Weekend Loss

From the Heart

I had a really long post written in detail explaining everything that happened to us this weekend. I’ve decided to cut to the chase and give you the Reader’s Digest version.

Friday night Pip, one of our new guinea pigs, died in Emma’s hands. We believe she must have been ill when we bought her. It was a horrible experience and absolutely broke our hearts. Later that night, Steve and I agreed we could smell what seemed to be a dead animal. We followed the smell to our stove vent and believed it may be Tilly, our lost hamster.

So, Saturday morning I took Emma to gymnastics, then headed to the pet store to return our dead guinea pig. During which time Steve would be in charge of taking apart the stove vent to see what was in it.

At the pet store, I handed the guinea pig, who was wrapped in a lovely cloth napkin, placed in a tiny box, and tied up in daisy ribbon, to the sales clerk. I was shaking and trying my hardest not to cry. They asked if I wanted to exchange it for another. I told them no, and they said, “Have a nice day,” and I left.

Emma insisted that we never buy another animal from a pet store again! Done. Then, the text from Steve confirming that Tilly was dead in the vent so he removed her, and cleaned the area. Done again. As I cried the rest of the drive back to gymnastics, I worried about telling Emma.

She and I talked about it all the way home, and I was happy that Emma found a lot of peace knowing what happened to Tilly. She was safe and warm and probably fell asleep and died when she became starved and dehydrated. For me, not as much peace, but that’s the long version. Emma has proven herself to be a lovely and graceful young woman through this entire experience. I have proven myself to be a cry baby who is struggling to get over it all. Heavy sigh…

Anyway, since the Friday night loss of her sister, our other guinea Shelby has been sitting in her little sheepskin cozy, looking very sad. I wasn’t sure if we should leave her alone or to engage her. I was really worried that she wasn’t eating or drinking.

Guinea pigs are herd animals and need to live with other piggies. I know we have to get her a companion but really, the last thing I want right now is another animal. We need to be brave, so we’ve filled out an application to adopt a friend for our darling baby girl. During the adoption process, the agency sent us information about helping our surviving piggy in their grieving process. One, I was happy to feel validated that they really do grieve, and two, I was thrilled to have someone tell me what to do. Following the advice, I moved everything around in her cage and moved the cage to a busier area in the house. I took her out and held her and fed her by hand. This inspired her to eat more and she even started to play with her little jingly ball. She still hadn’t had any water.

This morning we took Shelby to a wonderful vet near our house and he said she was fine. He told us we were doing everything right with her care, and assured us she was not dehydrated. He said she would get water from all the veggies we’ve been hand feeding her. Later today, Emma started giving Shelby water from a baby medicine dropper and she drank 5ml of water. As of about 5 minutes ago we saw her drinking from the water bottle in her cage!

We have restored hope and feel like we, in a silly way, all came out of the woods together! We are going to be ok. We will survive the heart break of loss over the weekend.

Now, we are really getting excited about our new baby, and what she will be like. I know the folks at the Cavy Haven adoption center will find just the right sister for Shelby. We’ll keep you posted.


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Just a girl, on a journey. Thankful for love, thankful for friends and family, and thankful for forgiveness. Full of passion, conviction and hope.

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