I bought Simon at a pet store about eight years ago because I didn't have the responsibility for a dog and didn't particularly want a cat. BFF Jessie said "you should get a chinchilla--they're really cool." So I checked them out, fell in love with the little guy and took him home.
He dug his little furry self into my heart, messed around with his cage mate and produced three babies (one of whom occupies the cage with him now) and used to run to the cage door whenever I came into the room.
Simon died today. I brought him to the vet for what I thought was going to be a routine procedure and the vet called and said it was more, that Simon probably wouldn't eat again, and that if he was her chinchilla, she would put him to sleep. So I did.
I cried for hours and will do so for many days. Yeah, he was a rat. But he loved to have the little space between his neck and his ear scratched, and he loved raisins and he loved running on his wheel. So last night I gave him a raisin--I'm really glad I did--and today when he was being anesthetized I scratched his favorite spot while he went to sleep.
I left him there for "mass cremation"...I didn't know what else to do with him. They're going to give me some of his fur and an imprint of his paws. And I have pictures. I pretty much have everything but him.