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The recent deaths of friends’ and family members’ pets have me thinking about the recent passing of my guinea pig Gabby.

Gabby was with us for nine years, and despite her critter size, played a huge role in my life. She greeted me every time I walked in the room with her squeaks, and clamored for attention–and food–when I would cut up vegetables. She even squeaked when she heard the sound of a tuna can hitting the counter because she knew celery wasn’t far behind.

We adopted Gabby (Gabriella) with her sister Izzy (Isabella) when they were just days old. They were sisters. Gabby was tiny because Izzy was a bully and would take all of the food. Gabby soon compensated for that–perhaps even over compensated–when she was moved to her own cage and didn’t have to fight Izzy anymore. She grew to be quite a porker–pun intended.

Izzy and Gabby

Sadly, in June I noticed Gabby had cold-like features. She had runny eyes and a sniffly nose. And she had stopped eating and drinking. This came at the end of a extremely trying week in which Paisley had a mysterious pain that resulted in a trip to the ER. Paisley was fine; Gabby was not.

Now, this is the third guinea pig in 12 years that has gotten sick on me. The two times before I rushed to vets, getting instructions to care for them, and nursing them the best I could — giving them meds, hand feeding them, using droppers to give them water. I believed the vets when they said there was a cure. There was not.

So, I should know by now that when a guinea pig shows symptoms of sickness, there’s no saving it. But I called the vet anyway. What I really wanted was for the vet to say yes or no if a guinea pig can survive the symptoms I described. But no, they said they needed to see her. So, because I couldn’t simply let her suffer without a proper diagnosis, off to the vet we went.

Upon seeing Gabby, the vet looked very concerned. At that point, she should have said to me there’s nothing she can do. Go home and let her die in peace. But noooooo. Instead she led me to believe there was hope — like the times before — and suggested a round of tests, medications, special food, and an injection of fluid under her skin because she was dehydrated. That was to the tune of $180.

“OK,” I think. “I can do this. Gabby can do this. She will recover. This time everything will turn out OK.” Read the rest of this entry »