By Heather O.
I’m a bad pet owner. If there is a circle of hell for people who are bad pet owners, I am going there. But please, don’t call PETA on me just yet. Hear my story and exercise mercy before you condemn me to that evil place that must forever smell like hamster urine.
So, I don’t like to keep my parakeet, Lola, caged all day. Parakeets get bored easily, and almost every website I looked at when I purchased this avarian beauty told me that it’s good to let them out of their cages, let them stetch their wings, hang out on your shoulder, and bond with you, etc, etc, etc. We did that, quite a bit, actually, and I have blogged many an hour with a happy parakeet on my shoulder, chirping and mimicing the sounds of my typing (I’m not kidding–she really could do it!)
Then, things changed. The beginning of the dark times.
We got Jack, our new dog. Suddenly, no more carefree trips around the house for Lola, because Jack is a highly trained killing machine. Well, not really, but as far as she is concerned, he is. We stopped letting her out as much, and when we did let her out, Lola resorted to hanging out on the top of our mirror in our bathroom. She liked the height, the reflected parakeet that I’m sure she thought was a friend, or flockmate. Little did I know the dangerous temptation that called to her troubled soul.
I am, of course, referring to the toilet.
One evening I came upstairs and heard a strange wet splashing sound, and ran into the bathroom to find Lola in the toilet, struggling for her very life. I pulled her out, wrapped her in a T-shirt, and turned on the hair dryer to warm and dry her while I frantically called the vet for advice about a halfdrowned parakeet. Like most medical professionals, they like to see the patient in person before they can tell you she is perfectly fine, so I took the small animal to the pet ER (yes, they do exist!). 2 hours and $100 later I was told that she was going to be fine, but that I shouldn’t let her out anymore, and that I should change her diet.
What I should have realized was that it was a cry for help. Lola clearly had issues.
Oh, the weakness of love! Curse my soft heart and Lola’s shuttering screeches as she languished in her cage for days! I followed the vet’s advice, but then she just seemed so sad (and frankly, was so stinkin’ loud!) while left in her cage, so I let her out for just a minute, and she flew immediately back to her favorite perch in our bathroom.
J found her minutes later, again in the toilet.
I realized this was a problem, obviously, and again, left her in her cage except for brief, supervised outings to caress her green feathers and coo at her.
Then today, she was especially vocal and agitated, and again, I missed the obvious signs of a restless soul. I let her out, and let her go to the bathroom, completely forgetting about her toilet obsession. I found her dead only an hour later.
The Wiz thinks it was suicide.
Did the dog make her do it? Was she depressed? Should I have invested in Prozac for Parakeets? Did she take the plunge because she was taunted by the voices in her head of her imaginary mirror bird friend? Sadly, we’ll never know.
Surprisingly, J is handling the whole thing pretty well. He carried the dead bird around, wrapped in a towel, for a little while, cooing at it, pretending it was the baby fox from Fox and the Hound. (Is that normal? He was quite stoic about the death of his pet, yet he bursts into tears whenever we read the book “A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog”, because he didn’t understand why the Frog was lonely. Should I be worried here?)We haven’t decided what to do with the body yet–I don’t know quite what the procedure is.
At the very least, I suppose I should have closed the toilet lid. That probably would have solved everything, huh?
I guess I should gear up to get used to the smell of rodent pee.
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