If you are my friend on Facebook you will know that our guinea pig Ally died yesterday. We had been feeding her the last couple of days via a syringe with critical care food because she had stopped eating. The hope was that the medicine and the forced feeding would improve her appetite and she would start eating again on her own. Unfortunately, after a brief moment Saturday when she seemed to be a bit improved, she took a turn for the worst and died as she was taken back for treatment at the animal hospital.
Ally was not really my pet. Ally was my daughter’s pet and my daughter and my wife were the ones who fed her, played with her, etc. She came to live with us, as has 4 of our 5 pets, while I was away. This time, I was in New Orleans at the Super Bowl when my son showed me the picture his sister had posted of her new pet. My rule has always been that if a pet comes in to the house without my input I have no responsibility toward their care unless I’m the only one home or I just decide to do it. It’s harder to ignore the cats as they roam the house, so the only care I refuse to do unless I’m alone is cleaning the litter box. It’s easier to ignore the guinea pig and rabbit because they are generally out of sight so they can be out of mind. This all changed this past week.
My wife went out of town on business and then we noticed Ally wasn’t eating. We took her to the vet and they diagnosed her with a respiratory infection and gave us the critical care food and a prescription for antibiotics. At that point, I really thought she would be OK. So, I go from “out of sight, out of mind” to spending a good portion of the day holding Ally while my daughter gets her to eat as much of the critical care food she could. She had to do the feeding part because Ally would not let me feed her. As I said above, we had a brief moment on Saturday when she walked around more and seemed to be considering her food. Then, we had a scary moment later that day when she seemed wobbly and unable to walk, but then recovered. Yesterday, we gave her her medicine, fed her and went to church. After church we bought some strawberries hoping they would spike her appetite. She ignored them and also refused to take any of the critical care food. She also was breathing hard and wanted to hide from us. We took her to an animal hospital that was 40 minutes from home because they were the only ones who answered and confirmed they could take us right in. Unfortunately, as they took her back, she crashed and did not recover.
I knew I would be sad if this happened, if not because of a connection to Ally, at least because I hate to see my kids sad. It was really hard watching my daughter cry over her lost pet. It’s still hard when I write about it now. What i didn’t expect was to still be sad just because of Ally. I guess those days of helping Jessica feed her made me feel a connection to her that I didn’t have before. I put the cage and the carrier in the basement so we wouldn’t see it and be reminded, but I had to carry some stuff down this morning. It was harder seeing the cage than I expected. I hope I have a while before we have to go through this again. It’s been a hard couple of days.