Meagan Howard and her close friend, Samantha Kuusk, were both students who were living together in Denver, Colorado, when this event, which could have had tragic ramifications, occurred. They helped each other out all the time and Meagan would watch Samantha's two-year-old daughter, Hannah, on those mornings when she had class. (See: Baxter the Labrador Pup.)
Willie the Quaker Parrot is a member of the family
Meagan has a Quaker parrot named Willie, a fun-loving and highly intelligent critter, who is very entertaining and talkative. He knows more than a few off color words and can mimic the sounds of dogs, cats, chickens and even humans kissing. Last but not least in his noisy parrot repertoire is the iconic whistle of the Andy Griffith Show theme song. (See: The Cat Who Dialed 911.)
Willie became a hero on one otherwise very normal day
While her mother, Samantha, was at school, baby Hannah was watching morning cartoons. Meagan was in the kitchen preparing the child's favorite breakfast treat, a Pop-Tart. When the pastry was ready, she removed it from the toaster and placed it in the center of the kitchen table to cool. She slipped away for about 30 seconds to quickly use the restroom when suddenly, everything happened. (See: The Cat Who Saved His Trapped Neighbor.)
She said: "...I heard the bird. Willie was going crazy, squawking and shrieking." And then she heard the two words repeated over and over again that made her blood curl: "Mama!" "Baby!"
A happy ending and a thankful mother
Meagan rushed to find the little girl gasping for air as she held the partly eaten Pop-Tart in one hand. Her face was blue and Willie kept screaming over and over the same two words. Trying desperately to keep her wits about her, Meagan said: "I grabbed her and immediately started doing the Heimlich maneuver until the piece came flying out." immediately, the bird quieted down and everything was fine where mere seconds before, chaos reigned. (See: Lulu the Pot-Bellied Pig.)
Samantha was so grateful to her friend, but Meagan told her that Willie was the one she had to thank. Even though she acted quickly, it was his incessant warning that saved the baby's life. Samantha had always liked Willie, but now he was a hero that saved the life of her child and she grew to love him deeply.
Perhaps the most surprising fact of all is that although Willie did know the word, 'Mama', he had never before combined it with word, 'baby.' What's more, since then he has never used them together again.
It seems that the term, 'bird brain' needs to be seriously re-evaluated.
Here's to Willie the Parrot, a hero indeed.