Ok here we go... A lot has been going on, but I want to start with the really important stuff. We lost two of our beloved furry friends. Not unexpected, but dreaded for a long, long time.
After reading what I wrote in the following I must say that I kind of rambled on and on... So if you are not interested in animals, their medical conditions etc. please skip the whole post!! Otherwise it will be very boring for you.
On the 2nd of October, we had to put Hermine to sleep because she had a huge bladder stone that made her uncomfortable and no doubt achy. The bladder stone was the final straw that broke the camel's back. She had been through so much in her life and we decided, that we would not put her through the ordeal of an operation which would have been so very risky, especially because Hermine was really old. We got her from an animal shelter years ago, shortly after she gave birth to 6 little rabbits. She was exausted and emaciated to the bone. God knows what people did to her before she came to us. Over the years she developed a chronic cold and always sneezed and coughed up a lot of slimy stuff. Nonetheless, she was quite happy so we carried on.
A few years later, she aquired a kind of parasite which is quite common with rabbits and cats. Those parasites reside within the brain and literally turn the animal's whole world around. Dumbledore had the same parasites once, but showed symptomes very early and we were able to act on it as soon as he tilted his head in a peculiar fashion. Hermine showed no such signs but all of a sudden started writhing and banging her head on the floor, the walls, everything....It was very, very scary and I'll spare you the details. Very miserable weeks followed where I stayed at home nearly all the time. It was a gigantic wonder that she survived the whole thing, only one hind leg stayed crippled, but she could run as fast as ever with that leg.
So why not put her to sleep earlier, you ask? Our rule is: If the animal wants to eat and drink and shows signs of pleasure and joy, we carry on. We survey them very carefully and constantly and step in when they show us that they want to leave. Should they not be able to go on their own, we/the vet help and put them to sleep.
Hermine was quite the fighter, she was brave and strong and amazed us with her unbreakable will to live. We miss her very much but know that she is well now, with intact legs and free of pain. Goodbye Herminchen, we love you and will never forget you!
On the 14th of October we lost Emma. Although we knew for months that the day was drawing closer, it was very hard. We love all of our animals equally but there is a difference between losing a very old animal and putting a young one that never had a chance to sleep. We took Emma and Ruth from people who bought them as a present for their children. Predictably, the "toys" became boring one day and only meant work. While Ruth seemed to be in good condition, Emma chewed in a funny fashion, sliding her lower jaw very fast to one side. We took her to the vet who discovered that some molars nearly grew together and caged the tongue in. The molars and incisors of rabbits and guinea pigs steadily grow their whole life. Usually the animals keep their teeth short by chewing crude fibers like hay and gnawing on twigs and other stuff. Sadly, Emma seemed to have had those overgrown teeth for so long that she already was a bit too thin and her jaw was in malposition. We had to have her teeth treated constantly every few weeks. Additionally she had issues with her thyroid gland which we tried to treat medicinally.
As usual we carried on as long as Emma was happy despite her many issues. She was a particularly smart guinea pig. Emma was what we like to call "a user of hands". Guinea pigs normally do not use their hands to hold food like you see squirrels do it. Emma used her paws to angrily smack you on the fingers when you tickled her chin and she liked to pull instruments the vet used out of her mouth. She could do chin-ups to escape any enclosures so that you would find her running towards you when you went into the kitchen or living room. I could go on and on about her smartness and sweetness, so just rest assured: Emma was a hoot! We miss her so very much and are so sad because the time with her was short. But we are happy for her, now she can eat without pain and hopefully is really chubby now =) We are sure she met Erik, who left us several years ago and also was a user of hands! Farewell dear Emma, until we meet again.
This picture shows Emma in her "munching-box". We used to feed her extra food away from the other oinkers, so she could sit and eat in peace as she ate very slowly. It looks like she is actually smiling =)