Friday, 2 November 2007

Challenge Withdrawal

Well, you may have noticed that the Freeze Yer Buns challenge banner has been removed from the right side bar. I've decided to withdraw from the challenge for the time being. The reason for this is because one of our guinea pigs, Corky, died last week just a couple of days after starting the challenge. I am not certain if it was the lower temperature that brought on the upper respiratory infection that she died from, but I didn't want to take the chance that it was and possibly jeopardize our other guinea pig's health. So it's time for some serious reassessment on that front. We may turn our attention to other ways of conserving energy. And we definitely need to really think about how our actions and decisions influence the lives of those in our care.

Rest in peace little Corky pig.


Chile said...

Oh, I'm so sorry for your loss! Is your vet able to advise you on appropriate temperature ranges for the little guys?

Theresa said...

Thanks Chile. I had looked into the matter before starting the challenge and the main concern was to make sure there were no drafts. I had checked for drafts and found none, and had also added extra blankets to their covered areas where they go to sleep.

One of the strangest things is that if guinea pigs are sick they typically lose weight. I had weighed Corky just a couple days prior as part of their nail clipping routine, and Corky had actually gained weight. Plus she was still eating and acting in what we thought was a normal way. But then one evening a few days later I noticed some eye discharge and raspy breathing. Gord and I talked about it and made plans to take her to the vet the next afternoon, but she died the next morning. It was very sad.

I should have taken her to the vet that night, and I still can't shake the feeling that lowering the temperature that extra two degrees might have just been the last straw for her. She had always been a bit more fragile than Scooter, and I knew that. I didn't do right by her.

We have had Corky cremated and will bury her ashes under the birch tree that was just outside the 'pig room' in our house.

I'm still doing a lot of thinking about what happened, and what I need to do differently. I don't think there's been a lot of talk about how to help our companion animals adjust to the austerity measures we are taking now and the ones we may need to take in future. It requires yet another shift in thinking, and Corky's death is a tragic reminder to me of how oblivious I was to that.

Chile said...

You're right that not much has been said about considering our pets' welfare. When I was working, I often left the evaporative cooler running during the hot summer days just for our dog. And we have talked a little about how to feed the new dog in the most sustainable and frugal way when ordering quality food is no longer an option. No set conclusion on that one yet, but these vegans may end up with some chickens...

I hope that in time you can find some peace under the birch tree.

Melinda said...

pYikes! I'm so sorry!

I think it's an important issue to bring up to the group - we certainly need to make sure our animals are well cared for as we reduce.

Our cat and dog have definitely taken to sleeping more in the bed as it's getting colder.

I'll admit to knowing very very little about guinea pigs (except their cute little noises - love that). Is it possible to insulate the bottom of the cages (or wherever they sleep) with straw, maybe put a small space heater in the room with them, and/or an incandescent bulb over where they sleep?

Melinda said...

Just meant "yikes" - don't know where that "p" came from.

Thanks for making me more aware of how our reductions affect our animals.

Theresa said...

Thanks for your comments Melinda. A space heater turned on overnight in their room (which is also my office room) may be the way to go in the short run, although I'm not sure how much more or less energy that would consume compared to keeping the temperature where we have it now. (A space heater would be electric; our house is heated via natural gas). The only way to know is to try it though. The pigs' cage is insulated on the bottom with 2 inches of recycled wood pellets topped with polyester fleece blankets. They also have assorted little hidey holes and boxes to tuck themselves into here and there in the cage. It's a reasonably large enclosure, with a second story loft even.

In the longer run, the pigs would just stay in the same room as the rest of us at night, which would be the basement with the woodstove, I'm assuming.

In the longest run, we probably wouldn't adopt any more companion animals after that.