Yesterday we said an emotional goodbye to our beloved guinea pig of 4 years. Okay, okay, those of you who know me well or have been following my blog, will be aware that I am not exactly what might be described as an 'animal lover' (see my previous post on this here). Sharpay (named by my then High School Musical-obsessed 6 year old) was quite possibly the ugliest guinea pig I've ever seen - DD2 chose her because she was 'blonde' (aka 'white') like the real Sharpay in HSM! Over the years, she has had various hygiene issues - the worst being her 'crusty nipples' for which we spent hours trawling the internet in search of a cure, giving up when realising that they didn't seem to be causing her any discomfort.
But this little guinea pig, despite numerous tiffs over cleaning the hutch, her not so attractive demeanour and the rather nasty 'crusty nipples', was loved. When the children noticed her somewhat lifeless state yesterday afternoon, DD2 immediately burst into tears - probably my first child EVER to show any emotion over an animal (I have to say that I was actually rather proud!)
As this death coincided with our return from a 2 week holiday, I was incredibly busy; in fact it was downright inconvenient. DD2 wanted to give her a proper burial, whilst I wanted to crack on with the washing and unpacking the food shopping. I wrongly assumed that after a quick cuddle we could all get on with the tasks in hand (told you I was callous!). After about 30 minutes, the guilt set in....I hunted out a shoe box, some pretty material to wrap her in and both girls set about making her a small coffin. DD1 was the only one brave enough to touch the dead critter (if she's serious about wanting to be a vet, these things need to be experienced, surely?!) and the mood lifted slightly.
When the OH got home, all 3 children hurried him out of his work suit and into suitable attire for digging a grave. Between them, they did a lovely job and the OH finished the burial with a little prayer of gratitude for the fun times she had given us over the years (forgetting the numerous times she had been ignored in her hutch for days on end!) They placed some flowers along with a couple of carrots onto the grave and DD2 created a personalised headstone. It was all very sweet.
Then came the questions about whether animals go to heaven. I am of the inclination that they don't, DD2 is adamant that they do - who am I to shatter her dreams? Don't even get me started on the recently created 'pet crematoriums' - what's all that about? Do you think that pets go to heaven? How do you mark the death of a pet in your family? Tell me your stories.....
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