© RAAVE 2017
Reno Area Avian Enthusiasts The joining together of people who share a common interest in keeping and breeding birds
THE JOINING TOGETHER OF PEOPLE WHO SHARE A COMMON INTEREST IN KEEPING AND BREEDING BIRDS

Dealing with Loss

Copyright © Lisa McManus. Previously published in International Conure Association newsletters. Used with permission. At some point, if you have not all ready, you will have to deal with the loss of a companion. Unfortunately, that is a part of life. We all want to think our friends will live forever. Too often we are struck with the sudden realization that they are as mortal as we are. Our pets come into our lives, totally dependent on us to care for their basic needs of food, water, housing and to love them. Before we know it we are dependent on them for the love they return to us with no strings attached. They don't care if we are rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, have morning breath or 5 o'clock shadow. They have become family. And when we lose a family member, we grieve greatly. We experience intense feelings of denial, anger, grief and guilt, and the feeling of wanting to turn back time to when they were still with us. These feelings are much the same as when we lose a human loved one. But humans have ceremonies or traditions when people die which help to bring closure and guidance through the grieving process. As our companions age, we start to think that perhaps our time with them is growing shorter. Our minds start to prepare us that we may have to say goodbye sooner than we would like. However, we tend to think of a lot of our parrots as out living us. We are unprepared for the devastation that follows the sudden loss brought about by accident or illness, and too often the seemingly insurmountable feelings of guilt. Grieving is necessary and "pet grief" experts advise people to allow a grieving period and not feel embarrassed or ashamed of the deep and intense feelings experienced. Loss affects all of us differently. Some are able to deal with the loss, accept it and move on in a matter of days. Others are still aching after a year. The grieving process takes time. It is healthy and helpful to release your feelings through tears or talking with someone who understands - a friend who has lost a pet, or a support group. Sometimes writing about your friend, the good times you shared, the funny things remembered help to ease the ache. And it can be read and remembered in the years to come. Repressing your feelings only buries the hurt for a time and brings no honor to the relationship you held so dear. There are many ways to work through grief. A small memorial service with family and friends allows you to share your special memories. Be brave and allow yourself a "good cry". Name a star after your friend by contacting the International Star Registry. Make a donation to a special organization in your pet's name. Record in a journal the life story and special relationship you shared. Instead of feeling guilt, remember the things you did to make your friend's life better and made him happy or excited. Remember it was a two-way street - you were lucky to have each other. Find a support group for pet loss. If you are unable to bear the grief, see a counselor. Become a foster home for an unwanted parrot, or join a rescue group. Celebrate your pet's life. You may not love the same again, but you will love as well. No other parrot will replace the one you lost, but he will make his own place in your heart, which you will find is big enough to hold all the wonderful memories as well as the love starting to bloom for another being wanting to be loved by you. Available help: Books: Pet Loss: A Thoughtful Guide for Adults and Children by Herbert A. Nieburg and Arlene Fischer. The Loss of a Pet by Wallace Sife, Ph.D. When Your Pet Dies: How to Cope with Your feelings by Jamie Quackenbush MSW, and Denise Graveline. PALS (Pet and Animal Lovers Service) cremation, memorials, virtual memorial programs, etc. 1-888-ourpals or www.ourpals.com/ourpals International Star Registry: 1-800-282-3333 Check with your avian vet for support groups in your area.
© RAAVE 2017
Reno Area Avian Enthusiasts The joining together of people who share a common interest in keeping and breeding birds
THE JOINING TOGETHER OF PEOPLE WHO SHARE A COMMON INTEREST IN KEEPING AND BREEDING BIRDS

Dealing with Loss

Copyright © Lisa McManus. Previously published in International Conure Association newsletters. Used with permission. At some point, if you have not all ready, you will have to deal with the loss of a companion. Unfortunately, that is a part of life. We all want to think our friends will live forever. Too often we are struck with the sudden realization that they are as mortal as we are. Our pets come into our lives, totally dependent on us to care for their basic needs of food, water, housing and to love them. Before we know it we are dependent on them for the love they return to us with no strings attached. They don't care if we are rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, have morning breath or 5 o'clock shadow. They have become family. And when we lose a family member, we grieve greatly. We experience intense feelings of denial, anger, grief and guilt, and the feeling of wanting to turn back time to when they were still with us. These feelings are much the same as when we lose a human loved one. But humans have ceremonies or traditions when people die which help to bring closure and guidance through the grieving process. As our companions age, we start to think that perhaps our time with them is growing shorter. Our minds start to prepare us that we may have to say goodbye sooner than we would like. However, we tend to think of a lot of our parrots as out living us. We are unprepared for the devastation that follows the sudden loss brought about by accident or illness, and too often the seemingly insurmountable feelings of guilt. Grieving is necessary and "pet grief" experts advise people to allow a grieving period and not feel embarrassed or ashamed of the deep and intense feelings experienced. Loss affects all of us differently. Some are able to deal with the loss, accept it and move on in a matter of days. Others are still aching after a year. The grieving process takes time. It is healthy and helpful to release your feelings through tears or talking with someone who understands - a friend who has lost a pet, or a support group. Sometimes writing about your friend, the good times you shared, the funny things remembered help to ease the ache. And it can be read and remembered in the years to come. Repressing your feelings only buries the hurt for a time and brings no honor to the relationship you held so dear. There are many ways to work through grief. A small memorial service with family and friends allows you to share your special memories. Be brave and allow yourself a "good cry". Name a star after your friend by contacting the International Star Registry. Make a donation to a special organization in your pet's name. Record in a journal the life story and special relationship you shared. Instead of feeling guilt, remember the things you did to make your friend's life better and made him happy or excited. Remember it was a two- way street - you were lucky to have each other. Find a support group for pet loss. If you are unable to bear the grief, see a counselor. Become a foster home for an unwanted parrot, or join a rescue group. Celebrate your pet's life. You may not love the same again, but you will love as well. No other parrot will replace the one you lost, but he will make his own place in your heart, which you will find is big enough to hold all the wonderful memories as well as the love starting to bloom for another being wanting to be loved by you. Available help: Books: Pet Loss: A Thoughtful Guide for Adults and Children by Herbert A. Nieburg and Arlene Fischer. The Loss of a Pet by Wallace Sife, Ph.D. When Your Pet Dies: How to Cope with Your feelings by Jamie Quackenbush MSW, and Denise Graveline. PALS (Pet and Animal Lovers Service) cremation, memorials, virtual memorial programs, etc. 1-888-ourpals or www.ourpals.com/ourpals International Star Registry: 1-800-282-3333 Check with your avian vet for support groups in your area.