A Belated Farewell

A Belated Farewell

5 years ago, my ex received a gift of 2 sugar gliders. They came from a coworker who was known for adopting interesting animals. She had a preference for reptiles and amphibians. The small mammals didn’t fit the bill so she offered them up to her in Arizona. Elated by finding out that my girlfriend of the time had decided to adopt them, I was right there to help feed them and take the time to get to know these fabulous creatures; which became known as Cheddar and Colby, i.e., “The Cheeses” aka “Lil Fuckers”.

Cheddar

Colby

After a while the charm wore off for her and I was still in love with them. As weeks turned to months, we then discovered that Cheddar had become pregnant! It was an exciting time in the Cheese household. Within a few weeks Baby Brie and Jack decided to make their debut into the cage. Being marsupials, you’d notice Brie digging back into the pouch to find her favorite nipple and Cheddar patiently took the nursing as any mother would be expected.

Brie

Jack

After about a month, tragedy struck. We came home after a long night and I discovered the unthinkable. Jack had been cannibalized by his father. I was absolutely crushed. Brie was a fighter, she had a gash on her face and was hiding in a pouch in the cage. I picked up the remains of Jack and disposed of them while crying and my girlfriend treated Brie with neosporin and a strawberry treat.

Things calmed down over the next couple of years.

On the way from moving to Portland from Phoenix, we discovered Colby had successfully impregnated Cheddar once again. Another few weeks and Manchego and Gouda were now a part of the family.

Manchego

Gouda

A common condition due to lack of calcium in the diet is hind leg paralysis. Manchego had a terrible case of this and forced my hand to keep him separate from the bunch so I could monitor his diet. He died a few weeks later in my hand. I hadn’t allowed myself to get as attached so soon so I could deal with the possibility a little better. With a spoon I dug him a small grave outside of our apartment and softly sighed.

Over the next three years, we moved to a condo and gave them as much attention as we could. Baby Brie was still a fighter and Gouda was a natural born singer that loved to bark late into the wee hours. Eventually , Brie was sexually mature and because incest is common among sugar gliders, there were several instances of rape between Colby and Brie. Eventually I separated the ladies from the men with a cage divider.

A few months later, and Brie began to act strange. Overly affectionate and grabbing at us through the cage door with tiny hands to be attended to. When we’d take her out, she’d just lay in your hand and sleep. After a few weeks of this and noticing a bit of a belly, we decided it was time to take her to the doctor. She was constipated and she needed some medicine. The doctors gave her an enema and dosed her with meds. That night, my girlfriend and I sat on the couch holding her, clearly in discomfort she sat and just looked up at us. She didn’t make it through the night. I found her in the morning at the bottom of the cage. I hadn’t hurt that bad in a long time. I loved her and she gave us some good years. I buried her next to a cherry blossom tree in front of our house.

Brie, all grown up.

At the beginning of the year, Lisa and I decided to go our separate ways. In late March, I moved out of the condo and took the gliders with me. I decided for financial and professional reasons that a studio was the most logical choice of housing. With the gliders in such close proximity and my refined focus on my job, I was unable to give Colby, Cheddar, and Gouda the attention that they needed and deserved. In September I decided it was best to give them something I couldn’t; a loving and attentive owner. On September 5th, 2010 I surrendered the gliders to the Oregon Humane Society. It was one of the harder things that I had to do this year. I know they are going to wind up with someone who cherishes them and are much ‘happier’ now. That warms me.

Last family portrait. From left: Cheddar, Gouda, Colby

Bye Lil fuckers.