Monday, May 23, 2011

Class Pets

Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I am not an animal person. I don't hate them, but I can definitely see a lot better ways to spend my time, money, clean clothes, fresh air, etc than owning one... :) It's something I've inherited, so if you have a problem with it, blame my mom.
At the beginning of the year, I thought about sucking up my selfishness and getting a class pet for the kids. I weighed the pros and cons and when it was all said and done decided that my students would love me either way. Haha! Well, Danielle loves animals, so getting a class pet for her room was no question. She really wanted a bunny, but when that didn't work out, she settled on two guinea pigs. She let the kids name them and they chose "Bella" and "Angelina" (note the Twilight and Jersey Shore references from our 10-year-olds!!).
Well, ever since we got back from Winter Break, Danielle had been saying that Angelina was getting skinnier and not being as responsive and what not. I gave her my sympathy and advice (which was something quite brilliant, I'm sure!), but then didn't give it much thought... because, as I've said, I have better things to do with my time! :)
Turns out, that in February, one of the major reasons of me not wanting a class pet happened... Angelina died. Now, I'll admit, it was sad. But, with all the stress that I experienced because of it, it only reconfirmed my decision to not get a class pet ever... or at least for a long time. During February, Danielle was experiencing some medical issues and had to take off a few days of work. It just so happened that Angelina chose to die on a day that Danielle was out!
First thing in the morning on that dreadful day, I walked in to make sure the sub was doing okay and everything was in order and there was a scare that the guinea pig might be dead because they were having a hard time getting her to move or eat. She wasn't, but it was obvious her time was coming. I texted Danielle and she said she was going to take her to the vet the next day. Well, Angelina didn't make it and as soon as we brought the kids in from recess I had 4 kids running into my room to tell me the pet was dead. Unfortunately, since we all know how 4th graders like to talk, the news spread around the school like wildfire! Before I could even devise a plan for how to handle the situation, I had at least 4 teachers from all across the school come to tell me that the animal was dead.... um, hello. a) I work across the hall from her, b) her students practically see me as their second teacher (and mine, her!), and c) why don't YOU take care of the dead animal since clearly you have so much interest and time on your hands?!
Anyway, while all of those teachers were dropping by, another teacher also heard the news and snatched up the whole guinea pig cage from her room and toted it down to the teacher's lounge! Now, quick thinking in getting the cage out of the room, but not the best choice of placement since there were teachers in there still eating lunch! Haha. Ew! After some discussion, she moved the cage out of the teacher's lounge, into the janitors' office until she was able to find a moment to wrap Angelina up and clean out the cage for Bella.
Thankfully, with the animals out of sight, I was able to regain some semblance of control over both classes and we resumed with our regularly scheduled programming. After the kids were loaded on the buses, the teacher who had prepared Angelina for burial (also known around our school as the pet/bug whisperer, among other names) pulled me outside and demanded that we give the animal a proper burial (remember when I said I had better uses for my time?)! We gave a quick eulogy and dug up a little grave so that Angelina can forever be a part of Palmer Elementary. :)
Needless to say, I was more than pleased when Danielle came back to school the next day! 
She surveyed the whole playground until she found the perfect spot!

The perfect little coffin.. and yes, we made sure not to bury the plastic bag!


  1. OMG. First of all, I just cried reading this. Both from laughter and sympathy. I still can't believe that little terd died on the ONE day I was out all year! Thank you both for taking care of her...and I appreciated the proper burial :)

    Needless to say...if Bella ever starts getting skinny, I'm taking her to the SPCA haha.

  2. Moral of the story, if your pet is getting sick and ready to die...take a day off work and let Steph deal with it! :)

  3. OH MY GOODNESS are continuing the Wacek tradition of the world's worst pet sitters!!!