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Bereavement Bereave for our lost pets

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Old 09-07-2019, 07:37 PM
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My Boo

This isn't fresh, it happened a few months ago. This is just what I wrote when it happened. Today I went back to the bird rescue, and Boo has been very much on my mind.

It's long, I don't expect anyone to read it. I'm just putting it out there, because I've been stewing on it all day.

Boo the parrot picked me, I didn't pick him. I'd been looking for a parrot, and I'd done my homework, and I knew Amazons were not in the picture. "If it's green, it's mean", and Amazons are green. They're bad-tempered, they bite, and you can never truly trust them. But as I walked through Amazon Alley at the local parrot rescue, Boo said "Hey, pick me up". I was the only one there, so it was clear he was talking to me. I went over to his cage and talked to him, his eyes pinned, which can mean "I'm interested and would like to learn more" or "Just try me". One of the volunteers came over and asked if I wanted to hold him. I was trying to figure out a way to say no, without making them think I was afraid of handling a parrot, when a double-armload of Blue Front Amazon started climbing up me. He got up to my shoulder, nibbled a little bit on my ear, and said "I love you".

No, that wasn't the moment I knew we were meant for each other. Amazon. Loud. Temperamental. Bitey. But he wouldn't get down off my shoulder. Every attempt to lift him off me was evaded. I wound up chasing him around my shoulders with my hand flat, to try to get him into my hand and put him back in his cage, and sure enough, he bit me. Drew blood. But as soon as I stopped chasing him, he was back nibbling on my ear and said "I love you." That was the moment. He was setting boundaries, but he wasn't holding a grudge. I was hooked.

The parrot rescue required several visits over several weeks. Every Saturday for a month, I was up there spending time with Boo. He bit me one more time - this time without blood. One of the volunteers was talking to me, a younger woman with blond hair. He tried every trick in his repertoire to get me to stop talking to her, and I didn't. So he climbed down the front of my shirt, gently took my thumb, positioned it so he had the sharp tip of his beak on my thumbnail, and started to squeeze and grind. Amazons can crack open nuts with their beaks, so I noticed. I stopped talking to the blond woman. Boo hated blond women for the whole time I knew him. The only time he attacked someone was a blond woman (my sister) who wouldn't listen when I told her pinned eyes, raised neck feathers and spread tail were warning signs. She has a scar on her arm because she didn't listen. Every blond female who has ever tried to talk to him got the same "I'll kill you if you let me" reaction from him.

Flash forward 13 years, and Boo has accepted the dogs and hubs as part of his flock. He preens the dogs. He's decided I'm his girlfriend. Then he fell off his cage and on the way down hit the seed guard around the bottom. The vet told me he'd broken his back in three places, and he'd always be partially paralyzed. When she asked if I wanted him put down, I asked if he was in any pain. She said no, she didn't think so, just lost part of his mobility. I told her I'd think about it. But at home, Boo settled into his new routine. In the morning I'd get him up an hour and a half before I had to get ready for work, and he'd spend time sitting on me, talking, preening, just being together. After an hour, time to get his breakfast, get my lunch, get ready for work. First thing through the door at night, he'd whistle to me, I'd whistle back, and an hour sitting on my chest until he was ready for dinner. Good morning meant "I want food", or "I want a treat", or "I need to poop, so take me back to my cage", or "I'm just feeling restless and want something to be different". I had to learn to read for context. But he coped, I coped, we coped together. And we bonded more.

This morning I found out several things I didn't want to know. I found out I really wasn't ready. Even when I posted last night that I thought the vet might say his time was done, there was a part of me that didn't believe it. Boo would cope, the way he'd coped with everything else, and we'd have more mornings and evenings together. I found out there's a pet crematory service who will pick up your pet at home. I found out carrying him out and putting him in the back of the van was much harder than I thought it would be. I found out that in the choice between folding back the towel and seeing, all over again, that he was really dead or never again giving his head feathers a scratch, head scratches win. And I found out I'd give just about anything to hear his Good morning again and have to figure out what it is he's after.
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Old 09-07-2019, 09:30 PM
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Re: My Boo

Thank you for a poignant testimonial to Boo. It must have been incredibly cathartic to write, one of the steps in an open ended grieving process. You'll never stop loving Boo, and in time your bright memories will outshine unspeakable grief. Know that you gave him a beautiful life, and he will inspire you to reward another bird.... soon.
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Old 09-07-2019, 09:34 PM
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Re: My Boo

I think lots of people are going to read this, and lots of people are going to empathize with you. Losing a family member is never easy, period. Having an animal choose you like that is a special experience that I hope everyone gets to experience someday.

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Old 09-08-2019, 07:14 AM
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Re: My Boo

An amazing companion!
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:51 AM
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Re: My Boo

I am very sorry for your loss.
Know what it feels like to lose a longtime Amazon friend.

Texsize.
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