Henri (Henrietta-Green and yellow female parakeet) has been a member of our family for 8 =BD years. She passed away yesterday after several hours of seizures and fighting for her life. My wife, Cindy and I couldn't find an emergency avian vet anywhere on a Sunday to return our calls. We are somewhat new to this area (northeast MA) and wrongly assumed that local avian vets would respond to the emergency numbers on their message machines. We spent aggravating hours leaving messages and waiting for return calls that never happened.

Later in the morning, we called local pet stores, but they had the same phones numbers as we did. The animal hospitals within wide range did not have an avian vet on duty. I believe that Henri probably wouldn't have survived anyway, but we were willing to do whatever was necessary to save her. Today, I am typing through tears feeling compelled to describe what happened.
Henri and George (2 1/2 year old white and blue male) have lived together in the same cage we keep suspended from the ceiling in the living room. George and Henri absolutely adored each other. Henri was like a mother to George, and took to him immediately. We let them out during the day, and cover them at night. They always stayed close to the cage, and got plenty of exercise. One of the many games we had with Henri was saying "Fly Henri, Fly!" She'd get all excited and do couple loops in the room and then return to the top of her cage. Although neither bird would talk like people, George could softly say Herni's name in a question sound, "Henri?"The night before last, about 4am, my wife and I awoke to a loud distress call from one of our two parakeets in the living room. It was a horrible lower pitched sound that I haven't heard before. Sometimes George will have a panic during the night, but this was different. It was a steady, loud and fast CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP . My wife said "That sounds like Henri!!" I quickly went into the living room, called to the birds, turned on a light, lifted the cover and discovered them both on the bottom of the cage, instead of their usual perching spot during the night.

In a panic, they flew out of the cage. George went up to his usual spot on the curtain rod, but Henri went straight down to the floor. She looked totally frightened. I bent down, put my finger out and said "Step up, Henri", but she flew forward, crashed into one object, and then another like she was blind. I followed and called out to her as she kept flying aimlessly. Now I'm worried that she'd have a heart attack from being pursued, or injure herself by flying into a wall.

After I was able to cup my hands around her to escort her back to her cage, I noticed that her little heart was beating very fast. After placing her onto the perch in the cage, George returned, and I covered them back up. I talked calmly with them for a few minutes, all seemed normal and I returned to bed. I remember telling my wife, "It's like Herni was flying around blind."About a half hour later, we again woke to the loud, fast and steady CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP. This time we both sprang out of bed. We removed the cover, opened the cage, George flew out, and Henri remained in the cage, continuing this horrible sound. My wife took Henri out, and talked soothingly to her, but now Henri appears to be having a seizure. I gave my familiar "charge" whistle and few other whistle sounds she was familiar with over the years, and she stopped squawking for about a minute or so, and then the attack returned.

She was squawking loudly and her whole left side was spasming. Her heart was pounding while her left wing and foot were twitching uncontrollably. The phone calls for emergency assistance started, but without success. We took turns holding her, making sure to keep her warm. George reacted by watching from the curtain rod and occasionally swooped over us, and squawked while watching Henri the whole time. We all felt completely helpless.
This agonizing episode continued for hours as we held her. Henri kept squawking loudly, her body and head twitching, but little by little she was getting weaker. She hadn't responded to our voices since her first seizure. We held her, talked to her; put a cue tip with warm water up to her beak while her tongue dabbled at it. Occasionaly, shed relax, but she wasn't responsive. We allowed George some alone time on top of the cage, while he chattered at her and preened her feathers. She looked completely disoriented, moving in circles. This was heartwarming behavior from George, but very tough to watch, with the reality that we going to loose Henri.
Again, Cindy and I held Henri, while we continued all morning trying to get assistance. After 1pm, with Cindy keeping him nestled to her shoulder, Henri became quiet for a while. I repeated to Henri that it was ok to go to sleep. Then in a last burst of energy, she squawked, and began flapping her wings furiously as though she regained consciousness. Cindy said soothingly, "Fly, Henri, Fly". Henri relaxed and all the energy left her body. As she took her last breath, she again said "Fly Henri, Fly."
After regaining composure, I let George see Henri's body, gave him some alone time with her on top of the cage and I'm sure that helped him understand what had happened. He was defiantly grieving. He nudged her body a few time, chattered and squawked angrily, and gently preened her feathers. A few times he'd be silent, and then said "Henri?" as though asking a question. We gave George plenty of attention for the rest of the day, and I stayed in the living room last night with him for a while after covering the cage and talked to him.

This morning George, a usually spunky and active bird, remains quiet, sitting on one spot in the cage and blinks his eyes. He's not dive bombing me like he usually does, playing with his toys or flying at all. I talk to him, he moves his head to show he's listening, says "Henri?" now and then, but that's about it.
I am not intentionally trying to portray George's reaction as being human, however his behavior since Henri's death has changed, and I interpret this as his way of grieving.
Additional information regarding Henri's seizure and death shows there was no diarrhea or vomiting. She continued passing stools normally until she died. During her last hour before death, her tongue was no longer responding to the water drops.
I don't know what killed her, but we'd like to find out. I continually question myself about what I could have or should have done differently.
If I had left her alone when she flew out of the cage, could that have prevented the seizure? I don't know, but I my instincts told me to get her back in the cage so she wouldn't hurt herself by crashing into something. We painfully learned that we need to have a plan in place for our pets, if they should ever need emergency care that are not during animal hospital business hours. The system that we thought was in place, failed. Once I recover a little more emotionally, I will contact these vets that didn't return our calls. Again, I don't know if there's any thing they could have done for Henri, other than make her more comfortable. Under a vet's care, we would have been willing to do that.
I appreciate those of you who took the time to read this. Henri was part of our family and she is greatly missed and will be always in our hearts and prayers. Yesterday was our son's 13th birthday, and he had to leave the house by mid morning to deal with this in his own way. Since 9/11/2002, he almost expects something bad to happen on his birthday. This didn't help. We tried to make his birthday cheerful for him the best we could, but it wasn't easy. We plan to get George another female parakeet, but right now, I'm not sure how long to wait. This is a grueling experience and I welcome questions or comments.
Again, thanks for reading.
Jim
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On 9/12/05 11:55 AM, in article
Henri (Henrietta-Green and yellow female parakeet) has been a member of our family for 8 ½ years. She passed away ... to do whatever was necessary to save her. Today, I am typing through tears feeling compelled to describe what happened.

I'm sorry for your loss. It is painful to watch a friend die. It sounds like you did all you could. A good friend is worth some tears.

Winnie
Henri (Henrietta-Green and yellow female parakeet) has been a member of our family for 8 ½ years. She passed away yesterday after several hours of seizures and fighting for her life.

I'm sorry to hear your sad story. You were with her at the end, so she could feel your warmth and hear familiar voices, and hopefully that comforted her. I have nothing to offer as far as what could have happened to her. Did you consider a necropsy? You would have had to place her body in the frig until you could get one done, so that may not be an option for you now.
I appreciate those of you who took the time to read this. Henri was part of our family and she ... to deal with this in his own way. Since 9/11/2002, he almost expects something bad to happen on his birthday.

LIfe has some pretty tough lessons. I hope the years prove to him that his birthday isn't a cursed day.
It will take time for your grief to lessen. I still get a tear in my eye and lump in my throat when I remember the 2 budgies I lost, especially the one we'd had with us for many years. Thank you for sharing.
Becky
To all,
Thanks for taking the time to respond. Your kind words do wonders.
Did you consider a necropsy? You would havehad to place her body in the frig until you could get one done, so that may not be an option for you now. <[/nq]
Yes, After letting George have his moment with her, we put her on ice. I'll begin making calls soon.
was told the body can't be frozen. <[/nq]
I just found that out from an avian vet. They can do a "basic" necropsy, but nothing in depth because of the tissue damage that freezing causes. At least a basic could rule some things out. Based on the details I gave, the vet said most likly, Henri had a tumor that grew.
If the tumor is large enough, they should still be able to detect it. Anything bacterial or viral, they wouldn't be able to detect after freezing
the body.
Have you considered having your other budgie checked out, in case hisbehaviour isn't simply grieving<[/nq]
Good point. That's probably the wise thing to do.
Thanks again
Dear Jim & Family:
My deepest sympathy on the loss of your precious Henrietta. I own many birds, but my favourites are my budgies. I understand the depth of your grief, as I've lost several birds over the years, the most recent being last week when my sweet Kimba (black-masked lovebird) passed away at the age of six years. I hope the following poem helps ease your sorrow. May your pain turn to peace in the weeks and months ahead. Take care.

Sincerely,
Linda"I'll lend you, for a little while, a bird of mine, He said. For you to love while he lives, and mourn when he is dead. It may be six or seven years, or maybe twenty-three, But will you, till I call him back, take care of him for me? He'll bring his charms to gladden you, and shall his stay be brief, You'll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief. I cannot promise he will stay, as all from earth return, But there are lessons taught down there I want this bird to learn.

I've looked the whole world over in my search for teachers true, And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes, I have selected you. Now will you give him all your love - not think this labor vain, Nor hate me when I come to call, to take him back again. I fancied that I heard them say, 'Dear Lord, thy will be done.' For all the joy this bird shall bring, the risk of grief we'll run. We'll shower him with tenderness and love him while we may, And for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay.

And should the angels call for him much sooner than we planned, We'll brave the bitter grief that comes, and try to understand."

~~~~~~
Linda,
I'm sorry for your loss of Kimba, too.
What a beautiful poem.
Thank you so much, the timing couldn't have been better.
My sincerest and deepest sympathy to you, Cindy, your Son and of course, George. What a terrible ordeal for all of you to have to have gone through. I am just on here to learn about the sweet little friends that you all have, in concideration of getting one of my own, so I am sorry to say that I have no words of wisdom for you, just tears and a tender and broken heart for your loss. I am so sorry. All I can offer is that Henri was very blessed that you were there for her in her time of need and were so dedicated to help and comfort her as best you could under the circumstances. Remorsefully,
Jess
Henri (Henrietta-Green and yellow female parakeet) has been a member of our family for 8 ½ years. She passed away yesterday after several hours of seizures and fighting for her life. My wife, Cindy and I couldn't find an emergency avian vet anywhere on a Sunday to return our calls. We are somewhat new to this area (northeast MA) and wrongly assumed that local avian vets would respond to the emergency numbers on their message machines. We spent aggravating hours leaving messages and waiting for return calls that never happened.

Later in the morning, we called local pet stores, but they had the same phones numbers as we did. The animal hospitals within wide range did not have an avian vet on duty. I believe that Henri probably wouldn't have survived anyway, but we were willing to do whatever was necessary to save her. Today, I am typing through tears feeling compelled to describe what happened.
Henri and George (2 1/2 year old white and blue male) have lived together in the same cage we keep suspended from the ceiling in the living room. George and Henri absolutely adored each other. Henri was like a mother to George, and took to him immediately. We let them out during the day, and cover them at night. They always stayed close to the cage, and got plenty of exercise. One of the many games we had with Henri was saying "Fly Henri, Fly!" She'd get all excited and do couple loops in the room and then return to the top of her cage. Although neither bird would talk like people, George could softly say Herni's name in a question sound, "Henri?"The night before last, about 4am, my wife and I awoke to a loud distress call from one of our two parakeets in the living room. It was a horrible lower pitched sound that I haven't heard before. Sometimes George will have a panic during the night, but this was different. It was a steady, loud and fast CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP . My wife said "That sounds like Henri!!" I quickly went into the living room, called to the birds, turned on a light, lifted the cover and discovered them both on the bottom of the cage, instead of their usual perching spot during the night.

In a panic, they flew out of the cage. George went up to his usual spot on the curtain rod, but Henri went straight down to the floor. She looked totally frightened. I bent down, put my finger out and said "Step up, Henri", but she flew forward, crashed into one object, and then another like she was blind. I followed and called out to her as she kept flying aimlessly. Now I'm worried that she'd have a heart attack from being pursued, or injure herself by flying into a wall.

After I was able to cup my hands around her to escort her back to her cage, I noticed that her little heart was beating very fast. After placing her onto the perch in the cage, George returned, and I covered them back up. I talked calmly with them for a few minutes, all seemed normal and I returned to bed. I remember telling my wife, "It's like Herni was flying around blind."About a half hour later, we again woke to the loud, fast and steady CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP. This time we both sprang out of bed. We removed the cover, opened the cage, George flew out, and Henri remained in the cage, continuing this horrible sound. My wife took Henri out, and talked soothingly to her, but now Henri appears to be having a seizure. I gave my familiar "charge" whistle and few other whistle sounds she was familiar with over the years, and she stopped squawking for about a minute or so, and then the attack returned.

She was squawking loudly and her whole left side was spasming. Her heart was pounding while her left wing and foot were twitching uncontrollably. The phone calls for emergency assistance started, but without success. We took turns holding her, making sure to keep her warm. George reacted by watching from the curtain rod and occasionally swooped over us, and squawked while watching Henri the whole time. We all felt completely helpless.
This agonizing episode continued for hours as we held her. Henri kept squawking loudly, her body and head twitching, but little by little she was getting weaker. She hadn't responded to our voices since her first seizure. We held her, talked to her; put a cue tip with warm water up to her beak while her tongue dabbled at it. Occasionaly, shed relax, but she wasn't responsive. We allowed George some alone time on top of the cage, while he chattered at her and preened her feathers. She looked completely disoriented, moving in circles. This was heartwarming behavior from George, but very tough to watch, with the reality that we going to loose Henri.
Again, Cindy and I held Henri, while we continued all morning trying to get assistance. After 1pm, with Cindy keeping him nestled to her shoulder, Henri became quiet for a while. I repeated to Henri that it was ok to go to sleep. Then in a last burst of energy, she squawked, and began flapping her wings furiously as though she regained consciousness. Cindy said soothingly, "Fly, Henri, Fly". Henri relaxed and all the energy left her body. As she took her last breath, she again said "Fly Henri, Fly."
After regaining composure, I let George see Henri's body, gave him some alone time with her on top of the cage and I'm sure that helped him understand what had happened. He was defiantly grieving. He nudged her body a few time, chattered and squawked angrily, and gently preened her feathers. A few times he'd be silent, and then said "Henri?" as though asking a question. We gave George plenty of attention for the rest of the day, and I stayed in the living room last night with him for a while after covering the cage and talked to him.

This morning George, a usually spunky and active bird, remains quiet, sitting on one spot in the cage and blinks his eyes. He's not dive bombing me like he usually does, playing with his toys or flying at all. I talk to him, he moves his head to show he's listening, says "Henri?" now and then, but that's about it.
I am not intentionally trying to portray George's reaction as being human, however his behavior since Henri's death has changed, and I interpret this as his way of grieving.
Additional information regarding Henri's seizure and death shows there was no diarrhea or vomiting. She continued passing stools normally until she died. During her last hour before death, her tongue was no longer responding to the water drops.
I don't know what killed her, but we'd like to find out. I continually question myself about what I could have or should have done differently.
If I had left her alone when she flew out of the cage, could that have prevented the seizure? I don't know, but I my instincts told me to get her back in the cage so she wouldn't hurt herself by crashing into something. We painfully learned that we need to have a plan in place for our pets, if they should ever need emergency care that are not during animal hospital business hours. The system that we thought was in place, failed. Once I recover a little more emotionally, I will contact these vets that didn't return our calls. Again, I don't know if there's any thing they could have done for Henri, other than make her more comfortable. Under a vet's care, we would have been willing to do that.
I appreciate those of you who took the time to read this. Henri was part of our family and she is greatly missed and will be always in our hearts and prayers. Yesterday was our son's 13th birthday, and he had to leave the house by mid morning to deal with this in his own way. Since 9/11/2002, he almost expects something bad to happen on his birthday. This didn't help. We tried to make his birthday cheerful for him the best we could, but it wasn't easy. We plan to get George another female parakeet, but right now, I'm not sure how long to wait. This is a grueling experience and I welcome questions or comments.
Again, thanks for reading.
Jim
Thanks Jess,
As tough as this is, and it doesn't get any easier for me after losing pets throughout my life, I'll have parakeets as long as I'm around. Henri is especially tough to get over. She could make you laugh, greet you, scold you, and definatley knew how to get your attention. She's been part of a major chapter in my family's life, survived moving across the states. Her sudden death is really a shock.

I especially feel bad for George, as he always watched what she was doing.
He is starting to come around with his chattering, although he hasn't left the inside of the cage. Staying inside the cage this long is really unusual for him. I'm glad I took the day off, I was in no shape to be around the public.
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