Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pecker, The Suicidal Pigeon

Somtimes, in the course of life, we are presented with situations in which we can save a life, or cause a death. And sometimes, it's just better to let something die. It's a fact my family knows all too well.

It was a crisp night in October of 2006. My family was gathering at my parent's house to carve pumpkins and tease each other mercilessly, as is our custom at all gatherings. My father and Ryan had gone outside to take in the night air, and keep it from getting into their lungs by smoking cigars. And then, off in the distance, Ryan saw something. My Mother's cat, with something in his mouth. It was Pecker.

Being the animal loving good Samaritans that we are, my Mom and I wrestled the bird away from the cat, and sat down to assess his wounds. One deep gash was all we saw. Eveything else looked okay. So, here was the moment of truth. We had to decide -- leave it alone and see what happens, which will most likely be death from infection, or try to save it. We went for the latter, and I poured hydrogen peroxide into the wound to flush out debris and kill any germs. I had no idea what I was doing to my poor mother.

It is now 17 months later, and Pecker is still alive -- and kind of a jerk. Shortly after Pecker was installed in a cage in my Mother's dining room we started calling him Bernice after Bert's pigeon on "Sesame Street." However, the fact that he will try to kill you if you so much open the door to change the papers quickly voided that decision. And Pecker doesn't just peck, he throws his whole body into it. His injury may have left him unable to fly, but he can flail, and he does it with gusto. He seems to especially like going after my Mother, which is strange because she is the one who cares for him. She feeds him, gives him water, keeps him clean, and makes life bearable. Of course, that may be why he dislikes her so much.

You see, we have come to the conclusion that Pecker is trying to kill himself. My Mother and Father will come home to find he has dumped his water bowl all over, or that he is upside down in his food bowl, or that his leg is caught in the bars of his cage. I fully expect that they will come home one day to find him fashioning a tiny noose. Of course, it probably doesn't help his mental state that he now lives under the same roof with the cat who wounded him, and that sometimes Smarty stares at him as if he would like to finish what he started.

So, here we are. My Mother doesn't like the pigeon, the pigeon doesn't like my Mother and most likely wishes he had gone off to the big coop in the sky a long time ago. And it's all because of me and Ryan. My Mother likes to remind Ryan just to ignore it the next time he sees a cat with a bird, and to keep Florence Nightengale (as she now calls me) away from it. Then she reminds us that pigeons in captivity can live up to 20 years, and that if Pecker outlives her, or causes her death, it's in her will that he comes to live with us.

If that happens we'll get him a very small gas oven, and rename him Sylvia. Finally, a happy ending.


Amanda said...

I like when he growls.