Friday, February 24, 2012

Good-bye Alliey

I actually never really new how to spell Allie...was it Allie or Alley?  And so I've spelled it BOTH ways over the time we've had her.

Yesterday I noticed she wasn't looking so hot.  My first clue was she wouldn't take food from me.  My second clue was her food was still in her food bowl an hour later.  Allie never failed to take her food and move it to the bottom of the cage and hide it.  It was her thing.

That evening she was lethargic (she was actually SLEEPING in her little bed...even when I peered in at her...she normally kept a watchful eye with what was going on) and then Rebekah noticed some blood.  I took Alley out and and looked her over.  When I flipped her over and she didn't squirm to get right-side-up, I knew it was serious.  I couldn't really tell where the blood was coming from...just that it was there.  On her face and paws - not a ton, but enough to cause concern.

Rats are prey animals.  This means that they pretty well fake it...unless they can't.  So by the time you figure out they are sick, it is pretty serious and tends to be life threatening.  The way Allie was behaving I knew she didn't have long left.  So I prepared the kids...I told her I didn't think she'd make it through the night.  They wanted me to take her to the vet, but I knew the vet couldn't do anything.  (Well - nothing I'm willing to pay for...but let's not digress here...) 

Rebekah requested we pray for Alley.  So I did.  I asked God to either heal her OR let her go peacefully so she didn't suffer much.  Rebekah wasn't happy with my prayer.  "Why can't God just HEAL her?" she asked.  I didn't have the heart to say "Because I'm kind of tired of rat ownership."  Truth is truth.  I did wonder how God would handle it.

We found Allie in the bottom of the cage - literally with her foot in the air - this morning.  Why do animals do that?  This evening we will be having a funeral.

I'm sad for the kids.  Alley didn't have much personality (in that she wasn't quirky like Marshmallow was) and the kids would periodically take her out and play with her.  They talked to her all the time and while she didn't get much time OUT of the cage, she got lots of interaction.  Even Ruth would play with her by sticking her little chubby fingers in there for Allie to sniff. 

Ever since Marshmallow passed away I had suspected that Alley was lonely.  Rats do better in groups.  But I didn't want another rat because I knew I was done with rat ownership.  (Thanks to lovely welts that would appear every time I handled them...or changed their cage.)  So in that regard - Allie is probably better off.  She isn't lonely anymore.

So now I'm in an emotional pickle.  I'm sad she passed away...but...sorta happy too.  And I just feel terrible about that.  We ARE supposed to be sad aren't we?  I don't think I've ever had a pet before where I was glad they died.  Can I say that?  Ok yes...I am glad she died.  I am sad for my kids though.  They did like her and she was a part of the family.  But now I don't have to mess with her cage or carry around that guilty feeling that she isn't getting enough attention or being properly cared for. 

May I get a fish tank now?

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