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Old 2007-11-01, 11:48   #1
Xyzzy
 
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Gerbil2 was euthanized last week. It wasn't due to poor job performance. Rather, he had developed a tumor on his abdomen that was inoperable. We had hoped that he would be okay with it for a while but one day he rapidly deteriorated so we did the humane thing and had him euthanized.

Gerbil1 hasn't noticed yet. We suspect gerbils are used to suddenly losing family members in the wild. We have noticed the quality of his work has dramatically improved, probably because he isn't goofing off all the time, like he used to with Gerbil2.

The difficult decision was whether or not to explain the procedure and its implications to our six year old son, who is the primary caretaker of the gerbils. In our childhood, pets disappeared and we never knew why, until much later on. In retrospect we wish we had been told up front instead of having the truth kept from us. We assume the intention was to protect us from mental distress or something.

Our son handled the affair pretty well. We explained the two alternatives, and he reluctantly agreed that keeping the gerbil alive would be selfish and inhumane. It was still a very difficult decision for him and we admit that it was pretty emotional, but we think in the end the right thing was done and that our son learned a valuable lesson about the meaning of life.

We were able to have Gerbil2 gassed asleep temporarily so our son could say goodbye to him and pet him. The actual euthanization was pretty brutal so we didn't let him watch that part. The gerbil was still asleep so as far as we know he didn't suffer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_...neal_injection

Finding a new partner for Gerbil1 is impossible because gerbils will kill any unknown gerbil unless it is from the same litter. In fact, you have to be careful about splitting up a pair because if their smell changes too much they will not recognize each other. We can't remember Gerbil1 and Gerbil2 being apart for more than a few seconds their entire life.



Gerbil2 was the burmese one, on the top of the picture. This picture is pretty old, from around April 2006.
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Old 2007-11-01, 17:17   #2
ewmayer
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Sad to hear about your one-gerbil-less-ness, Mike. But ... shouldn't you have waited for the Supreme Court's ruling on lethal Injection [they recently agreed to take a case on the constitutionality of it] first? [Although I don't think there's gonna be a ruling in that case w.r.to the possible alternative of "let's let the neighbor's cat do the job."]

Just make sure your son fully understands that it's not spelled "Youth in Asia" - we wouldn't want him to develop a lifelong antipathy to Japanese schoolchildren due to this traumatic childhood event.

I didn't know that about the littermate-exclusivity - right brutal little bastards, ain't they?

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2007-11-01 at 17:18
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Old 2007-11-01, 18:34   #3
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Quote:
Sad to hear about your one-gerbil-less-ness, Mike. But ... shouldn't you have waited for the Supreme Court's ruling on lethal Injection [they recently agreed to take a case on the constitutionality of it] first? [Although I don't think there's gonna be a ruling in that case w.r.to the possible alternative of "let's let the neighbor's cat do the job."]
We had hoped to use a CO2 chamber, but our pal, who is an instructor at NCSU's veterinary school, was unavailable. All this happened in the middle of the night so we had to go to an animal urgent care place. (Not that we were looking for an excuse to whack a gerbil, but we did have a contingency plan in case one of them needed to be taken out.)

Quote:
I didn't know that about the littermate-exclusivity - right brutal little bastards, ain't they?
It is probably a species-survival-evolution thing. We've read that you can slowly integrate a new gerbil in, using a split cage, but it isn't guaranteed and then you have the age differences to worry about. We're not sure it is worth the trouble given that Gerbil1 seems to be pretty content with things as is.

http://www.agsgerbils.org/Gerbil_Car...dopt.php#split
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Old 2007-11-03, 23:20   #4
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I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your gerbil.

However, why is this in the forum feedback section?
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Old 2007-11-03, 23:41   #5
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We didn't know where else to put it.

Gerbil2 was a valued member of the mersenneforum.org team. We felt it was appropriate to acknowledge his passing.
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Old 2007-11-04, 04:52   #6
ixfd64
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Your son must have been pretty devastated, though.

But don't worry, Gerbil2 is probably frolicking happily at the Rainbow Bridge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymous
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
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Old 2007-11-04, 14:47   #7
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That "Rainbow Bridge" thing is a nice thought, but our son knows Gerbil2 ended up in a cardboard coffin in the trash and that he is "gone for good".

Naturally, we worded all that very carefully and spent a few hours talking about it.
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Old 2007-11-04, 23:11   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
That "Rainbow Bridge" thing is a nice thought, but our son knows Gerbil2 ended up in a cardboard coffin in the trash and that he is "gone for good".

Naturally, we worded all that very carefully and spent a few hours talking about it.
No offense, but I'm pretty sure you realize that not everybody thinks that physical death means the end of our existence.
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Old 2007-11-05, 00:06   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong View Post
physical death means the end of our existence.
But we are not referring to "our" existence. The subject at hand is that of "Gerbil2".

As homo sapiens, perhaps we WISH that different rules apply.

I think that the reference to "Rainbow Bridge" is quite appropriate.

As I approach yet another anniversary of my birth, it makes me think back to my most loyal friends. Feline though they were, I miss their companionship, and loyalty. I do hope to meet them again as I cross that bridge.

"I grow old … I grow old … I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled."
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Old 2007-11-05, 18:02   #10
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A most excellent poetic reference, Richard.

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
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Old 2008-06-15, 02:05   #11
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This is rather late in posting but we have been a bit busy.

Gerbil1 passed away a few weeks ago, due to the same stomach tumor thing that afflicted Gerbil2.

Our son handled this much better, although he obviously misses him.

We've decided to stick with the Snake for now. They have a longer lifespan although they are incredibly boring to watch the majority of the time. One unexpected benefit is no child we know has a pet snake, let alone one that they care for, so our son is a minor celebrity in his first grade class.

Anyways, we miss Gerbil1 and Gerbil2. We don't know what else to say at this point other than goodbye.

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