Most of our readers who have been following us from the beginning know we brought along my pet parrot Leonard. We got silly stares and lots of finger pointing when he was out and about with us but there was no way I was leaving him behind. I got Leonard a couple years ago from one of our locally owned bird shops when he was about 6-8 months old. I could tell when I first saw him something was a little off but I could also tell something was very special about him too. They did show me he had a slight injury on his right wing where another bird gnawed on it, but that stop me. I just fell in love with his cute face.
He was a shy boy, definitely a big change from our previous bird. He was quiet and didn’t do much either, I kept thinking maybe it’s his species and I’m just not use to it, he’ll come out of his shell eventually. He also had balancing issues which we thought was due to his wing injury, I didn’t think feathers would ever grow back in that spot. He could perch like a champ though, had a great grip. His feathers did eventually grow back in and we realized he couldn’t even fly more than 3ft without crash landing, so we started keeping his all his flight feathers to try to help with balancing. This seemed to help for a while.
He then got his first upper respiratory infection. One night I had noticed his nose run just like a tiny little faucet. With birds, you don’t ignore symptoms of colds or illness so he was put on antibiotics. Then this last winter we started noticing these slow progressing signs; not keeping weight on (although he was a piglet), neurological symptoms (raising one leg, circling) and loss of balance again.
I had made the choice to take him for testing even though we were saving money for this journey but we had to know what was going on with our little Leonard. His white blood cell count was through the roof and his liver enzymes were elevated. The avian veterinarian I was seeing had to consult an avian pathologist about his blood-work. The were quite concerned for our little buddy, both Drs were convinced he either had PDD or Psittacosis. They recommended additional blood-work to confirm the latter but as we just spent $300 and we knew he was sick, I opted to just go for the antibiotics. He was on two antibiotics for 30 days and was to always have a liver supplement.
We finished the meds and he gained 20 grams! He seemed to be doing awesome, no more circling or lifting his leg in the air. We thought we were on the mend and on the road to a healthy bird. So, a couple weeks later we headed off onto our travels. Leonard was doing great with us on the road, he would just eat away or swing on his swinging perch as we drove along the road. He seemed to have come up with his own routine just as we had. He loved coming out of van for walks, sitting on my lap as we drove and I’m pretty sure he enjoyed it the best when he got spoiled with sunflower seeds by the girls at Jeff’s sister’s house.
I had noticed he was getting skinny again the last couple weeks, but no weird symptoms along with it. He was bright and alert, swinging and eating really well still until last Saturday. We had stopped at a park in Oceanside, Ca to wait for my niece. I was refreshing his food he crawled onto my hand and I could just tell something was wrong. He was way skinnier that day then he was the day before and he had no energy. He wasn’t lifeless though, but when you bond with a pet it’s almost like they are telling you something. I started to get upset and mentioned to Jeff at this point that I didn’t think he was doing well. Jeff insisted he would be fine and as we drove to my nieces house I probably would have thought the same thing. He rode on my lap and perked up as if the moment we had earlier didn’t happen and we shared a few crumbs of my chips.
The next morning, May 29th we awoke to find my little Leonard laying on the floor of his cage. He saved one last breath, so I could say good-bye. He just wasn’t strong enough to fight whatever he was sick with anymore. He did get go on some amazing adventures with us these last 10 weeks though, one lucky bird. We loved him so much.