Little Cosmo passed away sometime last night. I found him this morning as I was leaving for work. I would always joke with Abby, Ginger, and Chloe that Cosmo was my favorite pet because he is so easy to care for and kind. He will surely be missed!
He was an excellent guinea pig - very sweet and loving. He had very big guinea pig shoes to fill when he came in to replace Pork (aka Little Boy King or The Porkmiester), but Cosmo (aka Cozzy Coz) did an excellent job and exceeded all expectations of him. Cosmo would let anyone hold him - including about a hundred students of mine over the past few years, give or take a few - and loved to sit in Katie Anne's lap and be scratched. He loved to have his hair brushed with a baby hair brush, too. Cosmo never tried to run away from people - he would sit patiently on the floor while I cleaned his cage, sit in between two kids during Calendar Time in first grade, or on the basement floor while Katie Anne built a "park" around him with blocks. This summer, she even put him in a pink plastic Cinderella carriage, and he rode around the playroom like a king. He loved his carrots, and he would stand up and squeal whenever he heard anything that sounded like a plastic carrot bag rustling. Cosmo and Ginger loved each other - he would stand up on the side of his cage, and Ginger would stand up and look in, and they'd "talk" to each other. He loved to be carried around while I taught school - he was just like a little chubby, cuddly kitten.
He started getting sick last Tuesday. I thought his eyes kind of looked odd, and he stopped eating and drinking last week. When Katie Anne fed him his carrots on Thursday night, he acted like he could not find them, and he never ate them. (Bless her heart- she tried to help him. I went to get him some Vitamin C drops from the laundry room, and when I got back she'd bitten one of his carrots in half. She was chewing it up and was bent over in front of him, saying, "Look Cosmo. This is how to bite it." When I asked her what she was doing, she said, "I am showing him how to bite it. He not know how." Poor baby!) I started giving him water via syringe on Saturday because he seemed so dehydrated, but he did not want it and I had to force him to drink it. He was getting very thin, and it just killed me to think of him being hungry or thirsty. As much as I didn't want him to die, I really didn't want him sitting down there and suffering. I don't think he was sick or in pain - when I found him on Monday morning, he was just laying peacefully beside his food bowl, and I almost couldn't tell whether he was asleep or had passed away. So, I think it was the best end anyone could hope for little Cozzy Coz.
I did tell the kindergartners that Cosmo died. They weren't too upset because they never got to meet him in person. They are very anxious to get another guinea pig. I will get another one because they are great pets and kids just love them, but I'll wait awhile and mourn little Cos first.
Katie Anne knows Cosmo has died. She was very aware that he was sick, and she'd check on him every day last week. I would've liked to get our conversation on video, but we were in the car Monday afternoon, talking about it. Here's what she said.
Me: "Katie Anne, did Daddy tell you what happened to Cosmo this morning?"
KA: "Yeah, Daddy says he really, really sick."
Me: "Well, he isn't sick anymore. He died last night."
KA: "Who killed him?"
Me: "Nobody killed him. He just died. I think he just got old."
KA: "And now he's in heaven?"
Me: "Yes, now he's in heaven."
KA: "He went to be with Jesus?"
Me: "Yes, he did."
KA: "I'll see him on Thursday."
Me: "Well, we probably won't see him any time soon because he died."
KA: "Yes, I will see him on Thursday. I go to heaven and pet him."
Me: "Well, I hope not. I hope you will not be in heaven on Thursday."
KA: "Will he come to our home then? On Thursday?"
Me: "No, he won't come back to our home."
KA: in a little mad voice - "Well, he's not going to your school then either! Because he got died!"
She thought about all this for a few minutes, and then she said:
"Well, Cosmo was a nice little guinea pig. He was a nice little guy."
Me: trying not to cry - "Yes, he was. He was a nice little guinea pig."
KA: "He will be nice in heaven. And Jesus will love him."
Me: "Yep, I bet so."
KA: "Let's sing Away in the Hay for him."
And so we sang Away in the Manger in memory of Cosmo. We sang the "take us to heaven to live with thee there" verse twice at KA's request.
So sweet - the things that two-year-old minds think!
Here are some pictures of Cosmo and Katie Anne during happier times. I wish I had a picture of him in that pink carriage!
And, here are some drawings my students did of Cosmo over the years. All of these were done by fourth graders - my first graders wanted to take their drawings of Cosmo home last year to remember him by over the summer, and I didn't think to make copies.
A great realistic drawing by Adam...
A great realistic drawing by Adam...