Last summer, Sherlock the pigeon spent his days aimlessly wandering around a corporate office center in Green Valley. The people who worked at that office took a liking to the lone pigeon, feeding and giving him water daily.
One Saturday afternoon, John Wood stopped by the office. He became accustomed to greeting the pigeon upon arrival. On this particular day, Sherlock was not his regular laid-back self. He was lying on the ground and obviously in pain, Wood’s wife, who was with him, suggested they take him to the vet.
After a wild goose chase, Sherlock was caught and taken to the vet. As it turns out, his wing was broken. It was suspected that he was the victim of a cat attack, who ripped off part of his wing. He had no chance of ever flying again.
Sherlock was considered a “no-release,” meaning it would be cruel to release him into the world. “After that moment, we had a new pet,” said Wood.
Over the next two months, Wood and his wife took Sherlock under their wing. They built a habitat for the bird in their backyard. The bird had “quite the setup,” John explained. He had his very own chicken coop, equipped with fake grass, and colored stairs.
As far as activities, the bird was set in his daily routine. Earlybirds themselves, the Wood’s woke up at 6 A.M. everyday to give Sherlock fresh food and water. He was bathed daily, and had an assortment of clean blankets in his rotation.
Sherlock quickly became the most popular bird in the neighborhood. “He had close to 80 visitors everyday – pigeons, doves, quails,” said Wood. “We could tell he was anxious to get out with other birds, but he couldn’t because of his ‘no-release’ status.”
Wood knew it was time to find a permanent home for Sherlock. That’s when he discovered You Gotta Love Them Inc. The bird sanctuary gladly took Sherlock, and now he gets to spend his days aimlessly wandering around with his friends.
“We were just thankful to find a fantastic place that would take him,” said Wood.
Located in a nondescript neighborhood near Rancho Circle, the non-profit organization You Gotta Love Them Inc. has been a sanctuary for injured, homeless, and helpless animals for over 20 years.
Their mission is to help as many animals in need as possible through fostering, rehabilitation, permanent placement, and providing a sanctuary. They specialize in birds and currently house over 200 of them – cockatiels, macaws, finches, doves, and more.
The organization’s founder Frida Alkon started the sanctuary as a promise to her son. He had a baby bird that escaped, “I promised him I was going to do something about it,” she told Vegas News.
Each animal has a different story. In the backyard was a majestic white dove, her regal stance made her stand out from the pack, turns out she once belonged to Wayne Newton. Alkon had to take on many of Newton’s exotic birds after he closed his ranch Casa De Shenandoah.
Indoors was a mockingbird who resided in her own cage. She fell from her nest when she was a chick – breaking her beak. The damage was permanent and rendered her unable to acclimate in the wild. She was brought to You Gotta Love Them Inc., where Alkon hand-feeds her every hour.
Many of the birds have the freedom to fly away, but they keep coming back.
The sanctuary is also home to a diverse set of dogs, including retired police dog Gunther the Bloodhound. He is the size of a miniature bear, but has the temperament of Bob Ross. He would have been euthanized had Alkon not taken him in.
In the backyard, socializing with his new friends was Sherlock the Pigeon. Although he couldn’t fly like the other birds, they strutted on the ground to be near him. Like birds of a feather, they flock together.
You Gotta Love Them Inc. is the largest (non-state funded) 501(c)3 bird sanctuary in Las Vegas. During these trying times their organization is as desperate as ever for community support. Donations are greatly appreciated as they allow us to stay afloat and continue to maintain the daily operations of the organization.