Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kito the African Grey

~Written by Dawn from Dawn's Custom Designs~

This is the story of my bird, Kito. He is a very special bird, not just because he's cute, quirky, handsome or talks well. He is so special to me because he had the will to survive and gives me more unconditional love than he or anyone will ever know.

Kito came to me in a very unplanned, sudden circumstance. He was the "product" of a greedy, uncaring breeder who was in it for one reason and one reason only. Money. When Kito was born, he was born with a severe spinal deformity. It was not known to what extent his disability would affect his quality of life but that was not even the issue for the breeder. The question for her was, "can I sell this bird"?? After a few weeks of Kito not eating well and thriving, she brought him to her avian vet and he determined the severity of the deformity and the inability for Kito to even eat without support or help. He needed to be fed with a tiny dropper because he was so weak he couldn’t hold his head up enough and there was a huge risk of him aspirating and choking. His curvature was so severe that it was affecting his digestion and breathing and we learned later that there was also nerve damage. When the breeder was told of his severe condition she told the vet she had too many baby birds to feed and care for and could not afford medical bills nor had the time to care for a "special needs" bird and that he should just euthanize him. She signed a form relinquishing him to the vet and over the next several hours, emails and phone calls began to circulate. I was contacted by someone who had gotten word of this poor bird and within the next hour I was in contact with the point person.

I was on the road several hours later, in my car for 8 hours, on my way to Iowa to pick up this poor, sick, weak little bird who needed a whole lot of care and love and had a long road to recovery. I had no idea how my life would change. When I got there, he had been receiving sub-Q fluids and was being tube fed. He had some strength but was still extremely weak. I brought him to my vet the next morning and ran every test possible. Everything was out of wack. He had fungal & bacterial infections, was still dehydrated and severely underweight. He was only a few weeks old at this point. With medication, around the clock feedings and lots of care and constant attention, Kito began to thrive and bounce back more than we could have hoped for. Where we once thought there was no hope for this poor, weak bird to survive, and someone had wanted to just toss him aside because he was “broken”, we now saw a beautiful, bright eyed bird coming to life and showing us the fight he had in him. No handicap was going to stop him. No deformity was going to deter him from surviving. No selfish, money hungry person was going to get in between his true fate in life. He was destined to be a happy, healthy bird that would give a family more love, laughs and unconditional love they could ever imagine.

In summary, he had a severe spinal deformity, a curvature of the top portion of his cervical spine. We were told he would never fly and would have trouble perching, and would need special exercise and perches for balance. We were told he would need a special diet and extra calcium & vitamins. We were told he might need to be on pain medication the rest of his life and may have tremors due to nerve damage. Several years after we brought him home, by some miracle, he decided he would prove everyone wrong and took flight. It was the first and last time he would ever fly but every bird should be allowed to fly free at least once! I cried like a baby as if one of my children had just taken their first steps.

Kito takes no special medication, vitamins or supplements. He doesn't need a special diet or special perches, gets daily exercise and is perfectly feathered and healthy. He is one of the 5 feathered loves that I feel so very blessed to share my life with...but he is my very special boy that was appropriately named Kito, which means "precious" in Swahili and it suits him perfectly.

Thanks for allowing me to share my story about my precious boy.

Kito as a baby in October 2006 and now in August 2010

2 comments:

Beloved Parrot said...

What a beautiful story! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

this rocks:)