Monday, 11 August 2014

Fly Free Sweet Ella

Sweet dreams darling Goose. Mommy and Daddy miss you terribly. 2007-2014
Unfortunately on the morning of June 22nd, 2014 our darling Pacific Parrotlet Ella left us for the Bridge. Ella was playing with her Grandma when she suddenly fell off her perch. Ella's passing was instant and what we can only assume was a heart attack. Although we were all shocked and saddened by her sudden death we are also thankful that she didn't suffer and wasn't alone when she died.

Last October Ella began suffering a series of strokes so at the advice of our vet, we began treatment for Egg Yolk Peritonitis. Unfortunately Ella continued to suffer strokes post-treatment. A series of x-rays, exams and blood work indicated that nothing was wrong and the vets told us all we could offer her was compassionate care going forward.

I refused to believe there was nothing we could do and as long as Ella was willing to fight so was I. After a lot of research I believed her strokes were due to a vitamin/nutrient deficiency, most likely a lack of calcium or vitamin D as Ella would occasionally lay eggs. We began transitioning her on to a good quality diet and providing calcium supplements if we noticed symptoms of egg laying. To help her get the vitamin D she needed we purchased a special avian bulb and set it on a daily timer.

And Ella got better.

For the final 6 months of our little Goose's life, Ella was stroke free and symptom free. The strokes she had suffered had left some permanent weakness in her one foot but it didn't slow her down one bit. We became closer then ever, sharing healthy meals together, her sitting on my arm while I checked e-mail, perching atop my sewing machine while I sewed or just spending time together. Unfortunately we think the strokes did do some permanent damage to her heart which ultimately led to the heart attack she suffered in June.

Ella was my first bird and certainly made owning one a challenge! I read every book and watched every video I could on taming but nothing seemed to work with Ella. Finally I stopped trying to force a bond and instead focused on spending loads of time together. Slowly Ella began to open up and trust me. When you've had to work for months to build a relationship with an animal, it makes those breakthroughs much more meaningful.

Although I spent our earlier years together working on building that bond with Ella, she hated fingers and loved to bite. After hearing about the success another YouTuber had with her parrotlet and clicker training I decided to give it a try. Much of our time spent together during those final months was based around training. Ella was eager to learn and grasped the concept quickly. By our second session she was gently taking the reward from my fingers. This was a huge step in strengthening our bond and she would do a happy dance when she saw me take the target out every day.

On our last day together I let Ella out to stretch her wings and have a fly around the kitchen. Instead she flew to my shoulder - something she had never done before. We stood at the kitchen window together, taking one last look at our old backyard and neighbourhood while I reminisced about the past 7 years we had both spent in our first home and the memories we had made there. It is a moment in time that I will cherish forever.

I miss our feisty green chicken terribly. She made even the most menial of daily tasks exciting. I miss her excited chirps and her frantic wake up calls when I slept in. I miss sharing breakfast with her, her coming to investigate everything I was doing and her big attitude. Our little Ella was fearless and although tiny, her presence was mighty. Our home doesn't feel the same without her.

Sweet dreams Goose. You will always be in my heart.

'There are far, far better things ahead then any we leave behind.' - C.S. Lewis

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