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Parenting Beyond Belief, 2nd Edition by Dale McGowan

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THE FIRST REALLY, REALLYHARD GOOD-BYE

DALE McGOWAN

“Daddy! Something’s wrong with Max!” Erin (10) was upset, her face a mask of anguish. “He’s making sounds I’ve never heard before . . . and he’s laying wrong!”

Her guinea pig Max, the first pet that was all her own, was clearly not okay. The vet confirmed an upper respiratory infection the next morning, dispensing a little medicine and not much hope.

“Guinea pigs are prey items,” he said, introducing me to a colorful new term I was glad Erin didn’t hear. “They don’t handle stress well. But sometimes the medicine works. He’ll either get better quickly . . . or he won’t.”

Erin held him all evening, cooing and stroking and sobbing. In the morning, he was gone.

When Erin’s heart breaks, it takes ...

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