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Which of the following best describes how you felt when you got your first pet bird?
Monday, March 31, 2008
Death In The Family

By Melissa L. Kauffman, Editorial Director BIRD TALK and BirdChannel.com
Share in the adventures of Melissa Kauffman's experiences in bird ownership in Life in the Bird House

Jack, Melissa's guinea pig
Jack, Melissa's guinea pig, enjoying a tasty green treat.

Sadly, my guinea pig Jack passed away Easter weekend. He had bloat, so it was a painful passing. He chirped in pain and shrieked when he died. He was in the same room as the birds, so they watched and heard this horrible passing of their roommate. (Yes, Jack was being treated by a vet and we did everything we could to save him.)

Although they lived together for two years, I don't know what kind of affect any of this has had the birds. Carlisle always chirped hello to Jack anytime I held Jack up to his cage. He and Natty always watched Jack, but I never witnessed any kind of camaraderie.

After Jack passed, I removed his cage from their room, and moved some of the furniture around. I kept an eye on the two of them but all I noticed was Natty sitting at the front of his cage more than the back for a couple of days. I wish that we spoke the same language so I could talk to them about what happened to Jack, so they could understand in some way rather than just bearing witness.

However, birds might be much more pragmatic than humans and being prey animals, understand the shortness of life with a black and white clarity. I've heard of birds seeming to mourn the passing of a dog, other birds or humans. I just haven't noticed mine. That makes me both relieved and kind of sad.

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Death In The Family

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Reader Comments
Poor Jack. I feel really bad for him and the birds. They must be missing him. :(
Grace, International
Posted: 10/16/2013 5:43:56 AM
I believe that our animals do notice the passing of other animals in their group, whether the same species or not. I also believe that, in some way, our pets can understand it when we talk to them. Maybe not in words, but they do understand. I always tell my pets (dogs, birds and fish) what's going on. I just feel in my heart that it helps.
Rev. Claudia, Dearborn Heights, MI
Posted: 12/8/2008 4:07:47 AM
Poor Jack! Our thoughts are with you!
Stephanie, Kilbride, ON
Posted: 4/9/2008 2:31:08 PM
It's always hard to lose a beloved pet. Sadly, I've gone through it many times before, too. I wish you and your cockatiels the best of luck, though. I hope they have long and happy lives.
Kate, Woodbridge, VA
Posted: 4/6/2008 6:36:12 AM
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