A Birdie’s Last Day
“Oh my God, mom, I think something is wrong with Mango!”
I pitifully trembled as I was cradling my sweet beloved baby who was like a floppy rag doll in my hands. I was panicked as thoughts raced through my head like “what is wrong with her,” and “what if she dies.” The pit in my stomach felt like a bag of rocks. My friend Anna and my sister Bella were in the other room, unaware of this emergency.
My baby was a six month old, topaz-feathered cockatiel with one small joyful tangerine sun shining on each side of her head. I only had Mango for three months after waiting for a bird for three years. She was my first pet. Mango made me feel good when I was depressed and she would always wake me up when she insistently squawked.
Mom was trying to remain calm but was frantically dialing avian vets. Because it was the end of the day a lot of the vets were closing. As the minutes flew by I got more worried. Finally she found an emergency exotic pet place in Bothell, about an hour’s drive away. They replied they would stay open for us. We told Bella and Anna we had to bring my ill bird to the vet. “What about me,” asked Bella?” “I’ll call Kristina and ask if she can take you,” said my Mom. Kristina is a neighbor who has a son that is friends with Bella.
I rushed to get a hot water bottle and a wash cloth to keep Mango warm before we piled into the car. Anna didn’t seem to be as worried. My guess was because she wasn’t attached to Mango as I was. I dialed the phone to dad and told him the news and he said he would meet us there. We called Anna’s mom to tell her we would bring Anna home later. We dropped Bella off and then we rushed off to the vet.
I was sweating and having a hard time breathing in the baking car but we all had to endure it. It was stressful holding this wrapped up lifeless looking mummy, with her head to the side and her crest flopped over with eyes tightly shut. When we were about a third of the way there, Mango wiggled and perked up with bright small eyes. I felt hopeful.
Arriving, we pushed the car door open and laid the ailing bird on the counter. As we checked Mango in, the vet assistant asked for the name, and I squeaked, “Mango.” The woman tenderly took Mango out of my hands and carried her into the back room with the vet. My friend and I anxiously waited in the lobby area while the vet asked my mom questions. The lady at the desk asked if we would like to watch anything on T.V and we nodded yes. I needed a distraction. My mom came out and said to us, “The doctor says that we are going to have to wait a little for him to figure out Mango’s problem.” Again, I felt hopeful. Dad suggested that we go have dinner while we waited.
At the restaurant, we got our seats and ordered. My stomach was still tied in knots and it was hard to eat anything. After an hour, the vet called but had no more information so we decided that we should just take Anna home. The minute we dropped her at her house, mom’s cell phone rang. It was the doctor. “Mango passed away from kidney failure.” Mom’s face was somber and I knew.
I started to tremble as Mom turned to me and said, “I’m so sorry but Mango died.” To comfort me, she held my hand and it was a quiet car ride home.
When we got back home, Bella asked cautiously, “What happened to Mango?”
I whispered, “She died.”
Bella said, “I knew she was going to die.” We were all quiet. I was bewildered by this whole experience of losing Mango.
The next day, we returned to the vet and got Mango’s body in a tiny box. To remember her, we got our shovels and dug a hole deep enough so wild critters wouldn’t dig her body up.
For over a year, every time I thought of her, I felt my life was empty and wanted to cry. Now, a new cockatiel has replaced her, but Mango will always be in my heart.