Bugster has always loved animals.
She's had a wide variety of animals while growing up. Hamsters. Gerbils. Dogs. Rabbits (close to 30 at one point, after some of the does had litters). Sugar gliders. Toads. Snakes. Frogs. She had a rich pet history when she was growing up, because it was so easy to nurture that love of animals when we could. It made her truly happy.
A few years ago, we were disappointed to learn she would not be pursuing any sort of animal husbandry in college. She felt like she may not be cut out for it after all...
Her rabbits lived in their hutches outside. She dutifully fed and watered them daily, so she always knew right away, if something was wrong with one. One day, she came running back in the house crying and was shaken to the core. The metal food dispenser had come out of one of the rabbit hutches, and the rabbit had apparently decided to try to get out through the hole. When she discovered the hole wasn't big enough, she apparently pulled her head back in forcefully enough that it dislodged her eyeball from the eye socket. It was unexpected to say the least, but it wasn't horribly gory. Just...odd.
We knew a vet tech from church, so I called and told him of the situation. He said to bring the rabbit in, and he'd see what he could do, and he'd ask the vet, if nothing else. So I loaded up the younger girls, the diaper bag and Scooter's wheelchair and hurried our oldest along. The broken rabbit sat in Bugster's lap in a towel all the way there. I think she thought she was comforting the rabbit, but I know the rabbit comforted her more than anything.
When we went in the exam room, everyone was very friendly, but curious, so they all gathered around the bunny for a bit. They discussed how they would handle things. It was decided that the eye was a bit dry, so they wanted to flush it with saline. Poor Bugster. I don't think she was completely privy to all of that conversation, because she became quite alarmed as the vet tech brought the saline out to irrigate the eye.
I was watching Bugster who was waiting against the wall. She was so nervous. I suddenly noticed her turn green and her eyes get huge, so I turned around just in time to see the tech bring a syringe with the needle attached up to the bunny's eye. He was only squirting the saline out to rinse things, but by the time I looked back, poor Bugster had melted all the way down the wall and was sitting on the floor sobbing. There was no more being brave for our little girl. We're still very thankful that the wall was there for her to slide down, or I'd have had to had help carrying another child to the car that night, as she was on the verge of passing out.
The vet did take a look at the rabbit. He said that her eye would likely go back into the socket once the swelling went down. He gave us some ointment and saline. We were to irrigate it and apply fresh ointment several times a day. Within just a few days, her eyeball did in fact go back into the socket, and she was fine. We had her until she died a natural death much later.
But this incident shook Bugster so much that she gave up her dream of ever working with animals. When it came time for her to decide what she was going to do for college several years ago, she went with what was practical instead of what she really wanted to do. She went for a business degree. She has her AA, but t's taken her awhile to get her BA, because she was living on her own and working so hard to pay expenses. So she still has a couple of years left, if she goes to school part time, which is a bit discouraging for her.
More than anything, though, she realizes she no longer wants to be practical. She called tonight after visiting a local college. She's decided she's going to pursue her dream and become a vet tech herself. She'll get her degree in less than 2 years, and she's beyond thrilled, but she's also a bit nervous.
We are so proud of her and so glad she's decided to pursue her passion! She'll love it, and she'll be so good at her job. Besides. Critters need to know that there's someone out there looking after them.
Remember how I said she's always loved animals? I'm serious. From the time she could talk, she loved animals. You know those little cocktail umbrellas? Every little kid loves those. They're great for pretending that you're in high society or singing in the rain. Each little twirl stokes the imagination. With Bugster, it stoked her compassion. Before she reached the age of two, she would lovingly put them on the anthills, "so the ants don't get sunburned!"
We're so very proud of you, Bugster! So happy you're pursuing your dream!
Because somebody needs to look after the ants.
Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.
You can read the start of my journey here.