Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Little Gerbil Who Lost Her Tail

So we have this gerbil - her name is Nemo.  {Yes, I'm completely aware that the real 'Nemo' was a boy, but try telling that to the obstinate 2 year old Mini-Man was at the time.  Nemo it was.}  Nemo is a precious little thing, and much loved.  Recently, MM has been trying to play with her on his own.  Bad.  Idea.  He'd been in enough time outs for trying to handle her that we thought we had this problem fixed. 

{Really?  What imaginary world were we living in?}

So a few nights ago, MM was playing quietly in his room with his Lego's.  Or, so we thought. Au contraire!  {I have no idea how that's really spelled, but I like it and I'm hoping none of you are French and can tell me wrong.}  Anyway, BabyDaddy, Sunshine, and I are in the living room hanging out when we hear a bloodcurdling scream followed by the hysterical sobs of MiniMan.  He runs into the living room shrieking and holding his cupped hands out in front of him.  We can't understand a word he's saying at first....'Nemonemonemonemo!  ItcameoffItcameoffitcameoff!  IT WAS AN ACCIDENT!!!!'.  Oh crap, I'm thinking, he's squished Nemo.  BD finally got him to open up his little hands and inside...........was a tail.  A long, skinny, black Nemo-tail. 

I thought I was going to pass out.

Or puke.

Or both.

Then I saw a flash of black dart across MM's bedroom floor.  "AHHHH!  She's alive!!!!" I scream.

Commence the action sequence:  I'm screaming about how I'm going to throw up now or potentially hyperventilate {I really was, I swear}, BabyDaddy is yelling for everyone to be quiet, MiniMan is still holding that pitiful tail up in the air and sobbing, and Sunshine is screeching bloody murder and trying to crawl up my leg as I gag.  We went on in this manner for a while, until BD finally switched into emergency responder mode.  As I sat with my head between my knees, begging MiniMan to please get Nemo's tail away from my face with him crying, "She's dead!  She's dead!  I just KILLED HER AND I'M GOING TO GO TO JAIL!"  BD calmly scooped up a frantic, tail-less, but otherwise alive Nemo, and deposited her in her cage.  He pried the tail from MM's clenched fingers and detached Sunshine from my leg.  MiniMan was sent straight to bed with the punishment of an electronic-free weekend in front of him and Sunshine collapsed from sheer exhaustion soon after. 

BabyDaddy and I did some serious googling and discovered that this was a relatively common injury for gerbils, and most actually survived.  The skin over the tailbone is very thin, and apparently is sort of a defense mechanism like those crazy lizards whose tails fall off if you try to catch them.  The prescribed course of treatment was easy, all the websites claimed.  Just clip off any remaining piece of tailbone, clean and coat with Neosporin and the gerbil should be just fine.....ummmm, yeah.  You heard me right.  So of course, experienced medical technician that he is, BD says this will be a piece of cake.

He gets out his kit, gives me some latex gloves, and puts Nemo in my hands to 'keep her steady'.  So there I am, holding a squirming gerbil, trying not to retch, and craning my head away so I don't have to watch.

When I came to, {just kidding, I didn't actually faint-I think I just sort of blacked out for a few seconds}, Nemo was Neosporin-ed and bandaged and happily running about her cage and stuffing her cheeks with sunflower seeds.  And she's been fine ever since.  Every morning, MiniMan is so happy to see her.  :)

The things we do for our children.  {Like perform minor surgery on small mammals.}  I swear.....


  1. Hi I’m Heather! Please email me when you get a chance! HeatherVonsj(at)gmail(dot)com

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