There was a horrible series of accidents just about a day and a half ago which led to Zuri's death. Brandy and I were making a quick trip to the store and to get some things from the old apartment. Amy was home alone. Amy witnessed the whole series of events, but was unable to stop it despite her best efforts. If either Brandy and I had been home, we probably could have stopped things, or it never would have happened at all. But we were not home.
The specifics are quite horrible, and I am not in a mental place where I am prepared to discuss those. I might never be. I certainly don't want people second guessing things we have done and telling us what we could have done differently. I've done enough of that myself, and I've been tormenting myself with it. I do not need more. I've spent most of the last day and a half just dealing with the aftermath of this. Nominally I worked from home yesterday to help my family through everything. In reality, that they were helping me was probably closer to the truth and my productivity for work was close to zero. She was my bird, and I was closest to her and I think I have taken it hardest. It has been a really bad day or two for me. So I won't talk any more about recent events, I'll talk about Zuri...
I first saw Zuri in late 2003. She was in a petstore near Yardley, PA where I had just bought a house. My parakeet Brain had recently died, and Brandy was trying to convince me to get a new bird, a bigger bird with more personality. She had me look at Zuri. I was not convinced. Zuri looked very cute. She was barely more than a baby then. But I was not sure I was ready for the responsibility. With the smaller birds you can basically give them food and water and a few toys and they are happy. Brandy warned me that with ringnecks like Zuri, they need daily attention. They need to be talked to and held and petted. And they can be demanding. And they can live more than 20 years easy, sometimes over 30. I did not make up my mind that day. I did not walk out with Zuri. But for the next few months, more and more often I would make trips to the petstore. Always to see Zuri and see if she was still there. More and more each time I dreaded that someone else might have already bought her. And she was getting older. I was starting to regret each time that I had not gotten her the very first time I saw her. So finally, on 14 Jan 2004 I brought Zuri Kidege Minter home.
I was afraid I had waited too long to get her. That she was older and would not bond with me. Her face was no longer as puffy and cute as a really young bird (or so I thought, it turned out it could be, just depended on her mood) and I was afraid to let Brandy or Amy handle her, because I wanted to make sure she bonded with ME. All my fears were groundless. It took a little bit, but she very much bonded with me. Perhaps a bit too much. For the most part for the longest time she would ONLY let me handle her. (With lots of work earlier this year when I was in Washington and everybody else was in Florida, Brandy finally got Zuri to trust her too.)
If I walked by, Zuri would call from her cage and raise her wings to be petted and beg for me to come get her. Too often I would be "busy" and would not. But when I did Zuri would bound to the top of her cage and luxuriate in in being scratched and petted for as many minutes as I would. She would never tire of it. Then, when I was done, she would climb on to me. She'd play with my glasses. She'd circle my head and play with my hair. She'd nibble and preen me and do her best to take care of me too. And then, if she finally tired of that, she'd start being a nudge and start wandering around to play with my keyboard or anything else that might have my attention.
In her cage she would play with her toys some, and some she liked more than others. Some she would ignore. Some she would fight with all the time. Others she would sleep on. She loved ringing the bells. She loved getting peanuts out of her football. Whenever she would eat she would very carefully pick up her food from her food dish, walk over to the water dish and systematically wash her food to make sure it was JUST right. The water dish was always a mess. She hated the purple food. She would pick everything else out and eat it first. If there was nothing left but purple in her dish, you knew she was mad, and you needed to feed her new stuff right away, even though she still had plenty of purple.
She would sing and call from the cage all the time. She had learned to wolf whistle one time when she stayed at Brandy's mom's house for a week and the bird there taught her. And she did that a lot. But mostly she would just sing and chitter away. Especially when there were people around. She would talk to you. Not English words, she never learned that, although I think she was trying. But just very expressive "sentences". She would go back and forth with you when you talked to her. And she would look right at you and you knew she was listening and paying attention with everything she had.
She was mischievous too. She ate holes in a few of my shirts that I wore when I played with her. She completely destroyed a leather jacket I forgot was draped over a chair one time she was out. But I didn't care. She would pull the glasses right off my face and go carrying them away. She would take pens from me and go walking off holding them with one foot, looking like she was going to start writing any minute. She pooped on and destroyed a keyboard just a few weeks ago. But I didn't care.
She was very trusting. Very loving. She was a good bird. She was my bird. She loved me unconditionally and with all of her little heart. She was sad days I did not play with her and was overjoyed when I even gave her a minute of attention, let alone when I would have her out of the cage and would play with her for a long time. I wish I had done that so much more. I now cherish every minute I had of that.
She was my bird. I loved her. She loved me. I miss her so much. I am so very sad.
Goodbye Zuri. Goodbye. Good bird. Pretty Zuri. Pretty birdy. I love you.
Very sorry to hear.