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Memories of Sousou Lala
Sousou Lala, a young at heart Love-bird


Over 16 years ago, a friend and colleague at the Hyatt where I worked, approached me and asked me, since I am an animal lover, if I would like to keep her love bird. She said no one at home notices him nor remembers to put food or water for him and she was afraid he would die. I agreed right away to take him. The next day that beautiful peach face, bright yellow and turquoise tropical bird arrived in a cage and was at my doorsteps making quite a noise. He was so loud and he must have woken up the whole neighbourhood. Love birds come from central Africa where the weather is tropical and there are lots of water falls. My first instinct was to name him Sousou Lala, which sounded like a Masai warrior.

Sousou took to Saif and I right away and he was the friendliest thing ever. He was a fearless little bird, huge personality in such a small feathery body. He would sing so loud I was afraid some one would complain, but it never happened. I would let Sousou out to fly around the house for a few hours at a time and he was so much fun. He would sit on my hair, turn his head upside down, talk to me, pick on my teeth and ears. When it was time to go in his cage, it was a bit of a hassle chasing him down but he will finally come to me when I extended my palm out to him and I would put him back in his cage till the next time. Only draw back was bird poop on my lamp shades which were soon replaced.

Sousou was fearless. After adding a cat to the animal kingdom, I was afraid it might scare him but oh no, not him, he will go straight to the aviary wire and stare right at the cat and screech as if saying, "YOU WANT A PIECE OF THIS?" I had 2 canaries in a separate cage but one of them got cysts all over her body and fearing for the health of the second one and lack of an extra cage, I put the canary with Sousou and boy was that a big mistake! I came home one day and heard this loud screeching upstairs in the balcony. Sousou had gotten a hold of the canary's leg and was swinging it around like a hula hoop. It was quite a scene. The poor canary's leg broke and I had to locate a vet that specializes in birds. Poor guy had his leg in a sling for over a week till it healed and Sousou never mixed with him any more. As it turns out, as friendly and loving love birds are, you should never mix them with any other smaller birds, they turn vicious.

One time I had him free in Saif's room and Saif not knowing he was on top of his door, accidentally slammed it and Sousou screeched and came landing quickly on my chest needing comfort. Off to the bird vet we went and it was the funniest thing seeing Sousou lying motionless, after being sedated, in a small tube, not bigger than a toilet paper roll, to get an x-ray on his leg. It was broken and required a sling, which was essentially a popsicle stick that would cost less than 10 cents and it cost me $200. Sousou being so energetic and feisty, shook off the sling within 24 hours and was limping around for a while till it healed on it's own.

Sousou survived 3 moves and adapted very well and made it clear who was boss. Over time 2 love birds that strayed away from their homes, ended up in our aviary, clutching to the bird cage wanting to come in, have you ever heard of such thing? A bird wanting to get in a cage? It was Sousou's singing that brought them in and of course being hungry and thirsty too. Every one got along except Sousou was a loner, he didn't couple up with any of them. We finally got him Violet, a few weeks old love bird, 7 years ago and they became a couple, singing together, feeding each other, sleeping and perching side by side and I was finally happy he found the right mate. Well Violet accidentally flew out in February of this year and being broken hearted over Sousou being alone again, we got him another beautiful mate, Lulu, she was 6 weeks old and they took to each other instantly, doing what lover birds do best, love each other.

The last few weeks Sousou has been sluggish, taking longer naps during the day while Lulu is playing and swinging around and I look at him and wonder if he is just getting old, after all I had him for 16-17 years and love birds have a 20 year life span. Sousou loved bathing, he will look forward to his bath in a clean bowl twice a week. He will get so excited when he sees me removing the bowl to wash it and fill it up with fresh water and stand right under the spout of the watering can to get splashed, a lovely sight to see him swim across the bowl and get himself all wet then shake his body and wings to shake the water off. One of the happiest sights to see how happy and excited he was. Well up till recently he acted the same way, young at heart, playing and splashing until this past Saturday morning while we were changing their food and water, he kept hiding in his cubby hole, which is unusual. He only came out when he heard the water being poured in his bowl.

We had to leave for the night and when we came back the next day, Sousou was on the bottom of the aviary with his wings spread and his face to the side and it was his last moments. Frantically I picked him up, held him in my palm, told him I loved him, sobbed and sobbed while he just looked at me and I could feel his heart beats against my chest. Every one came to say goodbye and pet him. I prayed he went fast and a few moments later, he spread his wings, as if ready to fly, looked straight at me, took his last breath and flew across the rainbow bridge, where all animals go when they leave us.

It was very difficult letting go of him after all these years. He was fun and friendly, all our friends and guests loved him. I held him for a few more hours while he laid there motionless, wishing by any miracle he will come to life. We buried him on the hill close to home and said goodbye. It is very difficult going to the atrium and not seeing his cute peachy face sneaking out of the cubby hole and letting out a loud screech. Now the mate we got him for company is mate-less and we have to search for another one to keep her company. And life goes on.

Sousou my sweet ole chap, I will miss you terribly but you will be in good company with the rest of the furry and feathery friends you encountered throughout your life. See you on the other side.

Love and kisses.

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