A parrot with a talent for mimicry has been identified as a serial dog poisoner.

According to its owner, Helen Finch, Peaches the Congo African grey parrot had been calling to her three dogs – Maltese terriers Boris and Cassidy, and shih-tzu pug cross Gus – and throwing grapes for them to eat while the family was out for the afternoon.

Peaches the Congo African grey parrot.

Grapes contain a substance that can cause acute renal failure in dogs. It is a serious condition that can quickly become fatal.

Missing grapes

On returning home, Mrs Finch noticed a bunch of grapes was missing and realised what had happened.

All three dogs were taken to the owner’s local Portland Vets in East Grinstead, West Sussex, where they were seen by vet Anna Garvey as an emergency and treated with activated charcoal, which helps prevent the absorption of toxins from the stomach and intestine.

The dogs were then given IV fluids to help clear their kidneys of toxins.

Three days later, tests confirmed their kidneys had no long-term damage and the animals have now returned home.

Happy ending

Mrs Finch has decided not to keep grapes in the house in future.

She said: “Peaches flies freely around the house, but returns to her cage when I’m not at home.

“She has become a fantastic mimic – she was calling each dog over by name to be fed and dropping the grapes on the floor in front of them from her cage.

“Boris, Cassidy and Gus were then tucking in.”

Dr Garvey said: “In cases of poisoning, speed of response is important, so Mrs Finch did exactly the right thing in coming to us quickly as it meant we could flush out most of the toxins before they had a chance to cause serious harm to the dogs.

“We’re delighted this story has had a happy ending and all three dogs are now home again. Peaches may need to learn to throw them healthier snacks in future.”

portland vets
Vet Anna Garvey (left) with Helen Finch and her dogs, Boris, Cassidy and Gus.
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