Have you ever lost an animal friend?
How heartbreaking and meaningless life feels right at that moment.
Feeling like you just lost a part of you. GONE.
Well, that’s what happened to me, to us.
I want to share with you guys, that tragedy. But this post is going to be a bit different.
I want to show you both sides of the story. Mine and my Husband’s …
I don’t remember what day of the week it was I just know I had the day off. It was a normal day, nothing out of the ordinary. Woke up to the sounds of Odis singing and chatting up a storm. Pregnant Diana and I started our day together like usual. Morning cuddles, breakfast and taking turns pooping all within the company of Odis close by. It was one of those days where there wasn’t too much free time due to all the chores we had let build up. Since Odis always wants to join in on what we are doing, it makes it pretty difficult to get things done, so we had this structure made just for her for this reason. We never forget she is there just because she loves to talk, be obnoxious and with the size of our small apartment she is never out of sight.
It was a typical day in July, I have to say it was around seven p.m. We were in the middle of doing laundry. Well, my husband was. He was in and out of the apartment. This apartment wasn’t huge, the living room was connected to the kitchen/dining room. It was a small space. There was no actual divider of the different areas. You could literally walk a few steps and you were in the kitchen. Anyway, you can imagine how close the door was to the outside world. During this time, Odysseus, our parrot, was outside her cage. She was on top of her structure that we had made for her. I was in the bedroom, tidying up. Well, during one of those instances, I thought to myself. ‘How strange, I haven’t heard Odis **short for Odysseus* in a while. And let me tell you, WE DON’T HAVE A QUIET HOME, anymore. I went to the living room to check on her, and I couldn’t see her. My heart started to sink, deeper and deeper. Where is she? Could she have actually gone out? How could she have possibly left? I looked all around the apartment. No sign of her, anywhere.
As the day progressed closer into in the evening I remember that I had to swap out the laundry. As I walked back into the apartment Diana told me with a bit of distraught in her voice that she couldn’t find Odis. Obviously hearing this it didn’t register and I just assumed that Odis was hiding somewhere. It only takes a few paces to get across our overpriced, cramped apartment and within those few seconds it started to settle in the pit of stomach. We were calling to her, but no response. There really isn’t anywhere for her to hide, but we checked every nook and cranny. She was not in the apartment. She was gone. When did it happened? Did she fly out when I stepped outside? But we ruled everything out. There is no way she could’ve flown past us because she is not a quiet flyer, and we are tuned to recognize that sound just in case she does try to follow us out the door on any particular occasion. I ran out the door to go find her. But the problem was that the sun was setting and I only had a few minutes left of light left. My initial game plan was just to check the surrounding trees, listen for her, and call out to her. But as I ran throughout the neighborhood, it started to feel more and more hopeless. But I didn’t give up. I couldn’t. I don’t even know how long I was running around in the dark.
My husband then entered the apartment. He noticed my face, like if I had just seen a ghost, white as snow. What happened? I mentioned how I couldn’t find Odis. He started to look all around the apartment. She’s just not here. She had to have gotten out. The thing is neither of us knew how she got out. The kitchen window was open, it had a screen but it had a giant hole in it. But the screen wasn’t well put either, you could easily take it out with a push of a finger. Either she fell through the screen, or maybe one of the times that my husband was in and out of the apartment. My theory is, she went out the door. You see, she LOVES my husband. That’s her mate. They say parrots usually bond with only one human. Well, that’s him alright. She flies to him whenever he tries to leave, so I think that’s exactly what happened.
Anyway, once my husband found out the news. He left. Not a thought process through his mind, he just left. Spent hours looking for her. But guys, it was already eight p.m. There was not much that could be done in the dark. I stayed back, during this time I was pregnant. About six months pregnant. I couldn’t really do much of the looking. But I panicked. I wanted to help, I felt useless. I went anyway, I took Toby *my dog* with me, of course. Maybe he could help me look for her, or Odis would see him and fly to us. Anything that could help! I didn’t last long outside, it was cold and I was tired. I walked around maybe a block or two, calling out to her. I wasn’t much help out there, so I decided to help some other way.
Diana eventually met me outside with Toby (our Dog) and I told her I couldn’t find her. It was just too difficult to see anything. As we were standing there talking we had our eyes glued to the dark, gray, foggy night sky and all of sudden we see something fly over us. Honestly, we weren’t sure what it was. If it was a bat, another bird, or if it was our child. Regardless of what it was, I went after it. But with minimal light from the street lights, it was gone, swallowed by the night sky and with just a vague idea where it went, I searched and called. Just like that I had to let the night swallow my eagerness to bring her home.
Once we returned to our quiet apartment, Diana continued to spread the word all over the internet that Odis was missing, but since it was late we didn’t get much help that night. The night was long and full of worries for us both, but I knew that she’s a fighter and she’d find a nice place to hunker down. But those cyclical thoughts of “what If” kept creeping in. However, I didn’t let that muddy the single most prominent thought I was having, “You will find her. That is the only option.”I already had my game plan mapped out. I would start my morning early while she is still staying put and doing her morning vocalizations.
I came back inside and blew up the internet. LOST PARROT. REWARD IF FOUND. Everywhere. On all my social media. We looked up what to do if we lost a parrot, and we found some people that help out for free. This is what they do. They volunteered to help people who lose their birds. They provided us with so much information and websites to where to post that we had lost her. One of them was called Nextdoor. If you haven’t heard of this website, it’s actually pretty neat. It’s like a feed of your neighborhood area. So it updates you on things that are happening around the area, whether its events, news, crime, things for sale, if you want to sell things, lost animals, etc. It’s very handy. I’ve been using it up to this day because it’s helpful!
Anyway, I posted ‘lost parrot’ on there. Hoping to hear if anyone around the neighborhood had seen her. And well to be honest, there was not much that could be done at that moment, again it was already nine, ten p.m. at night. As devastated as we were, we just weren’t going to able to find her in those circumstances. I tried to go outside and have one more look. I met up with my husband and I gotta tell you, the moment we looked up into the sky we saw a bird fly, and in my heart I FELT IT WAS HER. We looked at each other, and he ran after her. I went back upstairs. After an hour or so, he returned. The saddest, most heartbreaking look on his face told me everything. NO LUCK. I felt the pain he was feeling, I mean she’s my bird too, but to him it’s so much more. This was his baby. I was worried about him, and all I thought was, ‘what if we can’t find her?’ How am I going to possibly help him get through this?
I’m going to be honest with you guys, I did think about how life would be without her. I mean not just the sad parts, but the good parts. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely adore her, she’s family and life without her would never be the same. But I did think about it. Having a parrot is A LOT of WORK. The mess, the time, the dedication, the stimulation, the care, the expense, and you know I was expecting, so I just thought of how easier life would be. But even though I thought about these things, I didn’t care. Our home felt lonely. It was quiet. You could feel something missing, it wasn’t whole. It felt dark and scary. There was no doubt in my mind that we just NEEDED to find her. She was worth the work.
The circumstances that we were in weren’t going to get us anywhere so we decided to sleep. Well, at least try. There was not much sleep we were doing because we were just worried. We were devastated. I mean, HOW ON EARTH ARE WE GOING TO FIND A BIRD? Guys, you would go outside my apartment and see TREES everywhere. She could literally be across the world by now.
After the long restless night, I woke up earlier than I ever do, at 5am. As I got dressed in shorts and a workout shirt, I ate a banana for some energy. As I got ready I could feel the emptiness of the small crowded apartment and as I looked at her unfilled cage I saw one of her bell toys which she loved. So I ripped it off its holding and dumped it in my pocket so that she could hear it.
Once I started running I didn’t feel the brisk morning air anymore. All I was trying to do was check the surrounding trees but I never realized how many there actually were. It felt a little overwhelming, but I couldn’t give up. I would be out there all day if I needed too. I was calling her name, and whistling blindly into the trees and the rooftops, but I never got a response. I tried to spot her high up in the trees, but it was so difficult to make anything out. At this point, I started to imagine a little how life would be without her. We wouldn’t have to clean up after her, wouldn’t have top be alert with everything she is doing, no need to feed her, or even worry at that point. I knew though that all that is trivial to what she means to me, to us. She is our child and we love her. After a couple of hours of searching and trying to distinguish her chirps from the hundreds of other birds tweeting away, I returned back to our apartment to find Diana posting all about her everywhere and trying to deduce any sort of lead to figure out where she was. But we didn’t get anything useful yet since everyone was asleep or just waking. After some time, I went back out, but this time I took the car and searched farther areas. I eventually came to this other heavily suburban area parked and started my routine again. Waking everyone in the neighborhood if they weren’t already awake.
The next morning, my husband woke up around five a.m, I wasn’t going to wake up that early. My pregnant ass wouldn’t let me. The reason he wanted to wake up so early was because every morning, we wake up to her singing. So he wanted to be out there to be able to hear if she did. She wakes up around seven a.m. So he left and started his search. I stayed back and looked online to see if there were any updates. STILL NOTHING. He maybe came back around six a.m. and we just sat there thinking, where she could have gone? I checked online again, and we received notifications on Nextdoor. Neighbors were saying that they had heard squawking by a safeway that night, this safeway was a few blocks down from where we lived. Remember when I mentioned we saw her late at night flying? Well, that was the same direction where safeway was located. That HAD to be her. Anyway that was useless to us now, because being a bird, there’s no way you will stay in one place, especially if you were in any danger or you were scared. Someone else had mentioned that they had seen an out of the ordinary bird flying that morning, again in that same direction. Our neighbors were leading us to one direction, but my husband, for some reason didn’t follow that. He went the opposite way. He went to go take another look, this time he took the car. I just stayed back, in case of anything. It was around seven thirty a.m. I was sitting when I received a call… it was my husband. The moment I saw him calling, I felt in my gut that he had found her. Don’t ask my how or why, I just felt it. I answered, “Guess what, I FOUND HER” Those words, I felt my body release, a big fat relief. Where? How? She was in a tree but not coming down. So guess what happened next? My fat pregnant ass walked to where he was. I had to be there. It was probably a mile away, I went anyway. The moment I saw her, I could feel tears of joy. We had just found our bird, PURE FUCKEN LUCK. I still can’t believe that we found her. A bird, with wings, found. Amazed. Shocked. I don’t even have words.
I was usually the one that fed her every morning, and my husband would take the dog out. So I feel that’s why she flew down to me. She just spent a night in the outside world, all by herself. She was probably starving. When I got there, I told her to come down from the tree, she tried. But she flew across to the other tree, and then back, trying to come down to me. I pulled my hand out and she landed on my shoulder. You’re home. I felt whole again.
I’m running up every block that has the most foliage and trying to be as thorough as possible. Trekking through handfuls of suburban blocks littered with trees at least 3 stories high, I started to feel my ambition waver with every empty branch I saw. Slowing my run to a standstill, I looked down the block and felt the whole weight of hours of relentless searching amounted to nothing. Ready to turn back and jump in the car to search another area, I pulled out my phone to check to see if Diana sent me anything, but I had no new messages from her. I did however have one from someone who was reached by Diana’s extensive outreach on the internet telling me some information on how to search for lost birds and a few words of inspiration. That was enough to rekindle why I needed to push myself. I told myself I had to be methodical and check at least every block once in a 2 mile radius as fast as I can before she moves. I unhinged my legs from the static position I was in and started to move up the block with new fire in my heart. I whistled after taking no more than 5 strides and I heard a response. I dismissed it as my mind playing tricks on me but I had to make sure. I whistled again. I got another response. I turned around to face the bystander which I passed just a minute earlier to see if he was messing with me. It wasn’t him. So that means one thing then right? Odis? Odysseus?! Baby!?! She was nearby! She was responding to me just as she would if she was home. I searched the trees frantically for her but they were so dense I couldn’t see her. And out of nowhere she swoops down and barely misses me and ends up flying back up to a tree next to me. I can’t believe my eyes. My heart floods with relief and happiness. There’s this Pod moving container a couple yards away from the tree in a driveway, which I use to get closer to her. However, she is still a couple stories above me. I can see her preparing to fly towards me again. Leaning in towards my direction, she tries again. She misses and overshoots to the tree opposite of where she had been a second ago. Again she tries, and again she grazed me with her backdraft. Because I know at any moment she can get spooked and just like that, she flies away with our hearts.
I call Diana and tell her I found her. She’s right in front of me. I give her the address and she walks the mile despite being pregnant, since I have the only car parked a few blocks away. We don’t hang up as she walks the mile to get to where we are. I keep her posted on what Odis is doing. She is now playing in the very tree which is my sworn enemy as of ten minutes ago, completely oblivious of the turmoil she is causing within me. Her momma finally arrives and is immediately recognized. She cocks her head towards her and just plunges as soon is she begins to coerce her down from the tree. She can’t commit again but lands in a much smaller tree to our side. With another plunge seconds later, she finally lands into our grateful and over joyed arms. That feeling of finding an irreplaceable needle in a haystack is nothing like I have felt before. An overwhelming feeling of just pure love, dismay and relief. And with that she hangs out on our shoulders as we scold her with love and look for the misplaced car.
After getting home reading all the great help and tips we got from people eager to help find her later that day was amazing. So I thank the amazing community who supported our efforts. Reading through directives on how to look for your bird when they’re lost bird was reassuring. Because me and Diana played our roles perfectly.
I can honestly say that we were just plain lucky. If my husband didn’t follow his gut that day, we probably would have never found her. We’ve been careful ever since, but I think after a day out, she realized she didn’t want to leave us. Everyone kept saying to cut her wings, but we both agreed not to, they are beautiful. She’s a bird, we don’t want to take that away from her. She deserves to fly.
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