As evidenced by the history already recorded here, keeping rodents as pets with young children pretty well guarantees that there will be a pattern of escape and recapture. Such was the case tonight. Mariah informed me that one of Alyssa’s gerbils had gotten away. Very soon after I got in the room Stormy ran out from behind the dresser and ran next to the edge of the bed. I immediately barked “don’t pounce!” By the time I finished those two words Alyssa had pounced and Stormy was bleeding on the ground. I picked her up directly but she died in my hands within seconds.
Shortly after we got our first litter of baby gerbils Laura had the experience of having Isaac pounce on the gerbil she liked the most with the result that it died in Laura’s hands when she picked it up. I thought of that as Stormy died. In Laura’s case she cried for the loss of life because Isaac was too young to understand what had happened. I remember hours later when I got home he still obviously did not understand what had happened. Unlike Isaac, Alyssa did understand what happened so she did the sobbing. While I really felt sorry for the death of Stormy I felt even more sorry for the pain that Alyssa was feeling.
I understand now why Laura felt so deeply in her experience. I’m hoping that I was able to say and do the right things to help Alyssa process and work through her grief. Time will tell but I am encouraged that she was able to go to sleep tonight without too much trouble.