancy Ellis-Bell and her adopted macaw, Sarah. Sarah basically took over Nancy's home and dominated her other pets, but they bonded deeply and Nancy loved having birds in her life. The book is going along with Sarah's antics, etc. then all of a sudden things change dramatically. I don't want to give away what happens, but I was very surprised at the sudden change in direction with the bo ...more
Feb 16, 2015 Bella rated it it was ok
I thought this book was a little weird because it talks about inappropriate stuff and uses bad words
Feb 28, 2016 Susan added it
Very good. Discovered I had read it before but I read it again because it was so good.
Jun 11, 2012 Lori rated it liked it
This was a very quick read. It made me both want a parrot and never want to own a parrot. I really like the references at the back of the book for people who are interested in bird ownership. I wish the book had been more about the bird than the author. I didn't care for her emotional smatterings. It did make a very compelling story about the trials of bird ownership, but drug the tone of the book into a mostly depressing story, rather than something that could have been much more light-hearted ...more
Luka And
May 12, 2016 Luka And rated it really liked it
Marla Sommer
Ok I thought this would be a great little book to relax with. No such luck. I couldn't get past how the trailer must of smelt and the parrot licking her eyeball. Sometimes I just don't get the connection between people and animals. I hope I don't know anyone who would tongue kiss a parrot! Yes I did finnish this book and yes I could have stopped reading at any time but I just had to see how far she would go for her pets.
Kathi Olsen
Apr 22, 2009 Kathi Olsen rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Having had parrots, this book was really fun to read. Reminding me of the intelligence, sense of humor and timing of parrots. Thank goodness it is illegal to import wild caught birds, so that has slowed down the incidents of wild birds in cages. This book reopens the feelings of being allowed to interact with an animal that is not usually earthbound.
Jun 08, 2011 Pat rated it it was amazing
This book was so entertaining! I laughed and I cried. I finished it in two days and I really hated to see it end. It is a true story of how the author, who loves animals, takes in a one-footed macaw named Peg-leg. She renames her "Sarah", and Sarah proceeds to take over the whole house, including the two dogs, two cats, AND the author and her husband!
Feb 21, 2009 Diana rated it liked it
Shelves: animals
I enjoyed this book-- it wasn't as well-written or wrenching as Marley Me, but I appreciated reading up about life with a species that wasn't canine or feline. Parrots seem like a lot of work, though...
Nov 07, 2009 Rachel rated it liked it
This is a true story of a woman who becomes a first time parrot owner of a wild caught, one-legged macaw. It got a starred review in Booklist but I didn't really enjoy it. She seemed very taken with her ability with animals and I'm not sure, based on the outcome, that it was deserved. The bird in the book was fascinating though.
Dec 25, 2009 Brenda rated it it was ok
Wanted to like this book more than I did. The author is an animal lover for sure, but maybe to a fault. Plus the whole relationship between her and her significant other is just too irritating. She spends an awful lot of time trying to convince us all how much he loves her. Just OK for me...
Oct 21, 2008 Johnna rated it liked it
For all those who loved Marley and Me this book is a must read. Nancy shares with us her story of the amazing connection she makes with her beautiful feathered friends. There are also cats, dogs, fish and raccoons.

A touching, sometimes sad and at times a very funny story.
Jan 19, 2009 Barb rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: animal lovers
I love lite read books that are funny and heartwarming. Makes you second guess yourself wanting the same kind of experience and watching the antics of the bird yet not wanting the responsibilities of having to care for the bird. It makes you smile...
Aug 04, 2008 J rated it liked it
I liked the title better than I liked the book. It was interesting, but it was more the story of a pet-owner who allows her life, and that of her family and other pets, to be dominated by a single bird, than about a bird thinking it's a dog.
Aug 18, 2013 Monika rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have no idea why this book was published. The author is pure ignorance and irresponsibility, with a large dollop of crazy on top. She is the kind of person who should simply not be allowed to have animals.
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