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Friday, May 6, 2011


April 21, 2011 - April 30, 2011

Have I mentioned we've had a rough time lately?  After the deaths of our gerbils Ginger and Miranda, SoundGuy decided our family needed to heal, and to do so, we needed to get two more gerbils.  I'll admit, I was against it.  I thought it was too soon, and disrespecting of the two creatures who had brought so much joy to our lives.  But then I saw the happiness in LittleDude's face at the prospect of two new friends.  He readily, without being asked, broke Ginger and Miranda's cages down completely and thoroughly cleaned them.  He put in new food, new water, and new bedding.  Watching him prepare for the new gerbils, I knew SoundGuy was right.  I was still suffering, but I kept it to myself.

That evening, we brought two new gerbils home:  Apache and Aleu.

Aleu was a tiny little thing.  She was kind of laid back and a beautiful gray color.  She really seemed to take to MiniMe, calmly laying in her hand whenever she took her out of the cage.  We marvelled at how much smaller Aleu was than Apache—we figured she was a lot younger.  We didn't know for sure, though.  They couldn't tell us at the pet store.

On Aleu's final day with us, a mere nine days after we got her, LittleDude brought her to me as we prepared to leave the house for an appointment.  "She's sick," he said.  "She has the same thing Ginger had."

I took Aleu from him and gave her the once-over.  She had the same hunched posture Ginger'd had.  Her eyes were half closed.  But I noticed something we hadn't had with Ginger—dampness and discoloration near her tail.

"It's not the same thing Ginger had," I told him.  "We'll pick up some medicine for her after your appointment."

I tried to look confident, but inside, I was screaming.  Terrified.  After Ginger got sick, I'd started reading up on gerbil illnesses, and I recognized Aleu's symptoms.  I had a feeling then we were going to lose her.

We returned home later that afternoon with medicine from the pet store, but Aleu wouldn't take any.  After we quarantined her in her own little cage, we set up the table and heating pad we'd used for Ginger.  When I went back to check on her, her little body was twitching.  I reached into the cage and was dismayed to find her body temperature had dropped considerably.  I immediately pulled her out and held her against my chest just like I'd done with Ginger nine days before.  I cupped in her in my hands, trying to warm her with my body heat.  I could feel her little heart breathing, the rise and fall of her chest, then...nothing.

She died in my hands.

I knew LittleDude would be devastated.  I knew this, because he's so much like I am emotionally, and I could barely breathe.  In hushed tones, MiniMe and I discussed the fact that we'd only had Aleu nine days.  We were within the pet store's guarantee period.  As callous as it may sound, we decided we would ask for a replacement.

My one big regret is that Aleu is not buried in the backyard under the big tree with Ginger and Miranda.  She's not there because the pet store required we bring her back.  I know they didn't treat her with the same respect we would have.  And I hate that I only got three pictures, two of which are at the top of this post.

Aleu, we only knew you nine days, but we'll never forget you.  Rest in peace, little girl.