Phineas is no longer with us. It is a great shock to us all. There were signs that things were not right, but this still in no way prepared us for his eventual loss.
It was quite a few weeks ago that I noticed he seemed to be getting fatter in his ‘undercarriage’ area. When he did the hand jive, I could feel a soft pad. Because it felt soft, I guessed it was fat & perhaps we needed to do something about his weight. For several weeks, I religiously picked every groat out of their seed mix as I understood these can be fatty. They must be quite tasty too as they are usually the seeds that are picked out & eaten first.
After removing the groats & monitoring his eating habits (he did not noticeably eat more than the others) there was no change. He still had poop bombs but these appeared to be getting caught on the fatty lump, rather than his feathers. His flying was more clumsy – like his centre of gravity had shifted. Apart from these changes, his behaviour was exactly the same; he still had his daily jiggy-jiggy, he was still lively, he was still winding Bezukhov & Dalai up.
Because of my concerns, I took Phineas to see Ms Exotic Hospital Vet (EHV) on Friday 2nd September. The first thing she observed was that he looked well. However, when she examined him, she said she could feel a distinct lump behind a fat pad. She believed it was a tumour.
Phineas in the travel cage
It was decided that surgery was the best option. To help give an indication on what type of tumour it was, she took a sample via a fine needle to be sent for analysis. Results were due back on the Monday, so we booked Phineas in for surgery on Tuesday 6th September.
When we got home, I was relieved to see that Bezukhov had retired to the Villa – he had refused to be locked in anywhere (Dalai was locked in the Manor). I opened the door to the travel cage, but though Phineas wanted to get out, he was having trouble with the small door. Bezukhov & Dalai by this time were flying over his cage to the window perch & eventually, on one of their flights back to the Manor, Phineas managed to negotiate the open door & fly out. He was not quite prepared & it looked like he was not going to make the turn in order to get to the Manor, so I stretched out &, amazingly, gently caught him, mid-flight & returned him, to the manor to be reunited with his friends.
To be continued…