Lola's untimely demise

I'm a bad pet owner. If there is a circle of hell for people who are bad pet owners, I am going there. But please, don't call PETA on me just yet. Hear my story and exercise mercy before you condemn me to that evil place that must forever smell like hamster urine. So, I don't like to keep my parakeet, Lola, caged all day. Parakeets get bored easily, and almost every website I looked at when I purchased this avarian beauty told me that it's good to let them out of their cages, let them stetch their wings, hang out on your shoulder, and bond with you, etc, etc, etc. We did that, quite a bit, actually, and I have blogged many an hour with a happy parakeet on my shoulder, chirping and mimicing the sounds of my typing (I'm not kidding--she really could do it!) Then, things changed. The beginning of the dark times. We got Jack, our new dog. Suddenly, no more carefree trips around the house for Lola, because Jack is a highly trained killing machine. Well, not really, but as far as she is concerned, he is. We stopped letting her out as much, and when we did let her out, Lola resorted to hanging out on the top of our mirror in our bathroom. She liked the height, the reflected parakeet that I'm sure she thought was a friend, or flockmate. Little did I know the dangerous temptation that called to her troubled soul. I am, of course, referring to the toilet. One evening I came upstairs and heard a strange wet splashing sound, and ran into the bathroom to find Lola in the toilet, struggling for her very life. I pulled her out, wrapped her in a T-shirt, and turned on the hair dryer to warm and dry her while I frantically called the vet for advice about a halfdrowned parakeet. Like most medical professionals, they like to see the patient in person before they can tell you she is perfectly fine, so I took the small animal to the pet ER (yes, they do exist!). 2 hours and $100 later I was told that she was going to be fine, but that I shouldn't let her out anymore, and that I should change her diet. What I should have realized was that it was a cry for help. Lola clearly had issues. Oh, the weakness of love! Curse my soft heart and Lola's shuttering screeches as she languished in her cage for days! I followed the vet's advice, but then she just seemed so sad (and frankly, was so stinkin' loud!) while left in her cage, so I let her out for just a minute, and she flew immediately back to her favorite perch in our bathroom. Jacob found her minutes later, again in the toilet. I realized this was a problem, obviously, and again, left her in her cage except for brief, supervised outings to caress her green feathers and coo at her. Then today, she was especially vocal and agitated, and again, I missed the obvious signs of a restless soul. I let her out, and let her go to the bathroom, completely forgetting about her toilet obsession. I found her dead only an hour later. The Wiz thinks it was suicide. Did the dog make her do it? Was she depressed? Should I have invested in Prozac for Parakeets? Did she take the plunge because she was taunted by the voices in her head of her imaginary mirror bird friend? Sadly, we'll never know. Surprisingly, Jacob is handling the whole thing pretty well. He carried the dead bird around, wrapped in a towel, for a little while, cooing at it, pretending it was the baby fox from Fox and the Hound. (Is that normal? He was quite stoic about the death of his pet, yet he bursts into tears whenever we read the book "A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog", because he didn't understand why the Frog was lonely. Should I be worried here?)We haven't decided what to do with the body yet--I don't know quite what the procedure is. At the very least, I suppose I should have closed the toilet lid. That probably would have solved everything, huh? I guess I should gear up to get used to the smell of rodent pee.


Anonymous manaen said...

"I guess I should gear up to get used to the smell of rodent pee."

Will it mix well with the cats'?

12/01/2005 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Growing up we would put our small dead pets in empty kleenex boxes and bury them in the backyard. I spent many hours as a child making elaborate headstones out of plain rocks and decorating the graves with cut flowers from our yard.

12/01/2005 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

I'm trying not to laugh, because it really is sad, but, well, only Heather would have a parakeet commit suicide! When I read the headline, my first thought was that the snake got her...

Pre-kids, I had a cocktiel who I carried around on my shoulder alot. One day he flew head-first into the mirror in my bedroom- really hard. He died, and I had the perfect imprint of "bird-in-flight" on my mirror to remind me why clipping wings is not cruel, but an act of love.

So I guess I'll see you in hell... Our book club ought to be pretty good someday!

12/01/2005 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Mo Mommy said...

It could've been suicide, I once had a goldfish that always jumped out of it's bowl. One time no-one was there to put it back and, well, you get it.
It probably just thought the toilet was a bird bath but failed to remember(repeatedly)that it was deeper than it's little legs were long. How often do we do something because we enjoy it, only to remember too late the reasons we shouldn't? I, for one, buy fudgesicles, forgetting(repeatedly) that I am unable to stop eating them.

12/01/2005 08:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

Let me first say the comment about hamster urine was unexpected and so, unexpectedly, Dr. Pepper quirted out my nose, thank you very much.

I don't know how old your son is now--your profile says 3, but I'm guessing older now? Children don't really understand the concept of death until just barely 5-6. Some children start having separation anxiety around this age because they start figuring out that something actually could happen to their parents.

And, I think he is dealing with it--but in a child-like way. Here is this thing that used to let me touch it, would make noise, would never let me carry it around. Now, I can do whatever I want to it and it doesn't seem to mind. That is something new. Mommy says the bird is dead. Dead means you don't move at all.

Finally, I agree that Lola just simply had a bird-brain, and didn't remember she was always going to be in the deep, rather than shallow end.

12/02/2005 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

Well, I always like to see what we can learn from experiences, and from this one, I think we can take the following message: Parakeets aren't too bright.

12/03/2005 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger mindy said...

I have to agree that you should have kept the toilet lid closed. Poor Lola.

12/06/2005 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Oh, Mindy, the guilt, the guilt, the guilt!

12/06/2005 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

That's what I kept thinking! Just keep the lid down!

Ah well. I started neglecting my parakeets after I got married. I was actually kind of relieved when they died of cancer. That was 7 years ago, and I still have dreams of opening a bedroom door and finding the birdcage in there... and my only thought is, "Oh crap, I haven't fed the birds in, like, SEVEN YEARS!"

12/08/2005 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger Abby said...

While the scent of urine is wafting over the burning emabers I will be among friends. 4 cats, one fuzzy bunny, a goat and a bird...2 horrible years, and an eternity knowing I am not alone. Well, maybe I'll be in a worse place than Wiz, but not alone. RIGHT??

1/04/2006 12:40:00 AM  
Blogger aa said...


2/23/2010 01:26:00 PM  

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