Everyone Has a Story: Bird Helps Onalaska Woman Learn to Laugh Again

Our community is filled with interesting people who you encounter every day without realizing just how unique they are.

An Onalaska woman says her life was unraveling before her very eyes until she found clarity and happiness in the form of a bird.

Sharlene Goehner describes her story this way. "Two broken lives who came together and created on beautiful life. Well, actually three broken
lives because Jade didn’t have a good background either."

Sharlene was putting herself back together after a bitter divorce. Her 18-year-old dog, Stevie was diagnosed with cancer.  Her brother suggested she get a parrot.

"He said if you don’t want to go through losing a pet every so often get a parrot cause they live forever," said Goehner.

There was only one problem.  Sharlene couldn’t afford it. "I used my heating money that I had saved away for the winter to purchase Jade. That winter wasn’t too bad but you had to wrap up in blankets," said Goehner.

Sharlene had Jade for just three days when something beautiful happened.

"I was laying in bed and I actually forgot that I had Jade because I only had her for 3 days. She came into my room, climbed into my bed and tickled my feet and then laughed about it when I jumped and screamed. That really helped as far as me being down and out because I knew things were going to be OK because at least I had Jade," said Goehner.

Jade helped Sharlene find the courage to pursue a relationship with a man she had been wanting to date for over a year but was afraid to do anything about it.

For Jerry Goehner, meeting Jade was love at first sight.

"He was interested in her immediately and I actually tease him and say the only reason he dated me was for Jade," said Goehner.

Sharlene says she found her happily-ever-after thanks to Jade and no longer has an empty nest.

"Jerry and Jade. They made my life what it is today and it is so much different than what it’s ever been. When we got married I did a fairytale theme because I said that Jerry made me feel like Cinderella," said Goehner.

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