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Parrots help veterans with PTSD, drug problems heal at Westwood VA

The Serenity Park Parrot Sanctuary.
The Serenity Park Parrot Sanctuary.
The Serenity Park Parrot Sanctuary
The Serenity Park Parrot Sanctuary.
The Serenity Park Parrot Sanctuary.
The Serenity Park Parrot Sanctuary


Rescued parrots are helping Southern California veterans heal from post war wounds you can't always see. The Serenity Park Parrot Sanctuary on the grounds of the Veterans Affairs campus in Westwood is home to parrots who have been rescued from abused homes, could no longer be taken care of or have been abandoned.

Serenity Park provides animal therapy to veterans who have come back from overseas and have post-traumatic stress disorder, drug abuse problems, alcoholism or mental health issues. At the park, veterans care for the parrots in large outdoor aviaries, according to the park website. 

By caring for the birds, "Veterans learn a life of love again," Serenity Park Parrot Sanctuary Ambassador Laura Bryna told KPCC. "The birds and the veterans heal together."

The sanctuary currently helps 8 to 1o veterans, but the number changes, said Bryna. 

Bryna, who's a bird owner and has done work with the International Guard and the Wounded Warrior Project, said it's important to take care of veterans.

"These veterans come from all over and have seen so many horrible things in their lives, and they come back — many of them homeless — they don't have wives, they don't have husbands, they don't have a home to go to," she said. "We need to take care of them."