My Beloved Tia
(Renton, WA USA)
Just last Wednesday I had to have my wonderful gold-cap conure "Tia" put to sleep after a two month illness.
I can't begin to tell you how as each day passes, it only gets harder.
Tia died of advanced liver disease. She should have lived 25-30 years but died 1 month short of her 13th birthday.
Her diet as I thought was overall very good, but as I loved her so deeply, I spoiled her with some fatty foods and that added up over time. When my wife and I ate, she would eat with us. She loved to come upstairs to our bedroom and lay under the covers with us. When we were both not home, she would listen to jazz on the big screen
I had Tia from 3 months old up until that awful night. We did everything together. Tia experienced the agony of my divorce and a few bad relationships after that as well as dealing with life's negative events together. She could tell when I was upset and would sit on my shoulder and nuzzle into my neck mostly to say "I love you daddy and I'm here for you." I couldn't wait to get home every day from work to see her; as she heard me open the garage door and drive in, I could hear her chirping and ringing of her bells to greet me. When I would come down the stairs every morning she knew it was breakfast time and would acknowledge with a ringing of her bell or a chirp.
You get so used to all the specific traits that make up your pet, and expect they will always be around to make you happy. Our house is empty, with no sound at all. Now when I leave the house, I don't go through my daily rituals that I became so used to having with her.
On her last day she was in her birdy house mostly and didn't eat. At 4pm when it was time for us to eat, I took her out of her cage (she spent more time out than in) and immediately felt her body and behavior was different; it was deteriorating. I took her close to my chest and put her under my neck to keep her warm and just knew she was dying. We got her to ER about 5pm and they started pure oxygen and medication. When we left there I was told they would call me if something changed.
About 10pm I was called and told to get down there as her condition had worsened. My wife and jumped into the car and arrived about 10:45pm. They brought her in a towel to the waiting room we were in and she was so weak but here's the thing - she knew mommy and daddy were there to comfort her in her final minutes. I could see paralysis was starting to set into her legs so after 10 minutes alone with her, the doctor came and took her to a place to administer her shot.
It was over quickly and we were told she was gone. No more suffering, no more pain. The past two months were so busy trying to help her recover with all kinds of medicines, late hours - but the crazy thing is when birds like my baby are so attached to you they mask their pain. When we were told two months earlier that Tia's liver count was off the charts it was already too late. But because of her absolute love for me and my wife, she wanted those extra couple of months to say her goodbyes.
I looked at my little girl Tia as the most important thing in my life. I was as dependent on her as she was on me. My wife was with her about five years but felt so close to her. Tia loved both of us equally which is unusual as they usually bond to only one.
I can't begin to imagine life without her. It's way too soon to begin to think ahead. I take each day one step at a time. I want to adopt a rescued parrot but know its way to early to think clearly about that.
All bird lovers know what I'm talking about. I don't really listen to those that don't understand the bond a man and a bird can have.
As a number of my close friends have said - don't look at her shortened life as your fault but rather cherish in the thought she had almost thirteen years of pure joy being spoiled and treated like a queen.