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Birds are often surprisingly delecate and being prepared to take care of an injury or illness can be critical during an emergency.

Bird Lovers Praise First Aid Product After Surviving Emergency

A parquet-like Quaker conure still thrills his owner-thanks to a unique first-aid kit made by workers with developmental disabilities.

It was literally a dark and stormy night when Kelly Tarwater of rural Cleveland, Mo., returned from her job as a dog groomer. She was horrified to find her pet bird hanging upside down with a toe stuck in the S-hook of a toy. A small pool of blood had already collected in the bottom of the cage.

After carefully freeing Otto, Kelly called her friend and neighbor Chrissy Craig, owner of Brothers Pets in Independence. The two worked for an hour to stopped the bleeding, then carefully bandaged the wound. A key factor in the success of their work was a VSI Bird Kit™ which Kelly had purchased from Chrissy only one week before.

Today, Otto is very much alive, despite an accident that is often fatal. "I think he's alive thanks to having the right materials on hand to doctor him with," Chrissy explained. "We were very lucky that he made it through the ordeal. I highly recommend having a first aid kit on hand for any type of animal you own. You never know when you may need it!"

The story of the Bird Kit™ is just as unique as this application. Designed with input from professional veterinarians and bird lovers, Bird Kit™ is one of several Show-Me Animal Products from Vocational Services, Inc. This 30-year-old not-for-profit corporation based in Liberty, Mo., provides employment and other opportunities for individuals with a developmental disability. VSI began Show-Me Animal Products in 1993 in order to expand opportunities and adapt to international competition.

VSI Executive Director Randy Hylton said the positive reception awarded Bird Kit™ at major product shows and by the public has been gratifying. "We worked very hard to design a quality product that would meet the needs of bird owners," he said. "But it's also gratifying that the work of our employees have been so well received. That's very exciting."

Bird Kit™ is not the first Pet Care Product. The effort was initiated with Vet Kit™, a first aid kit for horses that evolved when a trail accident proved that being prepared is important. Vet Kit™ was followed with specialized horse products such as the Trail, Foal and Barn kits. More recently, VSI unveiled the popular Pet Kit™ and the Sport Dog Kit™, a special first-aid product for owners of hunting, field trial and other outdoor canine activities. It has even drawn intense interest from several in law enforcement who use dogs for drug enforcement and other dangerous areas.

Hylton said the development of these products is exciting but their real purpose must be kept in mind. "It's important that we constantly look for new and expanded opportunities for our employees," he said. "Products such as Bird Kit™ are an excellent way to create jobs for workers with a disability. The more opportunity we create through our own efforts, the more opportunity we can offer, regardless of global economics or other factors. In today's economy, that's the best way for us to serve the community."