Goodnight, little Slumber...

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Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by mockingbird on Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:51 pm

We took Slumber in to the vet this morning.

We had the weekend with her. She did her best to eat, but would only eat corn and blueberries. That's it, nothing else, not even her beloved boiled eggs was appetizing to her. She only ate the corn or blueberries when we hand fed it to her, she wouldn't get it on her own. She ate a little dry oatmeal on Saturday, but nothing else like that the rest of the time. Last night, we had the last rattie play time with her and I fed her corn kernel after corn kernel. She finally had enough energy to attempt to run with the rest of the ratties. She slept a lot and then would try to play again. Finally, she rested and Ghost curled around her while the other ratties played.

This morning, she seemed a bit more alert, but didn't want to eat or move from her bandana hammock. Ghost came and rested with her and when we lifted Slumber out of the hammock, Ghost was still there. We let Slumber nose-touch Georgia Rose, Hildegard and Desperado. All of them were so gentle with her. We let the other ratties curl with her one more time and then we left to go to the vet.

The vet and the technician at Rice Hope Animal Hospital in Savannah were absolutely wonderful. We arrived before the vet did, so the tech took care of us until the vet arrived. We explained how Slumber was and she agreed that she had lost a lot of weight and that her breathing was even more labored than before. She explained with the little guys that they use an areochamber to literally put them to sleep with oxygen and then inject when they can no longer feel pain. She went to get things arranged and left us with her to say our goodbyes. We petted her and fed her corn kernels we brought along, just in case she wanted them. She did. She seemed so content to let us feed her the corn. She held each kernel in her little hands and nibbled it and then cleaned her little face. Joshua fed her the last corn and we petted her until she closed her eyes. When we were ready, the tech let us go with her to make sure Slumber wasn't scared. She used a large dog oxygen mask (it was shaped like a large bell) to place over Slumber because the chamber itself was so large. At first Slumber didn't like what was happening and got a little excited. We were there, though, and I "pet" the side of the mask where she could see me. She saw both Joshua and me, and she calmed down and watched us. We talked to her and petted the mask and after a few minutes, she became very drowsy. During that time, the vet came and agreed that it was time. When Slumber was mostly asleep, but eyes still awake and she was still breathing. they took her out and gave her an injection of anesthesia. She didn't flinch at all. They wrapped her up in a little towel and let us take her back to the room we were in until we were ready for the last injection. We took turns holding her in her little towel and cried and cried over this little rattie who wasn't with us for very long, but who left her little paw prints on our hearts. The last thing Slumber knew was that we were there, petting her. Finally, we let them know we were ready.

I brought a little pink box to place her in with a pink bandana inside it. When the vet brought her back to us, she had wrapped her up in the bandana and she was tucked gently in the box. The vet was crying a little, too. She told us what good parents we were (she did use the word "parents") and handed Slumber to us. She assured us she went to final sleep peacefully. It was surprising how heavy she was. The vet hugged us both and said if there was anything else she could ever do for us, just to let her know. Then she made sure that the waiting room was clear before she allowed us to leave, which we greatly appreciated. She told us to be careful on the drive home. She gave Slumber the most gentle passing anyone, human or animal, could hope for.

We buried little Slumber near the lake behind our yard, next to a big pine tree. I placed three big lamb's ear leaves from our garden inside her grave to make it pretty and soft. When Joshua gently pulled back the bandana to see her one last time, he started crying. The doctor had closed Slumber's eyes and had placed her on her side, with her little hands placed hand-over-hand. She looked so peaceful and it was evident the care the vet took with her. We petted her again and placed three kernels of corn and three big blueberries in with her, wrapped her back up and gently laid her on the bed of lamb's ears.

After her little ceremony, we sat by the lake for a while, just watching the turtles surface and resting our souls.

We have cried on and off all day. Slumber's death was pre-mature. She didn't even live a year and she was only two weeks old when we brought her home. She was never healthy, it seems and just didn't have much of a chance. I told him that maybe we were chosen to take care of her because maybe other folks may not have taken such care.

Ghost was still waiting for Slumber to come back. She finally went down and joined Raya and Sweetie in the downstairs hammock. We will keep an eye on Ghost especially to make sure she doesn't get left out or stay sad. Ghost has made me cry almost as much as Slumber has today.

Thank you for your care and concern, dear Mutties. Thank you for thinking of us and for your thoughts and prayers.
Thank you, BobCat, for this forum and this space for me to share this story.
Thank you, everyone, for caring about our sweet little rattie and us.
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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by BobCat on Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:07 pm

I'm so sorry.
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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by mockingbird on Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:19 pm

Thank you so much, BobCat.
I know I gave a lot of detail on Slumber's crossing, and I hope no one minds that. It's just that I was worried about her, being our first pet ratties, and how this would all go. I believed we had found a wonderful vet, but I was concerned about injections. Slumber was so thin that I was scared it would hurt her and I didn't even want a pinprick to be the last thing she knew. I thought the other Mutties would find comfort as well, in knowing how very gentle her passing was and how wonderfully taken care of we all were.

Yes, I did cry while telling this story, but I think it helped as well. I asked Joshua's permission to tell it in detail, since Slumber was technically his rat. He didn't mind telling all of you, because he knows you care.

Thank you for caring.
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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by gbste on Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:40 pm

So sorry you lost your little friend.
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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by Sue Short on Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:50 pm



I wept as I read your story. Mockingbird, Slumber knew she was loved and without you and
Joshua she never would have had that. Your story was moving and wonderful. My Lord bless and
keep you and all your house.
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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by jeanebellini on Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:04 pm

i was crying as well....but i appreciate the details. i've never had to do anything like that and know that one day i might have to.
i agree that slumber was sent to you guys because the powers that be knew you'd do the most and give her the best care for her.
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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by ARNIgal on Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:05 pm

So sorry for yours and Joshua's passing of Slumber. I certainly didn't mind reading every single detail of that loving tribute. Especialy touching was Ghost's reaction...

Take care Smile
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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by Suzzzz on Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:25 pm

Thank you, dear Mockingbird, for allowing us to follow Slumber's last day with you and Joshua. I can't imagine a more gentle and loving goodbye from her little furry family, her devoted parents, or her compassionate doctor. I'm so grateful you let us share this with you. I posted a message on Slumber's other thread before I read this tonight; I said I hoped you would all find peace on this day. As I grieve with you, I also thank you for giving me a measure of that peace as well, by letting me be there with you this way.

Slumber's resting place by the lake is beautiful. You made it so. May that always be a place of gentle memories for you.

I know you'll give little Ghost extra attention and care for a while. He will be grieving, too, poor little one.

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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by fiffur on Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:10 pm

I'm still crying as I type this..............you have found a wonderful vet who went above and beyond what I've come to expect even from the best. Slumber had the gentlest passing anyone could ever have, probably better than we ourselves will have in the future. Please give Ghost some extra loving from me, I know she's grieving just as much as well all are.....

(((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))

You gave Slumber the best life she could've had.
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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by bpaquet on Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:53 pm

Goodbye, little Slumber. And hugs to you and your family, Mockingbird. You did the best and bravest thing for your darling friend. I am crying now with you. ((()))
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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by mockingbird on Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:18 pm

Today I've made it through without crying. Yesterday I woke up crying, cried during the day and then cried myself to sleep. Today, I awoke with my heart feeling lighter. I'm still sad, but was able to laugh for the first time since this weekend, when we made the decision. I can see Slumber's little grave from the kitchen window and while it does make me sad, it is comforting having her buried close by.

Thank you, dear friends, for your compassion and caring. I'm sorry not to have posted more about Rattyton but will hopefully make ammends for that. I want you to know our little animal family members better (well, you do know the others well, and hopefully will get to know the ratties even better.)

Rattyton will be posted about on its own thread.

Hugs to you all for your prayers and caring thoughts during this incredibly sad time in our little family. I think it's really hit us so hard because in the almost 12 years that Joshua and I have been married, this is the first of our little animal family who has died and she was the youngest. We also handled her so much, having to take care of her for months. I cried when I put away the little humidifier and cleaned out the hosptial cage and put away the nebulizer machine. I'm comforted in that she doesn't need them anymore, but it made me very sad that she is gone.

I miss her little self.
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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by jeanebellini on Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:24 pm

though it never really goes away....it does get better day by day. one day...somewhere along the way....you'll find yourself thinking about something silly she used to do and laughing about it without shedding a tear. it might take months...it might take years....but it will come.
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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by bpaquet on Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:45 pm

It's the perfect time of year to plant something pretty on her little grave. I put day lilies on Archimedes' spot. They come back every year and give beautiful, cheerful blooms for weeks. If you'd like some tubers for some that will bloom next year, PM me. I have to thin out some beds and I have tons.

Hugs to you.
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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by mockingbird on Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:28 am

That's a great idea about planting flowers, Becky. Her grave is right next to a pine tree so I need to see if daylilies will grow there. Does anyone know? I know some things don't care much for growing around pine trees. Thank you so much for the offer, either way. That was very thoughtful.

Yes, jeanebellini...you are right. I haven't gotten to that point, it's only been a few days I need to keep reminding myself. I didn't cry last night or all day yesterday. I was even able to talk about her passing with the lady at the chocolate shop here in town. I have a UPS Store mailbox I keep for pen pals and it's next to the cutest little chocolate shop. The folks in there (from New Jersey, Jeane! I keep forgetting to ask them if they know of your town. I'll have to write a note for myself on that) are so kind and they already knew about Slumber's condition. When I told the lady we had to have a little pet put to sleep, she asked if it was the rat. She was very sad for us and I was able to tell the story of Slumber's gentle passing without crying, almost did, but was able to make it through.

My heart is still so sad but I'm able to focus on other things now. I just brushed everybody this morning with the Furminator. Georgia Rose held very still and was so good, even Desperado loved it. Hildegard on the other hand had a difficult time settling down and kept running off to play. *sigh* Eventually I got everyone pretty and handsome. Slumber's grave is just on the other side of the fence and I was conscious of it, but I was able to focus on the babies who needed me to take care of them. I took care of Slumber the best I could, we both did, but we just couldn't combat a damaged heart.

We've been thinking of what to do to make Slumber's grave pretty. Right now a brick is marking her spot and it's just not cutting it. I've thought of a stepping stone, handmade so we can make it pretty, but flowers might be better. I will talk to Joshua and see what he thinks.

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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by mockingbird on Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:12 pm

I finally posted about Slumber's passing on my wild gooseberry blog...

http://www.wildgooseberry.com/?p=1232

I basically lifted my post here and pasted it there, with minor changes. I just thought I'd let y'all know because the last few pictures we took of Slumber on there.

Thank you again, for your caring. I'm so glad this site exists and all you kind souls are here.
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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by bpaquet on Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:07 pm

Azalea bushes LOVE to be near pine trees. You can find ones that stay small. The pretty flowers would come out every spring and the leaves will stay green to remind us that life is never really gone. Smile
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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by lovekitties on Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:19 pm

I'm so sorry about your loss.
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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by Suzzzz on Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:28 pm

Thanks for linking us to your Gooseberry site. The pics of Slumber are so sweet!

I think planting an azalea near Slumber's resting place would be lovely. I also think she needs a proper stone of some sort. You can order marker stones online with engraved names and dates. Some of them are very nice. I think Jim did something like that for MommaCat. Another road might be what I did when my dear Daisy (remember Daisy the WonderBeagle?) passed. I wanted to keep it simple; she was a simple girl. I visited my local landscaping supply shop and looked through their bins of landscaping rocks. They had all sorts, but (after much thought) I had in mind the kind of thing I was looking for. After a few scraped knuckles from sorting through lots of rocks, I found what I wanted, and her little grave has the right permanent stone.

I'm not saying you should do any of those things right this minute. Quite the opposite, in fact. It took me months to come to know what I wanted for Daisy. I truly think you should let it all settle, see to your life and your family, and give yourself time to mull what you want for Slumber before you make a decision. You made her a beautiful burial. That will never change. How you memorialize it should be right, too. Give it time to seep into your heart; it will come to you.
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Re: Goodnight, little Slumber...

Post by fiffur on Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:36 pm

Wise words Suzzzz. You could also plant lily of the valleys, they like the shade and bloom for weeks in the spring. Or something called Helleborus 'Peppermint Ice' - Winter JewelsTM Series (Lenten Rose)
18-22" tall Shade to Partial Sun Zone 4-9 Described as very large 3" double, lotus-like blossoms are soft to medium pink with a degree of peppermint veining and a picotee edge. Provides color for a very long time, as after they set seed, the petals remain and retain much of their coloration. Excellent vigor.

Think on it a while and the perfect way to mark the spot will come to you.
(((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))
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