A Curious and Spirited Bird
Spike died on Monday. Sunday night he was fine when we put him to bed, but Monday morning he barely picked at his food, by Monday afternoon I was suspicious that something was wrong, and by dinnertime I was certain and took him to one of the best emergency vets in the state. While waiting to see the specialist, he started showing clear signs of distress and they rushed him in, put him in a cage with oxygen, and waited for him to stabilize. Half an hour later, he arrested and they couldn't resuscitate him. He was only seven months old, and we had only had him a month.
Now, we're waiting for the results of the necropsy that will hopefully tell us why this happened. (We have to know, to ensure the safety of our other birds as much as to help us make sense of this.) Birds are so good at hiding symptoms of illness that by the time there's any sign, it's frequently too late - but he was only seven months old.
Losing Spike hurts so deeply not only because he was so young, but because his life should have been so long and so full: fifty years would not have been too much to expect. He was such a great bird — "curious and spirited" was how the breeder described him (after we took delivery, so we knew we weren't being sold a bill of goods!), and that was so true. He explored everything he could (and we had to take care to keep him away from the door and window moulding, or else he would have destroyed it). He wasn't ill-tempered, but before he learned to trust us, the unwary handler was likely to sustain a painful bite (I still bear some scars). But after an initial adjustment period, we became a bonded pair, he and I — I was his human, every bit as much as he was my bird.
We were all but inseparable, and I was looking forward to his companionship for the rest of my life. Now all I have are memories. It shouldn't be that way.
Kerri wrote, "there's a birdie-shaped hole in my heart". There's a Spike-shaped hole in our lives. There always will be. But Tatr abides, and there's room in our lives and hearts and home for a new bird.
Good bye, Spike. Your memory will not fade.