I lost my beloved green-cheeked conure, Happy, on the 5th of October this year to aspirational pneumonia. I had taken him to an after hours vet on the evening of the 3rd, where he was diagnosed with a bacterial infection. The vet told me I could expect significant improvement within the next day or two on the antibiotics he was prescribed. I went to bed on the night of the 4th fully expecting to wake up to a healthier bird, thinking a good night’s rest after a full day on the antibiotics was all he needed to feel better. I did not know he aspirated on his vomit and developed pneumonia at some time between his vet visit and that night. I didn’t even know pneumonia could kill that quickly. Maybe he had already developed it before I took him to the vet, but the vet didn’t notice. Maybe (insert here a plethora of situations and sources to blame), but it doesn’t change that he is gone now, and I am still here.
Ironically, the morning of the same day he first displayed signs of illness, before I noticed anything amiss, I decided to do a complete overhaul of his diet. There were a lot of foul rumors going around about the brand of food that comprised a majority of his diet. The food seemed fine to me. Other’s had reported spiders, obvious spoilage, etc. Everything I received appeared to be fresh. He had been eating this brand for about 6 months with no issue. Nevertheless, I figured it better to be safe than sorry and made him a fresh chop that morning before going to my computer to order new treats and pellets from well-established and respected brands.
I am not naming the brand Happy had been eating because I don’t want to be another source of hearsay. I have no proof that their food was bad, never mind that bad food can come from even the most reputable brands. My only real complaint with this brand was with occasional inaccuracies in orders and false promises to send extras or replacements for missing items. But I am a forgiving person, possibly to a fault. This is a new company, struggling to get up and running and taking on more than they can handle in order to keep up with the competition.
The source of Happy’s infection was most likely food. Maybe it was the brand I had been feeding him, maybe it was something I offered him from my own plate, or something I made fresh just for him. Regardless, I can’t get over how tragically synchronistic the overlap of my sudden worry over his diet was with his illness. It’s as if a 6th sense kicked in to warn me something was wrong before it was obvious. But a lot of good that 6th sense did in the end! 💔
I thought it would be a long time, if ever, before I would be ready for a new bird. I was offended that people were already asking me about it not even a day after Happy’s death. Did they think he was “just a bird?” How could they so casually suggest that I get another?
As I recovered from the initial grief and shock, I began to consider the possibility of a new bird in my life. I went to a bird shop downtown just to visit the birds, not to get one. I still thought it would be a while before I was truly ready for that next step, but I thought I could at least find some comfort in visiting the free-flight room of the shop from time to time until I was ready. While at the shop, I played with an adorable cinnamon green-cheeked conure. The staff told me they had never seen this ostensibly feisty and cage aggressive bird come out so willingly for anyone before.
That night, I couldn’t stop thinking about this bird and how they seemed to have chosen me. I tried to reason with myself that it was just my compromised state-of-mind making more out of the situation than it really was. I returned the next day to see if this bird would behave the same with me. They did, and again, the staff was as amazed. I was conflicted. It was way too soon for a new bird.
When I went to the store for the third time, this same little cinnamon green-cheek was bouncing excitedly as soon as they saw me. I had previously decided I would pay for a dna-sexing of the bird and take them if they were male, because Happy was male and the emotionally unstable side of me wanted to increase the likelihood that this one would be like him. The rational side of me knew it doesn’t work like that. There are territorial females and cuddly males. Males who don’t learn any words and females that learn several. Even the most verbose, clownish, and territorial male wouldn’t be Happy, despite superficial similarities. I went to that store the third time to purchase the cinnamon green-cheek, their enthusiasm at seeing me fueling my I confidence in the decision to do so.
I hope to develop a new relationship with this bird as unique as the one I had with Happy:
Here is one of what will soon develop into arguably too-many snap-chat/facebook filtered selfies taken with my new friend:
nb. I have picked out a couple of names for this bird, but I am waiting for the results of the dna-sexing before announcing the name.
Update: Her name is Tilly! ❤