Latin Catholic by birth, Byzantine Catholic by the grace of God.
Pro: Restoration of the Holy and Universal Christian Roman Empire.
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Location: Upstate, New York, United States

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Brownie, 2000-2006, R.I.P.

Had to put Brownie the guinea pig down Thursday, April 27, 2006. She was 6.5 years old, not a bad run for the little critters. She was also known as "The Brownster," or "The Brownmeister."

Our second pig, and the second one to go. She was beautiful - stripes of white and shades of tan and brown. Truly one of God's small marvels. She was also meek and we spent much time ensuring her cagemates never ate her food before she did.

A person who has no experience with guineas typically regards them as mindless childhood pets, and compares them to hamsters, who have little real awareness of people. Guineas purr when you pet them, jump in place when they're happy, need lots of attention or become visibly depressed, need a sizable pen (not a storebought cage), and have a language that they use to communicate with people. Brownie would put her nose on the door of her pen if she wanted to come out, or bite the bars near her water bottle if she wanted to be fed, or sit near the front of her pen and squeal lightly if she wanted attention.

And every time a plastic bag rustled in the house, she'd squeal like crazy, just assuming that it was a sack of carrots or green peppers that was being opened for her benefit.

Brownie was a fighter. She'd has a few serious illnesses in her life, and almost died several times, but pulled through in each occasion. But it seems that this last three weeks, her digestive system just gave out. The vet concurred, and believed that she probably had renal or liver failure as well, simply from age. Brownie was in such pain, she wouldn't walk for hours - her back legs would fall asleep since she was lying on them all day. But when I would come home from work, she'd drag herself on two legs up to the front of the pen for food and attention.

As a well-informed Catholic, the suffering and death of animals in some ways affects me much more deeply than that of humans. When people suffer, there are spiritual rewards. When animals suffer, it earns them no grace, there is only pain. My departed loved ones either go to the joy of Eternal Life, or to the deserved torments of Damnation. Thinking optimistically, I will get to see them again, in Heaven, perfected and in perfect joy with God. When pets die, there is only death for them. They live on only in happy memories.

Her cagemate is more affected than we are, though. Guineas are social creatures, like humans, and need attention to be happy. Without Brownie, he mopes around, eats when he gets around to it instead of with his former impetuous gusto, and won't come out to play.

She was put to rest in her favorite fleece snuggling blanket, and then interred in the box we brought her home from the store in.

Thank You Lord, for Your small gifts, for the little critters that bring some extra joy to this Valley of Tears, and who in their short time reflect a portion of the beauty of Your Creation.

Goodbye Brownie, I'll always love you!

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