At the risk of making this the saddest place on the internet, I have another memorial post for another pet. Five weeks to the day of losing Amelia, we lost our hedgehog Molly. We got her when she was around one year old. The girl that had her had recently gotten a kitten that spent its free time attacked Molly’s cage. She was also a smaller hedgehog with a little crooked nose, she was most likely the runt of a litter.
She lived by herself in a huge cage, but was nice enough to share her space if the need arose–which it did from time to time. She shared her housing with Amelia, the guinea pig that we lost a few weeks ago. They shared the hut all the way from Texas to Oklahoma. After that they would hang out a little from time to time.
|Molly is sleeping in the back as her and Amelia ride out our move.|
Always a happy little hedgehog unless you work her up during the day, then she would grumble, rumble, and curl up. Our dog would always run to where her cage was before we went to bed to tell her good morning and make sure we fed her. Her reaction to losing her was almost as sad as losing Molly.
A few days ago, Molly got sick, we tried to get her feeling better and eventually took an emergency trip to the vet. She was losing weight, slightly dehydrated, and not eating. The Vet gave us some quick weight gain stuff, antibiotics, and a baby food hourly feeling.
Attentively every hour, I gave her a little baby food with a syringe. She was showing some improvement by 4 yesterday morning, which was worth a little hope. Unfortunately, she was not to recover. I fed her at 11 last night, got her cleaned up from the residual baby food and she smacked down and seemed to like. I was on the couch next to where we had her wrapped up and decided to get her up and see how she was doing. She grumbled a little, but relaxed and let me scratch her belly.
She was on my chest when she stopped breathing. It took awhile to be able to go upstairs and wake up my wife. Our dog had to get on the couch and look into the little box where we had put her. Her reaction delayed us leaving for a few more minutes. So, in the middle of the night, we took her and laid her to rest next to her traveling companion.
Another tale of a rescued pet living out its life with us in comfort that is not meant to sadden but to reflect on what small pets can mean to people. It is especially difficult when you work so hard to help them get better, only to have them not make it. Being there when life disappears from a body, has been the one thing that I have never hardened myself to. But, I was with her until the end and she was comfortable, which I guess is the best you can hope for in such a situation. She was resting peacefully when she died, and I hope that she will continue to be so.
Hopefully, Molly’s passing will be the last one for a while, another problem we have is that most of our small mammals are the same age, so they will all be getting old and infirm at the same time. Most of them probably wouldn’t have lived as long as they have elsewhere, but that is little comfort when they do pass.
That being said, don’t get small pets to teach children responsibility, give them chores or a job, or something. For some they are just pets, expendable, exchangeable. But for us, they are a part of us, a part of life, and when that life is extinguished, by illness or old age, there is an unspeakable loss that logical thinking deems silly, but emotional responses claim otherwise.
I cannot express how physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted I am. My wife went in to teach her class today and I went in to work for a bit, but this has been taxing on both of us. Knowing she is with Amelia is about as much comfort as we have–and that is better than none. Definitely makes one think about what Hope was doing in Pandora’s box with all those other horrible things—to have it and have it shattered–is that worse than not having any at all? At the time, maybe not, but it’s still painful–and there are so many cute pictures of happy hedgehogs that go around facebook, it’s going to hard to avoid.