Tuesday, 3 July 2007
Today I took one of my cockatiels to the vets. For about two months I guess it's been, she has been unable to fly, and having difficulty even walking. I had been carrying her out of the shed every morning, and putting her on the shelf in the flight with special food, water, millet so that she can feed. I have also made a ramp so that she could get back into the shed when she wanted. For a while, she was managing quite well, and was climbing back up the wire to roost on the ledge in the shed. For the past two weeks or more, she had been unable to do this, and was just staying on the floor all the time. I guessed it was arthritis, which these birds are prone to, but she was only about 9 years old. She was never tamed, but had been allowing me to pick her up and carry her without too much fuss, never bit me anyway. So last night, she couldn't even walk up the flight to get back in the shed, and was just sitting on the floor of the flight trembling. I carried her back and put her in the shed and knew it was time to do something. The trouble is that I didn't think it fair to bring her in and put her in a cage, she was an outdoor bird, and it would be like being in prison. I was also worried that she was in pain, I mean, arthritis is painful to us. She had no quality of life. But anyway I was prepared to take advice. Damien gave her a thorough examination. He was bloody brilliant actually, and spent around 20 minutes analysing every possible thing. We also thought she had some form of paralysis, because she kept turning her neck at a funny angle. In the end, he gave me his opinion, and said if it were his bird, he'd put her to sleep, but would quite understand if I wanted to see how she got on in a cage. A very hard decision, because she could have lived probably for another 10 years, but would never have been able to get around. So I decided to respect his advice and do the deed. Damien was so great, very caring, and asked me if I was okay, as I was starting to cry. Felt a fool, but he was so lovely. I held Toby in my hands whilst she just drifted off into a deep sleep. A nice way to go. Hope something similar happens to me some day.
Oh, and I should explain I guess why she was called Toby - well just purely and simply a mistake on my part when I got her as a baby. Only males are supposed to sing a beautiful mating song, and she did this as a youngster, so the books are not always right.