About 2 and a half years ago, my neighbour had chopped down a bush and they found a baby spotted dove which they came to me with. It was only a week old, or even less. I had fed it and hand raised the dove, which came to be called Bubba Dove. They cooed a lot and I thought of them to be a boy, but then layed eggs. This all happened at my previous house, and Bubba's cage was in my bedroom so she would always be with me. I moved late last year, and Bubba of course came with me but her cage was put in a spare empty bedroom.

Bubba was super friendly, loving and easy-going. She was bonded to me and trusted me so much. She would coo and bob her head at me while I did it back to her. She would kiss and preen my hand, and I would scratch her head and neck. If a person were to enter the room she was in, she would fly onto their head. She was so docile, she adapted well to any change in surroundings, she was rarely stressed. Bubba was just happy to be there with me.

Last Sunday (12th July), I had taken a rescue baby pigeon from a lovely lady who unfortunately could not take care of them any longer. The pigeon basically looks like an adult but still begs for food and was making baby sounds. The pigeon went into the same room as Bubba, in an empty bedroom, and she had her own good-sized cage she stayed in while the pigeon was allowed to roam around the room freely as their cage was too small to stay in. They could not touch each other. Bubba was unbothered by the pigeon and did not really care about them. A couple days after the pigeon arrived, I let the two birds interact, and the pigeon pecked at Bubba and she was shocked. After that I made sure they would never interact again. Bubba would still however coo happily even though the pigeon was near her. I made sure to give Bubba the same amount of attention I usually would. I am not sure if the pigeon is relevant but I can't stop making connections with what happens next.

It was sometime around last Friday (17th) when I noticed that there was something up with Bubba. She had stopped cooing and was often fluffed up, but she was still eating and drinking. I did not think much about it and I spent a lot of time with her to see if that would make her feel better, wondering if she was jealous of my interactions with the pigeon. The same behaviour continued over the next few days, and she continuously got more lethargic but was still eating and drinking as normal. It was not until yesterday (21st) until Bubba had stopped eating and her droppings were very runny. She also had begun laying down when she sat with me, which was unusual as she would always stand up. I knew something was wrong and I took her to the vet.

After looking at Bubba, the vet said she was definitely sick and underweight. We told the vet that maybe stress from the pigeon had stopped Bubba from eating, and the vet said that Bubba should stay with them overnight and they would make sure she is fed and watered, and if the cause of her sickness is stress, she would come around after having some sustenance in her. The vet would call me the next morning to update me on her condition. I went home and cried and cried, expecting the worst, since the last time I had a sick/injured bird taken to the vet, it had to be put down (quail who broke their leg).

This morning (22nd) I was told Bubba had died overnight. The vet said that the cause of death was likely an illness she had for a while, as the food did not help her at all. I wanted an autopsy done, but it would be over $400 AUD, and my parents insisted that its pointless because it won't bring her back (I am in my final year of high school by the way, still with parents). I tried to prepare myself for this, but I just can't stop crying. I miss her so much. I look back at the thousands of photos and videos of Bubba on my phone. Some funny photos of her, some videos of her cooing, and some are photos that I thought were her just acting cute and sleepy when she was fluffed up, before she was obviously sick, and its heartbreaking to look back at them knowing what she was really dealing with then. But I can't let her death stop me from taking care of my other birds as a still have a baby pigeon, 4 cockatiels and 4 quails to take care of.

The last sentence may make you think I am dealing with Bubba's death well, but in reality I feel absolutely terrible and can't stop crying. I think many things. I think that introducing the pigeon may have something to do with her death, stress. I think that I am an awful person that I did not realise the signs earlier. I think that taking her to the vet may have stressed her even more and she may have lived if I just force fed her myself at home. I think of how she meant everything to me, how happy she was to be with me. I know she had a wonderful life. I treated her so well and she was so happy. But I feel that I neglected her when she needed it most.

I feel terribly guilty. All I think is ''what if...''. I can't help but blame myself for not being able to prevent Bubba's death.

There has been so much going on recently. As a student, I am expected to study, study, study. I have huge exams coming up which begin on August 3rd. I already feel like I have not prepared enough, and the loss of Bubba has made me entirely unmotivated to do anything academically productive. These exams are the 2nd last exams I will do for high school, and I really need to show what I can do. But I can't, I can't study when I feel like this. I know I will be trying my best, but I won't be showing what I am capable of achieving. On top of this, I have a chronic condition, which is the main reason why I have't studied as much as I would like to. 

I thank all who have read this far. Please, I would love to hear some advice on how to cope with Bubba's death and the guilt I am feeling. Anything that you are thinking after reading this, could be about you might have an idea on the cause of her death or some questions you have, please tell me. Appreciate it.

Quote 0 0
I'm sorry about bubba's passing! I learned on this forum that we all feel guilt to some degree, is part of the grieving process, I lost my oscar last week and I try to remember all the good years we had together, not his last days when he got really sick, I have asked myself a lot of what ifs?? But only leaves me depressed and feeling hopeless so I just force those thoughts our of my head and focus on my other 2 dogs.
Quote 1 0
I am very sorry for your loss of your sweet, beautiful Bubba. It's normal to feel guilty and have thoughts of "what if", "I should have", "if only"... Your feelings are a sign of how much you care. Many people don't have empathy for baby birds and the fact that you do shows what a special person you are. You saved Bubba and gave her a good life full of love and joy. I'm sure she would not want you to suffer.

My condolences,
Quote 1 0

I’m so sorry for your loss.  What a beautiful bird.  I’ve had birds for many years; have 2 cockatiels now.  Sometimes they get sick and no matter what the vet does, it doesn’t stop the inevitable.  Often the vet is just treating symptoms without knowing the real cause.  I’ve even has a necropsy done before but the findings were inconclusive.  So don’t feel bad about not doing that.  I know how hard it is to not know.   I’m sure you did everything you could for her.  From here, I’ve learned that guilt often occurs with grief no matter what you do. I’ve lost birds suddenly and was devastated with many tears and much heartache.  I even lost a cockatiel that was only 8 months old; the grief was unbearable at times but somehow I got through it. I hope knowing  that you made her happy gives you some comfort.  You loved her and she loved you. The bond you shared will  last forever. May your heart heal in time.

Quote 1 0
Thank you all for responding. Reading other's posts and what was said here made me realise that we all feel guilty about the passing of our pets. I found that after typing this post I spent the next 2 days handling my grief quite well and it did not distract me that much from my daily life, but the guilt has come and hit me again. I was very busy the 2 days before her death and I just wish I spent more time with her then to notice that something was seriously wrong. 
Quote 0 0
Would it be possible that the pigeon made the dove sick?

The pigeon is acting perfectly fine and healthy. Eating, drinking, flying and running around.

Is it possible?
Quote 0 0