When you love little animals, you say goodbye a lot. Wendy was my little girl who was escorted to my home a few years ago by a wildlife removal service. Some people in an apartment complex thought they had squirrels in their attic, but what they had was a scared little white rat who had been living feral, taking care of herself as best she could. The removal worker said he thought she had escaped from an apartment nearby where rats like her were being fed to a snake, so she may have been up there for a while since she was full grown (most people who still cling to the arcane and inhumane practice of feeding live rats instead of frozen will feed young rats since adults can (and do) kill snakes.)
She was so frightened the first day she arrived, we put her in the cage I'd set up for her, travel box and all. When she finally ventured out and saw one of my cats walk by, she froze and didn't move a whisker for a full half hour, despite my efforts to console her. Over time she came to accept me as a friend and loved being talked to and petted. I would scratch her little ears and under her arms and she would brux with contentment. She never took to being held, so she was always invited to crawl onto me instead. She was very timid and only actually crawled onto my arms a couple of times, but I considered it quite the compliment when she did. She had a tumor early on, which we had removed. She was spayed at the same time in hopes that it would reduce her risk of mammary tumors and increase the chance that she might be able to join forces with my neutered males who you've seen on this blog before. She remained pretty skittish, so we decided, in the end, to put them in a split ferret nation (read: huge) cage so the rats could see each other, but not get into squabbles or anything. The boys are so rough and tumble, I was afraid they'd overwhelm her and scare the crap out of her.
Anyway, Wendy seemed fine when I sat with her and gave her her afternoon scritches. She was very happy to have her neck scratched and stretched out for all over pets. That night, when Scott went to feed her, she was having severe convulsions. One of her eyes was clearly bulging in a bizarre way, something I have, unfortunately seen in a previous rat--my first one, actually--when he died. Though we didn't have a necropsy done on him, the vet I asked at the time said it was likely a brain tumor that had grown very suddenly, causing massive pressure on the brain. Wendy didn't seem conscious after that, though I tried to get her to take water from a syringe periodically while she was still breathing quietly. She didn't seem to be able to swalllow, so all I could do was wet her lips I was afraid to move her to get help from a vet or even to cuddle her for fear I'd cause her to die in terror, rather than letting her go quietly. Still, I can't think of a worse feeling than watching someone struggle and to be completely helpless to do anything.
On a happier note, I made several of the memorial cards you see at the top of this post, since I was in that sort of mood. They'll be posted in my Etsy shop shortly. Incidentally, all proceeds from the sale of "charity items" in my shop will be going to Carolina Pet Rescue this month. They've had a lot of special needs dogs arrive and can really use the funds.
Also, take a sec and visit For Fun Challenges this week. My smiley flower card (which you need after this depressing post) is featured *and* you can win some nifty prizes if you join in.
And speaking of challenges, I decided to cheer myself up with one that celebrates my favorite color: purple! I used one of my favorite digi stamps by Phindy to make this card. I'm actually quite pleased with the outcome, but then, you can never go wrong with purple and blue together. The challenge I'm entering is at one I visit a lot, the Do You Stack Up challenge. And nothing quite cheers me up like doing challenges. :).