Isabella, a guinea pig whose home had been one of our kindergarten rooms for seven years, died on December 27. “Isabella was a wonderful pet,” wrote teacher Caryl Morton in an email to the families of the class. “She brought out qualities of gentleness and compassion in the children. We will all miss her greatly.”
School families took turns sharing their homes with Isabella on weekends and holidays. The day she died she was being cared for by the Anesoir family, including first grader Pearla and preschooler Marielle. The girls’ mother, Haylene Anesoir, is a pediatrician. She noticed that something was wrong with Isabella. “She didn’t appear to be in great discomfort,” Caryl said, “but she had stopped eating, and we knew her time was coming.” Isabella died in Haylene’s arms.
“I’m relieved that she was surrounded by love when she died and felt comfortable letting go while I was holding her,” said Haylene. (She says the book The Invisible String by Patrice Karst “really helped my girls with death and sadness in a positive loving way.”)
Isabella was almost eight and a half years old, which Caryl notes “is quite old for a guinea pig.” She was buried in our school pet cemetery, off the Tier 3 driveway. Room 8 teachers and students had a memorial for her yesterday. “As we stood around her grave, each child said words of appreciation and love to Isabella.” Caryl reports. “We also made a beautiful sign that each child contributed to.”