Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pepper Dies

In Loving Memory Of Pepper The White Fonted Amazon

Yesterday I went early in the morning to the police gun range to finish the second part of my Conceal and Carry Class. We were there around 8:00 am. It was sooooo cold. About 43 degrees or so but with the wind it felt much colder. We received more instruction on the handling of our firearms. I thought I wouldn't like handling a gun or any part of it but I did enjoy learning about the safety of handling guns. We were taught all of the basics of shooting and eventually we went to the firing range to practice dry shooting (without bullets). Then after this practice we received more instructions and loaded the guns with ammunition. I was a little nervous but concentrated on what I had been told to do. There are so many steps to shooting it takes a long time for beginners. I did hit the target. I couldn't tell how well I was shooting because I shared a target with another woman. She shot first so there were a lot of holes in the target before I shot. I was so focused on what I was doing that I didn't see where the bullets went. I know that they hit the target because the instructor told me so. At first I hit the target low because I was having trouble with my eyes focusing. I finally found the way to stand and hold my head that was comfortable for me and was able to focus my eyes in order to line up the sights. I think I enjoyed it because it took so much concentration and I could forget about all the problems in this world.

After I arrived home yesterday afternoon I looked at my parrots and one of them was very sick. I was so scared because he looked so bad. Poor little thing. He was sitting hanging on the side of his water dish and he couldn't move. He couldn't hold his eyes open and his feathers were ruffled. I tried to get him to move to his perch but he couldn't move. I had to move him. He was holding onto the bars of his cage but he nearly fell. I rushed around and got him a portable cage and called the veterinarian. I was looking for a vet who had been to our bird club meetings. She was there at the clinic and so I packed both my parrots into the car and drove to the clinic. It was about 15 minutes away. Poor little Pepper was barely hanging onto the perch. When the doctor came into the room to see the parrots she weighed him and she said he was very, very light for his size. She turned him over and his breast bone had no meat around it. The bone stuck out. He could hardly breath. She said he was starving to death. I was just astounded. I couldn't believe it because he eats really good. She asked me what I fed him and I told her.

I fed both my birds the same thing. They had oatmeal, chopped apple, blueberries, kiwi, strawberry in the morning. Then later in the day they get an almond, peanut, or walnut. Then in the evening they would get different things like, frozen corn, peas, broccoli, tomato, zucchini, Kale, sweet potato, carrots, cornbread with jalapeno, cheese, cream corn, Kale, and carrots. During the day I would sometimes give them dried fruit, figs, dates, pineapple, cranberry, cherry, and apricot. If I had a fresh pineapple they would get some of it too. In the summer when we had our garden at my mother's house Pepper and the other bird would get cantalope, cucumber, watermelon, and other fresh food.

The veterinarian said that was a good diet and she said that he could have any number of things wrong: his liver, he could have cancer, tumors, or an infection. She said she could give him a "dying cocktail" which might help him live. We decided to go ahead and give him this cocktail and see if it would help him. I was going to leave him there all night and then for several days and nights to see if he would respond. The veterinarian left the room to prepare the medicine and then after a while someone else came in and looked at him and said that he had died. She picked him up and he was all limp. Blood and water were coming out of his mouth. Poor Pepper. I cried and cried. I'm still crying. He was such a sweet little bird. I feel so bad and guilty. I feel guilty because Pepper had stopped screaming about a month ago and he was real quiet. I thought he was content and happy. I was so busy with my mother taking her to physical therapy, shopping for her food, washing her cloths, washing her dishes, and at first I had to help her shower. (I said at first I had to help her shower because she had sprained her wrist Christmas Day. I had to take her to her doctors appointments, and any thing she needed.) I feel so bad because if I had just paid more attention to Pepper he might still be here with us.

Today when my husband came home from work we drove to the clinic to get Pepper. I cried a lot on the way there. When we went inside the clinic there was a little dog just like a little dog I had as a child. It was a Boston Terrier. It was hiding under a desk in the back part of the clinic. I talked to the little dog. I saw another little dog in the back that was a Dash Hound. It was so cute. Those dogs helped take my mind off of why I was there. Thank God for those sweet little dogs. My husband and I told the young woman that worked at the clinic why we were there and she went to get a box with Pepper in it. We had left Pepper there for the Veterinarian to open him up and see if she could tell what caused him to starve to death. I just feel so sick that we didn't pay more attention to that poor little creature. I talked to him every time I went by his cage and I would try to touch him. He didn't let me or anyone touch him very much. I just can't believe that we could have missed the signs that he was sick. The veterinarian said that if the birds don't make a lot of noise and move around then they are sick. I didn't know that. I knew that they like to be loud in the morning and the evening. Pepper stopped being loud but I was so relieved that he didn't scream so much I just thought that he was settling down and enjoying us. What a hard lesson to learn. I just hate it.

I talked to the president of our bird club and his wife. They told me that Pepper had been treated well here in our home and that birds hide their illness well. It is a trait of wild animals to hide sickness so that other animals don't eat them. I knew that but still it doesn't help much. They told me that I had been a good guardian for Pepper. I told them I didn't want any more birds. It hurts too much when something happens. I don't feel capable of caring for birds. I feel very stupid and inadequate.

We brought Pepper home and we walked around the yard to find just the right place to bury him. I had thought about a spot just south of a butterfly bush. I thought that it would be a beautiful place when the butterflies would come in the summer. My husband said that a place beside the bird bath would be better. There's a row of Crape Myrtle Trees along the fence and we put Pepper there between two Crape Myrtles and by the bird bath. Actually we have three bird baths in the back yard. We love to watch the birds as they come for water in our yard. The yard is surrounded by trees so it makes a nice hidden place for them to come and drink and find a place to nest.

We marked his grave with some bricks for the moment. We will have to make a marker for his head soon. I want a bird house as the marker and have Pepper's name and other info on it. We will have to keep it weeded now and of course put some beautiful flowers there to remember him by.

When Pepper came to live with us several years ago he had a rusty old cage that was real small. We bought our other bird a large cage and gave her old cage to Pepper. Pepper's hand me down cage was very nice and expensive. It had steel powder coated bars and a large door. It had a place on top where he could play. Valiant Play Top Bird Cage Pepper never got out and played up there because when we got Pepper he had one foot that had been broken. He had a hard time getting around and he would sit on his perch and hold a bell on a chain with the foot that was broken. We don't know how it happened because Pepper had been handed down to several people during his sad life. I had asked several veterinarians if they could operate on his foot and straighten it out.They all said no. Poor Pepper. He had to live all his life with a broken twisted foot. I think the reason Pepper was handed from family to family was because he screamed real loud and people can't stand the high pitch and the volume of the screams. I dealt with it by using ear plugs all day and night until I went to bed. It was a relief when Pepper stopped screaming this last month but I never dreamed he was sick. I thought from time to time that it was very strange for him to not be screaming all the time.

Valiant Dome Top Bird Cage This is the cage we bought for the first bird we had. It wasn't new when we bought it from a lady that had birds and needed to get rid of her old cages. It had been spray painted black. I had it sandblasted and powder coated and it looks just like the cage pictured here except it was painted a gray green. It is a beautiful cage now. It cost me over $200 to have it sandblasted and powder coated. It was worth it because cages are very expensive. I had paid the lady $50 for the cage. So all total the cage cost about $250 in all.

Pepper loved his new cage. He had a lot of room to roam around and sit on different size perches. He needed different size perches because of his little feet and one of them broken and twisted. I bought Pepper different toys to play with over the years. He was afraid of everything I put in his cage.

I remember bringing Pepper home with us and the people who gave him to us wanted us to take him home right that minute. They weren't concerned and never came to see him or called to find out if he was alright. I got the feeling that the man was sick of him because of his screaming. They told us that he was used to getting an apple every day along with his seeds. They said that he watched television all day while they were gone at work.

I felt so sorry for the little bird because he had spent his whole life just eating seeds and an apple. They didn't bother to cut it up for him they just put it on a skewer and stuck it on the side of his cage. When Pepper came to live with us he was scared a lot because I was used to giving my other bird all kinds of foods and nuts. Pepper had never eaten an almond or walnut or a pecan. He didn't know what carrots, tomato, peas, or any other fruit or vegetable was. It took months and months to get him to try and eat something other than apple and seeds. Eventually Pepper started to taste different foods. Usually he liked what he ate. The only thing he didn't like that the other bird does like was eggs. I had to make him oatmeal with fruit or Pilaf with fruit even though I and the other bird ate an egg. I didn't feed them egg except once a week. Pepper didn't eat his egg and so I made him oatmeal. He eat his food so I didn't know he was sick. Poor little Pepper.

Pepper was an Amazon Parrot.
White-fronted Amazon Parrot
Pepper was a White-fronted Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. Aw.. 8-( I knew that Pepper had died, but seeing these pictures shows his pluck and spirit. I'm sorry that your little pet has passed on. You love your animals so much.