Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Pet Death - Lilian Darcy

What is it with vacations and creatures in this family? There seems to be some kind of cosmic conjunction between one or all of us being away and either traumatic pet death or traumatic vermin invasion.

Tomorrow, I’m going away for a week. Complete break. No checking email. New horizons. Fresh air. Fine food. Pile of great books to read. (Note to self – must cull pile, cannot read eleven books on one week vacation.) Top of the pile is Jane Porter’s “Odd Mom Out.” That one is not getting culled. (Note to self – must not spend whole afternoon deciding which books to cull; have other things to do).

Anyhow, so I’m going away, so of course this triggers a Pet Death. Last time we had a Pet Death, my daughter was away on camp, worried the whole time about absent and much-loved cat who was, unbeknownst to us, in our vet’s freezer. He’d been run over. A kind man, whom I wish I could thank, brought him in, in case his owners called in search of him. We found out what had happened the day after daughter returned.

The Pet Death before that took place while I was at the Novelists’ Inc conference in San Diego in March, which meant that my husband had to handle traumatic euthanasia of terminally ill chicken himself. Chicken euthanasia is a man job, but when the man in question was born and raised in New York, where chickens come frozen and wrapped in plastic, I fully appreciated the courage involved.

Yesterday, we had another terminal chicken, one of the three especially precious ones my daughter considers hers, so we’ve had lots of tears here. I called my husband at work and told him what his man job would have to be when he got home. Then I called him again to tell him he didn’t have the man job any more, because the chicken had taken care of the problem on her own. It’s not a good sign when you see them lying stiffly on their side with their feet in the air. Rest in peace, Chicken, you laid beautiful eggs and had a good life pecking around in our back garden.

So now you’re wondering about the traumatic vermin invasion. I will not detail the many spider occurrences. I’m okay with the shiny black, small and highly poisonous ones with the red stripe down their backs. It’s the big, hairy harmless ones that give me the horrors. My most traumatic vermin invasion (so far) was The Large Rat. Husband out of the country (of course). Two in the morning. Loud shaking and rattling sound issues from en suite bathroom. Rat is caught in slats of exhaust fan. Rat somehow squeezes through. Brief silence, then loud plop and splashing sounds. (I’m sorry, this is the most awful blog, are you still reading?) Rat is trapped in toilet bowl. I cannot bring myself to rescue it – I cannot envisage it being grateful for my effort – I do not wish to be bitten or climbed. It is way too big to flush. I take pillow and quilt, close bathroom and bedroom door, sleep on couch. What will I find the next morning when I slide open the bathroom door? Worst case – no rat… therefore where is it? Pretty near worst case – live rat on floor making immediate break for cover between my feet. Best case – rat drowned in toilet. Fortunately, we had the best case. I considered decreeing getting dead rats out of toilets to be a man job, but then bravely tackled it myself, encasing hand in two plastic bags.

Okay, so I’ve sent rewrites to editor, updated website, done laundry, made about six different lists, we’ve had the pet death, so I’m just about ready to leave. Boy, am I looking forward to it. Boy, am I hoping there are no rats, spiders or terminally ill chickens anywhere near our motel. Cross your fingers for me, please…

Lilian Darcy


Maureen said...

Ewww!!! I thought it was bad when our cat brought me what I thought was a dead mouse but when she laid it at my feet it started twitching and moving. Your rat story is way worse.

blessedheart said...

Hi Lillian,
I hate rats and spiders so I sympathise with you. Losing a pet is traumatic, no matter what kind of pet it is. I hope you have a great time on your vacation!

Rhonda :-)

robynl said...

Keeping my fingers crossed for you and it seems as if you have taken care of everything so things will probably go right this time.

Anna Campbell said...

Fingers crossed in the pet universe for you, Lilian. I hope you have a great holiday!

Ewww, the rat story brought back such memories of one of our cats on the farm as I grew up. She was absolutely fearless (we should have called her Braveheart instead of Rover!) and would tackle anything, including the big farm rats. Then she'd eat the whole thing, except for the kidney. Ugh!

Laura K said...

Lillian, we had a traumatic pet death a little over a month ago. We had to put my beloved Mother's favorite pug down. She's was a beauty- fighting until the end, but so, so sick. We had Ebony cremated and when my dad dies, we will bury his ashes (along with my mom's) in his casket. In this way all three of them can be united again.

I hate mice and rats myself. Could never understand why some people want to keep them as pets. YUK!!

deseng said...

vOh my gosh! Your rat story is absolutely horrible! How did you manage to get it out yourself? You are one brave woman!

Well, we had an encounter similar to yours. We get mice in our house in the winter every once in a while. I should get a cat but I am allergic to them. Anyway, my husband left dishwater in the sink because he was soaking paint brushes.

The next morning there was something floating in the water that was gray. was a dead mouse! It totally grossed me out knowing he had climbed all over my counters and fallen in the sink and drowned! I bleached everything needless to say.

Then, one year I threw in my husband's dirty work clothes in the washer. As it was washing this awful smell was coming from the washing machine. I though it was his clothes. Anyway, after I pulled his clothes out there was this balled up matted mess at the bottom. It was a drowned mouse. Double EEEEEEWWWWWWWWWwwwwwwwwww!!! Both times my husband resuced me and retrieved the yucky dead mouse and threw it out.

Oh and spiders! EEEEEEE-YUCK!!!!!!! We get the big wolf spiders here. They are the big ones that look like a minature tarantula. Is that the spider you get in your area? Oh my, did we have a bumper crop of them this year! One night I killed 5 of them in my basement. Then one night as I was watching t.v. one ran across the carpet right in front of me in the living room! I screamed and naturally my warrier husband came running and smashed the spider to smithereens!

What is it with all these creatures making their ways into our homes and creeping us out?! I am ready to live in a high rise! Ha, ha!


Frances said...

Your daughter is a strong kid. While tears were inevitable, at the very least she didn't need to go through pet loss grief counseling just to be able to move on from such a terrible experience.