November 5, 2008

We lost a pet last night

Our pet cockatiel, Ariel, died last night.  We hadn't had her long.  A few months ago there was a garage sale in the neighborhood and the family had to move where they did not allow pets.  So we took Ariel home.  We were told she wasn't very old and she was sweet as can be.  She liked to sing while bathing in her water dish and she was very tolerant of the kids and dog.  She seemed to adjust well to a new home.  

We did some have some road bumps.  She was sneezing for a few days and she didn't seem to like a change in her seed.  I couldn't find the one we got with her when she came to us.  Things seemed to even out and then this week she just seemed different.  She quit singing and yesterday was the end.  It happened during the night so I knew it would be hard for the kids when they woke up and saw she was gone.  

Funny Girl noticed first and she was pretty upset.  She had a lot of questions about what I did with her and was she in pieces?  She really doesn't understand what it means to be 'dead' yet.  I tried to explain that Ariel had been sick and her body had shut down.  Whatever was ailing her was over now.  She seemed to accept this but there were tears.  When Robotson was this age he thought everything had batteries.  So he understood that if the batteries were dead, then the toy didn't work anymore.  We explained that the heart and brain were like batteries for living things, and if they were dead, then so was the creature.  

This isn't the first pet loss we've had.  We  had a bunny named Seeker that B and I had gotten before we had kids.  Robotson was upset when he died of old age, and we buried him in the backyard and put a bunny statue as a marker.  We also had a cat named Pinky who had asthma.  I don't know exactly what caused his death.  He hadn't had an attack in months and there was no trigger but one morning he just made a weird noise behind the couch and that was it.  He was gone before I could move the furniture.  I was pregnant with Dimples at the time.  Those two deaths were very close to each other.  Funny Girl was too little to understand, but they hit Robotson hard.  Pinky is next to Seeker in the backyard.

Robotson knew it was coming with Ariel.  He knew she was sick and we had talked about the possibility of her death.  It took him a while to realize it today, partly  because he is suffering from this rotten cold.  He's mentioned how much he will miss her several times and he talks about memories of her that he likes.  He wants to get a new cockatiel.  To be honest, so do I.  I really miss her singing and just having her near.   We may get another one but I want to make sure we don't repeat this sickness.  I want to talk to a breeder, and we all need to be well.  

Overall, I'm pretty impressed with how the kids dealt with her death.  I wondered if Robotson would try to find a way to give her a spirit or say she went to another place, but he accepts death as a part of life, albeit a sad one.  


  1. My condolences. Losing pets really sucks big time. Earlier this year we lost our 14 year old tabby Winston. Like yours, he just up and croaked on us. Unlike yours he did not have the good graces to do the dead out of sight. Instead he started having convulsions right under the dining room table while me and the kids (Abby 3, Carolina 1) were playing playdoh! I managed to corral him and take him into the kitchen before he gave up the ghost, which avoided most of the uncomfortable questions. If Abby were a little older I'd have told her straight up what happened. Instead she has become convinced that Winston had to go back to the Post Office! I have NO idea where that came from ;)

  2. I'm sorry you lost Winston and in such a difficult way! I can't imagine. I love the idea of getting pets through the post office though! I'll just mail order our next cockatiel :)

  3. I'm sorry for your loss. I wrote a post on this topic too when our cat disappeared and we thought she was gone for good. She returned 5 days later, but the experience got me thinking about how to deal with pet loss and kids.