I woke up this morning to my girlfriend's sobs. "She's dead!" she cried. She was referring to Roberta, the pigeon she'd found in the front yard on Friday afternoon.
We'd taken her (we didn't know it was a her) to a Veterinarian in Metairie who agreed to diagnose her. We knew that if the prognosis wasn't good, they'd kill her. But they said there was nothing wrong with her; she was just young and skinny.
We took her home, put her in a box, gave her birdseed and water. Yesterday she seemed better, though not exactly vibrant. Whenever I'd check on her, I'd find her just sitting there, looking cozy. I didn't know what birds in boxes liked to do, so I figured she was fine. Yesterday afternoon, we took her out of the box so we could clean it, and she escaped my girlfriend's grip and flew across the living room.
We thought we'd keep her in the box for another day and then take her outside.
Last night she seemed the same as before: she just sat there. The last time I checked on her, she was balled up, breathing softly--snoozing, I thought.
This morning, after my girlfriend calmed down, she asked me to check if Roberta was still alive. I looked in the box. Roberta was slumped forward, her body bent and feathers askew. She was dead.
We buried her in the front yard.
I knew this bird all of three days, and yet I'm sad. I can't say why. She looked cute, cuddled up in the box in the hallway. But so what; cute is part of life, and it's bullshit. There's ample reason to think she would've died no matter what we'd done. Maybe it was West Nile. Who knows. But now I have a vague, simplistic inkling of what an Emergency ward doctor goes through when one of his patients dies. Not the full experience. Just an inkling. But that is bad enough.