Fri, 18 Jul 2003

Crackers died

Crackers is a silly name for Cockatiel, I suppose, but the kids were young and they helped name him. He was purchased as a gift for Christopher for his 11th birthday. This morning, Chris and Jenny were sitting on the sofa when they heard 3 distressed chirps from Crackers. When they got to his cage, he was feet up.

He was 11 years old. Supposedly cockatiels can live up to 20 years, so Crackers apparently died young.

Several years ago, Crackers gave us one of our lasting, family memories. He escaped and was missing for 2 weeks.

We had a policy of locking all the doors when Crackers was out of his cage to prevent him from escaping if someone unexpectedly opened an outside door. For whatever reason, one of the doors didn't get locked and one of the kids came in while another had him out of his cage. He made his exit.

I got a panicked call at work and came home to find some teary eyed kids trying to coax their bird down from the top of the willow tree in the back yard. To no avail.

He moved from tree to tree, then finally took off, circling higher and higher, and disappeared from sight.

We placed an ad in the news paper, notified the local pet stores, and spent evenings and weekends on our bikes pedaling around the Spokane Valley calling for our lost bird.

A failure on our part, we never called the Animal Shelter. We simply thought of it as a place for dogs and cats. Not birds. It turns out, someone found Crackers, exhausted beside the road and took him to the Animal shelter. A worker there saw our ad in the paper but not before they had adopted Crackers out. She called to tell us so that we wouldn't be worried, but offered little hope of us getting our bird back.

We pleaded our case, and she contacted the new owners. She ended up bringing Crackers to the house to see if she could determine, definitively, whether or not he was our missing bird.

It was obvious from the moment he entered the house. "HEY! Where's everybody been! You wouldn't believe what's happened to me!" he jabbered in bird speak.

The clincher for the lady that brought him by was when one of the kids grabbed a toothbrush and said, Watch, he brushes his teeth. While April or Chris (I don't recall which) brushed their teeth in front of Crackers, he started bobbing his head up and down doing his best toothbrush noise imitation. There was no doubt in anyone's mind, it was Crackers.

Rest in peace, Crackers.

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