July 2014
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Life lessons

We had a bit of a pet family tragedy on Monday. I consider myself a nice person, so when something like a dog with tags comes strolling into my yard, I feel obligated to find the owners.  If I didn’t, and later saw the dog hit by a car, I’d be really angry with myself.  I know how important pets are!

Well, that decision came to bite me in the ass.  A really beautiful husky came into our yard and garage on Monday.  It had tags.  I have no leash or even rope to use, so I let him on my porch after checking to see if it was friendly.  He was.  John called the number on his tag, located his owner who said the dog was supposed to be in the care of someone else at that time.  Called them, they said they’d come and get the dog soon.

We waited a bit, I kept the baby and my younger son away, but my 7 year old was interested and she can show restraint.  John sat on the porch for awhile while I went to crochet a bit more while we waited.  Here’s where everything went wrong.  Recently I moved the guinea pig into a new cage, and out of the basement into our dining room.  Much happier place for him and for Lilia.  We got the guinea pig in 2010 for her birthday.  Not the greatest of pets, they squeak a lot, and he was super timid.  But Lilia loved feeding him hay and carrots and other veggies.

My son, wanting to tell dad something, opened the door and let the dog in by accident.  The dog caught the scent of the guinea pig and immediately went into prey mode. I tried to get the dog, who would not listen.  I tried to move the cage, getting it behind my baby gates and John moved to get it into a bathroom, behind a shut door.  I had the baby and the kids away, out of fear.  The dog jumped over the gate, into the bathroom, knocking John over enough for the cage to be exposed and the dog into it.  The dog got the guinea pig.

RIP Linny

It goes without saying that I had two very upset kids, an angry dad and I myself was a wreck.  I got the dog out, though the memory of it carrying away the guinea pig is etched in my mind. I found the body later, and that too is etched in my mind.  My husband called the caretaker and let them know, but we never called the owner.  Really no point, unless I wanted to scream and shout like a crazy woman to them for something (beyond better training), was something they couldn’t do anything about. I heard later the police picked the dog up.  I mean, there’s a lot of what if’s in my head.  What if I hadn’t bothered?  What if the caretaker had come sooner?  What if I hadn’t brought the guinea pig up from the basement? What if the dog had attacked my kids and not the guinea pig?

I’m over most of it.  I realize that while bad things happen, this wasn’t a huge deal, not in comparison to many other bad things in this world.  It’s sad, and I know my daughter is sad.  It was a hard life lesson for her, and for my son, who had terrible guilt as well.  We did our best to talk with them, and make them feel better.  We took them to Chuck E Cheese, and that helped a great deal.  My daughter still asks questions, and she has a fear of dogs now, though I think that too shall pass.  She told me she wished all big dogs were like dinosaurs and extinct, which I find sad.

I’m not sure if we’ll get another guinea pig. I want to, for my daughter, but we haven’t really spoken about it. She was just learning how to be a good pet owner. I don’t want my kids to fear or hate animals. And being a nerd, I have to throw in the fact that studies show that having pets is healthy and better for you. But, we’ll have to see. Right now, I’m just letting the kids grieve and move past it the best they can. The only one un-phased was the baby.

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