One afternoon, while talking to Bowana and hand-feeding him some fruit and nuts (two of his favorite treats and something he had learned to say from our daily visits), I noticed that one of his wings had dropped slightly. I told my parents about my observation and concerns about my childhood friend and family member and continued to monitor his condition.
Shortly after I woke up, I went upstairs and could sense that something was different. I talked with my mom as usual then grabbed some dried fruit and nuts for Bowana and went in to say good morning and give him his treats. As I approached his cage, I saw that he was lying at the bottom, responsive but very weak. I told my father immediately about Bowana and his need to go to the vet, but my father got upset and told me he didn’t have the money to take Bowana to the vet.
I couldn’t bear to see Bowana suffering like this. Hoping to comfort him, I put on some relaxing music with birds and ocean waves, knelt down by his cage, and sent him Angel Energy healing. I sat there with him for a couple of hours like this, talking to him with the music still on in the background. I moved his water dish down to the bottom of the cage in hopes that he would he be able to reach it, but he wasn’t strong enough to lift his head.
I knew he needed hydration but wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to do it. As I continued to think, I asked myself, “What would Matt and his aunt do?” They had rescued an owl, nursing him back to health before releasing him back into the wild. I remembered I had droppers on hand for my essential oils that I hadn’t opened yet. I managed to give him a couple of drops of water before he took hold of the dropper with his beak. I was nervous that he would break it because it was glass. I knew he needed more and again asked for help from above.
I didn’t want to leave his side to go to the store, but the local Wal-Mart was only a few minutes away. I went and bought him a water bottle to attach to his cage so he could he reach it. I was so grateful and appreciative for the woman in the pet aisle who gave me her input and shared her personal story of losing her fur baby.
I had to leave Bowana’s side again a short while later for an appointment. On my way to my appointment, I stopped at the office of the vet my father had used in the past for his cat, where I was planning to pre-pay for Bowana to be seen. They didn’t have a vet on duty until Friday who could treat a bird. I thanked her and told her that Bowana could not wait that long. While waiting my turn at my appointment, I researched other local veterinary offices and began calling each one. Thankfully, I was able to find someone who could take him in right away.
When I arrived home, I asked my dad if he could put Bowana in the carrier because I was going to bring him to the vet. It was a chilly May evening, and the ride was bumpy at times, which I knew was very traumatic for him in the condition he was in. I talked to Bowana the whole way, keeping one hand over the carrier as much as I could to continue to send him love and healing. As we approached the second set of railroad tracks, I started to get nervous and afraid that we wouldn’t make it to the vet. I began praying. I prayed that Bowana would be comfortable as we went over the bumpy rail road tracks and please, please, please let us make it there so we could get him the help and treatment he needed.
We made it! I carried Bowana into the reception area and immediately noticed the candle and sign on the desk notifying others that someone was saying goodbye to their pet. The receptionist took us into the exam room right away. The vet tech came in and took all our information, and the vet came in shortly afterward. After she examined Bowana, the vet told me the risks of treating him and what it would require, including bringing him back out to the elements to bring him to another vet’s office and back again. She explained to me that Bowana was so weak and that birds of prey don’t show their weakness until the very end. Even sticking him with a needle could be too much for him, as she has seen healthy birds pass on after being poked with a needle. The odds of Bowana’s survival were slim.
I didn’t want Bowana to continue to suffer as I called my father back and explained everything the vet had just told me. I gave him the opportunity to speak to the vet himself. Although it was a difficult decision for my father and me to make, we agreed the best thing for Bowana was to put him to sleep.
The vet gave me two options; give him gas in his holding quarters or give him an injection. I decided to go with the gas until she brought him back into me to say my final goodbye to Bowana. Holding him in my arms, I knew I couldn’t possibly let him die alone. I needed to be there with him, holding him, loving him, and comforting him until the very end. And I did just that.
Before she began, I asked the vet if I could turn on music I had played for Bowana earlier that morning. She said yes, and I turned it on and called upon the angels to comfort us and take away our fears. I held Bowana close to my heart, rocking him, kissing him, and rubbing his head. I talked to Bowana the whole time, thanking my childhood friend and family member for all the joy, laughter, and time we had together and letting him know how much he was loved. I could sense the presence of my late partner, Matt, with us the whole time. When the time came, he took Bowana in his arms and crossed him over the Rainbow Bridge. Before leaving, the vet said, “That was the most peaceful euthanasia I have ever done.”
Being present there with Bowana, loving and comforting him in his final moments was a beautiful honor and gift for both of us – a gift I will always treasure.
A Gift I Will Always Treasure first appeared on DandiSoul