Mickaboo Volunteer, Melissa L., saves them:
Most of the birds I have fostered have been special needs birds. I have assisted in the rescue of and/or fostered hormonal pluckers, untamed wild caught physically disabled mutilators, birds with untreated injuries unable to open their wings, birds with one side of their body crushed that healed wrong leading to mutilation, one eyed birds, birds that have been shot. And the most special to me, Percival aka Perci, an elderly, arthritic, weak, gouty, naked, emaciated, blind Patagonian with kidney and heart disease.
When the email came in asking us to take in a ‘healthy’ bird named Pat the elderly owner could no longer care for my heart sank looking at his picture. He was 34, a year older than me at the time. I arranged to pick him up as quickly as possible. I set him up in a nice sized cage then watched him fall and struggle with his new cage. We quickly got him into the vet and realized the full extent of his poor health and eyesight. We started him on painkillers and NSAIDs immediately. He had a one word vocabulary, hello. After a few days of meds he started using hello as part of his medication routine. After each dose of med he would say hello, it felt like thank you. At first he could only stand being held just long enough to hurriedly get the meds in his mouth, then he didn’t want to leave
He had never really been handled aside from when they wanted to pet him…they held his beak so he couldn’t get away or bite. In retrospect, he learned to trust me very quickly, he loved being cuddled in a towel and would have spent the day laying on my chest if I let him. I fell hard and fast for this naked old man. He even trusted me enough to start going to outreach events. I could even ask him to step up, he would pick his foot up, wait to feel my hand under him, and step up. He used the same thing to ask me to step up.
He almost made it a year, a week short, from the time I picked him up to the night I held him to my chest as he was taking his last breaths and I frantically tried to drive to an EVet. Upon his necropsy I was told he shouldn’t have made it as long as did, but because of his medical care he did and he got to learn about love and trust.
If he had been euthanized, it would have saved me the heartache of losing him but his life would have ended with him alone and neglected