Death of a Pet

Yesterday when she went to feed the degus, DC noticed one of them had collapsed. Shadow wasn’t breathing much, and he wasn’t moving at all. I came home from a trip to Bangor to assess the situation. Was there a vet we could take him to? How did things look? But it didn’t take much examination to know he was in a pretty bad spot.

When we woke up this morning, Shadow had died.

When we bought the degus seven years and a half years ago, we did it fully aware that they typically live six to eight years. That seemed like a long time at the time, but here we are. Tomas was eight when we bought them. A year later, we discovered Shadow and Shooting Star weren’t two boys, but a boy and a girl, and we had baby degus that followed. (We solved that problem soon after.) Reading over those posts reminds me of how much fun we had with them over the years. I’d completely forgotten DC had named the baby degus (including the one who’d crawled up my sleeve and into my shirt, who was dubbed “Mischip,” because DC had trouble saying “Mischief”).

These days, they’re much more DC’s pets than they are Tomas’s. She was very distraught to see one in such pain. It all came to light after MC had already gone to bed, so MC found out this morning. Sad times all around.

We won’t be getting a replacement degu. We still have Shooting Star left, and we’ll take good care of her, even if she might be a bit lonely. Losing pets is never easy. I remember each of the ones I’ve lost over the years. Just because they’re smaller doesn’t mean it has any less of an impact. I do think it’s important to go through the process, though. To learn how to deal with loss. (Of course, when we bought the degus, I didn’t suspect my kids would have to deal with the loss of a grandparent long before they dealt with the loss of a degu . . . )

In any case, it was a pretty somber mood around my house this morning. Believe it or not, I have a pretty soft spot for pets. (My original dream job was to own a pet store, back in the day. That never materialized somehow . . . ) We’ll have to pick out a good spot for Shadow to be buried. Maybe someplace with a good view, where Shooting Star can see him.

Good-bye, Shadow. You’ll be missed.

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