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Posts: 13
I lost my beloved companion, Sammy, on May 10, 2008. He was a beautiful, sweet and multi-talented yellow cockatiel and my cherished friend for over 19 years. Every time I walked in the door, he would greet me with a cheery "hello" or a more impatient "let me out of this cage, NOW!" screech. He always wanted to be with me, and as long as I was at home, he usually got what he wanted. When I left the room or the apartment he would protest. He whistled tunes, said a few words, and engaged in many endearing antics. I gave him all the love I could give, though he deserved much more. I let him down in a lot of ways.

Sammy died suddenly while in the care of a good friend while I was on vacation overseas - it happened at her place just the day before I returned. She gave me the news over the phone when I called her on May 11 after I got home from the airport. I thought I was just calling to let her know I was on my way to pick up my baby. Instead she told me he was dead, and I ended up going to pick up his body.

She said he seemed fine, was eating and drinking well. He was sitting on his perch in the back corner of the cage (normal spot) when she lay down for a nap. When she woke up, she found him sitting on his water dish, slumped over and not moving. I had taken him to the avian vet at AMC in NY less than a month before and she found nothing wrong with him. A necropsy was not really an option since my friend misunderstood the instructions from the vet and put his body in the freezer instead of the refrigerator. This destroys the tissues to the point where they cannot do a full analysis. I decided to forgo having him sliced to pieces when they could only look superficially. So I will never know the cause of his death, I can only speculate.

I speculate about whether he was exposed to something toxic in her apartment (I had warned her about all the usual dangers). Would he have lived if I had left him at home and asked my friend to stop in once a day? Or if I had left him home alone, would he have died anyway, after spending the last days of his life in almost total solitude...I speculate about whether I put him under too much stress by taking my old and fragile guy out of his home and leaving him in a strange place...was it a misguided attempt to have him stay somewhere where he would have some company? I speculate about whether he died thinking that I had abandoned him, never to return again...did he lose the will to live?

Sammy was cremated at Hartsdale pet cemetery last Saturday and I have his ashes in a wooden photo urn that I placed on his "area" next to the couch where he spent most of his time when I was at home. There he will stay. I created an iTunes playlist of songs that make me think of him. I made a video of him on YouTube. The memorializing is all well and good, but it supplies little relief for the pain, and won't bring him back or fill the hole in my heart and the emptiness in my life now that he is gone. I have no other pets (haven't for years) and have no plans to get another any time soon. He was too special, and there is no replacing him. Ever.

Thanks for listening.


From Sammy: 1989-2008


Posts: 12
  The what if's and such will kill you. The questions left unanswered will remain that way because we'll truely never know. You gave your Sammy an amazing life. He couldn't of asked for anyone else. I do beleive you did the right thing leaving him with your friend so he wasn't alone. I feel that he knew you where comming back. He's watching over you now, and rest assured he knew you where comming home. A tiel's life expentency is approx 15-20 years, it doesn't make anything any easier, but he may have passed due to natural causes. He lived a long happy life, and you should be proud of the fact that you're not like everyone else. I've seen so many cockatiels passed from home to home, within the first couple of years of their life. You've done good.

Fly Free Sammy




Posts: 347
Dear Elna....
Your sweet Sammy was SO VERY blessed to be loved so completely. Your memorial to him was so touching and brought tears to my eyes. The entire time I watched it....all I could think of was how much your Sammy *knew* he was loved. He is and always will be a part of your heart and soul. It is so very hard to not have them with us physically anymore. It is a loss that encompasses all our senses. Not hearing his whistles and making his noises must be so very hard. Hang in there Elna....Sammy gave you love to last a lifetime. A love that will remain with you and bring you strength. You gave him such a gift.....the gift of a forever home with you which was full of love. Sending my thoughts and prayers to you for comfort and healing.....Tuckers Mum

Puppy Tuck   1995-2006   Old Man Tuck in "his" kitchen chair

Posts: 205

Sammy's mom. I'm so sorry for your were blessed to have your baby for 19 years and you did a great job with his slide show....don't torture yourself with the what ifs...just remember what a good life he had...Tai-Chi's mom Lisa


Posts: 699
Dear Elna,

I am so deeply sorry for the passing of your Beloved, Sammy.  He was such a beautiful little boy.  Your video of him and the music is so heartwrenchingly poignant, I cried.  Your post and the video speak volumes of your everlasting love for your Sammy, and the excruciating pain of your loss and his absence from your life.  Nothing is a comfort.

I'm so sorry he passed the way he did from unknown causes, and when you were away - I can so understand your anguish.  But, it's true, so much we don't know and never will.  The really important thing is what you and Sammy shared, the love which you will have forever, and the life which I know you both treasured and enjoyed together.  You will see him again when your work is done here.  What a joy it will be to see the rush of yellow wings, and your Sammy landing on your shoulder, to be with you for eternity.

Katharine, Grunt's Mom Forever

Posts: 763

Dear Elna, I am so very sorry for the loss of your beloved Sammy. He is a gorgeous boy and your tribute is magnificent. You couldn't have left him alone so you did the right thing by having your friend watch him. Cockatiels are very smart so I believe he did not think you abandoned him. I am sure he felt you would be returning. I am also sure he knew how much you loved him. God must have wanted his little boy back then. You know there are somethings we have no control over. I keep saying that but it is true. Nothing will ever fill the hole in your heart but I hope having your Sammy near you will bring you comfort. You can talk to him, sing to him, tell him about your day. It helps me when I go out in the yard and talk to my beloved Mr. Meowgy (every night before I go to bed). I wish you peace and comfort. Donna, Mr. Meowgy's mom


Posts: 13
Thanks everyone for your kind words of condolence and support. It is very helpful to hear from people who understand all to well what I am going through, even though unlike most mine was a "feather-baby."

The truth is, I really did *not* give him the best life I could have, and I think he suffered for most of his life as a result. Birds are flock animals who are not meant to be left alone in a cage for even a SECOND, let alone all day long while you are at work, out socializing in the evening or away for a weekend or on vacation.

Sammy let me know how unhappy he was about me leaving him every day as I prepared to leave for work, it was very clear. And yet I simply expected him to deal with it. He was always out of his cage and in the room with me every evening until I went to bed, and he was out all day and evening on the weekends as long as I was at home - and I convinced myself that was enough. It really wasn't. I had read a lot about caring for parrots, and by the time I educated myself enough to learn that he should have a friend of his own species, I couldn't be bothered to deal with it. I told myself that he had been my only bird for so long that he was used to it and might not adjust well to another bird.
Other excuses arose...I didn't have the space, I didn't want him to lose interest in me, and I didn't want the extra work. I chose my own convenience over his well being.

I was all he had, and I could only give him a fraction of the companionship that he needed. Some bird experts and animal rights people would actually call me abusive and neglectful.

The one thing I don't have to feel guilty about is that I never clipped his wings. The main reason for that was that it didn't matter since he was never able to fly. Cockatiels are normally excellent and skillful flyers, so his lack of ability was always puzzling. His vets were equally mystified, and could only guess that he had some sort of congenital weakness. He was always sort of a runt, never had a great deal of strength or agility and was a bit clumsy from the day I got him from a breeder (yep, another no-no).

When he died, my first wish was that he was finally able to fly nimbly and free, soaring above the clouds to wherever he chose to be. I'm not really religious (agnostic) so the idea of him being in "pet heaven" is not really something I think about, and I don't expect to meet him some day when I die, even though it would be a wonderful thing. But if there is a spirit world out there, I hope he is there and finally happy.


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