it’s not so much that it happened – it’s how it happened. she was my first rodent. my beloved little coffee bean.
i’ve never felt so alone. surrounded by people – who know & love me – yet i felt utterly disconnected. i alone caused the death of an adorable creature who depended on me entirely. no amount of platitudes, of “you couldn’t have known,” of “she lived a good life,” of “she had a pretty short life expectancy anyway,” can take away my pain and the awful truth: my beautiful wee annie died today, and she didn’t have to.
the worst part is, i had thought i was being cautious, attentive, careful… i had thought through most scenarios ahead of time. yet she was suffering, albeit for a brief time, but suffering she surely was, and i didn’t notice until it was too late. the one duty any human has to her companion animals, the ultimate obligation that all pets ask of their humans, is that they’re at the bare minimum kept healthy & safe from harm. i failed in that duty.
annie was the cutest little gal, full of energy & curiosity & affection. now i’m surrounded by her empty cage, her bright orange ball, & all her other accessories meant to give her a fuller, happier life. in the end, she died in the palm of the hand of the one who was supposed to take care of her; she went silently, quickly, peacefully; but still…
maybe this is the better place to be, now. the instinctive desire for isolation was strong & is ever-present in me, but maybe it is for the best that i’m surrounded by life, by distractions, by sympathy – even if i feel i don’t deserve it. i realise that guilt after the fact changes nothing, that feeling bad now won’t help anything. my little annie is gone & that can’t be changed. all i can do is try to glean something from the experience, which will hopefully mean i’ll never again be responsible for the death of another creature. yet the guilt is still there; that horrible, gut-wrenching guilt at having let someone down in the most despicable way. i’m not ready to fully take part in this week’s event; i’m not able to do even the things i was looking forward to a mere 24 hours ago. writing, photographing, documenting the week in detail – now it feels futile. i’m not in the mood; it feels inappropriate. i’m in mourning.
note: annie passed away shortly after a long road trip, likely due to overheating. she had been completely fine for most of the trip; very active & curious as always. it was only at the very end of the ride that she quieted down & then became listless. i had done all i could to ensure good air movement, cool temps, never leaving her in the hot car alone during bathroom breaks… but it wasn’t good enough, obviously. one happy note from that fateful road trip, though: also along for the ride was edie the hedgie, who, happily, survived and thrived, despite being in identical conditions as annie.