Pet Memorial: Farewell, Wylie


From commentor Parrotlover77:

I know you guys post pet memorials sometimes, so I’m really hoping you can do one for the most awesome bird to ever take flight on this world of ours.

His name was Wylie. He was a peach faced lovebird. I adopted him 19 years ago when I was 18. So if you do the math, you can see that I’ve had him for more than half my life, which is a heck of a thing. When I adopted him, he was about two months old, so I was lucky to have him for basically his whole life. He passed away last week – one day after my birthday, in fact. It’s like he held on to make sure it wasn’t actually on my birthday.

I was at work when I got the call. My wife said I needed to come home immediately, something happened to Wylie. When I got home, she was cradling him, in tears. He was gone. He passed away quickly and quietly. I would find out from the necropsy at his vet that he died from a heart attack due to severe atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries due to plaques).

There wasn’t anything we could have done. It was just old age catching up to him. Nineteen is pretty old for a lovebird. In the wild they live typically 5-8 years. Modern veterinary medicine along with amazing formulated pelleted diets has increased that lifespan tremendously – and I am truly thankful!

It wasn’t entirely unexpected. He had been in decline since last fall. It started with his flight skills declining. He couldn’t coordinate nor fly as long as he used to. Then he apparently had a stroke which left him with a permanent head tilt. But he persevered! His attitude was amazing. He was always so happy. He would still preen us and still do his darnedest to follow us around the house, even though he couldn’t zip around like he used to when he could fly. It was just his time. And he accepted it. That morning I had him out and he was sitting on my face, preening me, chirping and making the sweetest sounds. I’m glad I had him out that morning. He was so loving. It’s like he knew.

He really was an amazing bird. We would call him our “little green puppy dog” because he would follow us around the house like a dog. He loved the both of us so much. He always cuddled on my shoulder when I would work on my laptop or play video games. He would do the same for my wife. He loved being scratched on his head. He hated being touched on his tail (which led to amusing games of chasing his tail with our fingers while he would run around the bed and playfully threaten us with his beak). He would always strike at and protect us from the blanket monster (our hands making movements under the blankets). And he smelled so good — SO GOOD. Fellow parrot owners know what I’m talking about. Birds smell amazing. And this bird had the most pleasant scent of any bird I have ever met. I can only compare it to clean laundry, fresh out of the dryer.

His favorite thing in the world was taking a nap in our hands. If you turned your hand over and cupped it slightly, he would run over and settle right in, fluff his feathers out, and take a nap. It was so cute. Sometimes, when I was lucky, he would settle in on my ear the same way as my hand while I laid down. He was the best nap partner. He would shred any paper that got close to his beak. To keep him from shredding important stuff, we had a box on top of his cage full of printer paper. It never lasted very long. And the shreds made pretty good packing material. We joked that he could get a job shredding confidential documents. He also loved shiny things. Nothing activated his playful aggression more than taking a shiny object getting near his beak. He’d make the happiest sounds and go crazy “attacking” it. He was so playful.

He helped me through some incredibly tough times. He was always there for me, as all pets do. Loving me unconditionally. And he knew when we were upset because he’d give us extra attention when that was the case.

We just miss him like crazy.

I hope he’s diving deep into a huge bowl of sunflower seeds (his favorite snack) over the rainbow bridge.




75 replies
  1. 1
    Kristine says:

    What a terrific buddy Wylie was. You took such great care of him.


  2. 2
  3. 3
    scav says:

    What a character. I may just be converted to birds.
    Thanks and condolences.

  4. 4
    khead says:

    Very nice tribute. And cool pics.

    Sorry for your loss.

  5. 5
    koalaholik says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful buddy he was.

  6. 6
    skerry says:

    So sorry for your loss. RIP, Wylie.

  7. 7

    I’m so sorry for your loss. You took wonderful care of him, and he obviously felt very secure and loved.

  8. 8
    J R in WV says:

    That’s pretty sweet. What a wonderful little guy to share your home and life with.

    Regrets for your loss!

  9. 9
    Jane2 says:

    Wylie sounds like a sweet and wonderful little companion….condolences. P.S. He was pretty darned cute, too!

  10. 10
    MazeDancer says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your sweet bird’s personality. He sounded like a wonderful pet. So very sorry for your loss.

  11. 11
    dopealope says:

    Wylie sounds like a wonderful companion, and it sure seems he had the same in you. Sorry for your loss.

  12. 12
    Karen in GA says:

    What a sweet, happy little bird. I’m so sorry for your loss — but how wonderful to have Wylie in your life for so long.

  13. 13
    CaseyL says:

    A very sweet tribute for a very sweet bird – thanks for sharing him with us; and condolences for your loss.

  14. 14
    thundermonkey says:

    Sorry for your loss. Thanks for the tribute, I learned something from it.

  15. 15
    cbear says:

    What a beautifully written tribute to your little guy.
    Sorry for your loss.

  16. 16
    Chris says:

    Oh no! Such a cute bird :( and so sorry for your loss.

  17. 17
    Elizabelle says:

    What a sweet little guy. I’m glad you three had so many happy years together, and know your little pal will be missed.

  18. 18
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. He was clearly a wonderful companion who had a very happy life. RIP.

  19. 19
    kideni says:

    What a beautiful bird, and a wonderful eulogy. Thank you for sharing that with us. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  20. 20
    rikyrah says:

    Sorry for your loss.

  21. 21
    zmulls says:

    I had a conure for over 20 years, a white-eye conure named Kermit. He behaved much like Wylie, with the cuddles and preening. On weekends when I’d stay in bed, he’d sit on my head and pick the sand out of my eyes.

    He went into kidney failure a few years ago and I had to have him put to sleep; it was awful. I know how special a bird can be — I’ll always miss mine.

  22. 22
    Juicy J says:

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your amazing bird. Just out of curiosity how much does a vet charge for a bird necropsy?

  23. 23
    MomSense says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

  24. 24
    dww44 says:

    I never knew anyone who owned a lovebird ! What a great eulogy for a wonderful companion. Though I feed the birds lots, they’re all of the wild variety and I’ve never been up close and personal with one. Condolences to you and your wife for your loss of Wylie.

  25. 25
    Scamp Dog says:

    I hadn’t known that birds could be that interactive,attentive to their humans, and downright entertaining. It’s kind of a sad way to learn about that, but I’m still glad to hear the story about a wonderful pet. I hope the pain of the loss subsides with time, and that the memories stay with you.

  26. 26
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    Condolences. I’ve never had a bird as a pet, so i don’t know what it’s like, but after reading your sweet eulogy, I feel like I sort of do. You make it sound pretty awesome! Obviously you two loved each other very much. The loss sucks, but what a great relationship and great memories! Sorry again. What a wonderful life you gave him!

  27. 27
    satby says:

    That beautiful tribute moved me to tears. So sorry you lost little Wylie, he clearly had a wonderful and Happy life with you. Thank you for sharing him with us.

  28. 28
    Rhubarb says:

    Although my son had several, I was never a bird person. Thank you for the insight you’ve given me. I’m so sorry for your trouble.

  29. 29
    Suzanne says:

    What a lovely bird. I have had a number of birds, and I can attest that they can be wonderful pets. Wylie sounds like he was the best. I hope you find some comfort soon. Hugs.

  30. 30

    Thanks, everyone, and especially AL for posting my email. I really love the Balloon Juice community — definitely the most animal loving bunch I’ve ever known. Seeing the responses here brought me back to tears…but in a good way this time, I think.

    I’m glad sharing Wylie’s story helped teach some people a bit about pet birds. Lovebirds carry with them a reputation for biting and biting hard. It leads to a lot of rehoming, unfortunately. But if you work with them, love them, treat them right, and understand you need to sometimes just leave them alone when they are “nesty,” eventually they grow out of all that and are just incredibly awesome. The same goes for most birds, really, but some species are more aggressive than others.

    Thankfully we have four other lovebirds and a conure to help us through this tough time. (Some are rescues, though, so they aren’t all cuddly.)

    We are going to adopt some more lovebirds later this year in Wylie’s honor. And we have our eyes on getting a Goffin’s Cockatoo in a few months. We actually started that process with a local breeder late last year before Wylie passed. We’re going to meet the future surrogate parents in two weeks. Hopefully they’ll get busy sometime soon afterwards.

  31. 31
    Violet says:

    What a lovely tribute to Wylie. He sounds like a real love. So sorry for your loss. Love the photos of him–gorgeous. You gave him such a loving and long life. How wonderful you both found each other. RIP, Wylie.

  32. 32
    opiejeanne says:

    Condolences. I understand how great birds can be as pets. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  33. 33
    James Parente says:

    Sorry for your loss. You wrote a beautiful tribute that all pet lovers can appreciate. I share this on fb. Thank you and RIP. Wylie.

  34. 34
    Angela says:

    Thanks for sharing the tribute to Wylie. I’ve never had a bird so it was quite interesting to read of what a special companion one can be. I’m sorry that he died and grateful you had so many years together.

  35. 35
    columbusqueen says:

    So, so sorry for your loss–Wylie was clearly a great friend.

  36. 36
    muddy says:

    I hope you have a dream where Wylie is sitting in your ear tonight. What a sweet and beautiful bird.

  37. 37
    LanceThruster says:

    Sweet bird. Thanks for sharing the little guy with us.

  38. 38
    elftx says:

    That was beautiful and thank you for sharing. My condolences on your loss.

  39. 39
    Mj_Oregon says:

    We share this beautiful world with so many amazing creatures. Some of them we’re privileged to share life’s path with for a short time. What a wonderful companion Wylie was for you and your wife! Thank you for sharing him with us. My condolences for his passing and may he find bowls and bowls of sunflower seeds over that bridge we all cross in time.

  40. 40
    inventor says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. My little Senegal is the best companion animal ever. Parrots can be very sweet and engaging friends. Parrots are not domesticated, they are tame wild animals. When we take them as companions, we owe them a long, safe and happy life; which your little guy obviously had.

  41. 41
    brendancalling says:

    ah, jeez. That sucks. I’m sorry you lot such a precious family member.

  42. 42
    ruemara says:

    Aww, tearing up. Blessed be to you, Wylie. Welcome over the rainbow bridge. You had a wonderful time together.

  43. 43
    Ash Can says:

    I just loved reading this eulogy. What a great bird, great pet, and great family member Wylie was. Deepest condolences, and many, many thanks for sharing Wylie’s wonderful story with us.

  44. 44
    Linkmeister says:

    I have never thought of birds as cuddly. Obviously I have been wrong. What a wonderful bird and a wonderful tribute. I’m sorry for your loss.

  45. 45
    YellowJournalism says:

    It sounds like he was adorable, more like a child than a pet. People often forget how intelligent birds can be. My condolences.

  46. 46
    notoriousJRT says:

    Thank you for sharing your tribute to Wylie. Like so many other commenters, I had no insight into birds as pets let alone companions. So sorry for your loss but glad for the 19 years preceding. Wylie had a happy life and he let you know it. Something to remember when the loss gets really keen.

  47. 47
    Betty Cracker says:

    My condolences on the loss of your feathered friend. Rest in peace, Wylie.

  48. 48
    ThalarctosMaritimus says:

    What a good bird!

    I’m really sorry for your loss. I’m sure Wylie knew how much you loved him, and loved you right back.

  49. 49
    Abo gato says:

    Such a great story about Wylie the lovebird. Sorry for your loss, but he had a long and wonderful life with you. Treasure your memories!

  50. 50
    TriassicSands says:

    What a beautiful little guy Wylie was. I’m sorry for your loss. Half your life time; how could you not miss him terribly?

  51. 51
    Chester says:

    He sounds like a sweetie. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  52. 52
    Joy in FL says:

    Wylie is so wonderful–sweet, beautiful, loving. I’m so glad you had him for such a long time.

  53. 53
    JPL says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your friend. My condolences to you and your wife.

  54. 54
    WereBear says:

    What a bird! What a loss!

    So glad you have other birds to help.

    We still mourn our ‘Keet who would sit on my shoulder, under my hair, for hours. With the cats we have not gotten another but then again he had no peer.

  55. 55
    Paul in KY says:

    Sorry on your loss. You loved him & he lived twice as long as they normally do. That’s because you took great care of him & I know he loved you too.

  56. 56
    ET says:

    He sounds like a wonderful little green puppy dog. I am glad you got to spend so many years with him.

    (those pics perched in your ear and nesting in the hair are very funny and made me smile)

  57. 57
    randomworker says:

    Sorry for your loss. Thank you for writing about him.

  58. 58
    Manyakitty says:

    So very sorry. Yet another day where the BJ love sends me to full tears at work. Peace.

  59. 59
    Antonius says:

    So sorry. I’ll be thinking of Wylie playing with my parrotlets today.

  60. 60
    WaterGirl says:

    It’s good to cry first thing in the morning, right? Love is love, no matter what package it comes in.

  61. 61
    BubbaDave says:


    (Plus if you think about it in the right way, he was just a verrrrry small, highly-evolved dinosaur, which makes him even cooler.)


  62. 62
    rk says:

    I fell in love with your bird after reading your wonderful eulogy. I had absolutely no idea that birds could be such loving pets. You were very lucky to have him. So sorry for your loss.

  63. 63
    Chat Noir says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. What a lovely tribute to your fine feathered friend, may he RIP. He’s waiting for you now at the Rainbow Bridge.

  64. 64
    worn says:

    What a wonderful remembrance. It sounds to me like Wylie had the best life that a lovebird could ever possibly wish for!

  65. 65
    Ann Marie says:

    What a sweetie. So sorry for your loss.

  66. 66
    Calming Influence says:

    Lucky humans to have had such a great bird.

    Lucky bird to have had such great humans.


  67. 67
    skyweaver says:

    Wylie seemed very wonderful, I’m so sorry for your loss. I didn’t know anything about birds until I met my husband, at the time he had a very young cockatiel named Talon. I fell in love with him, he was so awesome in so many ways. I still remember the day he passed away, it was a sad day. I wish you the best.

  68. 68
    policomic says:

    Wylie sounds like a true friend. So sorry for your loss.

  69. 69
    Jacquie says:

    I haven’t always been the biggest bird person, but this lovely tribute makes them seem like wonderful pets. Very sorry for the loss of your friend.

  70. 70
    Desargues says:

    Farewell, Wylie. You will be missed, old boy.

  71. 71
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “We joked that he could get a job shredding confidential documents.” Awwww.

    I have an African gray parrot and two budgies so I feel your pain. Thankfully Wylie led a long and happy life. RIP Wylie.

  72. 72
    dmhlt says:

    I don’t know why I read these posts – they just make me bawl like a baby …
    BUT I’m glad I did! I had NO idea that lovebirds were so amazing.

    May the fond and loving memories you have of Wylie be a balm for your sorrow in the years ahead.

  73. 73
    andynotadam says:

    Love birds rock! I lost my buddy “Killer” to a freak occurrence in 2006 and it left a big hole in my life. He too had a stroke along the way, which rendered his feet and lower legs inoperative, but it never stopped him. After a brief recovery time he was back wandering around, climbing his ladder and perching on my shoulder, though a bit less securely than before. I have never gotten another pet since he checked out. I’m still just not ready I guess….

  74. 74
    gogiggs says:

    Sorry for your loss.
    The ear picture is adorable.

  75. 75
    Dubai vet says:

    Condolence, I hope you get well soon, your wylie does not want you to be sad. :(

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