Written by Marike Tjirkos
Professional photography by Strike a Pose Studios
“The problem with life is there is no danger music” was on a billboard which I drove past every day on my way to the office. I remember thinking it was quite spot-on. But never did it hold more true for me than the night of our little Remy’s accident.
Many things happened on the 31st of December 2022: it’s my son’s birthday; it was the end of the year; we’re saying goodbye to the old and welcoming the new with a tangible excitement. It was early evening and we’d just returned in high spirits from our church service. Now, look, we’ve always been lovers of all animals (big and small, furred, feathered and scaled) so, when we walked in the door, everyone wanted love and attention.
We started preparing food, gave a pat here, a kiss there. Everyone happy, the humans laughing, the fur babies either purring or wagging tails. I put the felines who have a taste for bird-flesh in another room for a bit to avoid any accidents and I popped the birds onto my shoulder. Picture-perfect evening, I thought. 2023 can only be great. And then it happened. No alarm bells. No danger music in the background to serve as a warning that something so dreadful was about to happen. And it happened in slow motion…
One of the Christmas decorations got bumped over. Remy’s sister fluttered her wings, which gave Remy the scare of his life. This passive love-bug of ours who doesn’t fly, took to the air and flew from the lounge to the kitchen… straight into the pot with boiling-hot noodles.
A shocking image
What could have been mere seconds feel like hours as I’m watching this, my insides shouting: WAIT! I’m watching the most shocking image play out in front of my eyes – Remy with all his might fluttering his wings trying not to be submerged. I sprinted, my legs not running fast enough, not thinking of anything but to get to Remy. I scooped him up with my bare hands and ran to the sink to let cold water run all over him.
We sped off to the Fourways Veterinary Hospital and Specialist Referral Centre. However, not many doctors know how to treat birds. I was wailing my heart out in reception. Guilt-ridden and crying we drove back home near midnight. Guilt-ridden and still crying, I woke up on the 1st of January 2023 and we rushed to transport him to Bryanston Avian, Exotic and Small Animal Clinic.
Angels take over
And this is where an angel by the name of Dr Jean Davidson took over. The initial couple of days were touch-and-go. Survival didn’t seem possible. Every morning, guilt-ridden, I enquired with the most awful feeling in the pit of my stomach: “How is our little Remy doing?”. Mortifying, waiting for the response. The pain and utter discomfort this tiny little miracle was feeling, was evident. But every morning Remy was still holding on. Holding on and getting better…
Months were spent in BAESAC’s ICU with these angels just caring for Remy around the clock, loving him, telling him he’ll be okay. And it worked. More months were spent recovering, between our home and BAESAC, as a couple of times he contracted an infection. Remy’s tiny little feet had to be amputated. It took time for him to get used to his stumps, but how incredible this tiny little bundle of feathers adapted – he’s acquired the skill to balance and “walk”, and his beak is proving to be a useful tool in the process.
Just over nine months later, we still visit BAESAC every second week with him for a vitamin shot and naturally some love and attention from all this little phoenix’s carers. Dr Jean also made sure his wings (or lovingly referred to his “flying gear”) are clipped.
Phew! What did we learn? With animals, think of the unimaginable that can happen and then plan on how to avoid it. Little Remy is thriving.
And as for BAESAC – not all super heroes are wearing capes, some are called VETERINARIANS. With ever so much gratefulness to Dr Jean, the other doctors and every single member of her incredible staff – we love you and we thank you.