OUR SAY: Sad loss of pet hurts more than mauling
AUBREY McMullen is far from alone in the world.
He has his children and the ducks and birds that visit his Scarness home every day.
But like so many elderly people, the comfort of having a pet meant the world to him.
While he suffered his own injuries when he was knocked over by two dogs who ran into his home last Friday, it was clear that the pain of his own wound paled in comparison to the loss of his little mate, Ben the parrot.
Seeing the empty cage tore at my heartstrings.
FULL STORY: Bay man injured, pet killed, in dog attack
The bird was killed during the attack, although Mr McMullen is unsure whether the dogs got Ben or whether he died of fright.
Either way, those animals should not have been in his home.
We all love our pets and dogs do get out - no one is perfect.
But this incident shows what can happen when animals aren't properly restrained.
Mr McMullen is almost 90 years old. When the dogs knocked him down and got on top of him, the result could have been far worse than a badly lacerated ear.
Now all Mr McMullen has left is an empty cage, photos of his best mate and memories of Ben's comical behaviour.
He'd owned Ben for eight years and, especially after the loss of his wife 15 months ago, Mr McMullen depended on his pet for companionship.
I'm so sorry that this happened to him and to Ben.
It's a reminder that we all need to be responsible when it comes to pet ownership.