Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Love and Loss

Sir Bruce taken 7/1/12
It is always hard losing a member of the family - furry or not. Yesterday we found our sweet guinea pig, Sir Bruce, had passed away during the night. Mr. Bruce was found at a local petstore near our home last November. He was very young when he contracted a severe ear infection. He was healed at the time, however, he had a permenant head tilt as a result of it. When we found him, our hearts just fell in love with him. He was quite energetic and even though he was not a "normal looking" pig, he was all we wanted. We adopted him a couple of days before my birthday.

We were lucky to be able to travel with him and the rest of the pigs during many trips we have taken to Michigan and through it all, Mr. Bruce was always full of energy and excitement. He enjoyed many trips outside to eat on fresh grass, he ran through my mini garden on our porch and snuggled every night when the boyfriend wanted to play videogames or watch movies.

Mr Bruce always showed so much life, however his health was never where it should have been. He had a severe skin condition, called Mange, that we discovered shorty after bring him him from the pet store. Not only was his skin condition quite bad, but he would pull his hair out or create sores on his back. Regardless of it all, he was still happiest when eating his favorite foods (of the garden variety) like celery, carrots, lettuce, potatoes, timothy hay, apples or anything green and leafy.
Mom, can I have snacks too please!
The last couple of months, however, Mr Bruce, health had started to go downhill. His skin got worse and seemed that no matter what we did, he was always in pain and he was starting to have seizures - not just here and there- but weekly. Bathing became a time of torture for Sir Bruce and even after quite a few vet trips, it seemed that Mr Bruce was never going to be the full of energy pig that we once had known. He always kept a cheerful face, but he wanted to snuggle more in the towel and sleep. Some of the most restful sleep he had was outside of his cage- in our laps with the towel.

Saturday, after speaking with the vet and a couple of other pig owners, we decided that maybe we should try some natural methods to help with his skin condition. We searched and found Tea Tree Oil, per the vet to try to help relieve some of the issues he had with his skin. However it did not seem to do much good. Mr Bruce still screamed out in pain and at this point, his seizures started to increase from daily to a couple of times a day. Holding him, I knew his heart was working twice its speed. His breathing had increased and his hours of sleep had become few and far between.

Snacking during the car ride!
 Yesterday started out pretty typical. After the boyfriend left, I got up to make breakfast. The guinea pigs give their usual squeals begging for breakfast. However, yesterday morning, they were not so energetic. I went around feeding each pig. Then, I walked up to Mr Bruce's cage - peered in to see him laying lifeless on his side, by his half-full food bowl, finally getting his restful sleep. My baby was gone. I lost it.

It is hard to describe the kind of joy a pet brings to you. Unless you own one, you really do not understand. It is truly like losing a family member. The happiness that Sir Bruce brought to our lives is priceless. My family tells me that by bringing him home, I prolonged his life that much more than he would have had. I know, without a doubt in my mind, I loved him and I still do.

We wrapped Sir Bruce up with some of his favorite snacks, of the garden variety, and placed him in a cigar box, well wrapped to keep him warm. We buried him in a deep grave yesterday at my aunt's house - under a young oak tree's shade. I know Sir Bruce would have loved this spot and I know wherever he is, he has a ton of salad fixings and the most peaceful sleep he can have - one without pain.

Sir Bruce 2011-2012