I.V. asks from Sunnyvale, CA on August 23, 2010
Guinea Pig Died Whilst We Were Looking After It
Worst scenario happened this evening, one of the guinea pigs we were looking after died :-( I took our girls out to feed and there it was. We had a little funeral in the garden and now I have 3 very upset little girls not wanting to sleep. The family they belong to are abroad in Crete and should be home Thursday. I think I will wait for their return to tell them as it's only a few days away. The girl they belong to is 15, so I'm not going to go out and replace as I will leave that decision to her. But feel terrible it happened on our watch. Was meant to be a good experience for the girls to see what it's like to have pets.
Have any of you had an experience of this happening and what did you do? Many thanks in advance!
So What Happened?™
Thank you all for your thoughts and advise. :-)
Have just spoken to the our friends. Bless them, they were fine, apparently the guinea pig was old. I think she was more upset that it had died when it was with us. They are coming tonight to collect the surviving one. Will miss it and it hasn't put me off getting a pet for our girls.
K.C. answers from Philadelphia on August 23, 2010
Ooh, that's a bummer. Unfortunately with guinea pigs, by the time they show any signs of sickness, it's often too late to save them. In the wild, they're often prey, so if they show any weakness, they get picked off. So over the years, they've developed to hide signs of bad health until they're super unhealthy/on their deathbed, then they pretty much die. We also learned this firsthand when our guinea pig developed pneumonia. I spent $200 on an x-ray and antibiotics, only to have it live another 8hrs or so. And I was super diligent about its health since our first one died much like yours, with no signs whatsoever, just dead one morning in its cage. It was devastating to me, but as a small pet owner, I know it happens. Just like the owner of your temporary pet will understand that it sometimes just happens. It's entirely possible the guinea pig was already ill when you took it in. Unless the 15yr old girl was a guinea pig expert or a vet, it's probably unlikely she noticed anything was wrong either. I think your girls DID experience what it's like to have pets. The reality is, small animals, guinea pigs, hamsters, etc, more often do not have a long life. You do hear of animals that life for YEARS, but for the most part, this is just not the case. Taking loving care of a small pet, only to have it pass away, then grieving for it and moving on is all part of pet ownership. Unfortunately, your girls experienced the bad part too soon. There's also a lot of great experiences with owning a small pet. Guinea pigs, especially, are friendly, greet you when you walk into the room, let you pet them and are really pretty great. I loved our guinea pigs and sometime in the future plan on adopting another one. I hope your girls aren't too traumatized to give pet ownership a consideration. And if you do decide to get a guinea pig, consider adopting one instead of buying one from a pet store.
3 moms found this helpful
D.B. answers from Chicago on August 23, 2010
My neice and nephew's gold fish went belly up while they were on vacation and I was "babysitting" for it. They won it at a carnival & it was 5 years old. I didn't know that it died, it must have died the morning that they came home. My sister thought that I over-fed it. The kids were sad (because they had it for so long) but not crying or anything. I really think that it wasn't the same goldfish & that my sister had replaced it before (she swore she hadn't but come on what carnival gold fish lives for 5 years in a tank by itself?) Anyway I offered to buy them a new one but no one took me up on the offer. I would wait and see if I were you....you never know maybe the Guinea Pig was sick and they just didn't tell you. Chalk it up to a good lesson learned for your girls. Death is hard,but it happens to everyone at some point. Hope the breaking of the news goes well for you. Take care.
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S.M. answers from Asheville on August 23, 2010
Don't let the emotions get in the way. I, too, would feel horrible. I don't mean to sound cold, but it happens - and it did happen. I'd be very honest with your friends about it and maybe rather than dwelling on how awful it was that this happened around your girls, find another perspective they could consider - maybe it was easier for the owners to handle that he didn't die at their house or something positive around the lovely funeral. - For the 15 year old daughter, it's part of her experience of growing up. Death is part of life. She will hear and see your genuine care. Your girls will be watching how you handle it and that will be part of their growth as well. With care , S.
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D.B. answers from Charlotte on August 23, 2010
Dolly, I'm sorry. I grew up with many guinea pigs, watching them give birth, loving the babies, and watching them grow til they got old and passed. It's hard to watch them die when you know it's going to happen, but devastating to walk in and they are gone.
I hope the family is understanding. Just know that their initial shock will be hard for everyone unless they are able to think properly through it when you tell them. I do think that it would be appropriate to replace the guinea pig for them. I would offer it IF they say they want to get another one. I wouldn't think that when you tell them would be the right time to make that offer - it's too soon after they find out that it died.
All my best,
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L.S. answers from Jacksonville on August 24, 2010
One summer friends kept our poodle, who was blind. He slipped out the door when a delivery was made. The pizza guy backed over him. Our friends were so upset and waited to tell us until our return. The one thing they did differently was they wrapped him up and placed him in their garage freezer so that we could bury him where we chose. Sounds crazy to do that, but I have to say it was nice to be able to lay our little family member (we had him about 12 years) to rest in our yard at home. So sorry this has happened.
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S.H. answers from Honolulu on August 23, 2010
What if, the 15 year old girl, wants to bring her Guinea Pig home??? But it is buried in your garden???