"people fall in love with these creatures"

I was feeling just slightly abashed as I sat in the waiting room of a small-animal veterinarian a few days ago. I was gently cradling Sweetpea, our little green parakeet, slumped in his small clear-plexiglas travelling case, waiting our turn to be interviewed and examined.

To Barry and I our bright, chirpy roommate looked and acted perfectly healthy, but he had not been eating any of his normal seeds for almost a week and we had become very concerned. Other than the receptionist, our bench companions were a woman waiting for her dog to come out of the examination room and a young girl holding a box which sheltered a beautiful small rabbit with an injured leg.

Sweetpea had flown into our apartment two and a half years ago on a cold November day, and this was the first time he'd had any occasion to leave its safety since. He had become precious to Barry and me, but every visit to a pet store was a reminder that his relatives were being traded everywhere in New York for only $9.95.

And then everything in that room changed.

The door from the street opened suddenly and a tall, sturdy young man came in with a container similar to Sweetpea's, but smaller still. Even before sitting down he addressed the room sheepishly, almost apologetically, "you probably haven't seen a 'small animal' this small before." In the box was a tiny turtle, a red ear, its carapace perhaps an inch in diameter. The man's little charge was one of three he had brought home from Chinatown a few months earlier. The other two had flourished and grown considerably, but this little Fred only languished, and his companion thought he even appeared to be shrinking.

Sweetpea checked out fine, and he's back home now, although he's still ignoring the food mix which once seemed to make him so happy. He's also acting more than a bit subdued now, probably because of the trauma of his capture and tranport to and from the East Village by taxi, not to mention some intimate torso-poking and the drawing of blood for tests. But I'm hoping he'll eventually tire of his current diet of millet and greens, and go on to fill his biblical half score of years - at least - with two people who smile every time they look at him.

I've read that those cute little turtles could theoretically outlive their owners, even if they do cost half the going price of a parakeet when they're very young. I asked the veterinarian today whether Fred was going to make it, and she admitted he didn't have a good prognosis.

"It's such a shame; there are so many natural hazards for some species, and only some of them can survive. People fall in love with these little creatures, and sometimes there's nothing that can be done."


My g'friend (who has a budgie) suggest the following:
A#1 - Play with Sweatpea out of the cage, she says birds often do get depressed.

Then if you haven't tried the following you might want to - change the brand of seed and/or move the food dish slightly. If you have, email me and I can ask her for more suggestions.

Hope everything works out.

Good luck with Sweetpea, hope he feels better soon.

I love your stories. Get well soon Sweetpea.