A Sad Story, An Important Lesson

A Sad Story, An Important Lesson

 September 16th, 2010
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Scarlet Macaw

I got an email the other day from a friend informing me of the death of his scarlet macaw, Lola. It is a tragic ending to an already sad story.
My friend, Mark, rescued Lola from a dingy pet store basement in Michigan about 7 years ago. She was in horrible shape when he took her in. She was grossly underweight and suffering from malnutrition. Her beak was horribly deformed. She had pressure sores on both feet and could barely get around. Not a single toy embellished her cockatiel sized cage, though there was no room for her to stretch her wings as it was. So broken was her spirit, that she just sat quietly in the basement as if waiting to die.
When Mark heard through a friend of the suffering of this majestic bird, he decided to take action. Years earlier, Mark had endured the horror of watching his wife succumb to cancer. The hardest part of the ordeal for him was his feeling of helplessness to stop her pain and suffering. Saving Lola was a situation that allowed movement on his part and gave him a measure of control. In healing this broken bird, he was healing himself. Mark worked with Lola diligently to restore her health and repair her soul.

Scarlet Macaw

I remember the videos he sent to me and some others of this beautiful, (and still fully feathered) new bird. The vets had seen her through many of her health problems. Her beak had been repaired and her feet were on the mend. Though she was in a huge cage now adorned with all kinds of toys and activities, she was disinterested in everything around her.  Although, she would occasionally watch the squirrels play outside her huge window with some curiosity, which lifted our spirits if not hers, because we knew that something was able catch her eye. Her depression was intense.

We pooled our thoughts and decided that Lola’s diet needed to take precedence over all else, and we put together a game plan. Step by slow, painful step, each goal set for Lola was met, and exceeded, and we would move on to another issue. This bird was truly, finally, on her way.

Scarlet Macaw

The years went by and Lola and Mark became inseperable. She would often accompany Mark on trips to the store. On this day, they were headed for the outdoor weekend farmer’s market in the parking lot of a strip mall nearby. He went there every Saturday, where both he and Lola were anticipated by everyone.  Lola was always the center of attention, and Mark would beam with pride. She was healed. She was finally happy.

During the ride to the marketplace, Lola was sitting on her window perch in the car when it was broad-sided in an intersection. Mark was unhurt and got out of the car. He saw the broken window which held the perch Lola was occupying and panicked thinking that she had flown out. A few minutes later her found her body, neck broken, on the floor of the car.
Needless to say, Mark is devastated by the loss of Lola.  We talked for a long time and he confided in me that Lola had healed him more than he had healed her.  He was forthcoming in saying that while the end of this story is a crushing blow, he is forever grateful for the privilege of this experience and is humbled by having been a part of Lola’s story.

Blue throated macaw, Hyacinth macaw

Mark asked me to share this story with all of you in the hopes that we can learn something valuable. In the midst of his grief, he asks that we NOT take risky chances with the lives of our birds by allowing them to travel outside of a carrier in a vehicle. Had Lola been secured inside a carrier, which would then have been secured by seat belts, she would have likely survived the crash.

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21 Comments on “A Sad Story, An Important Lesson”

Michelle Nicholson  09/16/2010 11:40 pm

I am so sad to hear about Mark’s tragic loss of Lola. Truly, the two were a blessing in each others lives. My heart goes out to him during this time of grieving.


Xain  09/17/2010 12:54 am

My god. This is really sad.?

Jenifer  09/17/2010 1:39 pm

My heart goes out to Mark and my prayers are with him. I’m so sorry.

sonia  09/17/2010 1:55 pm

so sad i couldnt bare it to happen to my max cant imagine what hes feeling a love for a bird is so great x

SK  09/17/2010 1:58 pm

I’m so very sorry! What a sad way to lose a beloved pet. Mark obviously has a gift for working with emotionally wounded birds. I hope he will continue on that path; sad to say, I’m sure there are others who need his loving care.

melissa kinney  09/17/2010 6:22 pm

im sry to here about lola , i have 2 macaws and a baby cockatoo .i let them ride outside there cages .i read the story and learned from know on my birds are going to ride in there cages,,,

Barbara  09/17/2010 8:05 pm

Lola will always hold a special place in your heart
(,My Maurice ) was 25 yrs old when he died,I said no more birds it hurts so. I did go to a pet shop a year later. There in the cage was a parrot The people were moving to and apartment & were unable to take him
This bird did everything to get my attention. He was 2 when I purchase him he’s 8 now He can never replace Maurice but, he is special in his own way

John Trautschold  09/17/2010 10:34 pm

That is so sad. My prayers go out to Mark and Lola. At least Lola died happy and with someone she truly loved. It was certainly a better life than the depressing one she had previously.

Ish  09/23/2010 8:29 am

my heart just sank…

joan villegas  09/26/2010 6:06 pm

very sad.thanks mark for sharing.

elaine haseloff  07/13/2013 5:39 am

OMGOSH SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sad…. I rescued Fred a sulfur crested cockatoo… He is soooo attached to me as I am to him, he too comes evea where wit me, I’d rigged up a perch between the 2 front seats…… NO MORE uve prob just saved Fred’ s life… I will neva let him travel outside a cage again…….. Thank u for telling us about the sad sad loss of ur friends bird……. Xxx god bless

Ashley  06/24/2015 11:45 am

That’s so sad. I used to take my galah in my car in just a harness. Her character was shockingly similar to Lola. Also abused, she was very unhealthy, emaciated, plucked her feathers some, and had learned hopelessness that I struggled and finally succeeded in healing.

This could have happened to me just as easily. In a car with no carrier. Eventually she did pass away, from heart disease caused by her prior bad health & diet. It was sadly her time and it hurt so much. But being killed when she could have lived longer is so much worse .

Ruby Fulton  06/24/2015 12:42 pm

What can you say the pain is so real when you loose a pet.
I lost a 2year old Sun Conure she was startled by a saw net door.
I had her from 5weeks old. I was devastated my whole world shut down.
So sorry for your loss!!!!

Marilyn  06/24/2015 1:22 pm

I m crying for ur loss, because I know how is the relationship between a scarlet macaw and u; because I have one, she is my life, she loves me to much. She is my baby. She is the must beautiful chance God gaves me to save her. Now we are the must bigger friends.

Sandra Taylor  06/24/2015 2:44 pm

Dear Mark,

I am so sorry for the loss of Lola. God blessed you with something you could hold and behold as the two of you reconnected; Lola to life and finding love in you. Again, I am sorry for your loss but want you to know that I will NEVER again travel with my rescue bird Travis outside a kennel. His story is much the same as your dear girl, Lola. We have had 20 years of healing and he is my best friend. My heart hurts for you. Tears. No words.

Cheryl  06/24/2015 6:14 pm

My heart goes out to mark I know how he feels I had a baby conure I raised from right out of the egg he thought I was his mother this is so hard for me to talk about it even though it happen 6 years ago . Well my friend brought her dog over and it killed my bird right in front of me my pain is still in my heart and it will never go away rest in peace tiki baby and loyal

Regina D  06/24/2015 11:11 pm

So sorry to hear of your loss. But, thank you for the courage in sharing so that maybe another life is saved.

Clive  06/25/2015 2:31 am

You cannot allow for every possibility.
I have had Dexter in the car and truck for over 30,000kms.
And he died in a dog attack on my aviary.
Both were freak accidents.
I am so sorry for what has happened, but I will not stop doing this. Just because of one accident. Same as I will not stop having birds in my aviary.
With both they were loved and both given the love to heal.

Michelle  06/25/2015 11:49 am

Sooooooo sorry for your loss. You’re a good soul my friend, another bird needing healing and strength will find her way into your life. ??. You gave Lola the best seven years she’s ever had… Are you rescued her and gave her the unconditional love she deserved but never received. I know, she is looking down at you from the rainbow bridge saying thank God for the last seven years. My thoughts are with you during this very difficult time

Sarah Cohab  06/26/2015 4:19 am

I am so sorry! I was in a crash with one of my babies in the car and I actually gave myself a permanent shoulder injury because I instinctively reached out to protect the cage, which was securely belted in the seat next to me. Even so, it still threw my Lilli around in her cage. If not for being in a cage, belted in and held back by me, I know there would have been serious injury or possibly death. Thankfully my avian vet had told me the safest way to move them in a car, for which I am eternally grateful. I know the “what if” game can tear you apart. There is no way to know for sure. Try to take comfort in the knowledge that you gave Lola an amazing 7 years she never would have had and although she crossed the rainbow bridge early, she crossed it having known happiness and secure in the fact she was loved. Now she watches over you with your wife, loving her and waiting for the day your family will all be together again.

Cathy Zalac  06/28/2015 3:41 am

So very sorry Mark, what you did for this bird is beyond wonderful! I’ve seen so many posts of people traveling with there bird on a perch of some kind in there vehicles. This is any I only travel with my Congo Diego in a cage carrier seat belted in. Anything can happen at any given moment. So sorry about your loss. If anything sharing this story will hopefully help save other bird lives.