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Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:15 pm
Ironic that this would be my first post here...
...A local, inexperienced Green Cheek Conure breeder would be where my family would find our first pet. My wife had a bird as a small child, but not I. Hell... I've never been an animal person at all. I've always considered them unnecessary wastes of time and patience. After all, I have a child and wife for companionship, why would i need a dumb animal, right?
Or so I thought.
I was a cold, arrogant man. Sometimes makes me wonder what my wife ever really saw in me. 18 months fighting in Iraq and another 9 in Afghanistan for nothing more than to line the pockets of already-rich men who don't care about you will make a man grow cynical. I had to be cold to survive with sanity. I had to be arrogant and believe myself superior to other human beings, or I'd be too afraid to deploy. Already accustomed to so much death and pain, why would I ever want to add another life into the equation that I'm responsible for, right?
Or so I thought.
Oh God... I was wrong... And please forgive me, as much as I don't deserve it...
I had no defense against her. I didn't stand a chance.
How could something so tiny, so innocent, be so overpowering and defeat me so completely with such grace and ease?
Instantly I melted... how the hell was I supposed to resist that? If God does exist, he couldn't have chosen a more potent weapon to destroy that false sense of superiority I had. That disdain of animals just magically didn't exist anymore.
The question was no longer, "Why do I need to bother with this inferior creature?" - but rather, "How the bloody hell am I supposed to live without her...?"
...But live without her I now must.
Kota was only 1.5yrs old when she died. I've only owned her for a little less than a year.
In that year, for that time... my combat PTSD was tamed without the use of debilitating drugs. My complexes faded to nothing. That tiny creature changed my life, in less than 12 months... made me a better man. Made me a better father. Made me a better husband. When I was traumatized with flashbacks from combat, Kota was right there on my shoulder, giving me kisses to comfort me. When I had nightmares and would wake screaming, Kota would call back to me from the next room.
Until this bastard sent from Hell itself decided to ram the back of my car with his own, returning from taking Kota with me to the store to buy her some new toys... Kota was crushed in the back seat... I walked away with scratches...
...If you want to see a grown 6'1, 200lb combat-hardened man cry like a baby night after night... take his bird away...
If there was ever a time suicide was considered a viable option - it wasn't after coming home from combat to a government and country that could give 2 shits about me. It was that moment. And every moment thereafter.
Of course, it was my own damn fault... as the driver of the vehicle who hit me so obviously pointed out... Why would I put a bird in a cage in the backseat of a car, anyway? If I loved the bird, I'd not take it everywhere with me, I'd leave it home where it's safe, right?
...But that's just it. I loved the bird. I wanted it everywhere with me. I couldn't resist doing so.
Combat has lead me to question the existence of heaven or an omnipotent deity. But... with the assumption there is one after all... I do sincerely hope Kota is happy there, and knows that I've never been more sorry about anything in my life.
My wife and I have become distraught enough - regardless of the fact we know full well we can never replace Kota - to get another bird immediately into our home... The pain of looking at her cage empty is worse than anything I've ever known. I've been shot, and that felt more pleasant... This just eats away any hope or love of life, and is persistent... never ends... It is our hope that if we can find another feathered miracle to add to our family, it might allow us to devote that love again and it might not be as painful.
To do so, we've decided intently to go with a male Cinnamon Ringneck... We've already purchased him, and he will be in our home before week's end...
He will be named Kota.
Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:08 pm
Your story had me in tears. For me, the love of my animals is what helps me get through each and every deployment.
Your Kota is flying free over the rainbow bridge right now. You will see her again one day. Please don't ever for one single minute think you did anything wrong. You did NOTHING wrong. I take my birds out with me all the time. Most of us here do. That jackass who rear ended you should have had his head squashed in the backseat. Then you could have told him it was his fault for leaving the house.
Not all animal lovers were born that way. Some like you learned it. PTSD has traumatic side effects. My heart bleeds for you and your spouse. She must be a very strong woman. Animal therapy is a proven method to help with the side effects of PTSD. I work with the wounded warrior program with animal rehabilitation therapy using horses. I am so happy to hear that you were strong enough to take a chance on another IRN. But please rethink naming him Kota. There will only be one Kota. And the new bird may not have the same personality as Kota did. I don't want to see you disappointed even more. Let kota's memory fly free and give the new bird his own identity.
Please have your bird listed as a service animal. It will allow you to bring him anywhere with you. And please put thoughts of suicide away. You have a new bird and a family that needs you.
God bless you and your family.
Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:03 am
It's possible for a bird to be listed as a service animal...? I had believed that role was specific to canines... I suppose I can look into that. Thank you, ma'am.
My urge to name our new bird Kota derives entirely from my own inability and weakness to cope with the notion that Kota is indeed gone. Despite my experiences overseas, I am not a strong man. If anything, this has shown me the opposite - without this tiny creature, I am a mess. I know our new bird is not the same bird... hell, they're not even the same species - Kota was a Conure, our new family member is a Ringneck... I don't expect them to be the same... I just...
...Well... I know no other way to describe it than the most simplest ways - I miss Kota. I would happily put a bullet in my head - with a big smile on my face - if at any moment I felt that would reunite my wife and son with Kota again. Kota would serve them far better than I anyway.
You ask I put such thoughts aside, but I cannot. While I respect the recommendation, I feel you ask the impossible. If I were to murder your child, could you with sincerity tell me that you would not consider it?
Was Kota my child? I've thought about this question recently. I have a son, after all. Makoto is a beautiful, strong, incredibly intelligent, well-mannered boy. I love him vastly more than myself.
When answering that question, I'm left with deciding to what end does that love extend? The greatest sacrifice a human being can make is that of their own life... and I am in the position of answering it with that I would have given my life for both Makoto and Kota.
By that definition, was this feathered creature my child? I've to answer yes.
With that in mind... I am certain you can understand the severity of the request you make, ma'am. You ask the impossible.
For his name, however... that of our new bird... you do bring very valid point, and worthy of consideration. Thank you.
Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:56 am
Your ability to admit your weaknesses and share your heart with us makes you a very strong man. You have reached out for comfort to help deal with the unexpected loss of part of your heart. It is a common occurrence to feel helpless and lost without your beloved Kota. But do you think Kota would have wanted you to end your existence? By carrying on and keeping her memory alive you serve her much better than taking the easy way out of your misery. Kota would want you to be strong. She would want you to care for the family she loved. If my child was lost to me in any way I too would feel lost and like I wouldn't want to carry on. Anyone with a heart suffers those thoughts. But I would not take the chance of never seeing my child in the afterlife. It would not do them justice for me to not celebrate their existence. That is what you must do for Kota. You must celebrate the memory of her.
I lost my puppy almost two years ago to a debilitating disease that took his life at just 6 months of age. I watched him suffer for months. I made the choice to let his soul fly free without the pain. To this day I still miss him horribly. It has eased some. My other animals and my family have helped me to carry on. The feeling of love and loss will always exist in some manner. But it was my choice to not let it defeat me. As he layed on that table in the cold clinical vets office I questioned my decision over and over. I looked into his eyes and saw no pain, no fear, just a peacefulness that came from his trust in me to make it all better for him.
It is our responsibility as pet owners to care for our beloved pets in the best possible manner. That includes caring for their memory. If you were to take your life away, you would fail Kota in your responsibility to keep her memory alive.
Yes you can have your bird listed as an emotional support animal. It is not limited to canines.
Here is an article explaining it
http://www.pawnation.com/2011/10/26/the ... t-animals/
Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:45 pm
Seems I've to wait a few extra days for our new feathered family member... bad weather looming over Florida, have to wait a few days for it to pass and he can safely be flown here to Texas.
Can't say I blame the decision... I'd rather have a safe, albeit late, bird than a rushed and potentially hurt/uncomfortable/traumatized one. No reason to put him through unnecessary headache to get here just to quell my own greedy need.
I certainly don't need another bird lost... even if I have difficulty waiting.
I admit, I've always had difficulty in seeing how those who've told me "Admitting weakness is strength" could justify the comment... after all, in battle, showing an enemy your vulnerability isn't really strength - rather a foolhardy death wish and often suicide. How is it different here? It takes so much more effort to hold back tears than it does to spill them in this case. In my need to find out information of this new breed of bird we've selected to enter our home and fill that void in our hearts, I stumbled across this site and its community... fitting there would be a section in it dedicated to that very void I now suffer with.
My wife and I have difficulty even talking about it between us... and I dare not bring it up with my young son - as far as he's concerned, Kota is flying free and living with other birds... I could never bring myself to tell him that his beloved bird sister was crushed under the weight of nearly a ton of shredded metal, her tiny bones smashed into a pulpen, bloody, feathered mass that once resembled this beautiful creature we loved.
Suddenly, it simply became easier to write about it... Honestly, I hadn't even intended for it to be read by anyone. I didn't care. If you were to listen to me speak, I am not nearly as... "eloquent" as I present myself with text. My thoughts written down are much more precise than anything I could vocalize - and allowed me to get out effectively what happened...
Is that strength? I honestly don't understand how it could be... after all, if I were to present that information to any enemy, it would only lead to my suffering. Strength is one's vitality in resisting weakness, not causing it... If anything, strong would be what I once was, before Kota. The cold, arrogant murderer.
Perhaps Kota's passing was merely punishment for the suffering I caused others overseas with that considered. After all... there was absolutely nothing just, honorable, good, or heroic about it... Every time someone who wasn't there tries to tell me it was to "defend America" I want to punch them in the face for being so incredibly moronic...
"Thank you for killing defenseless brown people 6,000 miles away who don't have any army, navy, or air force and never once threatened anyone in our land! You're a hero!"
I deserve what I got. I don't deny that. My wife and son didn't deserve this - and Kota CERTAINLY did not - but I did. I accept that punishment.
It hurts, but it is justified against me.
Strength... either someone else has their definition of the word skewed, or I do. I just don't see it.
I suppose the best way however for me to celebrate Kota's life instead of mourn her passing is with a new bird in our home to receive all the same love we would otherwise have given her if she were still with us. Would Kota want that? To be honest, I don't know. My only experience with any animal in my life has been Kota. In the past, animals were less than sentient. They were useless wastes of time and energy better spent elsewhere. Someone would show me their pet, and I'd ask them, "You were seriously retarded enough to blow perfectly good money just to have to clean up the poop of that useless thing?"
What would I know about what animals can/cannot think, if they can/cannot wield ambition, or to actually want for something - particularly something intangible, such as love or for someone dear to be happy?
I am not even sure I believe in God or Heaven, so how could I say in good concience that Kota had a soul to house that love?
I suppose all I have to go on is my own love for her - and what I felt every time she would climb under my ponytail and snuggle under it like a blanket against the back of my neck... every time she'd see me upset and fly over to me to give me kisses... every time she would bring me paperclips wanting to play fetch...
Was it returned? Was Kota cognitive enough as an animal to comprehend such abstract notions as love or the happiness and merit of another life?
I can only hope.
Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:27 pm
Life is not a battle. The strength of a soldier is not the strength of a man. You took an oath to uphold our governments beliefs and battle in the name of it. You did a job. You followed orders. There is no punishment greater than the one we inflict upon ourselves. You must learn to let go of the past, revel in the present, and look favorably on the future. Release yourself from the self hate that is consuming you. Do not place your worth in the hands of our feeble bodied government. Our government is on the decline. Do not allow them to drag you down with them. Forgive yourself.
Strength...the ability to face ones fears. Without question you have done that. Are still doing it. Strength has many definitions. You have survived with physical strength. Mental strength is much harder to come by. But I believe that you do have the strength within you.
Is there a god?? I can't answer that. But if there is even the smallest chance that there is I would like to believe that I would be forgiven for my sins and I would never want to risk the chance of never seeing my loved ones again in the after life.
Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:19 pm
Not often I encounter logic in a debate, I've to admit... Most attempt to explain to me that because a book (written by a mortal man, no less) says there is a deity, there must be...
You're the first person I've encountered who gave the most honest answer that can be expected, "I don't know - but if there is, I'd rather end up with an afterlife than not."
Such a simple answer - but one so complete and sensible that it simply cannot be argued with.
I suppose with that said, I too cannot argue the point. If there is a heaven, as no one can possibly confirm (as the only way to confirm it is indeed to die - after which you're obviously not alive to share your findings with the living) - I too would rather believe Kota is happy there. If there is a God, while it cannot be confirmed, I too would rather believe he/she/it now grants good care of her.
I cede defeat ma'am. You've made your point well. Granted, it was not a battle, rather my attempts to cope and understand what has happened through heart-wrenching pain... but nevertheless.
Well then... I've the task of preparing a home for a new family member next Wednesday... One I hope to stay with us for many years - giving him the gift that Kota had given me. Curing me of my general disdain of animals and cold demeanor, to let such a creature into my life again. ...Granted, an IRN is the size of 2 Kotas and a completely different creature altogether... and no one and nothing could ever replace her... I will nevertheless endeavor to make this new addition never feel as though he is anything but special, loved, and safe in his new home.
...And of course, very well fed.
Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:01 pm
Your new bird will be lucky to have you and you him
Posted: Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:33 am
such nice and reassuring advice skyes crew has given. Follow it, let go of the past and look towards the future.
Posted: Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:16 am
Coming late to this thread, I must point out one small detail to consider with regards to placing any animal in the front seat with you. That is the airbag. I never transport any of my animals in the front seat because I don't want to accidentally lose them on account of my own bad driving. You must not blame yourself for the placement of the bird cage in the car.
I also feel your new bird deserves a name of his own.
Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:08 am
Hi, MissK is right about the bird deserving a name of it own. Please rethink the naming of your new baby.
Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:17 am
Our Indian Ringneck arrived last night. Silver Cinnamon Lacewing - he has a platinum white head and his wings/belly are more of a metalic silver color - he's a pretty baby at 17 weeks.
I knew Ringnecks were larger than Conures, but wow... he's big, and he's just a baby. lol
His feet are HUGE! lol They are able to wrap completely around my thumb, and I've large hands.
He's like 2 Kota's - as a baby. O.O
We've decided to take the advice of those here and chose a different name - albeit just as simple (we do aspire to help him learn his name as seamlessly as we can) - Kiba. He's still a bit skittish, which is understandable given he just left his home, took a plane trip by himself, and is now in a house full of people he's never met... but that is to be expected. He is eating, which is the most important part. He'll accept apple slices from my wife's hand and eat them without running away - so I consider that a victory for his first few hours with us.
He is strangely silent... Most Ringnecks I'd seen are louder, but he hasn't made a sound since we got him home. I do understand he just entered a new home and is likely scared - I have no intention of rushing it. Simply observation.
While Kota can never be replaced, I have full intention of giving Kiba the best home I could possibly muster.
Now, to grow the confidence again in taking Kiba out with us... I don't think I can stand a repeat of what happened. I'm already tempted just to keep one of my rifles in the vehicle just to blow the brains out of the next bastard that murders a beloved member of my family in cold blood without recourse or reprisal.
Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:49 pm
Congratulations on your new baby! I'm sure you will love it as much as you did Kota.
Wishing you all the best and may Kiba have a long life.
PS. Don't you think to start a new thread for Kiba? This one is for Kota.