Sad days

Posted in Memorials at 9:19 am by ACR&S

Sorry for the lack of updates – the last few weeks have been filled with unexpected goodbyes, and that always makes me want to avoid writing about things.

On June 11 we lost Honi. We first introduced her here – she was a rescue transfer from the Wisconsin Guinea Pig Rescue – she came to them in late 2007 with numerous health problems, stemming from having spent most of her life having babies in a 12″x12″ opaque tupperware container. After her health problems got under control, we took her in to be a partner to our Sanctuary guy Stinky. They got along great and she seemed to be doing well on her medicine – she loved to try to steal the syringe and run off with it!

On June 10 she was a little more listless than usual, but there was no change in her weight and we assumed it was just one of her usual bouts with gas. We scheduled a vet visit for June 11, but literally 4 minutes from the vet’s office she just lay down and died in her carrier.  Fortunately, she went very peacefully, and showed no signs of distress either before or during her passing.

We got a necropsy done and found that she had extensive lymphatic leukemia – cancer. Literally her only normal organs were her intestines and her thyroid, EVERYTHING else was affected. The vet even remarked that he’d never seen such an extensive metastasis. I like to think that cancer is a win for us; these diseases of old age are not well documented in pigs as they typically don’t live long enough to develop them. I also like to think it speaks well of our standards of care that she had no symptoms and no chance to suffer up to the very end.

Honi was a wonderfully sweet, friendly pig despite everything she went through before she was rescued, and while we miss her, we’re mostly grateful that we got to care for and know her for even this brief time.

On June 25 we got the notice from one of our adopters, Cyndi, that her adopted bunny Dutchess had passed in the night. Dutchess was rescued from the Orange County Animal Shelter in late 2004. On her surrender form, her original owner wrote that she was 7 years old, and had been housed outside in a wire-floor hutch her whole life! She had damage to her toes from the wire, and was also found to have a persistant case of snuffles (an infection of Pasturella in the sinuses). Because of this we figured she’d never be placed, until our friend Cyndi came along in 2005 and wanted to adopt her! She lived an absolutely spoiled life like the royalty she was. She would have been nearly 12 years old if our original information was correct! She is sorely missed by her mom and by everyone else who ever knew her.

On June 26 we had to euthanize Elmer, our oldest and most long-term Sanctuary resident. He was our very first Sanctuary resident, having come to us in early 2003. I blogged about him back in April, when he started having some health issues. We assumed it was his age catching up with him, but his problems resolved and he seemingly went back to normal. In the months since then, however, the effects of his age have been evident. His fur was less soft, he did not groom himself well, and he was much less active. He reminded me very strongly of our first geriatric pig Chuck. They just seem like very old men after a certain point!

Late on June 25 Elmer didn’t want to move at all for his dinner. Normally I put his veggies and pellets right in front of his favorite house, and he didn’t even want to take the few steps to eat. I put pepper right in front of him and he ate it willingly, but it seemed like he was having a lot of trouble with his hind end.  I really expected to lose him within the next few minutes. We gave him some metacam and when still wasn’t moving within a few hours, I was afraid he would linger on without being able to move or eat on his own, so we took him in and the vet helped him go.  Necropsy revealed nothing to cause his weakness, so it was probably just his time. He would have been 10 years old this coming December. I think I might miss him most of any of my recent losses, just because he’s been with me for so very long – it’s hard to think of ACR&S without him.

Unfortunately this is the unavoidable cost of doing rescue when the animals you care for have such limited life spans.  It’s sad, but I’m sad for me, not for them. At least they all were safe and loved.

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