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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