Avian Pet Care, Exotic Pet Care

On the Loss of an ‘Exotic’ Pet & a Friend…

June 18, 2011 – The worlds of our home, and our practice changed when Baby Benny Arrived from the Bedford Pets Unlimited Store. Baby was a beautiful little ‘Black Headed Caique’ who loved the attention anyone would give her, and returned it in spades. Baby had a ‘saw bill’ from an injury as a chick that required monthly beak trimming which she accepted very well – but she always had the look of ‘Jean Chretien’. But forget ‘dremelling’ her nails or trimming her wings – she had much to say about that! Baby worked so very well as a ‘teaching’ bird from myself and our staff at Sunnyview – there wasn’t much she would not tolerate or, at least accept. Baby was our ‘ADD’ bird, as she rarely could sit still for more then moments, before getting into something, or someone’s hair – body surfing back and forth and squealing (or slightly nipping) at any attempt to get her out of the person’s hair…

The staff of the Bedford Pets Unlimited have always taken excellent care of their birds and, Baby was no exception – which is how we met, as she needed those beak trims so often. For whatever reason, Baby & I got on well, and she would dance (moving side to side so fast as to make you nauseous watching her!) the moment I entered the store for attention. Anyone who enjoyed birds enjoyed Baby – and when the store was kind enough to sell her to me, many would visit her in the practice. A HUGE Thank you to Paige, Krista, and all other staff there for their support. Baby was an impressive ambassador for anyone interested in the care of birds, as she allowed many to pick her up and would talk in her own way to them. It is also because of Baby that I met an excellent mentor in Anna C. & for this, I will be always grateful.

December 11, 2011 – Hunter arrived from an abusive situation, and really only wanted attention from me from the moment she arrived, after being abandoned at another Pets Unlimited Store. Hunter was a mess – no tail feathers, severely trimmed back wings, and she had likely pulled many of her chest feathers – she was so damaged that it was a challenge to figure out her exact subspecies. Whomever had her prior to our relationship had fed her many different junk foods as for the first months of being with us, Hunter would almost ‘attack’ anyone that had pizza, chips, french fries, or ‘Doritos’ – and she was not impressed when she wouldn’t get what she wanted. It was a challenge finding a balanced diet that she would accept, let alone eating healthy fruits and vegetables – but we both learned. Amazingly, she was potty trained from the previous care-givers, and she would perch on my shoulder for hours at a time with no accidents!

After a few months, her feathers started to come in, and she turned into a beautiful ‘Greater Jardine’, and with her feathers came a better ability to balance herself. Like Baby Benny, she would travel back & forth to the practice with me – and either would be upset if they were not brought along. However, Hunter’s ‘claim to fame’ was that she could clearly talk – though we did not know it at the time. When she did speak, it was with the most eire whisper and, only when I was with her alone. It was so un nerving until I figured out where & what was going on – I just never expected it. After she become more comfortable, her talking was regular, she bobbed up and down to get my attention, went to work with me everyday in her carrier (as did Baby) and, never failed to make anyone smile.

Every day, rain or shine, summer or winter (with fleece covers on their ‘Celltie’ carriers) they were in the practice adding to the enjoyment of everyone! I cannot say how often one of them made us smile during those times when things just were not great.

Well, late last November Hunter suddenly turned ill – loosing weight at a precipitous rate and what with the blood work, virus screening, Radiology (‘X-Rays’), fecal testing, and multiple on-line specialist consultations, where she was diagnosed with ‘Wasting Disease’ – she passed in our hands Feb 19th – we were holding her as she passed, telling her how beautiful she was, how much we would all miss her, how much she taught everyone she touched, that we loved her so very much…

About 7 days ago – while I was away of course – Baby started to slowly become more tired, less interactive, and went off her food somewhat. When I returned, she was dancing side-to-side for me, ate a bit more, and was giving kisses by the truck-load. I palpated her abdomen Tuesday evening thinking that she might be laying an egg – and I felt a tumour. It was just as if once I felt it – she became aware of it. I brought her into the practice yesterday and, as we were X-Raying her – she just stopped – I was holding her as she passed, telling her how beautiful she was, how much we would all miss her, how much she taught everyone she touched, that we loved her so very much…

Both these wonderful souls were beyond the care abilities of anyone we knew – and we tried to find them! Nothing is worse for any caregiver, owner, partner, or pet owner to know you have done the best for your friend, and there is nothing left to offer them. All we can do is commune with them even more so – thats all that can be done.

I cannot understand how the loss of two creatures that barely would have weighed 450gm together, and lived in spaces less then 3-4 ft square would tear such immense holes in our hearts. Only those people who have the patience to care for exotic pets – reptiles, birds, fish – you name it, can begin to understand.

To all of those clients (daresay friends) who have entrusted your pet (exotic or otherwise) to our care – Thank You. Please know that the team at Sunnyview Animal Care give their all to your pet, and to you. Please also know that when they pass – we have some intimate understanding of the loss you and your family are experiencing, we commiserate with all our clients.

Thank You Baby, Thank You Hunter – we miss you both so very very much. The holes will never fill in completely, and thats the way it should be…

From Dr Jeff Goodall, who shares his sense of personal pet loss & grieving over the loss of any pet, including those pets for whom many do not associate with profound loss, he is a Veterinarian, at Sunnyview Animal Care, Bedford, Nova Scotia, #sunnyviewanimalcare, http://www.Sunnyview-vet.com

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One thought on “On the Loss of an ‘Exotic’ Pet & a Friend…

  1. From Dr Jeff Goodall, who shares his sense of personal pet loss (& the loss of a pet bird) & grieving over the loss of any pet, including those pets for whom many do not associate with profound loss, he is a Veterinarian, at Sunnyview Animal Care, Bedford, Nova Scotia, #sunnyviewanimalcare, http://www.Sunnyview-vet.com

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