Monday, September 17, 2012

A Feathered Farewell

It's taken me a while to write this post. I'll be honest -- just forming the words in my mind brings me to my knees, sobbing. I'm sure the pregnancy hormones aren't helping. But I want to share a more personal update with y'all. I hope you don't mind. This has been consuming my thoughts lately. 

We said good-bye (voluntarily) to our beloved parrot of 7 years, Lolly, last week. Just typing her name breaks my heart. As y'all know, my husband and I are expecting our first child, which we are beyond-words THRILLED about. But, in light of the pending arrival of our little bundle of joy, we knew we had to make a very tough decision about Lolly. Despite all of her many WONDERFUL qualities, there were a few compelling reasons why we knew we would have to give her away. Namely, she's not good with children at all, she screams if she knows you're home but she can't visibly see you, and she makes a mess around her cage. She also has a ginormous beak, which she uses if she's annoyed or loses her balance (the latter happens more frequently because she's a klutz). And we knew that once Baby was here, we'd be completely obsessed with our child, and Lolly would not get the any attention whatsoever. We sought guidance from family members and friends, and the consensus was that we were doing the right thing.  

And so, we gave Lolly away to a good home, and the pain of this "good bye" was not one I was prepared for. She was a wonderful bird, and we loved her very much. The look on my husband's face as he nuzzled her against his cheek for the last time was absolutely heart-breaking. And as we dropped her off, Lolly made it painfully clear that she wanted to come home with us. 
Lolly joined our family in 2005, when she was only a few months old. She didn't even have her signature blue head yet. We had been married for two years at the time, and she was our first little "responsibility." We got her through The Feather Farm in Napa, which is an outstanding business with an amazing staff. They stayed connected with us throughout the entire 7 years we had Lolly. They took care of her every time we went on vacation. They clipped her wings any time we needed it. When Lolly laid an egg last year for the first time, they talked me through how to care for her. I can't endorse them enough. 
She was a very shy bird from the beginning. She certainly didn't win me over with her charm. She was shy, and she was nervous, and despite the sweet cockatiel next to her who was REALLY making a sales pitch, Lolly was the one I wanted. And so, she came home with me. I was determined to win her over. 

Brian was at church that day, but had given me his blessing to bring home whichever bird I wanted. Lolly and I made the drive home, at which point I learned she gets carsick -- and would continue to get carsick every time we took her for a drive from there on out. I lugged her brand new cage inside our condo, and started assembling it. I'll never forget the moment when I had three sides of her cage put together -- not even a full square -- and Lolly jumped off the little box where she was sitting and ran (literally ran) to the cage and started climbing up, as if to say, "Home, sweet home!" It melted my heart. 

From there, we started to work on trust exercises with Lolly. We approached her cage slowly with fresh food and water every morning. We deliberately took naps in her line of sight, so she could watch us sleep (one of my bird books recommended this). It wasn't long before Lolly adored us.
She was a smart little cookie -- we actually had her potty trained, and she learned a few cute little whistles that we taught her. The potty training skills kind of went out the window once our dog, Aybee, entered the scene as a wee puppy of 7 weeks. We had to devote a lot of time and attention to training Aybee. 
Aybee and Lolly eventually accepted each other as family.

Though, Aybee secretly thought Lolly smelled AMAZING.

 
Though Lolly was a clown around us, none of our friends ever really got to experience her real personality, as she always remained shy around them. Here's a little peek into what the real Lolly was like:
She likes disco music. Just kidding...she prefers the blues.

She was always up to shenanigans. 

She napped in her tiger print hut. 

She liked her lemons straight-up, no ice. 

More shenanigans!

She especially loved Brian. She claimed him as her boyfriend.
Nine times out of ten, she preferred to walk instead of fly.


And sometimes she just couldn't hold back how excited she was to see us. 

Lolly affectionately became known as the "RFP Bird" around Facebook, because she would keep me company as I chugged away late into the evenings, responding to Requests For Proposal documents for my work. 
And then came the day, when we realized something was afoot. Lolly entered a season of "extreme nesting" which last about a week.
We knew an egg was on the way. We actually got to witness her experience contractions and lay the egg. This picture was taken seconds after she laid it. 


As tired as she was, she was pretty darn proud of that egg. It was not fertilized, so she eventually stopped caring for it and we were able to throw it out.


There are a few things I'm really going to miss. Her sweet smell. The way her soft feathers felt when she nuzzled my face. Her delightful chirp-greeting whenever we walked into the room. The way her head fluffed up when she wanted to be scratched. The way she leaned close to us when she was scared. 


Good bye, Lolly. I love you. You will always be our little bird. 



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7 comments:

  1. Awww... This just broke my heart. I am so sorry to hear you are sad... We have two African Grays, and I have been debating whether we should give them to someone who would have more time, and less dogs, than we have.
    I just think we are terrible bird parents because we don't have the time to play with them like we should. So, I know how hard that decision was for you to make. I am sure she will adjust to her new home. You made the right decision for your family - and the new baby. Hugs

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    1. Thank you Eliesa!! It means a lot to hear those encouraging words from another bird person. You are so sweet, and I am so glad we've been able to get to know each other through blog-land. :)

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  3. 16 years ago we had to make the decision to give away our 2 cat furbabies. We were being deployed to HI & they had a 6 mth quarantine for animals at that time (it has since been shortened). But I just knew that 1 of our cats would not survive that-she was my baby in every sense of the word-a 16 lb baby who would wrap her arms around my neck when she saw the doctor coming towards her with a needle. We found a family in TN that owned a large, old farmhouse, with windowsills wide enough to accommodate Mikki's "girth". She took both of the cats, which was one of our stipulations. To this day I still "mourn" Oakley & Mikki. I know it was the right decision for them. I still miss them, though. My heart goes out to you. I know how you're feeling. But the best decisions are also usually the hardest to make. Remember the good w/ Lolly..time will heal. Blessings to you! (Sorry had to change something...I didn't like how it read after I typed it!)

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  4. You'll feel a lot better about when you have a babe in your arms. We got rid of a couple of pets before kids and it was really rough. I had to wait till the day Ruby was born to part with one and it was still rough.

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    1. So true! I'll find myself in tears, thinking about Lolly and then I'll feel the baby kick and my tears for Lolly turn into happy tears for the baby (darn hormones!). I cannot wait to hold him!! :)

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