Wesley the Owl by Stacey O’Brien

In this charming and insightful story, Stacey O’Brien introduces us to the “Way of the Owl”—a way of uncompromising devotion. Stacey adopted Wesley as a tiny nestling. Since owls mate for life, throughout Wesley’s life of nearly 20 years he and Stacey were devoted to each other.

One of the things that amazed me is how sensitive owls are. While Wesley was learning to fly, Stacey burst out laughing when he made an awkward landing on a slippery table, sliding off the edge and crashing to the floor. To her surprise and dismay, Wesley turned his head away from her and refused to look at her for some time afterward. That is one part of the Way of the Owl—you do not ridicule your friend.

Another part of the Way of the Owl is that you do not force your friend to do something he does not want to do. In his old age, Wesley’s claws and beak overgrew, becoming so long and sharp that he kept hurting himself with them. Stacey wanted to file down his beak and clip his claws, but Wesley would not permit it. She had to gain his trust before he would allow this unfamiliar procedure. Drawing on research that animals sense our emotional states, she began visualizing a calm and successful process. She also used the file on various things around the room, talking to him calmly about it. Eventually he allowed her to do both of these uncomfortable procedures without any complaint.

Stacey had quite a few adventures during her years with Wesley. A large bag of live mice she had bought for him burst open in the back seat of her car. When she tried a new hairdo, piling her long hair on top of her head, Wesley thought that the lump on top of her head was some kind of predator and attacked it in an effort to defend her.

There are wonderful photos in the book, such as Wesley in front of the make-up mirror, Wesley playing in water (very unusual behavior for a barn owl), and of course Wesley cuddling with Stacey. Though they were so different in so many ways, Wesley and Stacey had an incredible bond that enriched their lives and taught those who knew them a lot about our fellow creatures.

Find and request this book in our catalog.


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