By Meredith Hoffman
CHELSEA — Herbert Rauch may be retired, but taking care of his parrot Eddie is a full time job. For the past 35 years, Rauch, 84, has walked the green and yellow bird up and down 10th Avenue.
"He thinks I'm his spouse," said Rauch, a resident of Penn South public housing on 27th Street. "He tolerates my wife, but she has to eat alone in the kitchen."
Rauch walks Eddie every day the temperatures are over 50 degrees. He said he often brings him to Murray's Bagels and the 99 cent stand on the corner. Rauch had Eddie's wings clipped, but the bird, from South America, is still wild at heart.
"I've petted him for 35 years — parrots live to about 50 —but he still gets frightened," said Rauch, sticking out his finger for Eddie's claw to clasp in a "handshake."
As well as feeding and walking, Rauch bathes his bird every day.
"I put him on a shower rod and he finds a seam in the shower curtain, then spreads his wings and says 'splash,'" Rauch said.
That's the sign for me to put him in the water."