What Am I?

So last week was a nice easy one for you, and lots of people got the right answer, which was (of course) ….

pine cone!

Shout out to David from David Williams Photography for being the first in with that answer.

Who will steal the glory this week?


What Am I?

A nice easy one last week; plenty of you took the running theme of our new gerbils and guessed it was their bedding – shredded junk mail! (Since last week though, we’ve changed that and they now have a tank full of peat to play in). Wendy from Life at Rossmont was the first with the correct answer.

So on to this one. What do you make of this?


Weeks of Bedrest …. for a gerbil

So you remember those gerbils I told you about. The lovely little baby gerbils that we’ve had for all of 3 weeks (if that)?  

There’s been a bit of a calamity. One of them, the most adventurous one, has broken her leg. We noticed when we got them out today that she wasn’t using her front right leg and immediately made an appointment with the local vet. She was bright eyed and active, so I wasn’t too worried.

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I should have been. Her leg is badly broken at the elbow – so badly broken that it will move freely in all directions (I’ll take the vet’s word for that). She’s barely big enough to be examined to determine that, so she’s certainly not big enough for the leg to be put in a splint of any kind.

The vet’s first recommendation was euthanasia. Bean sobbed uncontrollably. I almost joined him. Surely that should be a last resort? She’s so young – just two months old and so active, even now, that it seemed cruel to put her to sleep without trying anything else first.

The second option was amputation of the leg. Pretty drastic sounding, not to mention expensive, as well as risky. Although she could live perfectly well on three legs, there’s a high risk she wouldn’t make it through the operation.

I asked if leaving it to heal was any kind of option. I had no idea to be honest, but I wanted a way forward that didn’t involve the death of this little one. Apparently, it’s a possibility.

We have to put her in a cage of her own, with no toys, not enough bedding to burrow in, nothing that might entice her to use her leg. She needs to be on bedrest as much as possible. The leg will heal, in that the break will mend, but it’s unlikely to mend in a way that means the leg will be useable. What we have to hope for is that the leg mends in a reasonable position, not sticking out at a funny angle, to limit the chances of it catching on things or getting in the way for her. We also have to hope that it does not become an open fracture, in which case all bets are off.

Doing this clearly means that she will be in pain until the break mends, and that’s not good. So to mitigate it, we have to give her medicine each day. 0.02ml of medicine each day. Straight into her mouth. I’ll let you know how that goes. We also need to take her for regular check ups so the vet can see how it’s going and make sure she’s still happy for this to be the route we take. 

I know this is the sort of thing you have to be prepared for when you have pets, but it seems so unfair. These are his first pets and he’s had them a fortnight and already he’s having to face the possibility of losing one of them.

I hope we’ve made the right decision, for Cinnamon and for Bean.

What Am I?

We had one correct answer to last week’s picture, but it didn’t appear in the comments here; it was over on the Facebook page. It was a wheel from our gerbil cage :-)

What do you make of this one?


Sometimes, Being a Parent Really Sucks

Today was one of those days. A day when we had to do something we never wanted to do, when we had to be one of those parents. We had to say no to a friendship.

I won’t go into details about what prompted this course of action. Bean, when he left school, had few friends. He struck a friendship with a boy who lived in the next street. They became best friends.

We were a bit uneasy about it from the start, but didn’t want to choose Bean’s friends for him. This boy was four years older, which worried us a bit, but mentally he was more on a par with Bean, probably younger in fact, so we let it go ahead.

It was fine, for the most part. There were occasional issues about attitude that Bean learnt from the older boy, but these were dealt with. They played football, and Subbuteo and Harry Potter and it was fine.

There inevitably came a point though when the older boy’s interests developed into areas we didn’t want Bean going at 9 years old. Probably fairly healthy for a 13 year old, not so for Bean.

And so the time came to be a grown up and tell Bean that it wasn’t a good idea for them to spend time together any more. Well, we had to do a bit more than that, and tell him they won’t be spending time together any more. 

We’ve just taken his best friend away and it sucks. It hurts as a parent to do that to your child. He’s grieving for a friendship and we feel responsible.

Sometimes, being a grown up is crap. Very crap.

And then there were ten ….

Last year, before my blog break, we were a happy family of five. Two adults, three children and all was well. 

A little over a week ago, we became a larger family … a family of ten. The children have been desperate for pets and after many discussions and lots of research, we said yes. To five pets. FIVE!

First came two rabbits, two year old lop-earred sisters who needed a new home. The family who was rehoming them had bought a terrier, not realising that a terrier would see the rabbits as dinner. After it killed one of the guinea-pigs, they decided to find a new home for the rabbits.

And we were the lucky family that got to take them on. PK named the ginger one CBeebee and Plum named the white one Olivia. They are fab. Happy hopping around lawn removing the need for Stonelaughter to mow. All is well.

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Two days later, we picked up Bean’s new pets, a trio of gerbils. Sisters. We tried to adopt some gerbils from a rescue centre, but the hoops we had to jump through were numerous and perhaps a little unnecessary. I completely understood the need to check that a 9 year old was not going to have sole responsibility for the lives of three animals. I understood the need to check that the accommodation was going to be big enough for the number of gerbils living in it. But when they wanted to see photos of each and every toy, ladder, house and such, and see them all set up (before they’d even let us discuss adopting), in situ, I gave up. I’m sorry I did, but I did. Gerbils have a short enough life as it is, and these were already over a year old. I didn’t want to spend the next year of their life discussing ladders. Couple that with the fact that the listings they had placed on pet sites didn’t seem to match the animals that they had available and I was tired.

In the meantime, I had received a reply from someone else who was advertising a litter of gerbils. They were young, which meant Bean would have their full lives to get to know them. They weren’t rescue animals but they needed homes, nonetheless.

Bean chose three sisters – the only ginger one in the group, a grey one and a dark chocolate one with white socks. He’s named them Cinnamon, Hardcastle and Shadow respectively.

gerbil Collage

So, these lovely little girls may not have been rescue animals, but I certainly felt like we had rescued them.

When we arrived at the address, there was an enormous dog in an enormous wooden crate behind the front door, taking up most of the hallway.  The house smelt of smoke, and in the front room were several adults smoking, with overflowing ashtrays. The room was foggy with smoke. Also in this room was a parrot in a cage not much bigger than it was, and a reptile enclosure (which was pretty cool) built into the wall and taking up half the main wall. Also in here were two litters of gerbils, aged three weeks apart. They were in small boxes (not cages) with barely any bedding, no water and just a little food. 

It was clear that these gerbils were part of a baby mill. The couple selling them complained that Pets at Home had refused to sell them a mixed pair of gerbils to prevent breeding (good!). I wanted to walk out and not be part of this, but having driven 40 minutes to get there with an excited 9 year old who was desperate to choose his pets, I didn’t feel like I could. I felt caught between a rock and hard place and I’m afraid not disappointing my son won over.

I will have to content myself that they are now in a nice big cage (almost a metre tall) with 3 platform levels, a hanging ladder, 30cm deep of burrowing material and hope that they have a happy life. And I will keep watching the faces of my children who all delight in watching the shenanigans of the gerbils and rabbits.