Rest in Peace, He’Ke…

It is with sorrow that I am writing to all of you about the passing of my game development partner, He’Ke. It happened unexpectedly today and this post is a way for me to memorialize the loss of my much-loved pet.

heke_litchi

If you remember the story, in June 2012 I rescued a chipmunk abandoned by his mother, and raised him like a member of my family.

He’Ke came as a blessing. It was too much of a coincidence to ignore. Actually, ‘providence’ is a much better keyword to describe our meeting. From 2011 onward, my life was very chaotic. If not for his constant joyful presence, I would have never survived those terrible, harsh years. He was always there for me, running and jumping around me to cheer me up, no matter what. He saved me from a sure depression. It’s as if something in the universe knew beforehand I’d need this guardian angel in order to allow keep me moving forward.

I had this intuition He’Ke’s special mission would end once I begin a new chapter in my life, then his role would be fulfilled and he would be called back to where he came from. And here I am, starting a new chapter. Things improved drastically lately―thanks to the good Samaritan who kept encouraging me for years. One week before June, I moved in a giant, loft-like condominium in a very quiet neighborhood. Holy cow, both He’Ke and I were in clover here. It was so obvious the way he explored every nook and cranny of his new place. He had some new favorite spots. It was really cute to see him.

Yesterday night, he went in bed much earlier than usual―nothing indicated sudden health issues―and a few hours ago I decided to wake him up myself only to find out he was lifeless under his nest of blankets. He seemed peaceful with his arms crossed. I hope it’s a sign he passed away in his sleep, without suffering. It’s indeed the last picture I took of He’Ke.

heke_rip

I’ve been crying all evening. I’m still in grief. The apartment feels so empty now. I miss the noise of his jubilant footsteps. I miss when he kept climbing on me—even when I complained he was distracting me in my work. I miss when he slept on my shoulder while I was working on my projects. Damn. I’m all alone now. It’s still difficult to accept this as true. I expected we’d eat tons of litchis again this summer. I expected he’d still keep me company for another winter.

Death is sudden and unexpected for sure. It’s why it’s important to cherish each instant with the beings that are important to us. Or have empathy for others even when we don’t know them. There’s no proof there’s an afterlife, and this ‘existence’ is the only thing we can build upon.

I was very hesitant to bury He’Ke in the backyard in order to keep him close to me. Although it’s a dream place here, there’s not enough strong memories, plus there’s no guarantee I’ll stay here for years to come. Instead, I decided to bury him at the same exact spot where I found him. The meaning is more powerful. Two trees serve as tombstones, which meant his body will still play a role in the ecosystem, maybe allow a bed of flowers to bloom.

tombtree_01

tombtree_02

All thing considered, He’Ke had a really good run. He lived five years when he was supposed to die early during his babyhood. His name stands for Helen Keller because he was partially blind and almost completely deaf, but strong-willed. I did my absolute best to offer him the best quality of life and treated him with equal rights. If humans do have a soul, then I can confirm that animals have a soul too. And if ‘soul’ simply means being ‘important’, than that’s how I see all good-hearten living beings. To be honest, I prefer the presence of animals over most humans. There’s something pure about certain species, and chipmunks are truly fascinating. I shared every bit of space I had with him without keeping him in a cage, it helped to create a solid bond between us. And I’m sure He’Ke has always been grateful for this.

Rest in Peace, dear friend. Won’t be easy to live in complete solitude again.

June 2012 – June 2017

heke shoulder

14 thoughts on “Rest in Peace, He’Ke…

  1. Thank you everyone for your kind comments via my Facebook posts: [here] and [here].

    In some way He’Ke has been part of this website for a long time. Some of you had helped me to purchase a cage when I found him in a near death state in 2012, which allowed me to keep him in safety. I want to express my gratitude on behalf of He’Ke.

  2. Oh, I am so sorry for your loss. I loved to check in with you every once in a while. I was a supporter and follower since your very clever post on IG and I loved your stories and updates. When the company I worked for closed in April of 2015 I lost your contact info, however I thought about He’Ke very often and wondered how you were both doing. I always wished for much happiness and good things to come your way. I am very happy to hear He’Ke was still with you to see you begin this new chapter of your life. I’m sure he loved life with you and he was so lucky the day you rescued him. I too like animals more than people. Our pets are our family, our children, and we wish they would stay with us forever. You gave He’Ke an amazing life and the loss will be felt for a very long time but I am sure you will not close your heart to another being in need. Thank you for sharing He’ke with us. Very best wishes for your continued success and happy adventures. Jean from Massachusetts.

  3. My dear friend you could not have written a heartfelt tribute to honour He’Ke. It is fate that you saved him and he you. You share one of the most precious bonds two souls could have formed. Even though his body is now lifeless I can feel that he is still here with you and I have a knowing that he will make himself known to you in small and undeniably large ways as you go about the business of living. He had such a great name sake as well, I love that you chose to name him after her! And as to his burial, it is the absolute loveliest for his body to give back to the place from which he entered this world. Watch for his “hellos” in the coming days and years. He is pure love in its highest vibration, the energy of everything and always. Cheers to you both and much love as you step into the next evolution of your life!

  4. That is very sad news! :( I remember all your posts from when you first found him and your efforts to bring him back to health. I’m glad you and He’Ke were able to bring so much to each others lives. I hope the happy memories of your years with him will continue to enrich your life for many years to come.

  5. :( I’m so, so sorry. It’s horrible when a beloved pet dies – I’ve lost two cats and I know what it’s like. (hug)

  6. I’ve read “The Story Of My Life” and I can see the portion where you played the role of Anne Sullivan. :)
    For sure the next few weeks are going to be dull af because of this loss…

    “If not for his constant joyful presence, I would have never survived those terrible, harsh years. He was always there for me, running and jumping around me to cheer me up, no matter what. He saved me from a sure depression. It’s as if something in the universe knew beforehand I’d need this guardian angel in order to allow keep me moving forward.”
    Hope you act wisely and are able to move forward (instead of going into a depression) and let his purpose be fulfilled, it’s time to give your 200% to whatever he came to help you with. Your fans are still around and will be there whatever happens.

    My heartfelt sympathy for your loss, and after all no one’s gonna stay here forever. Cheer up and get back to work, time to devote your current project (for which he did play a significant role) to your companion. :)

  7. Hey there Elder. It’s been a while and check in on you; see how you’re doing. I hope you’re well.

  8. Hey man, hang in there. It’s sad when a loved one (be it a person or a pet) passes away. It always helps me to remember all the fun things we did.

  9. Hey Elder,

    It’s Erdem. I know the value of a true animal friend. I lived with one bird for almost a decade. I know the pain and the loss of it. I want you to know that He’Ke might have played a part in your life, but please know that you were his whole life. And you made him very happy, every single day, giving a home and a life and the kind of a love which is very rare among its species. He was lucky have been rescued by you and you were lucky to have received his friendship. You both were special to each other. So just remember that one’s soul remain forever in their creations. The love you two have created in each other will always remain in your souls. No matter you two go, whoever you become, wherever you guys are born, your loves became a part of your souls know and your souls became a part of that love.

    Many Blessings and my condolences to both of you,
    I will pray for happiness and safety for you both.
    E <3 _/\_

  10. I deeply appreciate your condolence messages, everyone!

    My grief proved to be more persistent than anticipated. It’s been two months since the incident and today I am adamant that He’Ke didn’t die of natural causes. The cause is second-hand smoke, courtesy of two chain smokers living below me, who still believe in our days and age that their rights matter more than non-smokers’. I became seriously sick myself and I had to exile myself inside my garage, which isn’t a better breathing environment, with the stench of gasoline and pressed cedar boards. I never had the chance to mourn my pet in comfort and serenity. I noticed that most people around me don’t understand that one can be afflicted by the loss of a pet as much as human loss. I discovered the work of Swedenborg, and whether his writings are true or not, it offered comfort on the subject of afterlife.

    My landlords had more or less recognized the second-hand smoke issue and decided to cancel my current lease. They offered me to live in their brand-new building instead, with a $1200 CAD price reduction. The bright side of my tragedy is that they’re going to make all their future buildings non-smoker; so who knows, it might save future lives.

    Although I was so motivated, my game development was ruined this summer, so let’s pray September onward will be without incident. My new flat should be ready soon. It’s almost exactly the same replica of my current apartment. I can’t wait to move there and breath fresh air and work efficiently in my projects.

    Still, I will miss He’Ke as a team mate. It wasn’t an ordinary pet.

  11. Dear elder.. I rescued a chipmunk about 3 weeks ago .. he was pretty banged up at first I looked for a caregiver that could take care of him better than I could..but as days went on I didn’t want to give him up. His name is Mr.Chips he Is a very calm Lil boy , after reading your story..you I feel would be a good parent for my little boy..your love and devotion. If this is a task you would like to accpt..please write to me.thanks

  12. That’s very thoughtful of you, deb! Unfortunately I cannot accept the offer because I’m still in a dire situation, and no animal will survive with me until events get safe for me.

    The fact that you’ve rescued the chipmunk is a sign of extreme luck in your life. I suggest you do your best to make it your pet, that said if you can give it freedom in your place. A chipmunk in a cage will probably suffer of depression.

    If you’re living in a country with winter, it’s too late to set it free in the wild.

    According to Google, “Feed the baby chipmunk esbilac powder, mix only enough for 24hrs and keep it refrigerated. Esbilac is a puppy milk replacer, which you should be able to purchase at a vet or pet store. Human baby pablums, cows milk, and most pet products (except Esbilac) are not suitable and will likely cause death.”

    Then I feed my chipmunk with this to make sure his diet was balanced: http://www.envigo.com/products-services/teklad/laboratory-animal-diets/natural-ingredient/rodent/2016-diets.aspx

    I gave him fruits and other healthy food as treats.

  13. I just read your story and even though it’s been some time since you lost HeKe I’m sure you still are sad. My daughter and I rescued a small chipmunk our cat caught a few weeks ago. At first I wanted to nurse him back to health and let him go but the more I read about them being pets the more we wanted to keep Theodore.
    He recovered great and was eating like crazy. He stays inside my glass enclosed shower so the cat or dog can’t hurt him. Today I was watching him eat some corn kernels that he loves and he seemed to be eating in his sleep. Anyway I’ve been holding him and letting him snuggle and sleep on my chest. His breathing seems different and he makes these little noises in his sleep…He hasn’t had much of his usual great appetite or energy to run around. I can’t imagine what’s going on. Any ideas???

  14. Hello Linda.

    His breathing seems different and he makes these little noises in his sleep…

    Note that it’s normal that he’s producing sounds as he sleeps. It can sounds like he’s mourning. He’Ke made these sounds as he was dreaming. maybe memories of a traumatic event. He was also rubbing his teeth together constantly.

    At first I wanted to nurse him back to health and let him go but the more I read about them being pets the more we wanted to keep Theodore.

    They’re fantastic pet but it depends of the context, of course, and the freedom he’ll be offered. Chipmunks need to move. Not in vertical heights, but on an horizontal surface. For he’ke, I felt that a bedroom was sufficient for his daily exercises. At least 8 feet x 8 feet. Of course, obstacles for him to climb on will feel like a paradisaical attraction park.

    He’Ke was half blind, so I constantly had to watch where I was walking, at risk of killing him under my footstep.

    You can adapt the dog to care for chipmunk, but I don’t think the cat will have that degree of empathy. You have to make sure your cat never find itself in the same room, else it will be a carnage.

    he hasn’t had much of his usual great appetite or energy to run around. I can’t imagine what’s going on.

    It might be a sign of calcium deficiency, which may become fatal if not adjusted.

    First step, hurry to purchase a small bottle of TUMS Chewable Tablets. Give him 1 tablet, or half a tablet if unsure, he should gnaw it and even like it. If he doesn’t touch it, break it into pieces in a bit of water and let him lick it, or mix it into something else like peanut butter. Don’t overfeed your chippie with tums, though. For the first week, give him half a tum every day. Then space it to every three days until you feed him or her with teklad block (as explained below).

    Be careful not to feed the chipmunk with almonds, which can be poisonous.

    Safe food I gave my chimpmunk (as a treat, not as main food) : advocado (a small piece, size of the tip of your finger), pieces of fruits like mango. Litchis. 1 black cherry. 1 grape (remove the stones whenever possible).

    Vegetables are more important, but if he’s like He’Ke he’ll ignore them in hope to receive fruits. Try to create a some kind of pasta with the vegetable and mix it with a bit of one fruit.

    Then, it’s important to feed him with ‘Teklad’ blocks. This is what he needs:

    https://www.envigo.com/products-services/teklad/laboratory-animal-diets/natural-ingredient/rodent/2018-diets.aspx

    The company don’t seem to sell it directly to customers, but I think the url below is the same thing: https://www.chinchilla.ca/detail.php?ProductID=HT201805&item=Envigo-Harlan_Global_Lab_Blocks_18%_Protein_Rodent_Diet_-_5_lb_Bag

    EDIT: I remember this is the one I purchased for He’KE: https://www.chinchilla.ca/detail.php?ProductID=HT201833&item=Envigo-Harlan_Global_Lab_Blocks_18%_Protein_Rodent_Diet_-_33_lb_Bag (it lasted his whole lifetime, I still had half that bag with blocks)

    best source of information: https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/

    There are good advices there too: http://www.super-chipmunks.co.uk/dryfood.php, but the teklad blocks I recommended should be the best choice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *