Four years ago, the Ayad family’s pet peacock ran away. Argus, named for the Greek myth detailing how the bird earned its eye-like plumage, ventured out into Joshua Tree Senior Living Campus where he has remained since 2018. While Amal Ayad and her daughter, Philistine, say they could have recaptured the colorful bird, they eventually abandoned their quest. We caught up with the mother and daughter to chat about the surprising story of a peacock on the loose in North Olmsted.
The Great Escape. In 2018, Argus made a panicked escape from his home after being playfully chased by a pack of exuberant nieces, neighbor kids and grandchildren. Since then, the peacock has stayed close to Joshua Tree Senior Living and Grace Church, just about five minutes down the road from his original home. “He’s a beautiful bird. He brings joy,” Amal says. “We’d been trying to catch him pretty much religiously until 2020 when the pandemic happened. Then we started getting reports from the nursing home that the residents who weren’t getting any human visitors would look forward to him visiting every day.”
Therapy Bird. One Joshua Tree resident swings by to see Argus before every dialysis treatment. “He’s become a totem, a lucky charm for these residents,” Philistine says. “He’s become their therapy animal. I think that’s essentially the heart of what makes him so special. He’s taking care of the community even though he may not know it, and they’re taking care of him.”
Buying a Peacock. “As long as you have the acreage, you’re allowed to have certain fowl in North Olmsted. Like, you’re allowed up to six chickens, and they only recently put that restriction," says Philistine. "But we got Argus because [Amal] enjoys exotic animals.”
A Helping Hand. “There’s actually a community effort to make sure he’s taken care of,” says Amal. “They put down hay. They feed him antibiotics. They give him food. We come every day to every other day, depending on when we’re able. But peacocks are foragers, too, so they can pretty much take care of themselves. Someone saw him take down a squirrel and eat it.”
Social Media Influencer. “People kept seeing this peacock, and they were posting about it online,” says Philistine, “and they asked me to start a Facebook page just so that they can come see him, take care of him, feed him.” The page, called Argus, the North Olmsted Peacock, now has 1,163 followers.
The Future. “As long as he stays unmolested and safe, we’re fine leaving him roaming,” says Philistine. “But if we see that people are going to come and start bothering him, then we would have no choice for his safety but to relocate him back.”