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Hospitalizing Sid

weather: partially sunny
outside: 16°C
mood: pensive
After last night, we have to admit to the fact that we're just too novice of cockatiel owners to be able to give userinfoSid the medical attention he needs. We could not pick him up for squat. We managed to get him the first night, but methinks that was sheer luck.

When he sees The Almighty Evil Towel™, he panics and flaps his wings in his cage to get away. The problem is that he bashes his wings against the cage wall until he bleeds. And we haven't even touched him yet.

On Thursday, when we were at Night Owl, Dr. McDonald had an assistant turn the lights out in the examination room to catch him. The theory is, they can't see in the dark so they won't move... as much(?) We did the same at home, but discovered that he can still move pretty fast and pretty far in the dark.

We didn't give him the antibiotics or do the wings last night. We just let him fly around for a while and he started landing on our arms and shoulders. He's gotten more comfortable with us and will cautiously come to us when we call him. We got him back into his cage and that was it for the night. This morning, he was still singing and talking to us. He's even sort of started walking up onto our arms on command.

We've decided that he'll have to be boarded at Night Owl for about a week to receive treatment. We'll be hurting him more than treating him at home. Sid will be a lot more than the original estimated $500. It's looking more like $750-$1000 now with the boarding costs and the possibility of Giardia and anything else wrong with him.

I had second thoughts about keeping him last night. I'm not an animal person to begin with and this is the first time I've had a pet that's been this much hassle for me. For me, I am DEFINITIVELY NOT willing to "do whatever it takes". There IS a point where I will draw the line and say, "put him down" because I'm not willing to spend any more money on it. And I suspect that amount is smaller than what most people have in mind.

These are pets. I am their owner. I am their caretaker. But they are not my "children". I am NOT their "mother". I know that that's just the language among pet owners. I'm not mad at being called that because I can't rightly bring myself to be offended at something where I know no offense was intended.

In any case, I had thought userinfoHusband Guy and I had drawn that line at just the checkup and quarantining. Then it turned into having to get drugs and doing stuff. And now it's turned into boarding him at Night Owl. The situation is escalating. It feels like things are spiraling out of control and the line that we laid down keeps shifting.

Husband Guy really wants to keep Sid. I asked him... no, I demanded that he set a limit. Either a situational limit (if we do A, B and C, but Sid still needs more done, we ask L to take him back) or a financial limit (after spending $X, we ask L to take Sid back) or a combination of both.

You have to realize though, that the longer we try to help Sid, the more L's responsibility wanes and Sid becomes more and more "ours". And the longer we have Sid, the worse it's going to be to have to move him back to L's place. His health isn't going to do well moving around like that.

Husband is very tempted to go full steam ahead and do whatever it takes to get Sid to a point where he can be put in the same room as userinfoSkippy. That was his situational limit. That's way too vague to me and I asked him to list more concrete events. If we don't, it could be one thing after another and he may never be able to be a companion for Skippy. And he may have recurring problems that could cost us year after year of boarding him, paying out of pocket for medication and surprise expenses.

Husband says, "They're still costing less than children." Don't you DARE compare them to human children, I thundered.

Negotiations are still in progress.

[Update — 1700h]

Now that we're back from Night Owl and not so rushed, I should say that we're not fighting over this, per se. userinfoHusband Guy agrees with me in principle that we absolutely do not want this to get crazy; our wallets and sanity come first, ALWAYS. And I agree that Sid is a good bird for us; we should give our best effort to do what we can for his health. We're both swinging back and forth between wanting to keep Sid and wanting to give him back.

It's all constructive discussions.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 29th, 2004 04:00 pm (UTC)

I know you're not looking for people to take sides here, but I'd be on your side!! Then again, I really don't care much for birds. My parents have always had birds in their house since before I was born (first two love birds, then a cockateil, and now a parakeet). They don't do anything for me.

I hope you guys figure something out that works for everyone (humans and birds)!
May. 29th, 2004 04:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks... I just don't like things sprung on me, that's all. W agrees with me in principle, but we have to agree on where to draw the line.
(Deleted comment)
May. 29th, 2004 05:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you =)
May. 29th, 2004 06:49 pm (UTC)
I'm a diehard animal person, and would (and have) put myself into hock for mine. I'd go pretty much as far for my animals as I would for my child.

That said, you've had Sid, what, a week? I think, as someone else said, you've already gone above and beyond the call of duty. I think it's early enough that you could reasonably return him, given the care he seems to need, and that if you're going to do it then sooner is best.

I think a situational limit would be good. (Keep in mind, I'm not a bird expert here - I've tended towards little furry things rather than little feathered things). If you can talk to Sid's vet and agree on a set of strategies to try, and if they don't achieve the desired aim of making him a suitable companion for Skippy within a specified period, you return him (and ideally forewarn L of this), that might be helpful. I think a time period rather than a dollar amount is probably more helpful, because that gives you a practical aim, an end in sight, and also takes into consideration Sid's well-being and L's, as you put it, waning responsibility as time passes.

Good luck!
May. 29th, 2004 07:04 pm (UTC)
We've had him since Monday, so almost a week, yes.

You make a good point. Thanks =)
May. 29th, 2004 07:19 pm (UTC)
How do cockatiels taste?
May. 29th, 2004 07:30 pm (UTC)
Like chicken? They are hookbills like chicken... but there's probably not enough meat to determine. =)
May. 29th, 2004 07:37 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... ok. Just curious. ;)
May. 29th, 2004 07:45 pm (UTC)
The only fowl that I know of that is red meat is the ostrich. I'm looking up "Meat Science" and "Carcass Classification" right now to see if there's a published list somewhere =D
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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