Monday, June 1, 2009
In Memory of Pumpkin
My pet female Cockatiel, Pumpkin, died during the night. It's a very sad day for me and for Ricky, the male, who is trying to understand what happened to her. Yesterday morning she wouldn't eat as normal and only wanted to drink water. She didn't seem to be able to get the water down though and would shake her head and it would go flying. She wanted to be left alone and got on the floor and into a far corner, where she sat for quite a while. When she did come out I picked her up gently and put her in the cage to see if she would eat but she only drank the water and did not want to be in the cage. So I put her up in the cupboard where she has a big large bowl made into a nest. She likes to sleep there. She was making little noises when I talked to her. Very weak. She was happy to be back in there though. She got right into the nest and stayed there. Ricky, my male Cockatiel, wanted to go in there real bad. I let him one time but all he wanted to do was push her out. He does not like her in there when he wants to play and walk around the house. He was always a bit too bossy with her but they got along generally and would get into trouble together and walk around on the floor. I kept him away from her the rest of the day. He didn't like that one bit and was screaming the whole day. I checked on Pumpkin before I went to bed and she was still alive and resting okay in there. But this morning she was dead and still in the same peaceful looking position.
I got Pumpkin in 2000 at the age of 5 months. She had already been with someone else but the girl brought her back to the pet shop saying that her boyfriend did not like the bird because it squawked all the time and he would smash the cage and yell at her. She was so friendly at the pet shop and my brother wanted to buy her for me, even though I didn't want another bird at the time. I already had two parakeets. But I got her and she was so pretty and friendly and I could hold her and she'd sit on my shoulder and pull my hair. If company came, especially men, she'd want to get on their shoulder and talk in her way at them. It was so cute. She never did say any words though. I guess she got to like my brother, who had stayed at my place for a week after coming home from England. Pumpkin loved him.
Pumpkin started laying eggs when she was around a year and a half old. I felt sorry for her so went to the pet shop and got a fertile egg for her to hatch. That is how I got my male. They never were mates but just friends. He never fertilized her. She continued to lay eggs and for the past year when she did, she'd have problems. Sometimes the egg would break inside of her and I thought she was going to die long before now. A couple times the shell would be half out so I'd gently pull it out, even though they say you aren't supposed to. Then her insides were sticking out at times and I'd have to push them back in. But that hadn't happened in quite a long time. A couple months ago she smashed into the wall and hurt her shoulder. She could still fly but her one wing hung lower after it healed. There were many times I thought she was going to die, only to pull through and be okay. Yesterday she seemed good except for the water and eating problem. She didn't seem egg-bound or anything. But I'll never know. And I'm not about to pay a Vet to tell me why she died. She has always been a little stressed and would pick at her feathers when she was nervous. I think the male bothered her a little too much too. But she lived a good life for the nine years I had her. They both would come into the kitchen every morning and have breakfast with me. They loved their scrambled egg and spinach every day. And they were always allowed out of their cages all day. They would follow me around from room to room.
I'm not sure if I did the right thing by letting the male see her body. He won't leave it now and is very quiet, saying her name now and then. He stayed with her body for a couple hours and now sits on top of the cupboard as if waiting for her to wake up. I will take the body away tonight after he is to bed in his cage and covered for the night. I know he will be screaming for her all day tomorrow and maybe longer till he realizes she is never coming back. I feel so sad for him right now.
Was that the right thing to do? I'm not sure but I think they have their own way of dealing with things too and I thought it was best for him to know. Otherwise he might just think I did something with her and yell at me for the rest of his life..