Saturday, 23 November 2013
Oh, I had to take Houdini the rat to be put down yesterday and it was awful. Of course it was mainly awful for the rat, but I found myself very weepy, even though until he got sick, the rat cordially hated me and everyone else. When I read about people's pets having to be put down, they know exactly when it's time. I did not know when it was time at all. It was fucking awful. He looked really dreadful yesterday morning (despite my feeding efforts, he obviously couldn't get enough food and was skin and bone, and terribly shaky on his pins), but when I put him in the box to go to the vets he looked all perky for a moment and I just didn't know if it was right or not. When we got there he looked dreadful again, and there was a sort of sore on his chin I hadn't noticed. I don't know. I didn't know with Satan either. Do you eventually get a feel for this when enough of your pets die? Shit.
Anyway, crap rite of passage #278 completed: getting your child's pet put down. I still feel a bit shit about the whole thing, even though it was definitely more or less time, give or take a day either way, and I feel awful for the remaining rat, who presumably needs a new friend (though apparently adult males are the worst kind at making new friends). I also feel even more tenderly than usual towards Prog Rock who during my childhood came in for a whole HEAP of ailing pet action/abscess tending/demise, which I can't imagine he ever thought would be part of the equation when he fell in love with my mother.
When I called the vet up and asked when was quiet (I didn't want the poor bugger to suffer unnecessary trauma from fat hypoxic bulldogs, like last time), they told me I could come anytime, since they had a "special room". I was hoping for something like the relatives' room on Casualty, with black and white photographs and boxes of tissues, but no, it was like this:
..which was disappointing.
Houdini is currently in a box in the cellar waiting for T to come home from science. We have dug a hole. I hope not to have to repeat this imminently, but rats do have a short lifespan, so I am prepared (am I?).
My wicked and delightful friends M, B and F were a very great, dark hearted comfort in the last day or so. B made me a photo montage of me holding the surviving rat aloft in the manner of the last scene of the Lion King, based on a suggestion from M.
F told me she could easily send me a new one from the subway. "You can call him C Train". B poured cold water on this suggestion.
""They’re big f*ckers. You think weepette has anxiety now? Within three days, it'll have a teardrop tattoo and be referring to itself as the rat’s prison wife"
If anyone asks me what my friends are best at, "making me laugh about awful stuff" will be really high up the list.
L is taking it well. He said a brief goodbye to the scrawny rat-in-a-box, we both had a little cry and when I got back he was basically ok. We shared a manly shoulder clench, then he went and watched Top Gear and I drank an enormous glass of red wine. I think he had done his grieving already. Is it ridiculous to get this sad about a rat? I don't know. F was an odd mix: appalled and embarassed at me expressing emotion (I remember feeling this about my parents), clear headed ("c'était mieux pour lui, it was for the best", he told me afterwards. He thought it was time, at least) and not really that bothered.
In not entirely animal related news, someone has just recommended a balm that prevents cows udders from freezing as a face cream on our Facegoop winter skin post, and this delights me.
Also, tenuously, on a pet theme, but this tickled me hugely, stupidly today: