I’ve cared for a number of gerbils in my life and Lexie is the latest gerbil to require medical attention.
She’s roughly three years old so she’s had a good long healthy life. At this stage in their lives, things like respiratory infections are sadly common among gerbils. I’ve taken gerbils to the vets before and sadly witnessed two of them put down for humanitarian reasons.
But no matter how many times I go, it never gets easier.
I was sitting in that waiting room again this morning. I shielded Lexie from the bright lights by loosely placing my hands over the top of the gerbil carrier, allowing her to sniff me and know I was with her the whole time. As I sat there, I recalled all the previous times I’d sat there… sometimes waiting for treatments and sometimes waiting to say goodbye.
That’s when the tears start. Only a few tears at first. I don’t want to cry in a room full of strangers who have dogs sitting next to them. Especially when they’re chatting so casually and cheerfully while waiting for a simple check-up. So I look down at Lexie. Or at the fish tank next to me. Or at the floor. I try to think about action scenes from my favourite movies… anything to distract myself from the pain.
Then I’m called into the room to see a very friendly vet called Yvette. As soon as the door closes, the tears start. Suddenly I’m full-on crying. Fortunately Yvette is very understanding and friendly, offering sympathy and comfort. I explain to her that I’ve cared for gerbils before and that a couple have been put down here before… the latest in this very same room.
The good news is that we caught Lexie’s respiratory infection early enough that a treatment of antibiotics is the best course of action. Sadly, if there’s no improvement after five days, then there isn’t much else we can do. Its a sign of her age and if we get to that point, we’ll have to consider options. Either way, I’ll take care of her. My wife and I always do. Our gerbils are family to us.
Thanks for reading.