Isis (2004-2010) Rest in Peace

Isis gave up her long battle with health issues and left us last night.

She’d been unwell for a couple of years, really, but a few weeks ago she got really bad and I feared we were going to lose her. We made a vet appointment but by the time we got in to see him, she’d mostly recovered. Nevertheless the vet gave her a slow-release hormone shot and she sprang back, seemingly better than she’d been in months and months. We knew she was really old for a guinea pig and that we didn’t have much time left with her, but it was so great to see her cavorting like a young pig again.

Then yesterday afternoon I noticed she hadn’t eaten some treats I gave her. By evening her breathing had become very labored, as it had last month. She was still eating some but was becoming very selective. By the time I went to bed she was moving around again and I thought she was going to spring back, but this morning I was greeted by her still body rather than her usual strident demands for breakfast. It seems she went peacefully…she looked like she was sleeping.

On some level there’s a sense of relief. It’s so hard to tell how much discomfort a guinea pig is in, since they’re ‘prey animals’ and showing weakness is a good way to draw the attention of a predator. But I think she’d been pretty uncomfortable for a long while. She was slowly losing weight over the past few months in spite of eating plenty. I suspect her eyesight was going, too.

Her appreciation for pets and cuddles and scritches never left, though. Yesterday evening both Angela and I spent some quality ‘lap time’ with her (though in my case it was more like neck time… she’d crawled up and settled in on my shoulder with her little bum under my chin) and the last thing I did when I went to bed was give her a pet and I got a purr as a reward.

If you’ve never lived with a guinea pig all this fuss probably seems silly. I thought Angela was a bit bonkers when I first met her and she’d talk about Isis. Then I met her and my attitude changed and since then we’ve added two more members to our guinea pig family. Over the years as the vet bills ran into thousands of dollars friends would tell me “Just go buy another guinea pig!” and the pre-Isis me would’ve thought the same thing. But these creatures have strong personalities and are smarter than you might think. They are definitely not interchangeable.

So goodbye to Isis, or “Little bear” as I often called her. She’s somewhere in a better place where there’s plenty of fresh grass to eat and nothing looking to eat her. She’s probably already bossing other guinea pig spirits around, making things “just so” in the same way she managed to do that here with us.

Mimi and Mona are unsettled and a bit confused. When I came into the room this morning instead of the usual chorus of good morning purrs and soft wheeks, there was just silence. They knew something was wrong. Angela wanted to give them a chance to ‘say goodbye’ so we put them with Isis’s body. Mona just seemed perplexed but Mimi kept trying to prod or nip Isis awake. Heartbreaking.

If you have a pet of any kind, give him or her a hug for me today, will ya?

14 thoughts on “Isis (2004-2010) Rest in Peace

  1. awwwww.

    sorry to hear about Isis. Losing a pet is hard. They are definitely NOT replaceable.

    I’ll give timothy a hug right away.


  2. Great eulogy, Pete. I don’t have guinea pigs, but I do have two dogs that are very much a part of my family. They’re both getting on in years, and I’m really not looking forward to having to say goodbye to either one.

    Give Angela a hug from me.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss. Our pets become our family and it hurts just the same as any other death. Hope it gets easier as time goes on.

  4. I’m so so sorry for your loss! I’ve never had Guinea Pigs but that doesn’t make it seem like less of a loss to me. I had gerbils for two years (they don’t live long apparently?) and when one got sick and died, the other died shortly after I think from a broken heart 🙁 I loved them, those little things, and they DO have their own personalities.

    I always wanted a Guinea Pig but was scared they would bite — it looks like it would hurt! But from everything I hear they seem gentle and sweet.

  5. Good bye sweet little Isis. I don’t think any kind of pet, regardless of size is interchangeable (and I think people assigning a $$ to pets’ “worth” or lack thereof is really icky). I’m out of town visiting my parents and missing my furbabies very much!
    *goes to fetch tissue*

  6. My sympathies! I’ve never had a guinea pig, but each fo the dogs and cats I’ve lost to age has broken my heart again. They are with us such a short time it seems, our little furred children, and they mean so much. Give Mimi and Mona extra scritches, they no doubt miss her too.

  7. I wanted to thank everyone for their kind words. We took Isis’s body to the crematorium today (first day they were open since she passed) and now Angela has her ashes in a little cedar box, which she plans on engraving. She’d picked out a tiny urn but it was out of stock and I think this worked out better in the long run.

    It’s a relief, having this final step taken care of. We kept her body in a cooler surrounded by ice packs since Sunday morning, and as you can imagine tending to that was distressing. I’d wanted to take Isis to the emergency vet but Angela was adamant about doing things herself and being sure Isis’s little body was handled with respect.

    If you happen to be in eastern Massachusetts, we took her to and they were sensitive and expeditious. Plus they have a big old tom cat who wanders around demanding purrs while you wait. I definitely recommend them, while at the same time hoping no one has to use their services any time soon.

    I’ve already caught Angela looking at guinea pigs in need of a home on, so that’s a good sign, I guess.

    Anyway, thank you all again for your comments. They meant an awful lot to us.

  8. Thanks so much, everybody. *hugs*

    It’s so strange having her gone; she’s been part of my life for so long, and she’s been through so much with me: a divorce, a new relationship, 3 moves, and the addition of 2 “little sisters” to our family. It’s still jarring to walk into the office or turn from my computer and not see her there. I mean, she was *just here* a few days ago…where did she go?? 🙁

    I’ve come up with a design I’ll be engraving on the top of her memorial box, and it felt good to be able to create something special in her memory:

    She was larger than life, and her absence is painful.

  9. Whoa… creepy coincidence. I’m very, very sorry to hear about Isis passing away. The weirdness… Peter, you might remember I picked up an albino pig for the kid’s birthday last year? She’s been a hoot to have around, but isn’t nearly as friendly as your brood. This very same day we were at the pet store for pig treats and peaked into the small animal cages as we always do, but this time one just begged to be taken home with us. So now we have a second pig baby, called Major Bedhead as he’s one of those with longer hair and crazy colics on his forehead and butt and sides that make the hair poke every which way. Tri-colored and a noisy, rambunctious little boy! I guess the point being maybe there’s a small amount of comfort in knowing your pig family spawned a now two-pig family on the other side of the country. 🙂

  10. That’s awesome to hear, Gwyn, thank you! *LOVE* the name, too.

    Our remaining two girls are getting even more spoiled these days. One good thing that came out of losing Isis is that it hammered home the fact that we don’t get a ton of time with these creatures so we need to love ’em to death while we can.

Comments are closed.