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Archive for October 25th, 2010

A Tribute to Zig

Zig

Zig exploring Andrew's bag.

      On the afternoon of October 12, 2010 my family said good-bye to Zig, our ferret of four years. We gathered around the hole my husband carefully dug in our yard for Zig’s body. Andrew placed his lifeless body, which had been wrapped in a brown shroud, into the hole. Andrew scooped up a small handful of dirt, threw it on top of Zig’s body, and said good-bye. No one spoke as my husband refilled the hole.  Afterwards, we all agreed Zig was probably frolicking in pet heaven with his little buddy Zag, who died two years earlier.

     My family adopted two ferrets three and half years ago from a woman who worked with my mother. Everyone knows that I am very softhearted when it involves animals. My mother’s coworker needed a new home for the ferrets. Apparently, their novelty wore off only after having them for about a month. I had a ferret growing up, so I was definitely interested in adopting them. However, my husband…not so much. Nonetheless, we went to a pet store that sold ferrets to show Andrew what a ferret was all about. He was able to hold it and observe it. We bought a book about ferrets and learned the basics of raising ferrets. A few weeks later, Zig and Zag became part of our family. They were about ten months old.  Our little guys were so much fun. They were very curious, full of energy, and loved to play. 

     Unfortunately, about a year and a half later, Zag died from a tumor rupturing in his spleen. It was a sad time. Andrew took it very hard. Zig lost his buddy and playmate. Soon, we became Zig’s constant playmates. We played hide-and-seek and chased him through his tube. He was always ready to play.

     It was Friday, September 10, 2010,  and I noticed Zig breathing heavy. I scheduled a vet appointment the following Monday. An x-ray was performed that revealed fluid on the lungs and a dark mass. With the fluid on the lungs, the vet could not tell if the mass was a tumor or an enlarged heart. He was prescribed Furosemide, which I had to get filled at Walgreens, to reduce the fluid in his lungs. The next day, we went to see another vet to have an ultrasound done. The ultrasound revealed a tumor, but the vet could not tell which kind. Cells were taken and put on slides. The slides were sent to a lab at LSU Vet School. A few days later, the results revealed it was a tumor, but not lymphoma. There was no good news. Zig was going to die, but we didn’t know when.

     The hardest part about being a pet owner for me is when you have to make the tough decision about when to say “enough is enough.” It took me a month of vet expenses, three meds, and Zig’s steady decline in appetite and weight to let go. It took my breath away the moment he passed away. It was the first time I was in the room when one of our pets had to be put to sleep. My family and I have a rule that someone in our family must be with our pets if they have to be put to sleep. It is the least we can do for them after all the unconditional love they give us.   

     Then comes the hard part…telling your nine-year-old son that his pet has died. Andrew took it really hard. No matter how much I prepared him or myself, it was still so sad. Andrew is happy Zig is no longer suffering. We have a new puppy (will blog about him later) we rescued on 9/30. I told Andrew that maybe God sent Comet since He had to take Zig, and He knew Andrew had so much more love to give. Andrew really loves his new puppy. Comet will not replace Zig, but has made the death easier to accept because he has been so busy with Comet. Andrew asked me not to give away Zig’s cage. So once it is cleaned up, we will put it in the attic. It has been two weeks, and I have yet to clean his cage or throw away his stuff. I know that last step makes it final. And, today… I’m just not ready to make it final.

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

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