Most landlords are not crazy about pets. Dogs, cats – they’re a lot of work and if not properly cared for they can do a fair amount of damage to a home. But North Cost Community Homes (NCCH) isn’t your typical landlord. In fact, nearly everyone connected with the organization would argue that we’re not a landlord at all, because we’re so much more.

So, when the residents of one of their homes in Akron, OH asked if they could have a bird, the organization didn’t just say “No.” Instead, NCCH asked “Why?”

It turns out the residents of this group home wanted to invest their time and love into taking care of something. They wanted something pretty. They wanted to bring a little bit of the outside to the inside, all year round.

Even though there’s a “no pets” policy in most homes, North Coast Community Homes worked with the residents to make it work. The residents pooled their funds and got a fancy enclosed cage that keeps their beautiful little zebra finches safe and minimizes any mess. The residents feed the birds, while a company comes in to clean and maintain the cage.

“You should see them,” says Jack Metz, one of NCCH’s maintenance staff, “(the residents) will sit in the common room for hours just watching and interacting with the little birds! It’s really something.”

One of the residents wasn’t initially as interested as the others. She didn’t object to having birds, but thought she might not really want to interact with them too much.

“Now she can’t imagine not having them” says Metz. “I guess, it really makes it feel even more like a regular home.”

Which is good, because home is what NCCH wants every resident to feel.