Events in our lives can have a big impact on our animal friends. Sometimes they give us subtle signs that they are disturbed, other times it is very obvious. In either case, we need to listen so we can help them through it.
One such animal who was traumatized is Sadie, a 12 year old male Green-Cheeked Conure, whose person is a woman named Sam. Sam has loved and cared for Sadie since he was 8 weeks old. Sadly, Sam’s husband crossed to Spirit in 2010. In Sam’s words, “Sadie is all I have — he’s my best buddy.”
Sam was shocked to come home on October 26 to find that her locked home had been burglarized. Her first thought was not of the damage the thieves had done or the loss of her possessions but of her beloved Sadie. She immediately went to check to see if he was alright. Although unhurt, Sadie was clearly traumatized by the home invasion. Sam reports that despite her efforts to reassure Sadie and help him get past the traumatic event, Sadie wouldn’t interact with her and “would only perch at the back of his cage shaking and quaking.” Sadie wouldn’t eat or drink anything, much less chatter to Sam — even though he was quite a chatterer normally.
Although traumatized herself by the break-in, Sam was most concerned about her beloved Sadie. At the suggestion of a friend, Sam scheduled an appointment with me to talk to Sadie two weeks after the burglary.
As soon as I connected to Sadie, he started talking about the break-in . . . ” There wasn’t anything I could do —
I couldn’t stop them! ” He was so upset! If Sadie was a person, he would have been crying, he was in so much distress.
Sadie needed to vent his feelings about what happened before we could talk about anything else, so we let him talk. He felt it was his responsibility for taking care of the house when Sam was out (Sam admitted that she always said, ” Take care of the house, Sadie ” before she left the house). When the thieves broke in, Sadie felt helpless — there was nothing he could do but watch them. He was very literally caged and was powerless to stop them. He was terrified, but he could do nothing. He felt he’d let Sam down and that he had failed her. As Sadie continued to vent his feelings, I could feel him let go of the emotions and release the the trauma of the experience.
As Sam listened to Sadie’s words, she began crying. Sam was able to relive the experience of the break-in along with Sadie and release the feelings she had been holding in as well. Gradually, both Sam and Sadie were able to return to a place of better emotional balance.
I reassured Sadie that, for Sam, the only thing that was important was that he was safe. Sam said she did not know what she would have done if anything had happened to Sadie — she didn’t care what earthly possessions she lost, as long as he was safe. When I told Sadie this, he said, ” She isn’t mad at me for not taking care of things? ” I assured him she was not — that she was grateful that he stayed still in his cage and didn’t attract the attention of the thieves. All that mattered to Sam was that Sadie was safe. I could feel Sadie sigh with relief when he heard this!
We next told Sadie that from now on, Sam was going to take responsibility for keeping their house safe — that it wasn’t Sadie’s job any more. I explained the alarm system that Sam had purchased — that was challenging for Sadie to understand, but he got the point — that it was not up to him to guard the house any more. He said, ” I’m just a small bird, but I would still guard the house for her if she wanted me to. ” That brought tears to Sam’s eyes — and mine too — but we assured Sadie that Sam would be responsible for the safety of the house from then on.
I assured Sadie that his only job now was to be happy and be a loving companion for Sam. Sadie told me that was easy — he could definitely do that! I asked if he felt like he could start eating and drinking and chattering with Sam again. Sadie said he thought he could, because he felt so much better now.
Finally, Sam asked me to tell Sadie how much she loved him and that she was so grateful to have him in her life. Sadie said he that he sees Sam as his ” partner ” and would do everything he could to show her how much he loves her.
In the course of the conversation, I could feel Sadie’s energy go from extremely worried and upset to calm and happy . . . Sam’s energy improved during the conversation as well. It was a healing experience for both Sadie and Sam.
Sam emailed me a few weeks later to tell me that, immediately after our communication session, Sadie started eating and drinking and had returned to his normal chattery self! She said she also felt calmer and more relaxed and said that the appointment had been therapeutic for both of them.
” I called Sky after the break-in and she talked to Sadie and me — and calmed us both down immediately! Sky talked to Sadie again this spring — twice in two weeks, while I was on vacation in FL and Sadie was boarded at the vet’s to be safe. She checked on him, reassured him and told him what was happening. I can’t tell you how reassuring it is to have Sky in Sadie’s and my life! ” — Sam H., CO
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