On Grieving for Our Pets

Cockatiel5

Cockatiel.

It is very difficult to write, but as some of you may have read in a previous post, our cockatiel passed away on New Year’s Eve. She dive-bombed a closing door. There was no party, no hubbub, nor anything out of the ordinary. Mishka the cockatiel simply made a bad decision.

It has been a terrible shock to everyone – to me 3,600 miles away and not sure how to process this, and to my partner, who has been left with the aftershock of losing a pet. I used to say Mishka was a little brain-damaged (possible from rough handling from the pet shop where we got her), and I still think this was true.

There were many times when she did weird, or ill-timed things.

I’ve been met by many different responses when I tear up a bit when telling people. Some have been surprised that I grieve for a pet bird, especially a cockatiel. I don’t try and justify it. More still have been understanding and expressed their sorrow, for Mishka touched many lives.

Cockatiel4

Mishka the cockatiel.

Everyone expresses grief differently, and I can’t tell anyone how to do this, but I want other owners to know it’s okay to feel sorrow for their pets. These creatures are truly more than simple pets. They’re constant companions. They’re demanding, needy, and beautiful, and their absence is sorely felt. Cockatiel or macaw, this holds true.

I write about the accident in part to come to terms with this. It’s part of my own style of grieving – makes it real. And I also come forward because it’s true that these things just happen, even in dedicated, loving, careful homes.

Mishka left a final lesson with me: teach your bird to stay in one place. Station training can save lives. If you teach your bird no other skill, make it stationing, so that you can put it in one place and trust that it will stay there. Don’t get too comfortable with your pet being out.

Our companion parrots touch our lives in very powerful ways.

Sarah Stull is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, a photographer, violist, and violinist who has plans of opening her own avian sanctuary on the east coast of America.

8 comments

Marilyn Hoyt Kerrville, Texas

I rescued a little Peachfront Conure from a pet store where a mother whose son went off to college and didn’t want her any more had dropped her off with her cage. We named her Chichi. She was so sweet and lived with my Sun Conure. Taco for several happy years. Then one day we brought home a little mini Doxie we named Roxie. Well to make a long story short Chichi got out – Roxie got her and killed her. I cried for two solid days. I will never get over that! It has been seven years now and I still greave for her. I had made an earn (I am a potter) and she is in the earn so she can go with me wherever I go (including) my casket. I know that sounds a bit morbid but I am 81 and I realize I don’t too much longer, but I will miss her till we meet on the rainbow bridge.

Marilyn Hoyt Kerrville, Texas
Mary Wasacz

I am so sorry to hear of the death of your beloved Mishka. You gave her a beautiful life, but in the end learned something from her that can save your other birds. Think of this as a gift from Mishka. My lovebird, Shirley, died several years ago and she is still missed. She will always be in my heart. I work in bereavement with humans suffering a loss and the feelings of the loss of a pet are the same as deep loss of a human.

Mary Wasacz
Jeanne Behrman

We lost our rescue Amazon, Henry, 2 years ago. He was cantankerous as could be due to an abusive start in life, but came to trust and lovingly adore my husband. We will never know what happened…..we came home to find him in his cage with a bruised and swollen wing injury. We feel perhaps something outside must have startled or frightened him, as his cage was in the corner by the picture window. We spent the next three days between his vet and avian physical therapy for pain management, ultrasound therapy and massage therapy. The fourth day he was gone. I cry writing this, he was so much a part of our lives…..a feathered child. I truly believe that unless someone knows what magic it is to share their lives with these amazing feathered companions, they will never understand the heartbreak of loss. We have been devastated and sent into mourning over the loss of our beloved companion dogs and other pets over the many years, but losing our Henry sent us both into a tailspin. Our other feathered kids also felt his loss. We have since adopted another rescue Amazon. She is quite a character and an opera singing diva. We love her dearly and she has helped fill the void of Henry’s loss, but we still miss him terribly.

Jeanne Behrman
Marjorie A. Hoppas

I lost my cockatiel about a year ago. He flew into the wall and broke his neck. He lived about 30 minutes after he had flown into the wall I tried to give him mouth to mouth recesitation, but it didn’t work, He finally died while on my lap.. I still miss him every day. The house is too quiet. And my husband even misses him. We buried him at the back of the yard with my son’s dog in attendance. You see Rocky, and Binky (the cockatiel) really liked each other and I believe that Rocky knew that Binky was gone. Now I want to get an African Grey Parrot . Does anyone know of an African Gray Parrot that needs a good hone?

Marjorie A. Hoppas
Teagan

I recently lost my 3y/o lutino lovebird Sonny I also have a huge hole,it’s hard to exain to people why I’m so down lately I feel like they will all laugh at me because she was “just a bird” I thought I was the only one who felt as much grief as I do for my bird, she was my closest little friend we went through so much together and it happened so suddenly, I have burried her under a miniature ROSEBUSH with yellow flowers, in a pot so that I can take it with me wherever I go. I think of her every day :(

Teagan
Dianne

I had to have my dearest Friend and Buddy, Nestle put down 7 years ago, it was the hardest descision I have ever made. He had a growth on his beak between the eye and the nostril, but I left it alone because it did not affect his feeding, breathing etc, I arrived home one day and it was bleeding, and the growth was removed by the vet. After this time he had to have his beak reshaped every 2 months as it grew crookedly. He never complained or changed disposition but he droppings became very wet and sticky, it turned out the growth that had been removed had spread through his body and he had become a diabetic. I had to grind his seed and gave him all the love I could and he returned my affection, but eventually I had to make the final gift to him, as he became blind and I felt he was suffering. The day he was euthanased I held him close and he sang his full repertoire to me (his final song), then I brought his little body home and held his body and it did not go cold for some time. I still miss my little Mate, Nestle and think of him every day….A Cockatiel who was so small gave me so much in this life, loved forever.

Dianne
Heidi

My 19 year old pionus died in May, exactly a month before my father died. Then, 7 months later, my 25 year old cockatiel passed away. I think about them many times a day. I only recently allowed myself to grieve, yet it’s a very necessary process to go through. The pendulum of grief… sorrow, guilt, anger, guilt, and more sorrow is all normal, but so much like an invisible wound. I still struggle to remember the happy times we shared, as all I remember are the final hours. I know that one day those memories will come back, and in the meantime, I try to tell myself they would not want me to be still sad. I know I can’t ever forget them, but just have to learn to go on living without them. Non-bird people don’t really understand. I appreciate each of you sharing your experiences with pet birds you loved and lost.

Heidi
Hassan Jarouche

I has a male cockatiel that I tamed myself his name was sunshine after the strong shine that I saw from his eyes I loved him like no other but he passed away when I was 10 and every time i see this pic with him preening my hair makes me cry for hours I know what it feels like.

Hassan Jarouche

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published