I have written before about the pain of losing a dear pet. Once again I find myself dealing with the pain in the death of a pet. On the night after Christmas, we were unexpectedly faced with the final moments with our cockatiel JoJo. JoJo had been a part of our family for the past nine years. His death was sudden and shocking to us.
JoJo was the first bird that had ever been a part of my life. As a child, I had numerous dogs and cats but never claimed a bird as part of that experience until my wife (Denise) brought him home as her ďbirthday giftĒ from me to her in 1996. Initially, I really didnít care much for JoJo. He and Denise spent a lot of time together. But, JoJo eventually won my heart over. During a time when Denise was working long hours on another job, I would get JoJo out on my shoulder as I worked on my computer. Of course, he wasnít content with just sitting on my shoulder, he eventually decided that he needed to check out my desk, the keyboard, the mouse and anything else that sparked his interest. JoJo eventually bonded with me.
Through the years, JoJo would only get out of his cage for me. I guess he thought of me as another bird. Iím not sure what it was. He would even preen my beard at times. He also loved for me to rub his neck with my thumb as he perched on my index finger. When I would stop, he would burrow his head further into my hand or even nibble at my hand for me to continue. Denise and I never could teach him to talk but at times it sounded as if he was close. When we came home from work and in the process of changing clothes, he would call for us and you could nearly hear him say ďCome Here!Ē He was quite a character. He craved attention. If one of us was on the phone, he would have an annoying ability of yelling his loudest, apparently to show that HE wanted our attention. Many times I would call Denise while I was away from home and hear his shrill in the background. Denise would often put the phone up to his cage and I would talk to him. Yes, he was a bit spoiled too.
Denise and I talked about his inability to talk and contributed it to the fact that he was just a slow learner. But now, I figured that he was actually smarter than we ever gave him credit for. Instead of us teaching him how to speak the human language, he taught me to whistle like him and speak HIS language.
In the final moments on that night after Christmas when it was apparent that JoJo was dying, I held him in my hands one final time. I rubbed his neck as he always enjoyed and his eyes closed for the last time.
Silence. JoJo took his final flight.
If youíre thinking that JoJo was just a bird and thereís no big deal about it then youíre truly mistaken. It certainly canít compare to the death of a person but it still hurts. When you love something like one of Godís creations, it hurts when the curse of death takes them away. If we believe that pets are Godís creation entrusted to our care, itís only right that we should experience grief at their loss.
Through searching the scripture and reading various books on this subject, I believe that we will see our beloved pets again in heaven. Romans 8:21-23 tells us that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth and eagerly awaits the redemption of our bodies. This isnít just talking about man but ALL creation. Our pets donít have souls but they have a spirit which God is certainly capable of bringing back to us in heaven. When we invest our love in something, it isnít wasted.
It is quiet in our home today. We no longer hear the familiar sounds that became a part of our everyday lives. He is not peeking out from the top corner of his cage wondering if Denise is going to give him something to eat. That boy was crazy about rice. Denise would give him a sample and he would chirp as he enjoyed it.
Denise and I were truly blessed with the relationship with one of Godís precious creations. Although we are sad today, we look toward that glad reunion day.
Sadness fills my heart today
My buddy, my JoJo has flown away
His body remains with me
His spirit has been set free
I didnít expect this time of grieving
Death is such a deceptive thing
Why now? Why tonight?
I donít understand why you took your final flight
Death is an unpredictable and dark foe
How was I to know?
Eyes closed for JoJo
Deathís sting is hard and numbing
How will we deal with the morning?
Not a sound will you make
Or shrill for me to come and take
Your wings have spread one last time
To leave this earth for the other side
Join those dear ones who have gone before
Max and Tweeters and soon more
Who will be next?
That day will also come for me
Iíll hear you call again for me
I canít answer you until my final sleep
When I do Iíll look for you
No longer apart but forever Iíll keep!