Last Saturday when it was time to do a little housekeeping in our pet mouse Reepacheep's case, I discovered there was a problem. Reep was sick. She had (in just a few days, mind you, because she gets cleaned out weekly) developed tumors on each side of her body. After doing a little research I found that this are very common in mice and were probably in her mammary glands.
My kiddos, however, were devastated to find out their beloved pet mouse was dying. And let's be honest, I was pretty sad, too. She was a sweet little thing and she was their first pet. We had all enjoyed having her around.
The kids had bought her a new ball for Christmas and her stocking was hung, awaiting some fresh sunflower seeds (her fave).
By Tuesday she was just pitiful. Her breathing was labored and she had lost much of her mobility. Listening my kiddos talk to her, comfort her, watch them hang colored pictures all around her case to show their love was truly heartbreaking.
My sweet Princess cried herself to sleep three nights in a row. Mr. B was sad, too, but The Princess is my very sensitive, sweet girl and she was taking it very hard.
On Tuesday Reepacheep died. And I attended my first pet funeral. Not that I didn't bury any pets as a child, but I don't recall any actual funerals for them. Just simple burials.
My husband prepared our little mouse for burial in a shoebox filled with her favorite cotton fluff and some fresh cedar shavings. When the kiddos were ready to put the lid on the box, we tied it with a ribbon and they decorated it with stickers.
Then The Princess wrote on the box: "Reepacheep, a verry good pet". It was precious.
After that we drove the appointed burial place where Vince dug a hole and the kiddos collected some rocks to mark her grave. Then we all said a few words about what we appreciated about Reep and it was finally over.
I was so proud of my kids. They were so brave, standing there with their little broken hearts.
It's been better since then, although they still have sad looks about their faces at times. But they are going to be okay. And frankly, after watching her suffer for three days, I felt relief that it was finally over.
So this week I've been tucking away Reepacheep's things and spending a lot of time giving hugs (and tissues) out. It's been emotionally draining at times, but I won't ever forget this precious time in my kiddos' lives.