In Memoriam: Garibaldi Rous

Love on Four Feet

Love on Four Feet

It is with the greatest sadness and pain that I am writting this short post to let you know that Garibaldi Rous died on Sunday, Feb.  16th, just shy of his fourth birthday.

As many of you know, Gari had been fighting a long battle with an infection in his teeth and jaw. When we last took him to the vet, on Thursday, Feb. 13th, he seemed healthy and we had every expectation that in spite of the traumatic removal of his first molar on the lower right, he would recover, at least temporarily. However, he had trouble coming out of the anesthesia and was still a bit groggy when we headed home from A&M. About a half hour into the drive, I called Dr. Hoppes to let her know that I was worried about him and hat his condition seemed to be deteriorating. She told me that the preliminary blood tests had come back and Gari had elevated levels of a kidney enzyme, something we had not seen before. However,  she believed that this, while not good, was not serious, and that it explained why he was having some much trouble recovering from the anesthesia. She believed he would probably feel better in the morning.

A noble profile

A noble profile

Over the next couple of days, Gari’s condition continued to deteriorate. No amount of water could quench his thirst. And he went from being able to walk, to stumbling, to having trouble sitting in the sphinx position. Dr. Hoppes suggested that we could bring him back to A&M for IV fluids but it was my call that this would only stress him more and not change the outcome. I did not want him to die in a cold, scary place. Instead Rick and I made him as comfortable as possible. We let him sit in his pool when he felt well enough. I slept on the floor with him and we showed him as much love as we could cram into the time we had left.

After Gari died, Coral, Philip, Monica and I drove his body back to A&M for necropsy. The official word came yesterday that Gari died of kidney failure. The infection in his teeth had spread to his kidneys. The anesthesia and pulling of the molar stressed his body beyond what it could take in his weakened condition.

World's best co-pet

World’s best co-pet

Ultimately, Gari’s death can be traced back to poor nutrition when he was a baby. It is very likely that an early case of scurvy, his small size when we got him at 10 months old, and his knocked “knees,” as demonstrated in the photo above, are classic signs of vitamin C deficiency.

I will be writing a longer, more personal eulogy for Garibaldi Rous next week. In the meantime, I do not intend on being online at all.

If you would like to show your sympathy or to help us understand the veterinary needs of captive capybaras, please feel free to donate to the ROUS Foundation for Capybara Veterinary Medicine.

The  Capybara Madness Store is also having a major sale: every item is just $5 and all proceeds will be donated to the ROUS Foundation. At the end of March, I plan on deactivating the store so if you want a plush toy, a tshirt, a pawprint or a puzzle of a capybara, now is the time to buy.

I am not sure yet what I am going to do with myself. After the eulogy, this website might not get a new post for a long time. Thank you for your support and for your love of capybaras in general and Garibaldi Rous in particular.


From  Dr. Sharman Hoppes, Garibaldi’s vet

Garibaldi typaldos passed away Sunday February 16 th from sepsis that occurred secondarily to his severe dental disease.  The infection and possibly the medications used to treat his infection, inflammation and pain damaged his kidneys resulting in renal failure. Due to the continuous growing teeth of capybaras and their need for vitamin c supplementation, they are prone to dental disease if their dietary needs are not met. Garibaldi had issues with his diet prior to Melanie and Rick obtaining him. Another factor affecting the severity of Gari’s  dental issues was metabolic bone disease. Prior to Melanie obtaining Gari he had limited exposure to sunlight which resulted in decreased bone density that predisposed him to the dental issues that ultimately claimed his life. Garibaldi was an amazing and sweet capybara. In spite of Gari’s current owners dedication to improving Gari’s husbandry and nutrition and in fighting this disease process. Garibaldi lost the battle. This is a sad lesson for all of us who choose to own exotic pets. We must all strive to learn as much about them as possible. Preferably before we bring them home. And with exotic pets we are continually learning. We need to learn about them in their natural habitats and do our best to mimic that environment in our captive setting. Although Gari had a short life, he had a full one, he loved his new owners and knew he was loved thru the end.


129 comments to In Memoriam: Garibaldi Rous

  • Ed

    I am crushed. And so sorry for your loss. Thank you for all the love and care you provided Gari.

  • Jaclyn Hammond

    Sending love, Melly. My heart literally hurts for you. I don’t wish this pain on anyone. I loved Gari and he was lucky to have such a great family.

  • Lisa

    I am so sorry! Poor baby!

  • Hope

    My heart feels your pain. Gari made me fall in love with capybaras, helped along by your humorous posts. He will be sorely missed by this reader.

  • I’m sorry for your loss.

  • Stunned. I can’t feel the pain you are feeling, but I can try and imagine.

  • MOlly Muir

    Thinking of you all Melanie… I have no words to describe the words of comfort and heartfelt condolences I would like to eloquently convey to you… – I would simply like to express to you – that you make such a wonderful impact on the animals in your life – as well as on the people you hold dear to you. I sit here feeling like the world has lost another gentle soul and wonderful joy of life – and I really feel for you and for your family. You continue to amaze me and inspire me. I hope we can reconnect soon. Thinking of you my friend. Sending you big bear hugs. Love you ~ Molly+Moby

  • Alex (Rezoner)

    Melanie, I am grieving with you. Hugs.

  • Tina

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Was so hoping he would pull out of it. Sending you and your family healing energy. I could always feel the love you had for Gari in your writings.

  • Cheryl Perry

    My heart is broken.
    I am sorry Melanie.

  • Marilee Shelton

    Melly, I write this with tears in my eyes. You’ve been through so much over the last few years. I hope you find peace. I send you my deepest sympathy, dear friend. I am so sorry for your family’s loss. Both Caplin and Gary were incredible animals and I will always miss them.

  • Joann Taylor

    I am so sorry to hear this sad news. It is good that you were able to make Gari’s last days full of warmth, comfort and love…something every creature deserves. I will miss “his” posts and wish you comfort at this sad time. You both, along with Caplin, have taught me so very much about capybaras.

  • Kris

    Melanie, I’m so terribly sad to see this news about Gari. You and Rick have been so dedicated to him and it was so great to see your blog updates on what Gari was up to. I know you’ve had your own health issues recently and hope that you are doing better. The amount of love and caring you showed to Gari was inspiring. I’ve never met a Capybara, but you have made me aware of these wonderful animals through your blog. When you are up to it again, I hope another capybara will get the good fortune of having you care for him/her. I would love to see the capybara story continue. My condolences & best wishes to you and Rick – Kris

  • Ken Klibaner

    I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved friend and pet.

    I enjoyed reading about Garibaldi and before that Caplin.

    I am almost 60 years old and I measure my life by the times I have shared with my canine and feline companions.

    You did a great job providing a glorious life for the world’s best capybara!

    Once again, I mourn your loss.

  • Susan

    So sorry to hear this. You gave Gari a very loving home and shared him with all of us, and we loved him too. You have done so much to educate people about capybaras, thank you for that.

  • Spyder

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. They come into our lives and leave too soon! And when they do we are changed. I will miss reading about Gari. Hugs

  • Valentina

    <3 rest in peace beautiful boy <3
    stay strong Melly

  • Becky

    Rest in peace, Gari.
    Until I stumbled upon your Facebook page, I was unaware that the ROUSes I’d read about in the book “The Princess Bride” were real, so you brought a fairy tale to life.

    You seemed like such a happy animal, and I hope you’re even happier now that you’re no longer in pain. I can’t determine why, but knowing that a giant hamster was living with a family and swimming in a pool daily filled me with delight. I will miss that fragment of whimsy in the world now that you’re gone. I hope your human caretakers do not succumb to the more awful aspects of grief, because it’s clear they loved you dearly and did their best to care for you. Bless you and bless your survivors. You will be remembered and missed.

  • Kerry

    I am so very sorry to hear this. My heart is with you. Sending love and strength to you.

  • Kelly Montana

    I was heartbroken to hear of Gari’s passing. What a precious animal. He touched many, and educated many. R.I.P., Special Boy

  • Eddie Lopez-Voeur

    I am soo sorry to hear about your loss, he was a great capybara, and had even greater caretakers. When my wife and I lost one of our furbabies to kidney failure, we planted a cherry blossom in his honor so that every year when they bloomed it reminded us of him, and kept his memory alive. God bless you n your family.

  • […] Today’s blog is dedicated to him.  You can donate to the ROUS foundation in his memory: .  You will be missed.  Rest well my […]

  • Michelle

    I will miss hearing about Gari’s life and adventures…my sympathies to all of you who loved and cared for him so much!Even though I am in Nova Scotia and wasn’t lucky enough to know Gari I was always amazed by him as I was with Caplin.
    I will miss that sweet face.xoxo

  • Linda Lombardi

    I am so very sorry. Thank you for sharing him with us.

  • Neale

    So sorry, I loved reading about him 🙁

  • Sally

    I am so very sorry. I knew he wasn’t doing well, but this post is still a shock. I will miss him.

  • Sarah B.

    So sorry to hear this! You did such a great job.

    Hope you find peace and will consider taking in another capybara… he would want that for you and for capybaras!

    Best wishes and take care.

  • Gari, you were a good capybara, a wonderful brother, and as a capybara ambassador you made lots of people very happy. I will miss our diablogs, but I think Melly still has a lot to say about capybaras. I am so sorry you won’t be here to help her say it.

  • Betty Mc

    My heart is breaking as I read about Gari’s passing for you Melly, Rick and family and for myself..reading about Caplin and Gari on FB has been a special joy for me and has brightened my spirits when I read his blog.I am so sad for ur loss.

  • Jo

    Oh, Melly. My thoughts are with you and Rick. This is a terrible shock, and I am so very sorry for your loss.

  • Pat McQuinn

    I am so very sorry. The big loveable guy fascinated me. I loved reading about his adventures.

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for loving Gari and for allowing us in to love him too.

  • I have no words other than I am sorry. Take care ~

  • pat anderson

    will miss you both so much.

  • Angela

    so very sorry to hear this news, so sorry for the loss of this precious capy… =(

  • Nina

    My love to you and Rick.

  • Terri Bentley

    Heartbroken for you both, thinking of you at this sad time xxx

  • Crystle Minor

    I am so sorry…my heart hurts for you. Please know you did your best and loved him with all you have.

  • Mariia

    Melanie, I am so sad about such loss! I remember just a week ago being at your house and playing with Gari. He was such an amazing capybara and made me laugh so much. I am very sad but glad I was able to meet him and document one day of the last week of his life. Please stay strong and I hope you will not give up this project that you started!


  • Jessica

    How devastating. I hope you take solace in the knowledge that you gave Gari a beautiful life. You filled his days with love, adventure and a vast array of co-pets. My thoughts will be with you. Gari was my introduction into the world of capybaras and thanks to him, I discovered a newfound love. I will always remember him & his antics via the photos you kindly shared of your days together with great fondness. And anytime I see a large mud puddle with that perfect texture of mud, I’ll think of you and Gari.

  • Julianna

    Thank you for sharing Gari’s life, his antics, his co-pets, his clever view of things … it was wonderful. I’m going to miss you guys.

  • Poor Gari, he did not get a good start, but was so lucky to have you and Rick to love and care for him for the short life he had. I am just so sorry that you have had to lose two beloved Capybaras before their allotted time span.
    I am really going to miss seeing his posts, which always made me smile. Take some time Melly, and remember, if you want to talk about him, we will always be pleased to listen, but if it is too painful, we will understand. Thinking of you and Rick. xxxx

  • Irais LB

    I am so sorry of reading this. Please continue with your work and help other capys. I send you a hug from Mexico City.

  • Kerry Anne

    I am so sorry for your loss. I loved seeing and reading about Gari. He had such a good life with you. Please know my heart is with you and your family. Nothing I can say will make the pain go away. Thank you for sharing his life with us. I treasured every minute you shared with us. I wish peace for you at this time of chaos. Please let me know if you need anything.

  • Bonnie Vollbeer

    To everyone who loved Garibaldi Rous, most especially Melanie and her family. My heart is broken at the loss of a wonderfully entertaining capybara. I looked forward to each post and every blog as it brought me a closer to him. Just as I did from Caplin, I learned a lot about capybaras from Gari. I will miss hearing about his famous rolling techniques and his friendship with Flopsy the Killer Cat. I grieve for his passing but I’m glad he was at home surrounded by those who loved him.

  • Nicola Hurley

    I am so sorry for your loss. I lost one of my guinea pigs just before Christmas so I know what your going through.

  • I am sorry, so very sorry you lost this great and fun Capybara who was just so awesome and who I met on Twitter. You lost a friend and loving companion, our thoughts and sad hearts are with you.

    Marjorie and Dash Kitten

  • lisa

    So very sorry. Rest in peace Gari.

  • Lisa

    so sorry for your loss 🙁 RIP Gari.
    big hugs to you Melly.

  • Laurie Coppola

    No words will help, so I will give you all virtual hugs, and lovingly wish Gari a sweet trip over the bridge to join his friends. RIP beautiful boy ♡♡♡♡♡

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