Thursday, July 21, 2005

Road trip with Vernon

Our little pet of 8 years is fading, quickly I'm afraid. A tumor under his wing has grown so large that he can no longer fly and can only hop up onto the lowest of perches.

This is so incongruous with the bird:

  • who as a tiny hatchling that I held in my hand, stretched his neck and looked around in amazement at the great big world, while his brother Nolan beside him cowered and hid and his parents fretted about his momentary absence from the nest
  • who had at least twice as much energy as any of my other parakeets and would fly at warp speed from shoulder to lampshade to ceiling fan to another lampshade to another ceiling fan to another shoulder, and yet
  • who, when I took him with me to visit my animal-loving hospice patient, instinctively knew that he belonged on the shoulder of W, that soft-spoken man sitting in the recliner. And bonded with W so quickly on that first visit that I didn't have the heart to separate them, so he moved into their home for the last few months of W's life, then stayed on with his wife for another year.
  • who, after W's wife adopted a puppy and felt it was no longer safe to let Vernon out of his cage, returned home to us with a whole new vocabulary and a southern accent
  • who quickly reunited and made up for lost time with his best friend Juneau, and
  • who, whenever visiting children would ask "Can I hold one of the birds?", was always the one that cooperated.

Now our little pet no longer enjoys the company of his bird friends and almost never sings. But he still likes to come out of the cage, climb up my arm, and rest on my shoulder. So, when we headed north for a long weekend, Vernon rode with us. And we found one more thing that Vernon enjoys - country music - loud!


clew said...

Hi there -
I had a parakeet when i was a girl. He was cool :) ~ He too got a tumor on his wing ... I was just surfing through and read your post here - wanted to share, and say I'm sorry about your sweet Vernon.

Anonymous said...

I have an 11 year old parakeet named Sidney that has a tumor as well, but more on his belly. So far it doesn't seem to be slowing him down any. He's survived 2 bouts of respiratoty infection where we had to give him antibiotics for 10 days, which he hated. But he seems to be a tough old bird! Just started with gouldians and have a hen on 7 eggs due to (possibly) hatch in a few days. We're keeping our fingers crossed on that one, as we've never bred birds before. I'm in Hickory, NC, so not too far away from you. Best of luck.