Chris Reid

Fall/Winter 2009/2010 is my second season here at the Oasis and it is only getting better. Since extreme heat has been my enemy since early childhood, I am only here for half of the year from October thru March. Last year I knew I would be fairly heartbroken when it was time to leave the heat behind, knowing it was impossible to explain to the animals where I had gone. The thing that really surprised me was the loss I experienced missing all my co-workers. The staff here really is an amazing group of hard working, dedicated, generous and animal loving people. They have made my experiences here the most satisfying and enjoyable of any place I have ever worked. Anyone who has been fortunate enough to have visited the Oasis understands the level of commitment needed to keep all these critters happy, healthy and safe’, ‘

I grew up in Fresno, CA, and had the great fortune to have pets during my upbringing. We naturally had cats and dogs the entire time, but there were also stints when we had a pony, rabbits, goats, pigeon, fish, a cockatiel, and a variety of hand-fed lil ugly feathered things until they turned into birds and joined their kin outdoors (blue jays, crows, sparrows, doves, robins, etc). My Mom has a magic touch raising these tiny birds into beauties. Looking back I feel blessed to have been surrounded by so many wonderful and interesting animals. I was always fascinated by the large parrots whenever I happened to see them….some day I would have my own.

I graduated from Fresno State University in 1991 with a B.A. in Geography. I have lived in Denmark for 3 years at 2 different times. I served in the US Army Infantry stationed in Hawaii from 1997-2001. I worked in a pet store in Fresno during my college years and was seriously corrupted by the parrots I was exposed to there (4 Macaws and an unforgettable African Grey named Popper). Popper spoke several languages and mimicked nearly every sound and noise he consistently heard, the phone, cash register and all the staff who worked there. He was quite a wonder. During that time I saw a TV show with a famous African Grey named Alex. I realized that these birds were very intelligent as evidenced by what I saw while working with a few for several years. Alex blew away all my pre-conceptions of just how much they are capable of. It seemed I was lucky enough every few years or so to see Alex on TV again and each time I was amazed how far he progressed. He was undoubtedly a great fellow!

My exposure to the wonderful movie, “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill”, was the beginning of the journey that brought me here to the Oasis. While visiting relatives in Arizona, they mentioned they had found a place in Arizona that had taken in a few of the birds from that movie. It was a parrot sanctuary that also gave tours and they questioned whether I wanted to go see it. Absolutely, I responded. Going to a place that was chuck full of parrots!!! My kind of adventure. I visited here in March 2008 and was awestruck at what I saw. Tons of birds with every type of parrot I love!!! Some were even in aviaries where they could fly freely all the time. It was definitely one of the best places I could ever come to see for fun.

Later that summer I was forwarded an email link to the Oasis site and saw that employees were needed. I made the call and was lucky enough to get to come here on a seasonal basis. I had a great winter last year and so looked forward to returning.

I have learned how to do a lot more functions as an animal care giver this season, thanks to the great mentoring I have received from the staff. It really is a great pleasure for me to be here working again at the Oasis. I love them all: birds, ducks, chickens, geese, horses, goats, dogs, and of course, my co-workers!! To everyone visiting this site, I urge you to come and visit us someday. I am certain that you will treasure the experience.