Irreplaceable

A couple of days ago I wrote about how my chinchilla was sick and had needed medical attention. Yesterday, I had to make the dreaded decision to put him to sleep.

I had brought him in to the vet’s office in the morning. During the entire car ride there, he had both his front paws on the rails of his travel cage whilst staring at me. I put my hand near the cage so he could sniff me and so I could feel his soft fur again. It seemed like he knew what was to happen that day and he was reassuring me that no matter the outcome, everything would be okay. I could remember his comforting stare as I handed his travel cage to the technicians who would bring him into the pre-surgical area.

At around noon, the vet had given me a call to tell me the damages done to his inner organs were far too serious to be repaired. Snowball would not live a normal, happy, pain-free life if we were to continue with the surgery. He suggested we let him go while he was still under anesthesia so he would not feel any pain when he woke. It seemed like time stood still as I held my cell phone close to my ear. I had been hoping for good news from the call and wished that the vets would find what was wrong with him. I forced myself to say a simple “Okay. Let’s go with that.” I couldn’t even say the words to the vet that I agreed with the euthanizing of my beloved pet but instead I just said enough for him to understand my intentions.

About an hour later, the vet called again and said after they put him to rest, they did some exploring as to why this had happened. He told me that he found a 1cm by 0.5cm hairball that was blocking the intestinal tract. This hairball caused the 5 – 6 other wounds in his gastrointestinal tracts that would eventually form adhesions connecting his other organs together. This was what had caused the blockage that wouldn’t allow him to pass anything through. He had stated that rodents ingest hair more often than not from cleaning themselves, but usually hay would push the hair through their system. I had explained that Snowball has always been eating a lot of hay as part of his diet. The vet then added that even in some cases, this is unpreventable and chinchillas do leave us from this.

When I walk by Snowball’s cage, I know he won’t be in there jumping and running around. In the mornings, I won’t be saying good morning to my baby as he wakes up to eat his breakfast. When I return home from work, he won’t be there to greet me near the edge of his cage, begging for a tummy rub or ear scratch.

Snowball became a part of our family, a part that none other can replace.

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Part of the family

I received my chinchilla, Snowball, from a friend a little over a year ago. At that time he was already 8 years old; typically chinchillas live to 10 – 12 years. He was timid, shy, and scared of everything around him. He would sleep with his eyes half opened as a sign of protecting himself. Whenever we tried to pet him, he would run to hide in his timothy hay bungalow. We bought him a new 2 story cage with 2 separator levels which gave him a total of 4 levels to jump and prance around. He’s given plenty of hay, pellets, and water daily so he can become the happiest chinchilla he could be. Since the summer gets pretty hot where I live, we put ice around his cage and blow a fan so that he won’t get a heat stroke from the warm temperature. He grew to be a part of the family. Every one would say good morning to him when we walked down the stairs to the kitchen. When we walked up the stair back into our bedrooms, we would open up his cage and give him a good pet, sometimes giving him a scratch under the ear – where he liked it most.

Throughout this year, he became happier and gave us joy every day. He would sleep with his eyes fully closed and in various funny positions which included him being on his side with all 4 legs extended. He would want us to give him a pellet every day by hand before dumping the rest of the feedings into his food bowl.

But a couple weeks ago, he suddenly stopped eating. He also didn’t produce any feces either. Chinchillas produce feces every 1 to 2 minutes and will poop anywhere and everywhere. So obviously this was the first sign of illness. This concerned us as chinchilla’s health can deteriorate at a fast pace. After multiple trips to the vet, we finally diagnosed that he had G.I. stasis – when his gastrointestinal tracts don’t move and hence not allowing him to pass his food. He would be bloated and feel like he’s not hungry. X-rays showed that he had huge amounts of gas in his system – like all rodents- but his were more than usual. I asked the vet what may have caused this, and he said sometimes we will never find out. G.I. stasis also occurs in a lot of older chinchillas, and Snowball’s age is getting up there.

Currently, he’s receiving medication from the vet once every couple days to try and get his intestinal tracks to begin moving again. I just wish he would be healthy again. Pets become a part of our lives and a part of our families. We may often take them for granted and think they’ll always be there, but they won’t. They have lifespans as well, and will one day leave us. They cannot advocate for themselves and it is up to us, their humans, to do so.

This experience makes me think about any relationship one may have. Whether you’re close friends, or acquaintances, anyone can one day leave you. Or, it could be the other way around and you leave them. If you cherish the relationship and the times, good and bad,  you have, don’t be delayed to let them know. A small appreciative note, a card, or a simple hug can show your appreciation.

Snowball, I just wish for you to get better and be the happy, healthy, jumping chinchilla that you were a couple weeks ago. I pray that God will put his hand on you and heal you because I’m not quite done giving you belly rubs and ear scratches just yet.

Missing someone never hurt so bad

Tonight was a rough night.

I found out that missing someone doesn’t depend on how much time you’ve spent with them before compared to how much you spend with them now. It doesn’t matter how ever long you’ve known them. It doesn’t matter if you spend countless hours on the phone,  texting,  or sending snail mail to each other.

The feeling of missing someone is when there are moments where you wish they were there  experiencing life right beside you.