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Our boy Roman – R.I.P.

Last night John and I ordered a pizza at the restaurant, paid in advance, and went home to wait for the delivery person. He came and didn’t speak English and didn’t understand we had already paid. I went into the living room to get the phone so we could call, but when I came back John had already convinced the man we paid.

I took a step back, turned on my right foot and stepped with my left, and Roman, our darling Wilson White chinchilla boy, dashed right under my foot in a half-second. John didn’t have to time tell me, and I was wearing a sandal on my left foot. I just heard a crunch, wondered if I stepped on a plastic cup (even though I had just cleaned), looked down, and saw his paws.

I lifted up my foot and yelled out, Oh no Roman! I stepped away and he lay there on his side with blood around his head on the floor. He was twitching and I looked for the hospital number on the fridge (it wasn’t there) and then called 411, which took a couple tries. We got a recording that the hospital was open 24 hours for emergencies. John had already grabbed Roman and said he was going and he grabbed a cab. I pulled out the carrying box, grabbed my keys and also ran out and caught a cab. I got there just as John was entering the hospital. I asked, and John shook his head: no. Roman had passed.

I cannot tell anyone what it’s like to lose a chinchilla. Roman was our special boy. Beautiful white all over, gray ears, and just so lovable and sweet. He easily demurred to Olive’s domain, and was an incredibly loving father to his first daughter, Valentine (2/15/03), and his two new daughters, Varla and Ilsa, both born on July 20, 2003.

Roman was born March 5th, 2002, and was brought to us in June 2003 from Big Apple Chinchillas. He was very skittish for some time. He never felt comfortable jumping in our hands, which Olive loves to do. Olive had bit off a toe after he was here a week, and in the next week she had nipped his ear. After several months we let them out to play, and they became instant, loving friends.

I don’t know if the other chins have figured out that Roman is gone. I don’t know that John and I have really figured it out either. We do know that it was just an incredibly unfortunate accident, and that we’re going to have exercise even stronger precautions if they’re out running about (we already remove our shoes in most situations). I saw Roman standing in the kitchen when I went to get the phone, and had no idea he ran right under my foot. It was almost like suicide, but that’s totally against chinchilla behavior.

Right now he’s in refrigeration at the pet hospital. They cleaned him up for us there, and luckily the damage was all interior and he looked fine. We pet him for awhile and kissed him and left him there for now. We have no yard to bury him in, cremation sounds wrong for such a beautiful creature, freeze drying sounds a bit odd, and we’re not sure we need to invest in a cemetery plot.

We love you, Roman. Thanks so much for being here. Your wife and daughters will miss your nose bumps and running and playing very much, and so will we.

We’ll always wonder what life we may have had in the coming years, as you learned to trust us more, and maybe jump in our hands. You were so good at the hospital when you were neutered in May, the doctors just loved you. I remember the look on your face when the doctor first held you.

We’re so glad for the year and few months we were able to spend with you, and you with us. Thanks for being here, Roman. You truly enriched our lives and we love you forever.

Roman Rupe-Kinsherf

March 5th, 2002 — August 16th, 2003

From Shade, John, Olive, Valentine, Ilsa and Varla