Wednesday night while I was at work, I got a message from Danielle that our furry, little friend Taffy was acting out of the ordinary. She had noticed after dinner when she normally needs to restock his cage with veggies, that he hadn't really touched the ones there from the morning. She also noticed he wasn't as active as he normally is or even very vocal for that matter.
So, she started to check in on him a little further. She got him out of the cage to let him have a bit of a run around and that was where it became a little more obvious something wasn't quite right. He is usually quite happy to explore around the room while Gord follows him. This time he was lethargic and didn't really explore. Concerned that either something he had been dropped into the cage that he had gotten into (eaten), Danielle stripped the entire cage and put in new fresh everything: food, water and bedding.
After that she spent some time snuggling with him on the couch. Normally he coos, and nuzzles right into Danielle's hand as she pets him. Taffy was pretty much content to stay still and quite and look around occasionally, but his breathing had definitely become more shallow and slower. There didn't seem to be any pain at all as she pet him which ruled out some sort of blockage from having eaten something he shouldn't have. He was just very very slow and content to not really move.
By the time I got home from closing the store, nothing had changed. Danielle and I resigned that if his condition was the same or worse in the morning, we would take him to the vet and get him checked out. She put him back in the cage and off to bed we went.
Danielle had done a little bit of web research and it turns out their life expectancy really is only 4-8 years. When we got him, we (Emelia) heard the 8 years and that was what we focused on. Taffy was just a little over 3 so he was getting close to the age expectancy range, but what we also found out is that they are naturally prey in the while they can mask sickness or old age very well so they are not the one picked by a predator. With this news we started to think that possibly Taffy was approaching old age and passing on. At any rate in the morning we were resigned to having the vet check him out.
The next morning before Emelia was up, Danielle went downstairs to check on Taffy and that was where we got the bad news. Whatever it was that was going on for our faux-hawked little friend had gotten the better of him through the night and he had passed on. Next came the worst part… Having to wake up your daughter to share the bad news.
As expected she was devastated. So was Danielle. Even I was affected as this funny little rodent had made his impact in our of our lives and we weren't really prepared to say goodbye this soon. In fact that was one of the first things Emelia said sobbing as I hugged and consoled her, "I thought we got a guinea pig cause they live longer than hamsters!". Hard to explain to her in this moment that while we don't like it, all living things come to an end.
We moved the cage upstairs so we didn't have to explain things just yet to the daycare kids and then while they were off to the park I found a nice spot in the garden and dug a place for Taffy's forever home. Emelia decorated a box a friend gave Danielle and they had a beautiful little goodbye ceremony in the evening while I was at work.
As much as he really ended up being Danielle's lil guy, the whole house is really feeling the lack of his presence. Especially in the morning when you touched anything that sounded like the bag of veggies and Taffy let you know he was interested in some food!
We'll miss you little buddy, but we're so glad to have had you in our home.