Pet of the Day

February 3, 2002

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Rascal, the Pet of the Day
Name: Rascal
Age: Deceased, Four years old
Gender: Male
Kind: Abyssinian, Guinea Pig
Home: Cortlandt Manor, New York, USA
   This is Rascal, who passed away many a year ago. I was about half way done with high school when he died. I had gotten him when I was in Middle school in 1996 and I paid for him with my own allowance money. He was all alone in his cage and let out a loud "weep" when we picked him up. We were lonely for a new guinea pig since our last passed away. This poor "bunny" hardly ever moved when we put him down on the floor to run around. Later we found out why.

    Apparently the pet store where we got Rascal did a really poor job neutering him, so he had problems with that. And when we found that he wasn't eating it was because his front teeth, top and bottom kept on breaking. He couldn't pick up any food to eat! This was because Rascal had scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency. That and why he didn't like to move much was because of his terrible arthritis. He hardly ever "talked" because his trachea was calcified.

Rascal was a wonderful "bunny" and I loved him,so towards the end of his life one day when I came home from school, I found him laying on his side like as if he was dead. I was frantic. He was still alive, and I picked him up and held him for the longest time, crying. My mom told me not to cry because Rascal would know I was in pain. I couldn't help myself.

    Around that time my mother and I had to start feeding Rascal by syringe, chopping up his pellets and basically making them a liquid so he could eat. My mother and I fed him three times a day plus his medicine and water - all that through syringes. My bird, Ricky Ricardo, or just Richard, was there for Rascal too. He was in the guinea pig's cage more than his own!

    There's a song that reminds me of Rascal, because I was learning how to play it in Orchestra while he was sick. It's Pachelbel Canon in D. During school in my music class I would break down in tears right in the middle of the song because I thought of Rascal and how much pain he was in. But when I would get home from school, I would do my homework on my bed, where the sun shone in the afternoon and I would treat Rascal to some sunbathing. It probably felt good for him and his arthritis.

    Rascal was so thin from his diseases that he could put all 4's of his feet together no sweat when he scrunched up. Because of all the time and effort my mother and I put into Rascal he seemed to get better one day. I was cleaning his cage and he was walking around my floor, eating birdseed (the only thing he could eat on his own) and then he traveled out into the hall, which he never did before! He walked to my brother's room, looked around, then across the hall to my mother's room and "weeped," then headed back to my room where we cooed at him for doing that.

    Unfortunately, that summer my mother, brother and I went to California, leaving my dad with Rascal. Rascal died while we were away. And it didn't seem so bad as far away as I was. Well, it hit when I got home and saw an empty spot where his cage was. It hit really hard. Occasionally I still cry over him, but more so of another whom has died more recently. I still remember the feeling of Rascal's fur when I would run my hand back and forth on his back. And I suppose that's all that counts; that I love him. Yes, I still do. I always will love him.

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