Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Tribute on a Sad Day

It is difficult for me to write this post because I am a huge lover of animals and think they are the coolest things God ever created.

As I have often mentioned, we adopted a rat from the Humane Society last November. She was 5.00 and Jaimey had her money and research completed. We felt she was capable of taking care of a pet and the fact that she educated herself on their care made us feel good about the decision. We haven't regretted it. She has been an amazing 'mama.' Her rat was fondly named "Sophie."

I know it sounds a little ridiculous but Sophie has given our family a lot of joy and a lot of humor. I always remember her snacking on the marshmallow wreath we were making at Christmas - so funny! She is a very sweet little thing, loves to be held and yes, cuddled. She enjoys carbs and treats immensely. I admit, she scares many of our friends who aren't exactly rodent friendly, myself originally included. I was terrified when we first got her but by the 2nd day I was in love with her.
She traveled to California and Idaho this summer with us and really loved it, especially the hotels :)

Jaimey loves her and sings lullabys to her, reads her books and plays school with her. She includes her in just about everything, including running errands! She plays books on CD for Sophie when she is gone. Sophie sits on Jaimey's lap with her at breakfast and the two share their meal together. I know, I'm crazy to allow it but today I'm glad I did!

While in California I noticed a bit of change in Sophie, mainly her appetite seemed to be decreasing. I figured because she isn't crazy about her seed maybe she was just done with it. We supplemented her with blueberries, peas, mashed potatoes, etc. She seemed to respond somewhat.
We got home and then 2 days ago I noticed more decline in her eating and drinking. Also, she was becoming lethargic. Finally, last night I was scared we were going to lose her because her lethargy and weight loss had become significant. Also, her eyes were beginning to excrete a reddish type of mucus which I cleaned throughout the night. I got on the internet and did a bunch of research on her symptoms. Thinking I found the answer (a cold or respiratory ailment) I decided we should get her to a vet even though it was Sunday. Rats can decline very quickly so I didn't want to be negligent. My friend recommended the walk in emergency care clinic and so we headed there.
So far, Jaimey was trying to be optimistic and positive which I appreciated but inwardly I was quite concerned.

Anyway, after an exam with a most lovely vet, (seriously her empathy was out of this world) Dr. Rachel declared she had discovered a large tumor in Sophie's tummy. Rats are extremely prone to tumors so it is not an unusual condition. It is something however that is basically incurable and continues to grow and cause increasing discomfort for the rat. Her decline had been rapid and the symptoms she was experiencing indicated a level of discomfort that was not good for her. The vet strongly urged us to make the decision to put her out of her suffering.

I couldn't believe it but dear Sophie had to be put to sleep today and we cried our eyes out, including the dear vet.

It is a loss I feel very significantly because she brought both Jaimey and Will a huge amount of joy and entertainment. Heck, she brought me plenty as well.
I think emotions are heightened when they affect your children. I was really proud of Jaimey but my heart was breaking for her. It is the part of parenting I have never looked forward to ( you know, all that hard stuff :) and in the midst of 10 minutes I was staring straight into it's ugly face.
So here is Jaimey crying terribly while making a very brave decision. I can't tell you how blessed I was to see her compassionate spirit shine through as she wanted the best for her little pet.
She told myself and the vet that although she loved Sophie she would rather have no pet than see her suffer. She said that Sophie would always be in her heart and that she would never forget her. She made the decision that she wanted little Sophie to be placed in a little box so we could bury her at home.
I know people could read this and laugh at the absurdity of all the attention placed on a rodent but it is different when she belongs to your child, when you see the joy it gives them.

Jaimey's dear daddy and brother prepared a spot in the back yard for her.
Dear Lord, please don't let our dogs dig her up! We put some of her favorite little blankies with her and said a little prayer together. Poor Will was inconsolable. Just a terrible day and I'm crying again as I write this.

In the midst of this sad event I find myself thankful for these little children that have been put in my care. I am thankful for their love and empathy for God's little creatures. Jaimey told me through her tears, "Don't worry Mom, I am going to try and be very brave." I told her she didn't have to be brave. She could feel free to grieve as much as she needed to. She could be honest in her feelings and not feel she had to be strong in the midst of the sadness. It was OK to feel.

This is my first experience of dealing with the loss of a pet with my children involved so I am struggling with it.

Jaimey and I had been planning to go see Beezus and Ramona today before all this went down. I hate to say it but I still offered her the option of going and she accepted. We decided it would be something we could share together and enjoy for a bit. We had a special time together, just us which I think was important.
She has decided that she wants to do something special to honor Sophie's memory with all of us but Jaimey is still unsure what she wants to do.

Bless you dear Sophie, thank you for bringing lots of joy to this house. You will be missed and always remembered. Be at peace.

By the way, did I mention Will is saving for a hamster? I am going to steal his money.

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