Vigil for Beauty

Hello everyone.  Can’t sleep.  Our red-tailed boa and dear friend, Beauty, is not doing very well.  She hasn’t been doing very well for a long time, actually; probably 6 months or more.  We think she’s just really, really old.  She’s had several owners before she came to us, so there’s no way to really tell, but she was full grown when we inherited her almost 6 years ago.  Anyway, this winter she’s turned something into a geriatric patient.  She stopped being interested in food so I’ve had to force-feed her for over half a year now.  I’ve gotten really good at it.  But still, she’s just steadily gotten weaker and weaker.

Last night, around 7:00pm when I was putting Freddy, our parrot, back in his cage she was in full on “dead snake” position; twisted up and lying on her back.  I was sincerely surprised when I checked on her that she was still with us.  I gave her a small bite of food but noticed she felt really dehydrated.  It was entirely plausible that, even though she had a full dish of water, she hadn’t had the strength or interest to drink from it for some time.  So I dissected a generic spray bottle and used the tube as a soft straw and pumped a few gulps of room-temp water into her stomach as well.  Maybe I did too much on my first attempt because I learned that she could selectively “vomit” up her water while retaining her food.

Anyway, I couldn’t sleep.  Finally gave up trying about 5:00am.  I got up and gave Beauty another “gulp” of water, which she kept down, and hopefully that helps.  I just couldn’t bear it if she went and I didn’t give it my best effort.  I’m not sure if at this point I’m just prolonging the inevitable or if by some miracle she gets back to a place she’s acceptably healthy again.  She’s been such a fighter in the past and this wouldn’t be her first near-death experience she’s pulled through.  She’s been such a good snake and a good friend, she deserves the best chance I can give her.

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