Thursday, November 03, 2016

R.I.P. Jacob

Today we sent one of our rodent gang on his journey across the rainbow bridge.

Writing this post is difficult. But not as difficult as the choice we had to make this morning.

I planned to explain soon about how Jacob has been back and fourth to the vet a few times with the same issues, and each time we think he's getting better, but then he's suddenly a mess again, and worse than he was before. I'd actually planned to do tomorrow's Furkid Friday post all about Jacob's continued health issues. Instead I find myself writing a post about how we had to say, "Goodbye," to one of our babies today.

He was losing weight, even though he was eating. He was covered in nasty sores, which were obviously causing him pain, yet he continued to scratch and bite at himself, causing more sores. He was also depressed, and showed no interest in playing any more.

It started, as those who have been following my blog for a while may remember me mentioning a few months back, when we lost one of our gerbils, Bilbo, back in April. The gerbil and degu cages have been side by side ever since we got the gerbils, and Jacob and Bilbo used to sit with only the bars of their cages seporating them from one another, talking together. I don't care what anyone says; I don't care if you don't believe me. They were talking to one another. Bilbo would even come scrambling up to that spot if Jacob was there first and called out. They sat there for ages, and Jacob was devostated when he lost his gerbil pal. He was even more upset then than he had been when we lost our Westie, Kero, a couple of years ago, and he was depressed for a while after that too. I don't think it helped Jacob that our remaining gerbil, Baggins, was only interested in offering Jacob comfort during the first couple of weeks after Bilbo died, and afterwards showed no interest at all in him; even though Bilbo was Baggins' brother, Jacob seemed to take it harder, and struggled to get over it, even after Baggins had moved on.

Before I continue... For the benifit of new readers, I should explain that Jacob was one of a group of four degu brothers. The names of all four are: Jacob, Jasper, Jenks, and Joshua. We've had all four since they were really young, and they've never ever been apart.

At least, they hadn't until we lost Jasper a couple of months after Bilbo died. At that point Jacob got worse, and that's when the theory of it being stress related was presented. Of course, it didn't help that Jacob also bit the inside of his mouth and got an infected cut in his mouth from doing so around that time too. Still, the treatment seemed to help at first, and he started to improve. But then we lost Jenks too, and Jacob was suddenly worse than he'd ever been before.

To cut a long story short, Jacob wasn't responding to the antibiotics very well. Sure, they were clearing up infections whenever he got those, and the cut in his mouth healed, but he was getting more stressed out, so biting and scratching at himself worse than ever. There were a couple of other things they could try. But all those things would cause him even more stress, which wasn't ideal given that stress seemed to be a trigger for him. The stress was also causing him to lose a lot of weight, despite continuing to eat well. He'd lost around 80 grams (a little over three ounces) in the last three months. That's not a good thing for something as small as a degu... He weighed 130 grams (a little over five ounces) during his final weigh-in.

We didn't want to put him through more; couldn't watch him continue to suffer and get worse. So we did what we thought was best for him, and said, "Goodbye."

We'll miss him. His remaining degu brother, Joshua, will miss him especially. But, as much as it hurts to say our goodbyes, we all know it would hurt more watching him continue to suffer. So we let him go.

R.I.P. Jacob
March 9th 2013 - November 3rd 2016.

Goodbye, Jacob Buddy... We miss you already.

8 comments:

Jeanie said...

Oh Tori, I'm so very sorry. I know how much you loved him and what good care you took to make him as healthy and well as you could, and how hard that final decision had to be. I believe with all my heart (and from seeing Gypsy when Stimpy died) that animals grieve. And I would think all the more so, when never having been apart. You're spot on here.

I send wishes for peace and healing your way. And a shoulder for tears.

Victoria Zigler said...

Thanks, Jeanie!

Intense Guy said...

Poor little J dude. At least when he crossed the bridge, his buddy Bilbo was waiting for him with both a Cheerio and a Frosted Shreddy.

Danielle L Zecher said...

I'm so, so sorry for your loss. That's one of the hardest decisions to have to make as a pet parent. It's also one of the most loving decisions we ever make for them.

It sounds like you definitely did the right thing. I hope your entire family, furry and human, can find some comfort.

Victoria Zigler said...

Iggy:
Yes. I'm sure Bilbo was waiting right there to greet him, along with Jasper, Jenks, and Kero. They probably had a feast of his favourite nibbles waiting for him.

Victoria Zigler said...

Danielle:
Thank you! I'm most worried about his remaining brother, Joshua, and how he'll cope being all alone for the first time in his life. Baggins is still in a cage right beside him, and the rat and chinchilla cages are in the same room, so he'll be able to hear them even if he can't see them (I'm not entirely sure how far a degu can see). So hopefully their presence gives him some comfort and helps him cope being alone.

Rita said...

Poor guy! Yes, sometimes it is better to let them go than to put them through even more stress. Sorry to hear that *love and hugs*

Victoria Zigler said...

Thanks, Rita!