William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital

Photo: Melanie
Melanie, An Avian Ambassador for Veterinary Medicine
Click here to Watch a video tribute to Melanie 

Melanie - An Avian Ambassador for Veterinary Medicine

"Melanie," a Moluccan cockatoo, was the School of Veterinary Medicine's mascot, ambassador and official greeter in the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. Melanie lived in the Companion Avian and Exotic Pet Service, or CAPE, for 13 enthusiastic years, partly as a patient and partly as an on-site companion to the faculty, staff, students and visitors of the School of Veterinary Medicine.

Michelle Hawkins is chief of the service where Melanie lived. Hawkins informed members of the veterinary school community in March 2011, "It is with deep sadness that we write of the passing of our beloved Melanie the cockatoo. Melanie was born in 1996 and came to the hospital's CAPE service in 1998. Since she was very young, Melanie suffered from a chronic intestinal disease, which was the reason that she came to live with us at CAPE and the reason for her ultimate passing. Over the course of 13 years, she touched the lives and hearts of all who work within the teaching hospital and throughout the School of Veterinary Medicine."

Melanie also served to educate veterinary students during their clinical training and resident veterinarians specializing in zoological companion animal medicine.

Thousands of visitors who have toured the teaching hospital and hundreds of elementary school students whose classrooms she visited met the cockatoo, listened to her loud and friendly voice calling "Hello, Melanie," experienced her climbing up an outstretched arm, and laughed as she raised her salmon-colored crest.

Melanie gained a bit more fame in January 1999 when she was stolen from the hospital. Fortunately, she was found in Davis within a few days and returned to her perch safe and sound. In 2010, she was selected by Sacramento Magazine as the "best animal ambassador for UC Davis."

"Melanie showed unbiased affection for all but ducks," Hawkins recalls, "and she converted many to become believers in the joys of companion birds."

In a fitting tribute to Melanie's colorful personality and the clinical mission of the service, CAPE employees set up a fund in her memory, the Melanie Memorial Fund. Monies collected for this fund will help other sick or injured parrots.

To make a gift by mail, please write a check payable to UC Regents, designate the gift for the "Melanie Memorial Fund," and send your donation to:

UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
Office of the Dean - Development
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616

To make a gift online, visit our Giving website: https://secure.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/public/E_Gifts/giving.cfm

Mark the box next to "Area of Greatest Need"
Enter gift amount in the $ box
In the Comments box, indicate that the gift is for the "Melanie Memorial Fund."