Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bird affair

I've had a pet bird almost my entire life.  A different one at different times.  My first pet bird I had was named Miki.  He was a little parakeet.  My parents got him for me when I was 6 or 7.  It was the only pet I was allowed to have, no cat or a dog.  Miki was a white parakeet, but shortly after I got him he got ill.  My dad said he will take him to the vet.  On the day of Miki's vet visit I came home from school to find Miki a bit discolored.  He was still white, but had some gray stripes.  Odd - I thought.  But my parents had a reasonable explanation for a 7 year old.  They said to me that Miki was given medicine that caused him to get stripes.  I believed them!!  At some point, years later I knew that the original Miki had died on that day he supposedly went to the vet.  But a lot of time had past for me to 'grieve'.  Besides the striped Miki and I were inseparable.  Miki talked, he would also sit on my shoulder and sometimes he'd eat out of my mouth (yeah gross).  I would also give him baths by cupping my hands in a nest shape and holding them under a slow stream of water in the bathroom sink, while he'd bathe himself.  I'd arrange mirrors and toys on the ground where he would walk and talk to himself in the mirror and interact with the little toys I had out for him.

We were great pals.  I loved Miki.  I had him a long time, some 8-9 years.  He was still alive when I left home in 1995 to be an exchange student for a year.  And when I returned home in the summer of 1996, Miki had changed colors again.  I was angry at my parents for not telling me when he died, they didn't want to upset me especially when I was far away from home anyways.  They'd gotten a purple bird to replace him.  I couldn't connect with this bird, although I did care for it.

When I came back to the states, Terri got me a set of birds, a boy and a girl, Tommy and Cookie.  Cookie died, I can't remember the circumstances, and I had Tommy for a long time.  I still had Tommy when I got married, and at some point he died before I moved to Arizona.  I buried him under a tree at the house we used to live at that time in Bellevue, NE.

At some point during the first year I lived in Arizona, sometime in 2002, my husband got me a set of birds, Goku and ChiChi (we started naming our pets after TV/cartoon characters).  ChiChi died one summer during a time my mother-in-law was visiting.  I buried her under a tree in our back yard.  Goku was around for a long long time.  However, the sad part is that because of other pets we had (cats/dogs) I could never let Goku out of his cage.  I didn't have the opportunity to connect and interact the way I had with Miki.  So Goku spent his entire life in a cage mostly.  His death was by far the most tragic.  Last June (2010) I was sitting on the couch with my kids one morning.  I could hear some type of a bird noise, but a strange bird noise.  I though it was coming from the outside, so I tried to listen.  It was very unusual, and I got up to investigate.  A minute later I found Goku's cage broken.  It was suspended from the ceiling, at least 6ft high, and at least that many feet away from any high surface.  The cat had managed to get the bottom of the cage off and so Goku must have fallen out.  When I found him, the the cat was eating him, he was still alive.  I picked him up and held him in my hands.  He was biting me at first, trying to defend himself.  But he stopped.  I held him for the next hour and talked to him as he died in my hands.

I have no birds now, and I don't think I am going to get one.  They are not meant to live in a cage.  There are many birds in our back yard and I hear them chirping in the morning.  I see them hide in our trees, hang out with their bird buddies on the electrical wires, flying away free as they should be.

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