Here in the dollhouse, the well is a little dry for Mammal Monday stories. By a miracle of the season that is supposed to be spring if it ever stops snowing, my critters have been behaving themselves, so tonight I’ll be sharing a story from a friend at work who had a rather eventful weekend. I asked her permission to retell her tale here, and since she’s to the point where she can almost giggle about some of the weekend, she agreed.
My friend has an awesome eight year-old son who is an animal lover, and their family includes a gerbil, two cats, and a recently welcomed Australian shepherd mix named Jewel. I’ve been listening gleefully to each improvement in Jewel’s new home life; she’s a rescue and it seems this is the first real family she’s had. She is slowly warming up to being cared for the way she deserves, and I’ve been rooting for her with gusto.
I do most things with gusto, actually.
Anyway, my friend and her husband were summoned to their living room this weekend by an unholy shriek, and arrived to discover their beloved dog had trotted through the living room holding something in her mouth. When their son investigated, she spit the still warm corpse of his gerbil, Lucky, into his horrified hands. The poor little guy was far beyond help, although the fatal damage was such that Lucky will be able to have an open-casket funeral service.
It seems the door to the bedroom where the gerbil cage is kept was forgotten open by my friend’s little boy. Somehow, Jewel worked the cage open and exterminated what she viewed as vermin (based on her past life in a rural area) before proudly showing off her “work” to the family she adores. Just like underpants in a Christmas stocking, her “gift” was not received in the spirit in which it was intended. Unlike underpants in a Christmas stocking, Jewel’s “gift” is on ice in the garage, waiting for the rites of gerbil burial after an appropriate mourning period.
Plans are underway for a proper rodent send-off for Lucky, complete with scripture readings. According to Lucky’s recently bereaved eight year-old owner, the verses for gerbil funerals are found in “Chapter Six.” My friend and the human members of her family will gather to say goodbye in the next day or two. Meanwhile, I like to imagine Lucky is scampering free in a field full of seeds and nuts, and that he’s found the love of a beautiful she-gerbil in rodent heaven.
My friend’s little boy observed yesterday, after he was over the shock of his gerbil’s sudden demise, “You know Mom, Lucky really wasn’t very lucky, was he?” Smart kid, and so young to appreciate irony.
In the wake of their loss, my friend has acquired a new gerbil named Sparky. Given the recent unfortunate events involving gerbils in their house, it may be necessary to watch a gerbil with that name around sources of electricity.
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