June 16, 1998 to May 12, 2004
Who shared his life with Vic and Carla Shuman and was taken from them by Aspergillosis
(his story is below the poem)
I'll lend you, for a little while, a bird of mine," He said.
"For you to love while he lives, and mourn when he is dead.
It may be six or seven years, or maybe twenty-three,
But will you, till I call him back, take care of him for me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you, and shall his stay be brief,
You'll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay, as all from Earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there I want this bird to learn.
I've looked the whole world over in my search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes, I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love - not think this labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call, to take him back again.
I fancied that I heard them say, 'Dear Lord, thy will be done.'
For all the joy this bird shall bring, the risk of grief we'll run.
We'll shower him with tenderness and love while we may,
And for the happiness we've known, forever-grateful stay.
And should the angels call for him much sooner than we planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes, and try to understand."
Chipper became part of our family when he was 4-months old. He was unusually smart for a "little guy." It wasn't long before he would tell us he was ready to go to bed by saying, "Are you ready to go nite, nite?" Or when he wanted to get out of his cage in the morning, he would say, "Is Chipper awake? Are you ready! and good morning!" If the doorbell rang, he would say, "Who's there?" and he would take a defensive posture. Most mornings he wanted to make sure that we had taken a shower by saying, "Did ya' take a shower? Did ya? Did ya?" And when Vic came home from work, he would cock his head to one side, look up at Vic and say, "Hi baby....whatcha' been doin?" Whenever Carla would change our bedding, he was up on the bed, helping her to get the wrinkles out. He would go over the entire perimeter of the bed, trying to get the wrinkles out. Whenever he would hear the cry of a Hawk, he would say, "Did you see the Hawk?" His favorite food was pizza crust. He couldn't get enough of it.
But Chipper was tentatively diagnosed on April 13th with aspergillosis, a fungal infection that causes respiratory problems. The diagnosis of Aspergillosis can be very difficult. Only a tentative diagnosis can be made of the basis of physical findings, a history of environmental conditions, and recent stress. A CBC may show a significant elevated white blood cell count. Aspergillosis spores are widespread in the environment and many birds may carry them in their lungs and air sacks until immunosuppression, such as antibiotics or stress triggers the disease, and it can be extremely difficult to cure. Asper is contracted as the result of inhalation of spores, or oral ingestion, if birds are fed moldy seed. The fungus is capable of penetrating broken skin and eggshells, and is able to infect a developing embryo. Our Avian Vet believes Chipper's problems came about because of the October Cedar fires.
Chipper underwent one surgery and two hospital stays in the hopes of keeping our treasured family member with us longer. In between time, Chipper would breathe a special medication mist twice a day and took massive doses of oral antifungals, antibiotics, and injections. Sadly, on May 12th, shortly before noon, Chipper, age 6 years, 11 months died at home. He was supposed to live to be 50 years of age. He is now resting outside our kitchen window, where he used to sit and watch the wild birds and hummingbirds eat.
We miss you our sweet baby and we will never forget you. You have touched our hearts and others who knew you during your very short time on earth. Rest in peace our little guy and one day we will be together again....and yes....we will bring you pizza!
Mom and Dad
My warmest condolences for your loss ... Chipper was indeed a special bird.