Scooter: A Memory
CAUTION: THIS STORY IS VERY SAD
Ever since we had given my rabbit away to someone because it was too mean, I had yearned for a new pet to play with. At first, I thought of a hedgehog because they're so cute but then I came to my senses. I mean, what can you really do with a hedgehog? I got the idea for a parakeet because my cousin had one which was really cute and fun.
My family used to have two cockatiels which I loved, so I was all for the idea. My mother wasn't all that crazy about it, but she went along anyway. I decided to get a baby budgie and handrear it so that it would be attached to me and so there wouldn't be a chance of an aloof bird.
So we went to this couple's house, which is half a bird specialty store and half their residence, and talked it over with them. The woman said she would be getting a shipment of babies from North Carolina soon, and if we didn't mind the wait, would we like one? I was willing to wait, so I accepted the offer. Little did I know how nerve-wracking it would be! It was months and months before I got the bird, but it turned out okay anyway.
I believe it was about a month after I got out of school that two baby budgies arrived, and the woman called us and told us to come over and pick one. Well, we raced over there and there were two little bitty, barely feathered birds. One I could see was yellow, and the other blue. Since my cousin's was blue and I like blue better than yellow, I picked the blue one.
Then came the learning time. The woman taught me how to handfeed the bird, what I needed to house him in, how often I needed to feed him, etc. etc. I was mezmerised by this tiny bird, and the idea of caring for it was wonderful. After we took him home, I underwent the task of naming him, not to mention all the rest of the responsibility.
I named him Scooter because that was what I wanted to name him. There was no particular reason for it. I think my dad wanted me to name him something stupid, like Buzz or something, but nevermind that.
As the weeks passed, Scooter underwent the incredible metamorphosis of all baby birds. Gradually his little bare body became spiny with little feathers. His color showed more and more each day. He took to me immediately, thinking of me as his mother. He cried whenever I was out of the room, and when he was hungry.
For the first month or two, I took him everywhere because I had to feed him so often. I loved this little bird so much! When he was old enough, I moved him into a cage with a warm towel on the bottom. He was a little shocked by the change, but he got accustomed to it. He started eating solid food, too.
One day, my best friend called and asked me if I wanted to have a picnic at the park, which was about half a mile up the road. I said, sure, fine. I checked on Scooter to make sure he was okay and had food and water, then left.
Here I'll fill you in on the events and character leading to the tragedy of this story...My dog Jingles was my personal pet, and spoiled out of her mind. When Scooter came on the scene, she got less and less attention and more and more jealous. This eventually led to disaster.
I was at the park, sipping some kind of drink, when my mother and sister came roaring up the driveway and my mom yelled something incoherent, but I knew something was wrong. I ran to the car, and I said, "What happened? What happened? Did Jingles get hit by a car?"
I looked down to see Scooter wrapped in a towel in my sister's hand. I immediately started crying. "What happened?" I said.
Scooter's cage had holes cut in the wires to accomodate food dishes. Unfortunately, one of the dishes was broken and could be removed if you worked on it. I thought that it was secure, but apparently I was wrong. Scooter, the smart little bird he was, had removed the lid of the dish and squeezed out to fly around a bit. The door to my room was open, and my dog saw this as an oppurtunity to avenge the loss of attention to her.
My sister said she had heard thumping upstairs and the dog barking and growling. She ran upstairs to find the dog scratching at a blanket. She lifted the blanket and found Scooter sitting there, defenseless....and without a tail.
We drove forty minutes to the only emergency vet clinic open that Sunday, and I was scared to death Scooter would die. I felt so guilty that I had left, that I had left that food dish the way it was, that I had left my room open...It was awful. We arrived at the clinic where they took him immediately, but we waited about four hours before they called us in.
Scooter looked awful without a tail, and the doctor said he probably wouldn't fly much, but the important thing was that my little birdie was alive. I wrapped him carefully in the towel, thanked the doctor, took the medicine for Scooter, and left with my mother and sister.
Scooter hated being wrapped up like a burrito, and kept trying to get out. I was happy he was moving and all, but he was going to hurt himself if he kept doing it! My mother told me to hold him tighter, which I did. When we got home, I took him upstairs and unwrapped him. Scooter wasn't breathing.
I immediately screamed for my mother, staring at his little body, pleading with him to breathe...but to no avail. He was dead.
My sister called the doctor, who had forty minutes prior said he would be fine, and informed him that the bird was dead. I was so shocked that my MOTHER was in worse shape than me. It was later that I started crying. I was ridden with guilt.
What if I had gotten a new food dish? What if I had locked my door? What if I had never left the house? What if I had asked for a box to carry the bird home in from the vet? For months after, I was convinced I had suffocated the bird in the towel. I still sometimes think that I did. The doctors told me he might have had a heart attack, but I was convinced...that bird was fine in the car...I thought I killed my bird.
We buried Scooter in the garden on a windy, rainy day.
I since have gotten two new birds, Spike and Dew, who both are scared to death of me because I put them together too soon and now they think I'm out to get them. Scooter was the best pet I ever had. He just was. I recommend to anyone who wants a bird to get a baby one and handrear it, or else they'll turn like Spike and Dew. And don't make the same mistakes I did.
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