dove love

I’ve been a little down and I haven’t written. Sometimes life gets in the way and becomes the excuse. But then writing makes me feel better so I decided to just write.

I’ve been busy nursing my pet dove. A beautiful ringneck dove named Ruki. She has a story and a bit of magic about her. She is a talisman.


Ruki came to us in 2003. We don’t know how old she is because she was an escaped pet that we rescued. I believe she was meant to live with us. I think she was very young when she came to us, at least, I hope that she was. She is the color of a very light café con leche with a touch of peach. The feathers that form the delicate ring around her neck are a soft charcoal grey.

Late this summer I noticed that when Ruki flew free, she seemed out of breath when she landed. I thought it was because she wasn’t getting enough flight exercise or because she was getting older. But it became worse and so I took her to an avian vet in our neighborhood. I was told it could be many things – none of them good. I was told she was a flock animal and so she would hide any disability above all. The fact that she could not hide it anymore was a bad sign. I was given an antibiotic in the hope that it was only an infection.

I turned to the specialized Internet forums for help. I began using Internet forums in the 1990’s for things such as knitting questions and advice about parenting babies and young children. They are an early form of community interaction on the Internet. The forums are a beautiful expression of how people united only by a common interest, give selflessly and freely to support other people who they do not know and will never meet. I think the people on the forums tend to give more in depth advice than other Internet support groups. Following the advice of kind dove fanciers, I force fed Ruki thawed frozen peas to keep her strength up and so that the antibiotic would not upset her stomach. I draped her cage in blankets and added a hot water bottle for extra warmth. On the fifth day of treatment, she started to show signs of improvement. She started eating on her own and there was less open-mouthed breathing.

ringneckdoveruki Ruki continues to get better but she is not out of the woods yet. Yesterday I was heartened to see her up to her old mischief of sneaking up behind one of the dogs and pecking the back of his leg. The dove is dominant over the dogs. Right now she is perched on the couch next to me as I write,  softly breathing, relaxed and dosing. A late afternoon bird nap.

9 thoughts on “dove love

  1. I breathe a sigh of relief for you and your magical dove. Loss is hard, mortality hurts, but I am heartened that you have averted it for at least a while. This is one of your best posts. Succinct, frank and filled with pathos, as well as the perfect arc of good storytelling.

    And am amazed at the quality information you learned. Which specialized forum suggested frozen peas?

    Do I have some questions that could benefit from a forum as smart as this one seems to be! XOLM

    • Thanks dearest Linda. The forum is called “Pigeon Talk” I went to the dove section. The people who visit the forums are very knowledgeable and generous. I also frequent the Blind Dog forum to help support people – that group is a great resource too and helped me so much when Millie suddenly lost her sight.

      • My bird icon is part of a series I took at Billy’s loft. I will send you some of the photos.

        It’s hard to find reliable information on line, and time consuming to sort the baloney from the cheese. Are these yahoo user groups? I am on an information quest. Not one for the bird sages or blind dog folks.

        If it is possible for a generic dove to be ridiculously cute, yours is somehow enchanting. I would have liked to have seen her out and about doing her thing, dominating the dogs 🙂 but I arrived too late. Early birds get the worm, but I am a night owl!

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