So if you caught my earlier post you'll know that Nietzsche, the Chinchilla we've roomed with for the last 19 years went quietly to the the dust bath in the sky two weeks ago.
I thought about burying him in the garden but we don't really have plans to stay in the country for much longer so decided on cremation.
Really don't trust the vets cremation service, just as with your lasagna in this country you're likely to find a little horse in there with the boy's ashes.
So we went for Dignity a pet cremation in Hook that has a same day service.
For the last two weeks Nietzsche has been in the freezer, guess I should go into this as I was googling about it like crazy the other week to try and figure out what to do.
After he died we wrapped him in a small piece of his favourite blanket, the one he used to go under every evening and sit between my ankles.
We put him back in his freshly cleaned cage, with fresh water and fresh food and the door open and left him for the night.
In the morning we put him, still in the blanket, in a Black 'body bag' a nice Nespresso bag since you asked, classy. Then we put him in a plastic container in the freezer as we couldn't get him cremated for a couple of weeks.
We put flowers next to the freezer and it's been a little weird, apologetic every time we had to open the freezer for any thing, "sorry boy".
Saturday finally came around and we put him in a converted clarinet case I'd bought home with an ice pack, hated the thought of him being cold, stupid huh.
M. pretty much carried him, holding the case horizontal, the whole way.
Cold Cold day, still snow here, freezing actually getting splashed by cars all the way to the Crematorium, less than ideal.
The people at Dignity were nice, done this a thousand time of course. We were a bit confused, we'd thought we'd be there the whole time but the idea is that even for the same day service you go away and come back later to pick up the ashes.
We asked to be there and they do a allow it a small extra charge which seemed fair enough.
They left us to say our goodbyes, I'd put a slide show on the ipad on all the pictures we had of him over the last 19 years and we watched that, kind of nice, glad I did it.
When we were ready we went through to the back of the building where the ovens were, nice guy running those, called Jay I think, thought he might have been Italian.
The ovens looked a little like pizza ovens in fact. Think twice before you order a pizza in the Hook/Harltley Witney area
Jay explained the process, that being small they would put him in a small metal tray and then into the oven so they could be sure to get all his ashes. Asked if we wanted to stay for the whole thing and we said yes, M's Buddhist background coming out perhaps.
Was a bit worried at the thought of seeing him, had no idea what condition he would be in when he came out of the bag and his blanket but it was OK, fur damp from the freezer I guess but head slightly turned up, it was sad to see him like that but OK, again, closure.
They warned us that when they put him into the oven we would see a little smoke go up from his fur before they closed the door but that seemed appropriate somehow.
They closed the door, allowed us to stay for a little while with our thoughts, prayers and then were kind enough to drop as at the local pub (this place really was in the middle of nowhere) and said they would come back with the ashes in time for the train back.
And that was that. Didn't like all the fancy boxes and silver heart containers they had on offer, just went for a simple cardboard scatter tube that looked not unlike a Japanese tea caddy. Nietzsche loved cardboard and especially giant tubes (see pic above), seemed appropriate.
Besides we have this idea of taking his ashes to Chile one day, scattering him over his ancestral lands...good excuse to visit Chile if nothing else.
When we got home we put him in his old house in his old room on the place I made for him (see last post) and brought some flowers.
Nineteen years is nineteen years, kind of a nice way to say goodbye, felt respectful and appropriate and I guess some closure. Hopefully the general malaise I've been feeling for the past two weeks will pass now but then that's grief, bit of a bugger however cool and tough we think we are.
On a last note I put his cage on Ebay this afternoon, a token amount for Buy it now, and it sold within the hour. Mostly I just wanted somebody to take it away and couldn't bare to scrap it. They come and pick it up tomorrow.
This evening I'm listening to Flamenco and sipping more wine than I have in a long a while, again, closure.