My pet - Numurkah man’s lifelong bond with a galah

By Madeleine Byron

Numurkah’s Tony Valasinavicius was on a drive almost two years ago to Strathmerton when he came across a flock of galahs that had been hit by oncoming traffic.

Driving a group of children to the local archery club, Mr Valasinavicius stopped to help one of the birds that was still alive on the side of the road.

‘‘He had hurt his wing and he seemed to be only just out of the nest because he didn’t know how to feed,’’ he said.

After taking the galah, later named Archie, to a local vet, Mr Valasinavicius was told the bird would never be able to fly or be rehabilitated back into the wild.

‘‘The damage to his wing was significant and the vet looked up at me and said, ‘I think you’ve got a pet’,’’ he said.

Encouraging Archie’s gentle nature, Mr Valasinavicius spends time taking him to schools and care facilities.

‘‘There have been studies that suggest that patting a dog can lower a person’s blood pressure — and I don’t think they have tested a galah before but I think it would be a similar effect,’’ he said.

‘‘In a way he’s better than a puppy because puppies are cute but they grow up, whereas he is going to stay the same.’’

True to his breed, Mr Valasinavicius said Archie was quite the galah.

‘‘The other day I had to go and investigate a noise coming from the kitchen — he’d found a dollar coin and he was going around on the kitchen tiles just banging it around, having the time of his life,’’ he said.

Mr Valasinavicius, who manages properties in Numurkah and the Goulburn Valley, said Archie’s natural instincts kicked in when on a production site.

‘‘He doesn’t come to work often, he can be a little bit difficult if I handle an extension lead or a hose — he’s got the natural instinct to attack them, thinking it’s a snake,’’ he said.

Galahs can live up to 40 years, and Mr Valasinavicius said he hoped to be able to pass him on to the next generation.