There’s nothing worse than trying to go to sleep with a dead pet in the house. How am I going to tell the children?
Sophie told me, by refusing to come out from under the bed for most of the day. A couple minutes ago I looked under there and said, "Why are you staying under the bed all day?" and she looked back at me and said, telepathically, "Because the pig is dead, you nitwit." I knew in that instant she was right. I looked over in the corner and there she is, in her brand new cage, dead.
Okay, so now I’m weeping and wailing here. Rich is away on business until tomorrow evening, McCloud is on the kitchen counter, taking full advantage of the situation and thinking I won’t hear him eating Sophie’s food, Sophie is under
the bed and Millie is kaput.
Millie is the last in a line of undistinguished guinea pigs my children have had. When Abby asked me for another guinea pig in middle school I said sure because it was certain that I wouldn’t be stuck caring for it after she left home. They only live about about three years.
Millie has lived more than seven. Today is the first day in seven years that she did not eat her carrot. There is one little nibble off the end that she must have had early this morning when I first put it in there and said good day to her. She was quiet all day (I guess because she was probably, according to Sophie, dead for most of it) and now that I think of it, I guess she didn’t say "weep,weep,weep" much yesterday either.
In my wildest dreams I won’t get to die like Millie. Ancient, content and peaceful to the end. No way will I be allowed to just slow down in the final 2 days of my life, roll over on my side with my little feet stuck out and die. Millie gets to die like this because she has been an extraordinary, albeit undistinguished, creature of pure and simple heart. Millie has always been grateful for attention- delighted to be cuddled- but quite content to mind her own head of lettuce. She has never once, not one time, been a stitch of bother. She has always made happy sounds. She has been a hardcore vegetarian. She knew when Dan came in the house and called to greet him even when he had been gone for months. She let Sophie sleep with her when Sophie first came from the shelter and was lonely for her cage mates. She never bit once, never even nipped. She had beautiful black and butterscotch cowlicks.
Now I’m just sitting here dripping mucous into my keyboard. Dear Lord, that pig was easy to love. Let her have all the romaine and frisee she wants, please.
I have to go put her and her new cage in the other bedroom and shut the door. Tomorrow I’ll have to tell the kids and figure out what to do with her. This is terrible. Come to think of it, now for the first time, she’s a bit of a bother. I guess, under the circumstances, she’s excused.