Hey guys, I know I’ve been MIA lately with my big move to Louisiana along with starting my clinical year of vet school, but I just wanted to share this story/reach out and ask for positive thoughts and prayers.
This little guy came into the clinic tonight when I was helping out in the ICU. He was found in the middle of a field and a Good Samaritan brought him in to the teaching hospital because he thought we could learn from him. The doctor on duty proclaimed that although he is perfectly healthy, his congenital deformity makes him pretty unadoptable (he was born with those spaghetti legs, they are not broken). So he stated that he would euthanize the kitten unless any of us wanted him. He said if they took it to a shelter, it would be euthanized on arrival because of his legs. I was interested because I didn’t want the kitten to die, so I asked him to let me think about it. He gave me until the end of his shift to decide, and said he wasn’t passing the kitten off to the doctor on the next shift; it needed to be adopted or he would euthanize it.
Now, I know that this doctor may sound like an uncaring asshole from the way I’m telling the story, but I can tell you that he was very nice and in fact does care about the animals under his care. However, in a hospital as big as the one I’m at, if you kept every bleeding heart kitten that came through the door, there wouldn’t be space for actual patients. Being a vet means making hard calls or we would all be on “Animal Hoarders”.
So I decided to give the kitten a chance. I named him Lieutenant Dan, got him some kitten food, and brought him home. He’s currently in a wire dog crate in my bathroom because he’s unvaccinated and I don’t want him near Charlie or my dog Beckett (I haven’t talked about him much because he was a family dog living with my parents but I brought him with me to Baton Rouge and he’s doing great here!)-
Here’s the crappy part of Lt Dan’s story. I suspect he may be incontinent. He has a bob tail that points towards his head, and between the funky legs and the short tail, there is a good chance the nerves to his bladder and/or poop region are messed up. He hasn’t pottied since I got him, so I don’t know for sure. It’s encouraging that his hind end is clean, but like I said, that short tail and bad leg combo is not encouraging.
So if he is incontinent, I will have to bring him back to euthanize him. There is no way I would be able to care for him for the next year with my schedule. It’s unfair for him to be in a diaper or in a cage for an entire year, especially when I’ll be gone for 12 hours or more at a time. And I can’t take on the commitment of a diapered cat for the rest of its life. It’s not like my schedule will slow down after I graduate vet school.
However, if he IS continent, he stays! I’ve already talked to one of the doctors about getting his hind legs amputated. He moves around fine with just his front legs, and I would probably get him a little wheel chair.
Let’s all keep our fingers crossed and hope that Lieutenant Dan can control his bowels and bladder. And if any of you think I’m a horrible witch for condemning him to death just for being unable to control when and where he eliminates, I’ll tell you that I am considering his quality of life. Yes it breaks my heart that he may have to die. I may have saved his life today only to watch him die on Monday and that sucks balls. But I wanted to give him a chance when nobody else would.
Monday August 22nd 2016 was the worst day of my
life. My sweet Charlie the GCC left me
after 9 years of companionship. My heart
was broken and I thought it would never heal.
After we left the vet with our baby’s body to take him home
ready to be collected for cremation the next day, Ivan told me this:
“I know I said that if anything ever happened to Charlie, you weren’t to get
another bird. But I think that you will
need another bird to take all that love you have to give. It doesn’t have to be soon, but whenever it
feels right for you, you can get another birdie to love”
That night when I went to bed, I dreamed a name. I don’t remember if it was part of a dream or
what, but I just remember the name gave me such a warm feeling in my heart and
I just committed it to memory.
The next day was Tuesday and I just went to my parent’s
place and cried. I received a message on
my phone that was to be the landmark for the direction of mine and Ivan’s
My very good friend Irina reminded me that her and her husband Ken are conure
breeders. They were so broken hearted to
hear of Charlie’s death and they both agreed that they wanted to give me a gift
of one of their babies, not as a replacement for Charlie, but as a way to help
heal our hearts and not let all the love we had to give go to waste.
I read the message a few times and something inside me said that this was the
thing that was going to save me. I
shared the details with my family and they said it was like I suddenly returned
from the dead. My Mum said she suddenly
knew I was going to be ok and that it was going to work out.
When asked what sort of conure I would be interested in and told the choices, I was immediately
excited about the prospect of having a crimson bellied conure. Irina told me there were babies due any day
and I would be free to choose one.
The name I had on my heart was to me a boy’s name and
therefore I decided that I would prefer to have a boy bird. This meant that we had to wait until the
babies were around 10 days old to have samples taken and then around 2 weeks
for the samples to be sent away and the DNA results returned. The name I had been given was Archie and it
was only a few days later when telling my mum the name that it suddenly dawned
on me that Archie was an anagram of Charlie with the L missing. I knew then that this whole journey had been
somehow orchestrated by my Charlie. I
don’t know why he couldn’t stay with me, but it seemed that he had already
chosen a baby for me to love. A few days
after that I was chatting with a friend and told her how the name came about
and she said she wanted to try and fit the L into Archie’s name so that we
could use all of Charlie’s letters. I
said “oh that’s easy really, we will just call him Archie L. Meyer and the L
will stand for Love”
On 31st August 2016 the first baby hatched! I was smitten already…
On the 4th September 2016 another baby hatched
and there were two gorgeous babies in the nest
So fast forward a bit and on ninth September 2016 the
beautiful little oldest baby got a leg band
My goodness I was already in love with this baby…I was
already praying that this would end up being my boy.
On the 12th September 2016 the blood test for the
first baby (nicknamed Sparky) was sent off.
It was to be a tense couple of weeks to wait for results.
On 22nd of September the proverbial you know what
hit the fan….
The test results for Sparky came back inconclusive. Baby number 2 was definitely a girl and her
nickname was Velcro.
I was frustrated beyond belief. I was so
in love with Sparky and just wanted him to turn out to be my boy and now I was
going to have to wait for another sample to be done and sent off to find
As a bit of a joke, I told Irina to try putting something
blue and something pink near Sparky to see if he could show us if he was a boy
or girl. Irina went one better than me
and actually did the test and videoed it.
And Velcro was used in the tests even though we already knew she was a
girl. I watched these videos so many
times and laughed myself silly. I was so
touched that Irina played along with my silliness and it just made me feel so
Obviously Sparky had no idea what sex he was and Velcro knew
she was a girl but just liked to put her head down and run for it…so cute.
To make matters worse, Sparky started showing such
personality and was making me fall in love even more. He even stood on his sister’s head to try and
have a conversation with one of the silver conure babies, nicknamed Robbie.
And then one time Sparky and Velcro were in their tub
And when Irina came to check on them….Sparky had
He’d climbed out of his tub and gone to visit with the
That’s him at the front of the very crowded tub looking very
pleased with himself.
On 30th September 2016 Sparky weighed in at 116
grams and made us wonder if he was really a crimson belly or maybe a cockatoo
By 3rd October, Sparky was really starting to
look like a “real” birdie
I was desperately trying not to be so focused on Sparky as
it was a 50/50 chance that he was going to turn out to be a girl and my
conviction was that I was getting a boy…
So we found out that we could expect the results of the
remaining 3 crimson babies around the 7th of October which was a
I went for a job interview on Friday 30th of
September and secured the job on the spot.
Ivan surprised me with the news that we would take a drive to see Irina
the following weekend as a congratulations present for getting the job. I was soooooo excited.
Ivan decided to be a bit devious and tell Irina that she
wasn’t allowed to tell me the DNA results of the babies until I arrived. That last week was murder. I was swinging between my desire to have
Sparky be my baby boy and just accepting that if Sparky turned out to be a
girl, that one of the two remaining babies would be my boy.
The night before we were due to leave, I had a bit of a hard
time because I was stressed over the whole DNA thing and I was missing my
Charlie incredibly. The next morning I
made the decision that I would take Sparky as my baby, regardless of whether it
was a boy or a girl. Irina had dropped
some hints and I was pretty convinced that Sparky was going to be a girl, and I
had decided I was ok with that.
When we arrived at Irina and Ken’s place, they had a little
baby shower for me. They had a box with
half blue and half pink and brought out first, a Jenday baby in the box…very
cute, but not my baby…haha Next they
brought out each of the crimson babies and they all had little coloured tags,
pink obviously for girl and blue for boy.
Baby 4 turned out to be a boy, babies 3 and 2 were girls, one of them
being Velcro that we already knew was a girl.
Then they brought out Sparky and there was no tag in the box! Ivan said something about it not mattering
what the sex was but I insisted that I still wanted to know even though it didn’t
Irina lifted the box up and on the bottom was a blue tag….I
was so gobsmacked that Sparky was my boy all along and his name would be Archie
L. Meyer as predicted by my precious angel Charlie.
So we spent many great hours playing with Archie and
spending time with Irina, Ken, the kids, Jack, the dog and all of the
birds. On Saturday night I was nursing
Archie and Ivan decided to nurse Velcro because he thought she looked lonely
without her brother. He was so proud of
himself when he was the first one to hold fresh veggies to their beaks and got
them to eat. He spent quite a bit of
time playing with Velcro. I ended up
with both Archie and Velcro on me for a couple of hours and I began to secretly
wish there was some way that we could have Velcro AND Archie.
Sunday morning was over before we knew it and we had to
leave to go home. Just as we were about to
leave Irina and Ken’s place, Ivan suddenly announced that he was smitten with
Velcro and wanted to have her as well.
Obviously we would pay for her but he had decided his heart was for her
and he wanted her to be a part of our family.
We left with the intentions of finding out if it was safe to
have brother and sister together and after contacting a number of birdie
friends in the same position, we decided it was going to be ok and we let Irina
and Ken know that we would be back in a couple of weeks to take two of their
I can’t say how exciting this was and we had a bit of fun
announcing to the world that we were getting two babies instead of just the
I actually believe that all the mucking around that occurred
in us finding out the DNA of Archie actually was preparing us that we were
going to end up with Velcro too.
Ivan announced that he particularly liked the name Velcro
and we agreed that since she sticks to you like glue, it was the perfect name
So this is the story of how we ended up committing to having
two perfect little crimson bellied conures.