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Dot, the Parakeet: Euthanasia – Deciding When it is “Time”

December 22, 2009

Dot - Right Side of Top Perch

Dot, the parakeet, has been part of the family since living in California.  I bought him from a rather terrible pet store … he caught my eye when I was at the store to pick up filters for a fish tank.  He’s now approximately seven years old.  A bright yellow male parakeet, named “Dot” for the black “dots” of feathering that appear on his head.  But today, at approximately 10:15 a.m. MT, his life will come to an end.

Months ago, I noticed that he was becoming weak and the digits of his left leg were not grasping as they should.  I took him to an avian veterinarian for help.  In-house test results indicated a digestive “bug,” and he was prescribed an orally administered drug.  The veterinarian, who also noticed the loss of grip, said that it was possibly a symptom of kidney problems.  I decided to go with the digestive  diagnosis treatment only, as I didn’t want him put him through the additional stress of kidney testing. 

At that time, I placed him in a smaller cage situated next to the larger indoor aviary that houses his buddies.  He eventually lost complete use of his left leg, but had become accustomed to using the supplemental “porch” I placed in his cage, to help him steady himself.  He has been living in this cage, communicating with the others, for many, many months.

Only a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a “bump” forming on his left leg.  This has turned out to be a tumor, and has become very large in a relatively short amount of time.  This past Saturday evening when I was cleaning his cage, I noticed spots of blood.  On closer examination, I saw that Dot had started picking at the tumor — it had begun to bother him.  There was more blood in his cage Sunday, and finally yesterday I came to the realization that there is nothing more that can be done for him.  Although he appears bright, full of energy and still chirping … he now has a second job of trying to get rid of the impairment that is troubling him – tearing somewhat brutally at this growth.  It is time.  One of the hardest decisions to make — to decide it is time to end the life of another creature. 

So as I write this, he is in a car being driven to the veterinarian clinic, his cage wrapped tightly in a quilt to keep him warm for his last appointment … his last few minutes of time on this planet.  I miss him already, and always will.

Thank you Dot, for being with me.

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