The following is a public service announcement, as columnists occasionally have a right to be when they're not trying to be funny or political.
There is a cockatiel missing in Huntington Beach, and apparently a family in Newport Beach has found it. The bird's owners are trying to track down the finders, and the Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center is aiding them in the search. That's the gist of the story so far.
Now, a missing cockatiel may sound like the fodder for a zany human interest story or to some, not a story at all. But like I said, we're running this column as a way to spread the word. This particular bird, named Sunny, is the longtime companion of a special-needs child, and she and her family are eager to have him back.
Lori Stevens-Hogue, a paralegal who lives in Huntington Beach and has a horse at the equestrian center, called me Monday and told me about the search her family has been on since Sunny flew away a month ago. Her husband was walking out to get the morning paper and didn't know that Sunny had perched on his shoulder, and when he stepped outside, the bird took off.
In the days following, Stevens-Hogue put ads in the local media, started a Facebook page and talked to others at the equestrian center. Then a lead emerged. A woman who has a horse at the center reported to Stevens-Hogue that another boarder had told her she found a cockatiel on a car's bumper in Long Beach.
The only problem was that the woman didn't ask the boarder's name, and she didn't know Stevens-Hogue had lost a cockatiel until she saw her flier at Huntington Pet Vet in Huntington Beach. The only thing the woman remembered is that the bird's finder has a daughter who attends Ensign Intermediate School in Newport Beach.
Staff and other boarders at the equestrian center are now on the lookout for Sunny's finder. And if they find her, there will be a very relieved girl in Huntington Beach.
Sunny has been the companion for seven years of 18-year-old Analiesa Hogue, who has a learning disability and often looked forward to seeing her pet again when she returned from a rough day at school. Sometimes, her mother said, Analiesa had an easier time bonding with the animal than she did with her classmates.
The loss of her pet, Stevens-Hogue said, has been devastating.
"She was crying herself to sleep every night for a while," she said. "Now, it'll go on OK for a while, and then she'll burst into tears from distress."
She noted, though, that she was touched by the assistance from others at the equestrian center.
"Everybody's been so sweet in trying to help us find this little guy," she said.
A description of Sunny: He's less than a foot high and has a brownish-grey and white feathered body with a red and yellow head topped by a few spiky cowlicks. If you see him, let us know. More than one person in Surf City will thank you.
City Editor MICHAEL MILLER can be reached at (714) 966-4617 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.