The Duke of Kupa

When we were children and lived at the beach on a quarter acre section, we had lots of guinea pigs. Thirty-six at one time I remember.  (We were very proud of that number) Males and females, shorthaired and long haired, all colours. The only ones who went into cages were the pregnant mothers, the rest ran free. My father even built a rock mountain with tunnels running under and through it for them to hide in away from the cats, there were even little rooms for sleeping. We used to put ads in the newspaper and sell the babies. Every morning after breakfast, already dressed in my school uniform,   I would take a pot of porridge down the back, bang on the pot with the wooden spoon and call Guinea, Guinea, Guinea! They would erupt at a gallop from where-ever they were hiding and line up to eat, as I ladled the porridge out in a row on the grass.

Our back yard was pretty wild. My mother told us that it was important to keep and breed the animals  because as well as learning to take care of animals (which we did) we also learnt about birth and death and it’s natural progression. Needless to say we had a little graveyard behind the swings with named white crosses and everything.  My elder brother was in charge of making the crosses, he did a very good job and my little brother provided the shoe boxes for coffins. We sung hymns and said prayers and had quite  elaborate little funeral services.

My mother died almost 30 years ago now, when I was a very young mother, but I need to tell her that I have learnt this lesson now and can she please stop teaching me. The Duke of Kupa died last night.  I am sorry to be blunt. But I don’t like euphemisms for death especially after we have worked so hard to keep him alive.  He did not pass, he is not gone, he died. He was our beautiful bird.

There has been a wee bit of a thaw so I hope the ground is not too frozen, I will bury him down the back with the piglets, Mama’s lambs and White Cat.  John is working 12 hour days so I will do this by myself.


rain-006And he died with such relief poor fellow. His lungs stopped. The bellows  exhaled. He shut his eyes. And his whole body relaxed.

rain-009 rain-011

He managed to die under a warm light on a miserable grey day. All very fitting for the day we lose our jewel.


rain-031 God knows it is hard not to throw myself into a snow bank and say Woe is ME!   How could I have missed the signs. But there you are, the milk is spilled.   Even a short time with an animal or a friend can be wonderful. Just because he did not live for twenty years does not mean his life was any less complete. He was so beautiful.  But there are animals out there who need me on my toes and paying attention.

Ok Mum, let’s get to work with the living now.

I am sorry. I know you loved him too.

Do take care and have a lovely day for Kupa.

your friend


135 Comments on “The Duke of Kupa

    • I took your advice Rosemary and went looking for a snow bank but Everything is covered in a fat film of solid ice, it is a skating rink out there, so maybe I will leave it for tomorrow.. c

  1. oh… i am sorry celi. i am sure he had a wonderful life at your little farmy! sending some love ❤

  2. OH honey more loss. You are right the snowbank is out but our hearts will always hurt when things go amiss and we can not fix them all. Sending you a big hug. He was a beautiful bird and his presence will be missed dearly as you go out and about doing chores. You are right the others will need you. Farming is not for the faint of heart 😦

  3. Oh Celi, the tears are running down my face reading this! RIP dear Kupa, your struggle is over.
    Death is a hard lesson to take, be it peaceful or dramatic, someone close or just an acquaintance. But for some reason when it is an animal or bird for me it is just that little bit harder as no matter what people say, you still wonder if you could have done more to prevent the inevitable. Or even wish you could have at least been able to explain to the pet what was going on. And with each one we grow more determined to do better by those left behind. Hoping to not be caught out again by deaths cruel embrace. We forget that WE are not gods and most of the time it is not under our control. All we can do is our very best by the animals and birds that we have under our protection, and hope it is enough. Celi my dear heart you did do your very best, and although it is not much consultation, he did die under conditions that were warm and comfortable, with care from a great compassionate human being. Take care my friend, I know you will shed tears, but time will heal, and as you say you have others needing you so badly.

  4. I’m so sorry, Celi. He was beautiful, and his time was too short, but while you had him, he truly was a jewel, and when you remember him, it must be as a glittering jewel in the sun, not the sick, valiantly struggling Duke of his last days. You have done everything in your power to make him better, but he couldn’t be saved, and now he’s glad to rest. Be glad for him, while you are sad for yourself. Kate xx

  5. When our critters die it feels like a failure of will or a failure of love on our part. It only *feels* that way, but it is not the case. It hurts anyway. I will miss Kupa, too.

  6. “We have lost our jewel” … weeping here right along with you. Avoid the snow bank … pneumonia wouldn’t be any more pleasant for you …. and we all still need you. Big thanks to Duke of Kupa for brightening up our days as we watched him grow up. Hugs to you miss c. Laura

  7. I knew as soon as I saw the title 😦 I’m so very sorry Celi … He was beautiful and amazing and you both fought hard. There are tears here in Townsville, Qld for the King tonight xox

  8. Thank you for sharing his short life with us. I don’t think I’ll forget Kupa as time goes on, and that’s as it should be, I reckon.

  9. I’m dreadfully sorry C. no matter how many times it happens it doesn’t steel you against the void. A lot of loss on my farmy this year. I try not to let it get me down but it does some days. I look forward to the coming year with hope and a little reserve. Maybe…if the snowbank helps relieve the ache in the back of your throat go ahead and jump in. We’ll be here to pull you out when you holler. Blessings.

  10. He is mourned by a wide circle of friends who only knew him in words and pictures – those were enough.
    People who love birds and beasties find it never gets easier to take the pain of parting, no matter how many times it happens. Easier, then, not to get attached at all?
    Not so: the many joys of when they were with us outweigh the sorrow of loss by far.

      • Good. I have a sow that needs bred and come summer 2 cows to have bred. Chickens need to start giving some eggs. I still have some parsley and collard greens in the garden even though we’ve had lots of days in the 20 and 30’s and some nights in the teens. Just hanging in there and glad the days will now start getting longer! (Oh – and don’t forget looking through those seed catalogs!) We’re on a 2 week break from school which is really nice.

          • We’ll see if she is worth milking or just raising calves. She’s 1/2 Jersey and 1/2 Charolais. And her name IS Baby! Sort of funny for something already as big as her Momma but the name just stuck.

            • Charolais! I love them, she will throw some lovely beef cows, maybe she can feed both the calves? if you are able to breed them at the same time?..

              • I hope so though I prefer to bottle feed the heifers if I’d want to keep them so they’ll be easier to handle. I’m hoping she’ll at least milk enough to be able to keep one in milk when the other is dried up. Still tossing ideas around but only time will tell!

  11. Oh Celi, I am so so sorry to read this. The Duke has a place in our hearts. He will always have that place. Sending you healing energies and love. xo

  12. I am just plain sad and sorry, Celi…
    We all will miss you, Duke of Kupa…you were so beautiful!

    • You are right, it was horrible for him, I am still not sure why he waited so long to die, maybe he waited until he could relax, back outside where he belonged.. c

  13. After a few tears shed over Kupa, I ran across this:

    “Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a 10-year-old Irish wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
    I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for 6-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
    The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
    The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.” Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.
    He said: “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The six-year-old continued: ”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

    I think this applies to ALL animals, not just our canine friends.

  14. I’m so sorry Celi. Robert just gave me a big hug because I’m crying for the Duke. But then Robert just said, “If you were a peacock would you want to live anywhere else?” and I had to admit that I wouldn’t. He had the best life on the farmy. Big hugs to you and big healing thoughts. Much love. X

    • That is so kind and give my love to Robert for being such a darling.. mercy we have done some crying over this farm this year! c

  15. So sorry, Celi. Poor Kupa. His life was short, but it was a good life–he had a loving caretaker, his little flock and a lovely farm to rule…what else could he have asked for? It’s always hard to lose an animal, but your focus on quality of life for each of your animals ensures that for the time they have on this earth they are content. If reincarnation should be what happens and I am to come back as a pig or a cow or a peacock, I can think of no place I would rather live than on your farmy.

  16. This month has been awful. I lost an aunt and my brother and my best friend (Old Jules) lost his cat . I was really pulling for Kupa, poor fellow. I’m sorry. We have to keep going, don’t we.

    • Oh no, you have indeed had a terrible month, To lose two people .. I am so sorry.. I will give your tree an extra murmur as I pass it going to the barn.. Give our love to old jules.. he loved his cat.. c

  17. I had hoped Kupa would pull through, but when the body has no more to give, it is time to go.
    I’m sure he had a wonderful life on the farm with lots of love and care.

  18. I am so very sorry to hear this, my thoughts are with you and the beautiful bird you called The Duke of Kupa. It is a grey day here too, indeed befitting to feel a little down over his death. XOXO

  19. C-I am so sorry. The kids and I feel for your loss. Miss A put it best though, “At least he had lots of good days on the farm.” And no doubt he did. He was a beautiful bird. Sending our love and hugs.

    • He did have some beautiful years and I am gad that you and the children got to see him when he was glorious.. TonTon wants me to tell Miss A that BooBum stole his frisbee and bit a hole in it. Apparently he is not sorry. It was Ton’s favourite too. Bad BooBum.. c

  20. I prefer the word “died” too. It can seem harsh, but that is what we all do in the end. It is horrible to lose an animal friend because they are so much a part of us. I’m quite sure he had a very good peacock life and he will be remembered with love…what more could a peacock want?

  21. I’ve been reading your blog for only a few months, but I’ve come to love your animals — and more importantly, love the way YOU love them. Which makes a loss all the more heartbreaking. I’m glad Kupa had a quiet ending, and you’ll be in my thoughts today.

  22. I’m so sorry to read about Kupa this morning … such a beautiful bird! Hopefully, one day, you will add another majestic male to your flock and love him just as much as you loved Kupa. Fowl or beast … they are all part of your farmy family and you let us all become part of the lives of the entire farmy group! We grieve your many losses right along with you!! Love & Hugs from Colorado and wishing you a Merry Christmas and a critter filled New Year!!

    • You are right Marcia, we have two beautiful big fat peahens who still need a mate, so I will indeed be looking for another peacock. Maybe I should get two this time and make sure they are from good strong stock.. c

      • That sounds like a great idea … shop around for the best stock you can find! Hugs!!

  23. That’s too bad, Celi. A bird with pneumonia is a very sick animal and I seriously doubt he would have survived this long had he been anywhere else but on the farmy. You treat your animals with respect and they’re lucky to find a home with you.

    • Morning john, i am glad you saw him before he died, he was a magnificent bird, but you are right, he would never have survived, even if we had cured him, a weak chest is not a good thing for a wild living bird. c

  24. You didn’t miss the signs: you did your absolute best to tend him so it just must have been his time had come. .We’re all very sad for you and my vase of Kupa’s tail feathers is even more precious now.

    • I am still so very glad that you have those long tail feathers from his first autumn, they are in the best i have the beautiful emboridery that Jock did.. that is pretty wonderful in itself.. c

  25. A jewel.what a perfect word for him. Kupa was the most beautiful of creatures, and we got to see him display his full splendor. For that I am so grateful. Celi, you are like a little town with your own private cemetery where all your loved creatures are buried, respected and remembered.
    I think we love our critters more than humans because they dont hurt us (emotionally), never let us down, are so mysterious, so endlessly fascinating.

    • Oh Lynda, you poor old thing, that is so sad .I am so sorry you are having to deal with all that. And I do so agree that there is no preparation, My Mum was ill for years really, outliving everyones expectations but when she finally died I was quite, quite shocked. I remember sitting on the verandah at the hospice saying exactly that to my little brother. Hmm. Do take care, you have a hard week ahead.. thank you so much for popping in anyway.. c

  26. I am so sorry for your loss of the beautiful Duke of Kupa. You both fought so hard to beat the pneumonia. I don’t comment every day but I do read every day and was so hoping that you two would beat the odds. Pneumonia is so hard to overcome, even for humans who can go to hospitals with oxygen and breathable medications. Hugs.

  27. Trying to be brave but the tear drops are falling…. rest in peace Duke of Kupa..may your feathers always be as beautiful as ever..
    lots of love to you Celi…don, t go throwing yourself in the snow if its’ll end up with a broken nose…..xxxxxxx

  28. Like a brilliant, lovely flower, his time on earth was short, but aren’t we glad we got to enjoy his beauty as long as we did? I love the little boy’s observation. We didn’t want him to suffer. It hurts, but Nature knows best. Hugs to you.

  29. I am so, so sorry, Celi! I knew that second I saw the blog title. My heart is sad for you. At the same time I’m glad Kupa is now pain free…and yes I do believe there is more after here. There just has to be…I want to walk with all my furry and feathered friends once more…why not?

    Hugs from across the plains and the Rocky Mountains to you!


  30. So sorry to hear that he did not make it. We get so attached to animals, and as my son would say “He is in bird Heaven.” So sorry.

  31. Tears for Kupa and for you. I was crying already when I read your appeal to your mum to stop teaching you this hard lesson, you’ve learned enough. I’m afraid we never stop learning the lessons of death because every death–whether it’s a beloved animal or a person dear to us–leaves a fresh wound. I’m so thankful for time and memory, the great healers.

    Nearly 30 years ago, I sat with my mother the night she died. Her breathing had become shallow and quiet, but I knew immediately when it stopped. Such silence. But such ease, and such relief, too, after all she’d suffered. It was time to let her go.

    Last weekend, while we were visiting my son/daughter-in-law and baby grandson, my daughter-in-law’s 17-year-old cat was obviously failing badly. They left the baby with my husband and me and took the beloved cat to the vet. She didn’t come home with them that day. So there was sadness, yes. But there we all were with the miracle of a four-month-old child in our arms.

    You will be sad, but don’t blame yourself. As so many have said here, there are others who need you (and we need you, we need your stories, both happy and sad) and for whom you do the very best you know how.

    Love and many, many hugs your way–

    • I so hate to make people cry. But i have to tell it as it happens. And you are so right, beautiful babies in arms or on hips are a wonderful comfort, thank you gerry.. c

  32. It was a hard-fought battle, I’m so sorry it was lost. Kupa was a beautiful bird and you gave him a beautiful life.

  33. I remember the day you came home from the fair with The Duke.
    You were so pleased and we all celebrated his arrival ! What a grand addition
    he has been on the Farmy, slipping in and out of pictures and conversations
    as he reigned ! There will be silence were he was, just as there is when
    people die. There will also be memories and pictures and all of us sending thoughts
    his way and yours. THANKYOU for taking care of him and bringing him into
    our lives.I am glad I got to experience a peacock !! Take care, be gentle with
    yourself. It’s the Winter Solstice…..I love this day, for tomorrow brings more light !


  34. Oh heck I can see I have a LOT of catching up to do around here. Trust me the first day back in blogland and you are thinking of throwing yourself in the snow. I just hope you are dressed for the occasion! C x

  35. I am so sorry Celi. Usually I read your blog the very last in my inbox every day… waiting for desert….the best for last. But today I read it first because I knew there would be bad news from the title of the blog. The Duke is now free from suffering. I don’t think animals understand when they get sick and hurting. I know you tried everything in your power to pull him thru….and yet he did not understand and fought you. Those of us who tend to and love our animals have a bond with them that many people do not understand. I know you are hurting too, with the loss. The jewel is now flying free and if you listen, you will hear him on the wind sometimes. Time to cuddle Marmalade….you saved him.

  36. I’ve cried all the way through your post and the comments, and my eyes are too blurry to write properly. Like the others I knew as soon as I saw the title. I’m glad for dear Kupa that his struggle is over, but my heart aches for you. The death of a beloved creature tears the heart out of the breast… and loving as you do, there’s no way round the pain.
    I find screaming my heart out driving the car, where no-one can hear, sometimes helps. Maybe the hard labour of digging that grave will help to work some of the pain out. Thinking of you all XXXX

  37. Awe C…I too did not want to read through the post after seeing the title…I just knew…as we all did…but also like all who have commented before me…we the fellowship are still holding hands…this time together…around you…I hope that will relieve some of your grief today and in the days to come as you think of your beautiful, jewel Kupa…
    I wish I was there to give you a big hug….but will send love instead…I am so sorry…you did everything you possibly could have…

  38. Celi,
    Oh dear ole Duke of Kupa ~ bless his heart for all the joy and memories he gave you and all the farm animals who also enjoyed him. I was getting my hopes up for him ~ I thought if anybody can save him ~ Celi will nurse him back to his glory! Some people don’t understand what it is to lose a dear animal ~ they are precious and for some of us it’s like losing a child. I know ~I’ve gone thru it several times ~ and then I hold them in death as long as I can until I wrap them up and bury them ~ so my heart is aching for you today ~ wish I was there with you helping to lay Kupa to his eternal rest. Let the tears roll ~ but I guess we can take comfort in knowing that the Duke took a lot of memories of his beloved caretaker Celi with him. We all loved the Duke of Kupa! A glass of wine to Kupa tonite. Rest in peace Duke.
    Bring on the pictures of TonTon and little Marmelade!! they are a pair – I just love ’em – wish I could spend a few days with those two!!
    Luv ya Celi, Carol

  39. Celi, this was just the last straw to have me bursting into tears this morning. I am sorry about Kupa. What a lovely gift he was. There never seems to be appropriate words that bring comfort to the deep recesses of our souls when we lose a good friend – a friend that we connected with via energy, emotion, and touch. You did your best and you know that. Your love for Kupa changed the world for the better. Much love to you Celi.

  40. Oh Celi, I’m so so sorry and join everyone in their warm words of love and condolence. He was a beautiful bird on this Earth. Now he can be your personal spirit bird, perched somewhere nearby
    with his tail sending out glimmers of light and color.

  41. So sorry about Kupa. He truly was a glorious jewel. We had to put down our mare, Sassy a few months back. I was there when she foaled. She was 34 years old. Age, Cushings Disease and severe winter weather told us it was time. We still imagine her neighing in the morning and evening for her feed. She always talked to us. The animals in our lives give us riches we cannot count. It is alright if we cry with you. Thank you for sharing Kupa with us. Treasure your memories.

    • Ah, how terribly sad, my godmother had to put down her very old horse not so long ago and it was miserable.. 34.. that is a long time to have an animal with you.. thank you for that bev.. take care now.. c

  42. I am sure the Duke of Kupa enjoyed his time with you, and that you provided the very best care possible for him. What a magnificent bird he was.

  43. So sad to hear about Kupa. It just wasn’t to be and we are left to enjoy our memories of him.

  44. I am quietly looking at some of the beautiful photos of Kupa nothing can take away . . . all that is true and important has been said above . . . he will rest in peace with the others who have gone before him, forever on the farmy . . .big hug to you at the end of a complicated year . . .

  45. So sorry for the loss of Duke of Kupa. Enjoyed reading about him & the beautiful pictures you posted of him. Glad to know he died warm & comfortable. Poor thing.

  46. In an odd way I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t know the sorrow of losing a creature, dog, bird, horse, whatever. For if you don’t know the sorrow you haven’t know the glorious joy those creatures bring to our lives. No matter how often I’ve cried I never even considered NOT having animals. I would miss far too much without them.
    I have often flayed myself, did I wait to long to let them go?, did I miss something when they first got sick?, it does no good and only dims the beautiful memories. You can only do what you can do and love them every day.

  47. The Duke was a joy to many, many people, and I’m sorry he died. Quite the celebrity in his short life, and a beautiful companion to his flock. And so it goes. May the rest of the farmy flock rebound wonderfully and the Duke preside in spirit over all of you.

  48. I am so sorry for the loss of your handsome Kupa. The jewel. He literally brought sparkle to the farmy. You were barely able to take care of YOU with your injury, so don’t be too hard on yourself. I’m glad to see from the previous post that you are able to drive again. It looks like Boo had better get Ton a new frisbee! Hugs.

  49. Celi, there is nothing I can add that hasn’t already been penned here. I can only share that I am sorry to read this news about your dear friend Kupa.

  50. I have been present at the death of my mother and two beloved dogs, my hand on their heart to feel that last beat. As precious as those moments were, I dread the next time, knowing there will indeed be a next time. I suspect that lesson is never fully learned until the moment is our own last heartbeat. Goodbye, Kupa, you bright jewel. We loved you well.

  51. I am late to offer my sympathies—when I saw the title I just could not read it because I knew my tears would flow for the Duke of Kupa. He was a magnificent animal and one that you showered with all the love and care that you had to offer. We all loved seeing his splendor and know how difficult it was for you to realize that his health was in jeopardy. As everyone else has stated–he lived with one of the most wonderful people in the world and his life was rich for it. Blessings to you and to the rest of the farm—-you are all in our hearts today.

  52. Such a shame – what a year you’ve had. I know running a farm is all about the good and the bad, birth, life death – but it’s still tough. Here’s hoping 2014 brings more smiles and laughters than tears.

  53. I’ve only just caught up with this post. Your mother taught you well, how to care for living things and also how to let them go. Tenderness plus realism: it’s a recipe for resilience. Goodbye beautiful Kupa, you had the best of care.

  54. Oh, crud. That’s not how we wanted this story to end. But in truth, it’s more than a story, it’s a life and we loved him through you. So sorry, Celi.

  55. I’m so sorry. The Duke truly was a jewel and we’ll all miss him. It’s so true what your mother said about pets. They are responsibility and death 101. Still, it doesn’t get any easier to say goodbye.

  56. Oh dear, I have been away for a few days. Hugs to you.

    I had 3 friends loose their companion dogs this weekend also. One of which was only 2 and they ran over him accidentally. Very sad loss for them and us. H

    As I told all 3 – they lived wonderful lives filled with love from you. Know that however the length of life – to be loved and cared for is to have a good life. You would not want them to outlive you for you would worry for them in the hear after, where I believe we will all meet once again.

    Again, hugs and comfort – pat

  57. I don’t know how I missed this post and yet I did. I found out from Viv today and when I got back home, sat down right away to find this. This morning we received news of a friend’s death, from cancer, back in Canada. I held my tears in when i got the news but, as I sat down to read about Kupa, the tears began to flow. We can only be thankful for the joy and beauty that friends, whether human or creature, bring into our life, mourn them when they die, and then get on with taking care of things.

  58. I’m so sorry. He was a beautiful bird. Losing a companion like the Duke of Kupa is so heartbreaking, but we are all better for having had him in our lives – even if it was just thru your blog.

  59. I am traveling with the most rotten internet service ever, and just managed to see this. I am so sorry Kupa died. He was a beautiful bird and worthy of all the care you gave and the adoration from your readers. I am sorry. Thank you for sharing his life with us.

  60. So sorry. Many critters die without having been loved. By this I do not mean that they were wild and did not know the love of a human or other animal friend; I mean they are in the company of humans who do not share their love, for whatever reason. To die without feeling close to anyone must be awful. The Duke of Kupa was loved. You give your love to so many critters. That never goes away. Maybe it is not our understanding of life cycles that helps us overcome loss; but rather the certainty that we have given and received love. Maybe this is what your mum was teaching you.

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