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View Full Version : Feeling guilty - loss of a pet


Cookie
12-28-2011, 11:28 PM
Sorry, this got a bit long as I started talking about Pierre and remembering. :(

So, this one needs a bit of backstory. When I was in my early-mid teens, my family had a cockatiel named Pierre. He was mostly white with tiny bits of grey. Absolutely beautiful. Also, when many cockatiels get older, they get a gray beak and feet, but the white ones often keep the pink feet and beak, so he had a baby face. Adorable. He loved to cuddle and give/get kisses and would talk to us. Everyone in my family tends to talk to themselves so it's nothing for somebody to walk by muttering. So Pierre picked that up and started muttering to himself. :lol:

Pierre was...special. He would "faint" if something freaked him out. It didn't take much. The phone would ring or he'd see one of us outside through the window and he'd just shoot up into the air and then fall like a rock. His wings were clipped so he wouldn't fly away, but we had them clipped evenly instead of just one wing so if he flapped, it would still break his fall. He would never flap like a normal bird. It was like the instinct wasn't there.

He was only shut in his cage if we were all out of the house or at night. Otherwise, he roamed freely and would often sit on top of his cage playing with toys, talking to people who passed, or hopping on our shoulders to go with us wherever we were going. And then sometimes he would just start walking backward until he fell off of his cage. :doh: We put the cage up against the wall and he'd walk backwards the other way. He was such a little goof.

Eventually, it became clear that my brother's allergies/asthma wouldn't allow us to keep Pierre. It really, really hurt, but we had to give him up. He went to live with my great grandmother. We knew she loved him and would take care of him, so that was comforting.

If you've read another thread of mine about one of my great grandmothers, just know this isn't the one dealing with dementia. However, this great grandmother's health is declining and she may never walk again.

Last Christmas, we were in NY state visiting family and we went to see my great grandma. I got to see Pierre. He had forgotten all of the things he used to say. One eye was forever shut from an injury and he walked with a limp from where my great grandma's physical therapist stepped on him. We don't believe it was an accident. :pissed: He didn't really trust anyone but my great grandma and would only go to her. (For the record, I don't blame her for anything here. She did all she could and her declining health made things harder, but she loved that bird.)

I talked to him. I said the phrases he used to say. It was clear I'd triggered memories in his little bird brain. I gave him a piece of my donut and whistled the Andy Griffith song. (He used to whistle it.) He eventually got off of his cage and came over and climbed my pant leg like he used to, got up to my shoulder and put his head against my cheek to be petted just like old times. The whole visit, he would not let me stop petting him.

It broke my heart to leave him there. He didn't want to go back to my great grandma and I could hear him screaming as I left. It broke my heart. I cried. He recognized me and trusted me and then I had to leave him again. :( I didn't know that would be the last time I saw him.

For months, my husband and I have talked about taking him in (my idea). He knows me and I could take care of him the way no one else could with my great grandma's health declining. At first, I was afraid of what that would do to her because I don't want to hurt her. EVER. But with her broken foot and lack of recovery in the last couple of months, I thought I should bring it up with grandma (this is her mother). I'd see what she thought and see how she thought it might affect my great grandma.

I asked grandma about Pierre on the phone to lead up to the idea of taking care of him. That's when she told me he died about a month ago. She thinks loneliness had a lot to do with it. I just wish I'd said something sooner. I don't know if it would have made a difference. He'd already lived the average lifespan for a cockatiel. I don't know. Maybe I could have made the last months of his life better? I don't know. I'm just bawling right now.

Sapphire Silk
12-29-2011, 01:56 PM
So very sorry to hear this. :cry:

You made an effort. There's no way you could have known the situation there, or that it would change so quickly.

Cookie
12-29-2011, 11:46 PM
Thanks, Panacea. I keep trying to tell myself that. I just miss that little goofball.

BeenThereDoneThat
12-30-2011, 01:59 AM
Oh, honey, I'm so sorry. Pierre sounds like a wonderful little guy. It really hurts to see them go. I hope you will stop feeling guilty soon, though...you had no choice but to give him away back then, and you got him a wonderful home. You also would never have chosen for your great grandma to be sick, or for Pierre to be hurt by careless people around her. And you also could not have known he was going to die when he did. Birds can live such a long time.

(((BIG HUGS)))...may your memories of Pierre bring you joy at some point soon.

RootedPhoenix
12-30-2011, 03:25 AM
*hugs Cookie lots and lots* :(