Whenever I would see somebody
walking their dog, paying $100 for cat food or shopping for the best
bowl for a fish - I thought they were crazy.
They're animals, they don't
need us to take care of them, their supposed to be in the wild, and if
you have to clean up after them, give them special showers and be
careful what food you leave lying around - then how is that different
Well there is one big difference;
you get paid to baby sit.
I know ignorant all this would seem
to animal lovers, but it's the truth - that's just how I felt.
I didn't it.
Then for my birthday one year I was
going to get a shark, basically because they look cool. I had
several fish when I was younger, but they ended up overeating (or I fed
them too much) and they all died.
Years later I tried raising several
Bonsai Trees, they all ended up dying. I later found out that they
are among the toughest plants to grow.
I bought them because I loved - and
still do - they way they looked.
So I did have some experience
So on my birthday I thought I was
getting a shark, but the tank - which cost a small fortune itself - had
a delay in shipping so I wasn't going to be able to get it by my
I was mildly disappointed and voiced
this to anybody within ear shot.
So on the day of my birthday, I got
a parakeet as a gift.
I tried to be nice.
I was appreciative of the thought
but wondered how anybody could deduce that a parakeet would be a
suitable substitute for a shark.
As it turns out the parakeet was
equally unimpressed by me.
He bit at me, lounged at me, would
go wildly berserk if I tried to lay a finger in his cage.
He was a nut - a crazy little guy -
so I started calling Crazy Little Guy - when he (and I) became more sane
the eventual name became Little Guy.
Later I would find out that Little
Guy was a female, but we still kept the name.
Since I wasn't allowed to touch her,
touch the cage or barely look at her I left her alone about ten feet
from my desk in the doorway - this way we could get a better view of
ourselves ignoring each other.
I have a neighbor with some little
girls and so I thought that after a few days maybe I could give Little
Guy to them, they would probably be a much better fit.
But over the next few days something
I felt bad for Little Guy and
started thinking about how uncomfortably she must be so I played some
audios online of other parakeets, as soon as she heard them she started
chirping away - chirp, chirp, chirp - she was excited.
So I tested something, I would stop
the audios and then whistle and see how she responded to me.
She started chirping back.
I would chirp a rhythm, like Queens'
We Will Rock You - and she would chirp back in proper cadence.
It was fun.
I still wasn't allowed to touch her,
but I could get closer to the cage, eventually I could touch and grab
the cage - and even move it - without her going nuts.
I ended up putting her on my desk
and we would 'talk' back and forth, anytime I would leave she would
throw a tantrum and chirp for me to come back.
When I say tantrums, I mean like
Exorcist-type tantrums, she would scream, fly, bite her cage - just total
chaos - and I felt so bad that I would stay.
But I had to leave sometimes, right?
She didn't think so.
I had to take her everywhere with me
- yes everywhere.
Gas stations, grocery stores,
Wal-Mart, next to the treadmill - even in the bathroom - everywhere, or she would
completely flip out.
Eventually I could pet her - but
only a few times a day - more than that and I got a warning chirp
followed by a striking pinch, sometimes those pinches drew blood.
boundaries, and she never let me forget it.
She was a fighter.
Everyday she grew on me more and
more - her feelings toward me kind of hit a plateau after a few days -
but mine never did.
I started to
see, for the first time in my life, why people treat/love animals as
children. I understood the motivations behind animal lovers, and
it was a revolution to me.
next few months I got her a companion, began to become a burden to her
and my petting privileges revoked to once a day. She wasn't as
tolerant of me once she had a friend.
isn't it? That somebody with so much spite, and even hatred,
towards you can invoke a gradually deeper feeling of compassion from
you. Maybe that says something about me... or maybe not.
my experience with Little Guy, I decided to 'upgrade' and adopt some
parrots - that is completely different story but that experience has
made me an even crazier 'animal nut' - and my 'Big Guys' actually love
Either way I
love Little Guy, so when I found out she had tumors I could have been
happier - and I was once I found out that a majority of parakeets have
them and they are generally harmless.
things got worse.
less and less.
After a few
months she almost never flew.
We gave her
medicine, set appointments for her, tried cleaning her beak and stomach
with 'washes' - everything we could think of.
Next to her
cage was a large bookshelf, about 20 feet high, and Little Guy used to
hang out up there quite a bit before she got sick. It had been
months since she had been able to get back up there.
afternoon, I saw her up there.
have meant she was feeling better, right?
She was up
there chirping, biting the wood and not happy to see me - so everything
as we were getting ready to put her sickness behind us, she collapsed
from her cage.
She hit the
her up and she could hardly stand.
I set out a
sheet for her in the family room and put her on it, there she squirmed
and tried to regain her footing - I could hear her breathing heavier and
looking at me as her chest expanded and contracted like air pump on a
I called the
emergency vet because I didn't think she would make the trip and I was
hoping they had some ideas that I could use right now...
I tried to
help her, but even in death Little Guy would accept my help to stand and
then nip at me as if to say "I'm fine, now get your hands of me!"
I told you,
she was a fighter.
All the way
to the end.
minutes of stumbling over and dragging herself back to her feet, she
stumbled over one last time.
There on her
back, with her eyes fixed on the bookshelf, she died.
I spent some
money (several times the price of Little Guy) for an official autopsy,
and although it isn't conclusive they have determined it was not
the cancer that killed her.
It was more
likely some bacteria that we did not treat/diagnosed effectively.
it even worse.
When we get
to the bottom of this, I'll let you know, hell even if I help you save
just one animals' life it would be worth it, right?
the things you remember when you look back, because what I remember and
admire most about her was her fighting spirit - she knew she was dying
and as a final act of defiance she refused to stay in the cage on
her last day - she gave it everything she had and flew to the top of
I can only
hope and pray that I
face death with such a 'pair'.
If you have a
similar story, I'd love to hear it...
faq (at) AzamMeo (dotcom)