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Old 07-15-2019, 09:56 PM
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Unhappy Worried sick to leave him

I have seven days abroad all booked and paid for in September, and I'm so worried that Bo will be anxious or even psychologically damaged by me not being home for eight nights and seven days that I'm wrestling with the question of whether to cancel it all and deal with the family disappointment and anger that would cause. It's probably going to be the last time we take my granddad on holiday (vacation, for North Americans) as he's getting too elderly to want to travel far, and we're a close family so it's been expressed to me that it's very much desired that we all go.

Am I right to be this concerned? Whoever I eventually choose to bird-sit out of the few people he is relaxed enough around to behave almost normally when they're in the flat, won't be someone he's bonded to at all as he's only bonded to me. He's not a velcro bird, he chooses to entertain himself most of the time that I'm home, but he does follow me from room to room, and does demand periods of talking, games and physical interaction like kisses and snuggles every single day. He cares about me too, if I cry he comes close to my face and silently and passively lets me snuggle him until I stop, different to how he is in our typical snuggle time.

After the pet shop, his first human rehomed him to my mum in February 2018 after having him for just a couple of months untame in a cage. I lived with my mum then and I was the only one in the house not too scared of birds to bond with him. Will he worry that he'll never see me again and that the sitter is his new human caretaker as he's experienced in the past? Will he feel abandoned or think I'm dead?

I think I'm going to cry with guilt every day of this holiday!
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:59 PM
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Re: Worried sick to leave him

Oh Aspie, I think I'm going to cry just reading this. You may not get many responses because we bird lovers are like you - softies, all of us. Your holiday situation is kinda like leaving your 2 year old with the sitters for a week and wondering if he/she will understand! Then again, a change of contact with a sitter could be FUN if chosen correctly. It could be like a week at grandma's and getting spoiled rotten because mom/dad had to go away for a bit. . Do you have a 'parrot boarding home' where you are? We do here and it would be like a week at the parrot spa.
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Old 07-15-2019, 11:50 PM
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Re: Worried sick to leave him

Oooh Aspie I know EXACTLY how you feel!

Last time I left my guys for a week they boarded at a facility run as an offshoot from my bird vet clinic. I still missed them terribly and worried they’d think I’d abandoned them but at least I knew they were in the best possible place while I was away. Perhaps your vet may have info about a similar service?
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:42 AM
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Re: Worried sick to leave him

Don't beat yourself up! So many people have pets that they have to leave for vacation, just next week I'll be going on vacation to Colorado with my husband, and it wouldn't be fair to him or his family if I cancelled because I couldn't leave my animals. We'll be gone a week and we board our dog, then have a close family friend come over every day to refill water/food and check on the birds.

As long as you've made preparations for his care, he will be fine! Maybe a little confused, but this trip sounds really important, its about your grandpa and making these long lasting memories with him before he is too old.

Your bird will be safe, maybe a little bored in his cage, lonely maybe a little bit, but he will be safe. Don't feel guilty, we all have to travel. Even with pets as our responsibilities, family is also so important and sometimes we have to shift priorities. This is OKAY! He will forgive you for this, just as my animals have done for me, we travel every year and they are just happy we're back when we come home.

You can do this trip, and your little guy will be fine! Don't stress, and enjoy spending the time with your grandpa and other family members -- they do have to come first sometimes above your bird.
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:05 AM
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Re: Worried sick to leave him

Deep respect for caring about Bo's reaction to your absence. If you have properly vetted sitter(s) and leave thorough instructions, he should be fine.

How long have you had Bo? His sense of abandonment might be enhanced if recently adopted, ie "yet another change." If you've been together for a while, he ought be more secure.

An ideal solution would be frequent Skype/Facetime virtual visits. Birds readily perceive images and sound from video screens. This may give him comfort and you the benefit of a wonderful and reduced guilt vacation. If you have the equipment, experiment before departing for confidence.
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Old 07-16-2019, 10:32 AM
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Re: Worried sick to leave him

It may sound ridiculous, but make sure you explain to Bo that you will be gone for 7 days, and will be back. Do it several times before you leave. Use fingers to show how many days.

I am frequently in China for 2 weeks at a time, and away for weekends doing gigs with the band. If I don't explain to Salty, he gets pissed off and it takes a week or more to get back into his good graces. If I explain my absence to him, it's a day, and sometimes less that he is grumpy.
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Old 07-16-2019, 02:12 PM
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Re: Worried sick to leave him

I’ll second what Wrench said. I’ve had to leave Bumble a few times and I always do this with her. In fact we’re on the countdown now as I’m going out of town for the weekend. It goes like this:

Morning wake up time I say to her:
It’s Tuesday! Regular work day. I should be home at my usual time (this part happens every day). Now on Thursday, things are going to change a little. When I put you to bed, Aunt Leslee will be here. Then I’m going to leave and she’ll come to wake you up and then back again to play with you and put you to bed. That will be Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning. I’ll be back on Monday and will have some extra time for you.”

Then repeat it all at bedtime. If the NSA is listening in through Alexa, they get lots of great stuff from me!

I’ve always done this and she always greets me with delight when I come home. I suspect “Aunt Leslee” will tell her too. And Skype/FaceTime/whatever video chat is GREAT.


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Old 07-16-2019, 04:12 PM
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Re: Worried sick to leave him

I should add my personal experience. I used to have a work schedule typically home for 4 days/away 4 days. They could sense a change my last day off, and I learned to say goodbye before changing into my uniform day of departure. Upon return, they were a bit clingy for the first day, than realized "oh, he's back" for the next few days.
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Old 07-16-2019, 05:05 PM
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Re: Worried sick to leave him

Quote: Originally Posted by Scott View Post
Deep respect for caring about Bo's reaction to your absence. If you have properly vetted sitter(s) and leave thorough instructions, he should be fine.

How long have you had Bo? His sense of abandonment might be enhanced if recently adopted, ie "yet another change." If you've been together for a while, he ought be more secure.

An ideal solution would be frequent Skype/Facetime virtual visits. Birds readily perceive images and sound from video screens. This may give him comfort and you the benefit of a wonderful and reduced guilt vacation. If you have the equipment, experiment before departing for confidence.

That's a great idea Scott.
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Old 07-17-2019, 03:33 PM
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Re: Worried sick to leave him

Quote: Originally Posted by wrench13 View Post
It may sound ridiculous, but make sure you explain to Bo that you will be gone for 7 days, and will be back. Do it several times before you leave. Use fingers to show how many days.
How do you help a parrot understand and how do you check that he definitely understands something like that? I've heard of people doing it but can't find any instructions or tutorials on it.

Every night when I cover him, he says "time for bed", so I can try to teach him numbers and then pair that phrase with the number of nights until I'm back, but he doesn't know words for the concept of "until I'm back". How do people convey something that abstract to their birds?
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