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Monday Nov 14, 2011

Sweetie Boy RIP

sweetie boy
Sweetie Boy (1997-2011)

When faced with mortality, ours or our beloved friends, or pets, our philosophy of living is put to the test. Anyone can have a cavalier attitude when it comes to being non-attached when death happens to those we don’t know or love.

Up until a month ago, he appeared happy, and healthy, Then, he suffered some sort of seizure where his right foot went limp, meaning he couldn’t stand on his perch. I held him on my lap and soothed him with gentle tones for about twenty minutes until his breathing returned to normal and his claw could again firmly grip my finger. All seemed well for several weeks after this episode. Last week, he had two more seizures. I did the same with him, and he seemed to come out of it.

Today, I brought him to a highly recommended avian vet in Santa Fe to see what’s going on. The vet cradled Sweetie Boy in a towel; and then the brave yet scared birdie begin wheezing, unable to breath. The vet rushed out with Sweetie Boy to get him oxygen. After some time, the vet returned with the news; Sweetie Boy had died. He apologized, but it wasn’t his fault, and he couldn’t completely determine what had caused Sweetie Boy to die. It might have been a vitamin deficiency, an infection of some sort—although I tried to give him a balanced diet. An all seed diet is bad for birds. The vet said that Sweetie Boy was very ill, although he didn’t look sick at first glance. And birds are very good at concealing any health issues until it’s too late.

I left the animal hospital with Sweetie Boy’s limp body. There were tears for Sweetie Boy who was a smart loving creature. I, too, felt limp.

A few minutes ago, I laid Sweetie Boy to rest in a small patch of earth behind my cabin. As I covered his small feathered body with dirt, I thought of what the Buddha had observed thousands of years ago: “All things must pass away. Strive for your own salvation with diligence.”

There is a price for attachment that one must pay, one way or another.