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When Your Guinea Pig (or any pet) Dies

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When Your Guinea Pig (or any pet) Dies

Post  CometCuppyParsley on Wed May 06, 2009 5:46 pm

Though a healthy pig can live from 5-8 years, guinea pigs just aren't here with us long enough. Many people get extremely attached to their furry little companion and losing that little furry companion is very difficult. It is also hard if you lose more than one pig at about the same time. In July of 2008 my first guinea pig, Michelangelo, died. Not long after my cat, hamster, and great grandfather died too. As you could assume, this didn't exactly make me happy. The pain of losing a pet (or a human family member) never goes away completely. Thankfully, there are some ways to cope with it. People are like guinea pigs and everyone is different, so what works for me may do absolutely no good for you. I hope it will though, because I do understand your pain.

The Grieving Process
Death is painful, even if it isn't for the pet/person who died. There are still the people left living that need to keep on living even after that loss. There are several phases to the grieving process as I was told:

Denial and Shock This is the first phase, which happens right after the death of the loved one. The person might deny that death exists. People might also go into 'shock' which will could disrupt their normal schedule and make them less interested in normal activities or not as hungry. For people who aren't as upset it is important to do what you can to help the grieving person.

Anger During this phase the common question is 'Why me?'. You'll be angry and sometimes think about the unfairness of death and why it had to effect you.

Bargaining At this time you might find that you're giving up certain parts of your life that you enjoy, thinking that for some reason it might bring the departed one back so that your life can go back to the way it was before.

Guilt In this phase you'll think about things you could have done differently before the loved one died. A good example of this is the fact that I still feel guilty for not holding Michelangelo as much in the days before he died and rushing his feeding the night before he died. Accept your humaneness and forgive yourself. The loved one already has.

Depression You may at first feel a sense of great loss. Mood fluctuations are common. Please note that encouragement and attempts to comfort from other people won't help much during this phase.

Loneliness In this phase you may start to feel alone and afraid. It will help in this phase if you make efforts to be with other people and possibly adopt a new guinea pig. You don't want to get a new guinea pig too soon after the death of the old one, it is better to wait a while.

Acceptance Acceptance does not mean happiness, but in this phase you will accept the fact that the guinea pig is gone and that there isn't anything you can do to bring him back. Cherish the memories though.

Hope In this phase remembering the late piggy will become easier. The pain will be easier to bear and life will generally return to normal. Please remember, things will never be exactly the same again but you can still be happy and return to a 'normal' life.

Ways to Deal with the Grieving Process
Though it may not seem like it, there are many things you can do to help yourself. Things that I did a lot of (and still do, I'm not finished with grieving for my piggy/kitty/hamster almost a year later.) is draw/paint pictures of them and listen to music that reminds me of them. It also helps to have my three guinea pigs, cats and family. It only makes it harder if you repress your sadness. Let it out and you will feel a lot better. Even if you're very upset again a few days later. Other people will want to help, take advantage of that offer. Don't make yourself suffer.

Some people may find it helpful to get grief counciling. Feel no shame in being devastated by the death of a mere guinea pig. Though some believe differently, animals are an important part of life and are often our comfort during hard times. Though it is different than the loss of a human family member, you still greatly love your furry pet and have a right to be sad. Psychiatrists and therapists are here to help us. If you feel that you need it, get more help than you already have. I have never met anyone whose life was ruined by the death of their piggy, but I'm sure it can happen especially for those whose lives revolve around guinea pigs. (In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with that as long as guinea pigs aren't the soul purpose of your existence. It is good to have something other than a sweet yet short-lived being to control your emotions.).

I personally find the below poem heartbreaking, but it is beautiful and I recommend your read it. Type rainbow bridge into a search engine such as google and you will come up with many other websites/agencies that can help you through the grieving process.

The Rainbow Bridge
Unknown Author

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....


“Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed, that is.”-Yoda Episode III, Revenge of the Sith.


Some other things that can help you feel better are:
Family and/or friends,
Petting cats/dogs/guinea pigs/other critters,
Watching fish,
Thinking of good things in your life right now,
Scrap booking (yes there is a use for scrap books!),
Keeping Busy,
Making a point to smile and laugh about something at least twice every waking hour,
Getting out and about,
Getting a different haircut,
Rearranging the furniture,
Planting a garden,
Try new foods,

And much, much more. Almost anything, complex or simple, can help comfort you. Yes, even haircuts and rearranging furniture. I didn't just throw those in to satisfy a couple of the others that I listed. Doesn't it make you feel better knowing that there are SO many good things out there? There is always hope, no matter how bad things are. Just keep going and things WILL get better. I promise.

I sincerely hope that you find peace soon and that this article didn't make you cry more. I know it probably would've made me feel sadder soon after Michelangelo and Smokey's death. Remember, you're never alone.

In loving memory of Michelangelo and Smokey.

Number of posts : 8
Age : 22
Location : Washington
Registration date : 2009-03-31

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