Today at 3:40 p.m , Piko made her flight into budgie heaven, where I hope she is doing loop da loops with all of her bird Heros and historical bird figures.
On Tuesday morning I was awoken by a very loud WHUMP as my four year old parakeet hit the bottom of her cage while trying to leap across her perches for food. It wasn't the first time she had fallen, as she had stumbled multiple times Monday night. At first I thought she had a broken wing, but when I examined her I noticed a very large lump on her right wing- one I certainly hadn't seen on Sunday, the last time I checked her over.
I frantically searched for causes of the problem, maybe she DID break her wing and it was swollen, maybe she had a cyst because of an ingrown feather, but it couldn't possibly be *gulp* a tumor...
I watched her all day from Tuesday to Thursday. Other than the enormous lump on her wing, she seemed great, except she was eating a lot. A LOT. I refilled her bowl twice on Wednesday, that's how much she was eating. That's when I started to suspect the worst. Even though I didn't tell my mum, who was trying to remain positive about the whole thing, I knew it was a tumor. It made sense to me. .
By Thursday night the tumor had doubled in size and it was oozing blood. Piko had started to pick at it when she thought I wasn't looking. She wasn't even able to hop across her cage, she fell as if she had been tied to an anchor. She took to using the rope perch that extended from the spot next to her favorite toy to her food bowl. Piko always used to fly.
My father took a look at her and outwardly expressed what I was feeling (but trying to deny)- that lump on Piko's wing looked awful. Piko's beak and feathers were covered in dried blood. She was drooping, clearly exhausted from carrying a lump the size of her head. Time to see a vet.
That night I lay awake, frozen with fear and guilt. If only I had tried harder to get her to eat fruits and veggies, maybe if I had payed more attention, maybe if I had tamed her so she was perfectly comfortable, if not even happy, to be touched by human hands, maybe I could have prevented this.
After hours of tossing and turning I came to the conclusion that there was nothing more I could really do than I had already done. Piko absolutely refused anything that wasn't her normal seed mix. Even then, she ate only the millet seeds and tossed the rest on the cage floor, banging her food bowl until I refilled it. She went on a hunger strike when I tried pellets, and turned up her beak at every variety of fruit and veggie that I attempted to give her.
She did not like being touched by anything, except a helpful hand to lift her from her favorite perch outside back to her cage. I don't know what her story was because I got her from a shelter, but the woman there told me that she basically beat up all of her cage mates and had to be moved to a solitary cage. Since she was fully flighted, taming her was difficult because she would always fly away. I never clipped her wings because I knew she LOVED flying. She was never happier than when she was in the air.
I told myself that everything was going to be okay.
I went to sleep at three in the morning and woke up at nine thirty. I called the vet. We scheduled an appointment for that very day. I kept telling myself that everything was going to be fine, I told piko that she was going to get all fixed up, how wonderful it would be if she would live a few more years. She chirped all the way to the vet.
The prognosis was very grim. The vet confirmed my worst fears- piko had a tumor- and I didn't like any of the options. The first was surgery, but that would have taken away one of her wings, and given how much she loved flying I couldn't do that to her. The vet also said that the chances of such a tiny budgie living through the surgery was low. Piko was a budgie, so she was small to begin with, but she was always tinier than other budgies I knew.
The second option was painkillers and waiting until the tumor consumed her. Judging by the rapid growth of the tumor (within a matter of days) and the rapid decline of Piko's activity, I decided that was absolutely not an option. The past two days had been bad enough. I didn't want piko to suffer anymore.
And so, the third option was to put her to sleep. The night before I had decided that if it really was a tumor, this was going to be my decision. I had been hoping it wasn't a tumor.
The vet let me pet Piko's head before taking her away to a back room. I cried like I have never cried over anything before in my life. I'm still crying.
Intellectually, I tell myself I made the right decision. Piko would have wasted away without her wings, and she would have suffered a slow and painful death at the mercy of the tumor. I didn't want her to suffer.
But another part of me feels so awful. I feel sad, because my companion is gone. I feel guilty, because a life that was completely and utterly dependent on me ended today. I feel empty, because for the first time in three years I walked into an empty bedroom, with no little chirpy, happy soul to greet me. I feel alone, because she was my best friend and her happy birdsong got me through so many dark, cold winter days. Piko reminded me of summer and sunlight. I'm going into winter without her.
I think that worst of all, I feel like I killed something. A little bird that had nothing but me. A tiny little body that housed a gigantic soul.
But despite all of the things that I said I'm feeling, I really want to share this strange and somewhat uplifting experience that I had not even an hour after Piko was put to sleep. I had cried until I couldn't anymore, and I sat staring into space, exhausted, not able to feel anything. And suddenly, I got this overwhelming sense that everything WAS going to be okay. And it felt like Piko was still in the room with me, like she had never left. I could swear she WAS there, telling me she was okay, that she forgave me, that she was thanking me for being there and doing my best.
Maybe it was just my imagination, but I want to believe it was her.
I came home and told my father what had happened. My mother isn't home yet, but I'll be telling her, too. I haven't gotten around to cleaning out Piko's cage yet. I don't really want to right now.
I think I'll be grieving for a while. But one thing is definitely for sure- I loved Piko. She was stubborn and strong and independent and feisty. Part of me wishes I could have been a better 'mother', but I know I did my best to make sure she was warm, well fed, happy, and comfortable.
Piko loved jazz and classical music, was a mullet junky, hated fingers, and loved to fly circles around my head. I loved her, I love her, and even though I'm hurting this much, I'll never regret taking her in, and I'm grateful that she was my friend.
Piko, if you're reading this, thank you so much for being that bird. I love you. Goodbye.
I'm very sorry for your loss of darling Piko.
Your tribute to her is very heartfelt and moving.
I can tell you that I know exactly what you are going through.
I've had to have two budgies put to sleep in the past and it is never an easy decision. The first one, like yours -- refused to eat anything but the millet seed in the seed mix. He developed a large tumor (on his leg) very quickly and in consultation with the vet I determined the best course of action would be to help him on in his journey to the Rainbow Bridge.
In my personal opinion, the kindest thing any human can do is show their love by putting their pet's needs before their own. When an animal reaches the point it is in constant pain or the quality of life has deteriorated to the point the poor animal is just "surviving" what greater gift of love is there than allowing its spirit to be freed from the physical body tethering it to this world.
That doesn't mean it is EVER an easy thing to do and it certainly has never lessened the grief I've felt when having to make the decision.
Piko was a fortunate girl to have had you rescue her from the shelter and give her a safe and loving forever home.
Remember, no matter how much we do, when our little beloved pets are gone, we always wish we could have done more, or better -- even though we did the best we could.
If you need or want to talk, please feel free to send me a Private Message. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
It is because of Love we Grieve
Because of Love we are also comforted
in our Sorrow
In Memories, may you find Healing
In Time, may you find Peace
In the Power of Love, may you find Comfort.
Fly High and Free little Piko-- Rest In Peace, darling girl.
Oh Monica I am so very sorry for your loss of Piko. You are a good budgie mum she new that you loved her and you gave her the best of everything. Remember her good times and Cherish her loving memories as she is in your heart forever.
Piko is most certainly doing all of the aerial manoeuvres she can I am sure. She is at peace now and not suffering any pain we the humans who loved and cared for these sweet beings are the ones that are hurting when the time comes for them to go. We all have to experience this, and it does hurt but the love and fun times we share before they go makes up for the sadness. Fly high Piko, soon the smiles will return when you think of her and the tears are a good cleansing for you as well.
I'm so sorry for your loss! The bravest and most touching thing is to see an owner like you who makes that hard decision. You chose right, placing little Piko's needs above your own! R.I.P precious little Piko!
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Rest in Peace, sweet beautiful Piko. Keep her cute face and happy song close to your heart, and she will be with you forever. The most difficult decisions are made with the greatest love. Piko had a good life, one filled with love and good care. But she left us much too soon. I am so sorry for your loss.
Monica, I'm so so sorry for your huge loss. I'm crying as I read through your post. You clearly loved Piko more than a lot of people love their pets. No words can take your pain away, but please find comfort in the fact that you did Piko a great service by making the pain stop in the only decent way you had an option for. I have had that choice before, on my cat Mini, and I made the very same choice. It was heart wrenching to say the least, so I know what you're going through. Monica, Piko loved you and cared for you as a daughter does for her mother, and I know that you love Piko as much as a mother loves her daughter. There are no words in existence to make this easier, but I hope that our words can help you take comfort in knowing that you did everything you could to help her. You were her mother, her friend and her caregiver, as she was you child, your friend, and your passion. You didn't do anything wrong here, Monica, please know that. Please accept mine and Lonny's sincerest condolences, and deepest sympathies for your loss. Piko is without pain, illness, and fear, and she is awaiting your arrival at the rainbow bridge, where she will fly to you the very second she sees you.
Fly high and free, Piko, and sing a beautiful song.
-Kristen and Lonny
Thank you for my wonderful signature Deb!!!
RIP Pepper, Peatri, Holly, Mini, and Quarty