Monday, April 29, 2013

Goodbye Einstein

In January 2012, Ian found his best friend in a green cheeked conure (parrot) named Einstein.  He rescued him from a woman who just kept him in a cage all day long, and worked with him until he could sit on his shoulder and come to school.  They truly were inseparable and Ian stepped up to the plate with this new "hobby" and really took care of his friend, always teaching him something new and working with him so he could become friendly.  (Read this post about his first week at our house.)

Einstein had a "nemo wing," a deformed wing that wouldn't work, it was smaller than his other, so he didn't have to get his wings clipped to be a pet.  He couldn't fly since he was born and maybe that's why he was kept in a cage, because he also couldn't flutter to the ground if he fell.  He took a lot of spills but always bounced back, even after being taunted by the dogs.  He hit is head a lot but was a tough bird and it didn't seem to phase him.  Ian tried getting him into a flight suit so that he could tether him to his shoulder but Einstein had a mind of his own and it was "difficult" getting him to do anything he didn't want to do.  Ian always felt that he was a Special Education teacher that got this Special Education bird (he didn't know he had a deformed wing until he went to get him from the lady who owned him before).  They were destined to find each other.

Einstein and I had our own issues, he bit me one too many times and I was pregnant so I was extra sensitive.  I didn't have the patience for another animal (we have dogs, parakeets, a turtle, a fish and hamsters) and Einstein made it pretty clear that my husband was his person and that was that.  I didn't push him and so I never really got to know him like Ian did, although he did nuzzle in my hair a couple of times, which I thought was just the cutest.

Lemon loved him and would spend hours being entertained by him.  It was kind of like having a built in babysitter, she could sit and stare at him for hours.  They ate dinner together sometimes and he went on walks with us, we looked forward to them both growing up together.  We thought Einstein would surely be around for years and years.

A couple of weeks ago, Einstein started plucking his feathers.  In the bird realm this meant he was either unhappy, stressed, sick or just molting and we thought it was the latter.  He plucked around this same time last year, it is Spring, and we thought he was making room for new feathers.  But, it got pretty bad and instead of just plucking his chest, like before, he plucked his whole body.  We kept thinking it was a bit weird but before we had time to really notice Lemon got the flu and our week last week was spent taking care of her.  Then on Friday morning, when Ian got him out of bed (he sleeps in a fuzzy bed attached to a perch), we noticed something was really wrong.  He had plucked the skin off of his stomach and left a big, gaping hole - it was really scary and he looked really bad.  He was shaking and not really moving and you could just tell something wasn't right.  Ian took him to two different places, both not open, and then ended up at a bird hospital where they did surgery.

Einstein came home on Monday and seemed ok, he was wearing a little cone and a neck brace so that he couldn't pluck anymore.  He had medicine Ian had to give him and the first day he seemed really sad, just putting his beak down on the bottom of the cage and closing his eyes.  On Tuesday, though, when we came home, he squawked like he always does (just a bit weaker), it's kind of like a dog bark but in bird language (he imitates the dogs).  We thought he was doing better and he was acting better.  Then on Wednesday morning, after Ian heard him chirp at around 5am, he went to get him out at 6 and he had died.  Ian was in tears and I was in shock - I thought for sure this bird would be around forever.  How the heck did this happen and in such short a time?

Last night we laid Einstein to rest in our flower bed out in the front yard.  We said a few words and put a rose on top of his resting place.  Ian does not really know what to do with himself now that Einstein isn't around, he has to find something else to keep him busy now (perhaps this other parrot named Lemon?).  Even though I was not the biggest fan of Einstein, I do miss him and our house is eerily quiet now.  Lemon heard him screaming from the womb and I wonder if she notices the quiet too.  I will miss him mocking me when I sneeze (sneezing too) and laughing when we laugh.  I will miss him moving his head up and down (dancing) and snuggling up in Ian's hair and on Ian's neck.  I will miss him on our walks and hearing him playing with the dogs through his cage.  I am mostly sad for Lemon who will not remember him, something she loved when she was just a baby.  I hate that animals go before people, it really is the saddest thing.

Could we have done something different?  Maybe.  That's the worst about being a pet owner, you are always wondering if you could have saved your pets.  The two biggest losses I've experienced, having pets, were Lucy (read about her here) and Einstein; I vow never to overlook my animals again and try to do better next time.  Get ready all of you animals - you are coming out to play with us tonight!

Goodbye Einstein, you will forever be a part of our family.


  1. Poor bird...I'm sorry you guys! It's never easy to lose a pet. We had a hamster for about 5 years, and when he passed, it was really hard on my sister and me as kids. I hope Ian can either find another animal like Einstein, or find a different way to move on after grieving. Sorry again to your little family.

  2. So sad, and heartbreaking. I am not a fan of birds, but I feel terrible for Einstein plucking his skin. It must have been scary for you guys to see. Although I'm sad to hear he's passed, at least he didn't suffer very long.
    Losing a pet is never easy, they really do become part of the family.

    1. Sounds like you are a lot like me, I just don't understand birds as pets! But thanks for writing, means a lot. :)

  3. RIP Einstein. I'm sure he's happy now in bird heaven.

    Hi! Stopping by from Mom Bloggers Club. Love your blog!
    Have a nice day!

  4. How sad! I am so sorry for your family, and give a hug to Ian from us...I am sure it has been hard!