I had to put down one of my lovebirds today.

I found him on the bottom of the cage this morning with a broken leg.  It looked like a nasty break to me (I could see bone), and my first thought was “I need to put him to sleep.” The other lovebird was sitting next to him as he preened and chewed the newspaper layer into soft shreds around him.

I called seven different vets – each referring me to another – until I found one who does bird care and could see me today.  I told him over the phone that I wasn’t sure they could do anything for him.

He couldn’t.  And I was okay with that.

They could always amputate, but  I told him no.  This little thirteen-year-old guy was a sickly thing when I took him in.  He never grew properly and had some kind of deformity in his legs.  He couldn’t fly, so the only way he got around was to hop and climb.  He’d never be able to do that with one leg.  If he survived the surgery.

The tech brought the vet a syringe.  The vet asked me if I was ready.  I was.  I knew it was the right thing to do.  I had known it in my gut since the moment I saw the leg.

The vet injected his little belly and then stroked his feathered head.  He cradled my little bird in his hand and spoke gently to him as his eyes closed.

The vet held his stethoscope over that tiny chest until it was over.

And I’m still crying.