Will Slater: ‘Piglet, Eeyore’s brother, will have to get more attention’
ROUND three years ago, we welcomed a pair of gerbils into our home. And by the time you read this we may well have ushered one of them out again. For Eeyore is poorly and not long for this world.
We had resisted having any pets other than two goldfish, but we relented when our eldest made the case for gerbils – low-maintenance, friendly and bought with her own money. Perhaps to head off pleas for a cat or a dog, we swiftly acquired two seven-month-old gerbils. Ever since, they have lived in their double-decker cage on the hall sideboard, chewing and gnawing whatever they could get their teeth into.
They are inquisitive, friendly and have been no bother at all. Well, apart from the scattering of bedding they kick out of their cage each day.
When you are 40-something, three years might not seem like a long time, yet for the children it is a huge chunk of their lives. Our eldest has moved from primary school to high school during this time.
For gerbils, however, three years is a significant part of their lifespan. One now has a tumour on its tummy. A vet inspected him earlier in the summer, when it first appeared, and said it was common in elderly gerbils. As he was feeding well and moving without problems, we should leave him to enjoy what life he has left. Now we are fast approaching the point where we might have to hasten his end.
So we have prepared the ground by talking about what will happen to Eeyore and why it is the right thing to do. This death is a small one in the scheme of things but it is happening in our hall. We have spoken about how Piglet, Eeyore’s brother, will have to get more attention, as gerbils are very social animals that don’t thrive when alone.
There is no gerbil heaven in our narrative, incidentally. He just hopefully has a happy and contented life and then it ends. Much the same as our view on the end of all creatures, humans included. We will probably bury him in the front garden. Next to the goldfish.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east