Sunday, February 07, 2010


I'm not sure where to begin with this story. Chango flew away yesterday. I think we're both still in disbelief.

This past summer we decided to add a bird to our family. After getting Tchoupi home we realized we probably should have gotten another one to keep her company. We went, purchased Chango, and headed home. Immediately they both perked up and they were inseparable since. Parakeets may learn to talk but given them being paired it was unlikely. We worked with them nonstop to get them acclimated to us. In all honesty, they were used to us, but still relied on each other for their comfort.

As time went on their clipped wings (to limit flight) grew back out. Finally, they didn't flop to the ground if they fell. We'd allow them to fly around the house a little bit each day. We enjoyed watching them. Clipping wings is a topic I'm on the fence about. Yes, I know they're pets, but I'd like all of our pets to live as "naturally" of lives as possible, within reason. That's one reason we let their flight wings grow. But that thought process kind of leads me to doubt owning any birds. You know, taking their natural abilities away. On the other hand, they were bred to be pets, not to be out in the wild, and no matter what they're going to be a pet to someone....and we'd rather them be with us, knowing they'll be loved. I know, I'm thinking to deeply into it and I can't wrap my brain around it.

So, we let their wings grow. Yesterday we got home, let Spencer out to do his business. I also let the birds out of the cage to fly around the house. At that same time David let Spencer in, and out Chango went. I heard David's, "Oh shit!" and the door slam. I ran to the door. I'll never forget that moment for the rest of my life. I could see Chango's turquoise wings as he flew higher and farther away, never looking back. Then David, out in the ankle+ deep snow, his flip flops thrown from running, standing there in his socks, with his hands on his head, and the look in his eyes of his heart being ripped out. Off we went, on foot, trying to find him. We called his name. We threw seed. Mom and dad even went out just to make sure. He was gone. He never stopped, so we could only imagine where he went.

I didn't know what to do. My heart hurt. It still does. However, I deal with death on a daily basis through my work. I never in my wildest dreams thought I could perform a euthanasia on a pet. Now, sometimes I feel heartless as I walk into a room, perform the procedure, and don't think much about it. Don't get me wrong, I give every client and pet the respect they deserve. And I always say, "Say "hi" to Toto for me." (Toto being my childhood pet that was euthanized several years ago). I also admit there are days that I do break down and cry with the client or shed a couple tears as I walk out of the room. It's all part of my job. In addition to my dealing with death, I wasn't as close to Chango as say our dogs and cats. When their time comes I will be a basket case.

With all that being said, I'm handling Chango flying away differently than David. My heart hurts from losing Chango and the thoughts of what will happen to him. But my heart hurts more watching David. The pets are his "release." He will sit in the pet room for hours admiring them all. Playing, feeding, cleaning....whatever. He's content. Chango was "his" bird. David, just like most men, doesn't cry easily. And whenever he does I'm at a loss of what to do. Yesterday was one of those days. I didn't know what to do to comfort him. All I could do was hug him and say, "it's going to be alright." Unfortunately, it's most inevitable what will happen to Chango. Domesticated birds don't usually survive in the wild. Add onto that the cold weather, chances are he didn't make it through the night. Last night was harder than yesterday, knowing this to be the case.

All we can do is be thankful for the time he was with us and hope that he was as happy as he made us during that time. And if and when he does pass, it's not a time of suffering for him.

Not only were we grieving but we had Tchoupi, our other parakeet, to worry about. We didn't know what to do for her. She seemed ok, but confused. After doing research most people said to pair them again. I gave David the option and told him that the choice is his. He decided that he wanted to pair her again and she now has another friend. His name is Mardi (as in Mardi Gras). They seem to get along. However, it's back to square one teaching a new bird that we're not the enemy and that they can trust us. It will be a long road, but as always, worth it in the end.

To Chango: Mr. Blue we loved you!

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