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Polly has the day from hell

Poor Polly the cockatiel had a rough day yesterday.

It started off fine – she emerged from her cage, flew down to the floor, ran into the kitchen, picked at the broccoli I set out for her on the paper towel while I ate breakfast, and then when I settled in with the laptop at the kitchen table, planted herself on top of my foot for a little relaxation.

It was about an hour later that Polly’s foot accidentally got caught under the leg of the chair, just as I was sitting down.

She screeched, of course – loudly – and I just about had a heart attack, knowing I might have crushed her toe. Polly ran around like crazy for a few minutes while I crouched down and tried to get a good look at her foot, which she seemed to be applying as normal, much to my relief.

It wasn’t until about fifteen minutes later, when she started running around madly again [after stopping briefly] and wanting to go into her cage*, that I started to think that something might be wrong. On closer inspection I saw that her foot was bleeding rather heavily and there was something stuck to it, which was freaking her out and making her run around like that [like she does if she gets a piece of string wrapped around it, say].

Eventually I was able to pick her up on my finger and spray some water on the wound to remove the dust or whatever it was that was stuck to it, but her foot was swollen and burning up and she was favouring it quite dramatically. And I felt awful – there are few things that get me down as much as seeing an animal suffer.

So I called the vet** who told me to wait a while, and to call again if it didn’t get any better. It didn’t. I called again and was told to bring her in for inspection. By this time it was around 3 pm and she was completely wiped out, poor thing – perched pitifully on a wicker basket in the bathroom and looking decidedly out of it, like she was in a state of shock. The vet is quite a distance away and Polly was required to make the trip in the little handbag-sized travel cage we have for that purpose, which is almost inevitably the cause of extreme stress for the poor thing – not exactly what she needed after an ordeal like she’d already been through. However – clearly she was so exhausted from the whole business that she just sort of continued to perch pitifully inside the cage, all the way to the vet’s, which took an even longer time than usual since it was rush hour.

The vet confirmed my suspicions – Polly had lost a claw. However, in other respects she’d been incredibly lucky – a few more millimetres and it would have been her whole foot crushed.

I know what you’re thinking – it’s a poor idea [to say the least] to have her running around on the floor like that. But quite frankly, she’s grown accustomed to being out of her cage and we’re completely soft – she starts flipping out inside her cage, running back and forth and screeching, and we just don’t have the heart to keep it closed. And we have to clip her wings, otherwise she’d be up on all the cupboards or – worse – flying out through the windows. So the floor is her only option.

Cool, as in ‘groovy’. What I mean is, it was absolutely calm and very wet, the trees were perfectly still with drops hanging off them and the moss on the concrete fences you find in this neighbourhood was so soggy and vivid. Quite surreal, actually. Like something out of a Tim Burton movie. It was mild, too; right now it’s 4°C [39F] and sunrise was at 9:35 am, sunset at 4.46 pm.

* The wanting to go into her cage reaction was interesting, because she made a beeline for her hazelnuts, like she was checking to see if they were OK. It’s like she sensed a catastrophe happening, and the first thing she thought of was protecting her cherished adopted babies. Aw!

** We actually take her to a veterinary clinic, where there are several vets and they’re all so wonderful – caring, gentle, just radiating kindness. Every time I go there I leave on a pink cloud – the purpose of my visit notwithstanding. Those vets should be canonized.