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Fun of Having a Pet Tempered by the Day the Pet Goes to Heaven

Having guinea pigs as pets was a great experience, until one of them suffered a sudden demise. . .

Around three years ago, we inherited two guinea pigs from a family who couldn’t care for them anymore.

Though we are not particularly pet people, we grew fond of Ginger and Holly, the two chubby rodents who occupied a large cage in the corner of the room off the kitchen.

Aside from a long-gone beta fish, owning these guinea pigs was my children’s first experience having pets. We learned to feed them, give them water, give them fruit and clean their cage.

We probably didn’t pet them as much as we should have, but we did visit them when they would squeak at us and occasionally took them out to nibble on the grass in our front yard.

Recently, we had another experience most pet owners face: one of our guinea pigs died.

I thought she was just sleeping, but realized she’d gone to guinea pig heaven shortly before it was time to pick up the kids from school.

With somber faces, we wrapped the critter in a kitchen towel and took turns digging a grave in the corner of our back yard, which we covered with rocks.

We held a quiet burial on a sunny weekday afternoon, said a prayer, and made sure the memorial was out of the way of the strip of lawn we used to hit baseballs and kick soccer goals.

“Thank you Lord for teaching us to care for Holly,” we prayed. “We learned some responsibility and had fun petting her. Please take her up to heaven with you where she can play on the grass anytime she wants.”

It seems a little quieter in the room off the kitchen now and it may be my imagination, but Ginger, the remaining guinea pig, seems a little lonely.

“Dear Lord,” I prayed that night. “Please keep Ginger around for a while longer. I really don’t want to have to bury another pet. And I’m even more sure we’re not ready to get a dog.”

Amen.

Elizabeth Moore is the Patch Regional Editor for Essex County.


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Susan Bradley May 22, 2011 at 04:09 PM
Great article, Liz!
Fran Hopkins May 22, 2011 at 06:18 PM
It's true that we become so attached to our pets that the pain of losing them is not an experience you want to repeat. Yet we wouldn't want to miss the experience of loving and being loved by them!
Yenta May 24, 2011 at 06:13 PM
She looks so sweet. Seems like she had a very good life. Sorry for your loss.
Angela Gerken May 26, 2011 at 02:29 PM
Liz, Great article. While I don't look forward to our dog's passing, he brings us to much joy I can't imagine not having him. Best regards, Angie Gerken
Steve Sears May 27, 2011 at 10:56 PM
Liz: Nice post, and sorry to hear about Holly. It reminds me of when I was about 12, and my gerbil Jenny died. I cried all day. Funny thing, sometimes I think in a way I still haven't gotten over it entirely. Steve

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