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

  • Fyrewolf

    So sorry for your loss. I have been following the adventures of Gari for a long while and know how much your family loved him.

    Sending positive thoughts and internet *hugs*

  • Trudy

    Melly I am so sorry for your loss. You are a great capybara mom. He was a great ambassador. Gari, rest in peace big guy, you are loved by all.

  • I am so, so sorry Melanie. I am sure you are heartbroken. Wish there were words to take away your pain. You gave Gari a wonderful life. And you have helped so many learn about and appreciate him and his kind. Thank you so much for letting me share in a little bit of his life. It was a honor I wont forget.

  • Pam & WBBII

    I am very, very sorry to hear that Gari has passed on. I loved reading about him and his co-pets and adventures. I will miss him very much; I can’t even begin to imagine the magnitude of your loss. I’m glad he had you to look after him and give him love and the best of care. And thank you so much for sharing his journey with us. He educated and entertained and was loved by his many fans. <3

  • Kirsten

    I am so very sorry and deeply saddened. As someone had mentioned above, I fell in love with capybaras after reading about Gari. I actually had the extreme pleasure of meeting Gari a couple of yrs ago at the TAMU open house. RIP Garibaldi.

  • Cathy

    My family loves Gari and will miss his adventures. We cannot imagine the sadness you are feeling. Our deepest sympathies are with you. Thank you for all the information on your website, your blog and store. Thanks to you,Caplin and Gari, we all learned so much about this unusual and wonderful creature.

  • Francine

    I don’t have any words. I am heartbroken on your behalf. Thank you so much for sharing Gari with us.

  • Nichole Grosser

    My heart goes out to you and your family. I enjoyed reading about Gari and the training he did with Barbara. He will be deeply missed by everyone. Sending you lots of love as your memories surround and heal your broken hearts.

  • Randi

    I just donated to the Texas A&M Vet School ROUS foundation and I hope it helps in some way. The amount of joy and smiles your posts have given me on a daily basis more than pays for the donation. All my love to you in this sad time.:(

  • Rui Mori

    I’m so crushed I don’t know what to say T.T

  • Whee just wanted to say whee are so furry sorry for your loss. There will be one more star in the skies tonight and whee will wish on it with all our hearts, to bring some comfort to you all.

    Nacho, Noah, Buddy & Basil

  • Mary Johnson

    The loss of any beloved is tragic, whether human or furred. The bereft have to go through their grief and get to the other side. I hope you will take care of yourselves and know that you gave that animal a far better life than he would have had otherwise. He was a lucky, lucky animal.

  • Blythe Myers

    Please accept my deepest sympathy. Gari was very lucky to have found you. I know you & Rick cared for him and gave him a wonderful, albeit short, life.

  • Oh no, this has hit me like a ton of bricks & I can’t stop crying. I can only imagine how much worse you and Rick feel, Melly. You guys took such good care of Gari and made his life as wonderful as you could. I loved reading his posts & seeing pics of him and shall miss that very much. I would like to offer my deepest condolences to you and Rick and everyone who loved Gari. I am so, so sorry for your loss.

  • Celia

    I’m so sorry! I learned so many new and wonderful things from Garibaldi Rous! That you for sharing him with me. Celia

  • I am so, so sorry to read this, Mellie! I loved to read about Gari, to see his pictures and to dream about life with a capybara. Please receive my heartfelt sympathy, and much love from Rio, Brazil.

  • Ann

    This post took me by surprise and greatly saddened me. My thoughts go out to you. Thanks for taking Gari when he needed a home and giving him a very wonderful life.

  • April

    Tears. From my daughter and I. Your sweet Gari was a joy to us also. I wished we had met him. But, now he is free. You loved him and took care of him better than anyone could. Gentle thoughts coming your way.

  • I was hoping all the best for GARI…
    and now ,a few hours ago, the shock-message : There is no GARI anymore.
    It hurts so much. I was crying….
    Although MELLY did everything with GARI,to keep every illness away from him,
    he has died. Because 1-2 MOLAR-teeth poisened his kidneys…
    MY thoughts are with MELLY and RICK !
    I think you`ve decided right, to keep GARI at least in your home,to
    be very close to him ,when he died.
    FEELING you all around him,gave him a soft start
    to begin falling asleep forever !
    Dearest GARI,-now you are united with your brother CAPLIN !
    GARIBALDI and CAPLIN ,-I`ll keep you BOTH in my heart !!

  • julia Dumps

    Mel, I have been following your FaceboOK page of Gari for quite some time now and I am so, so sad to hear this news. My thoughts and prayers are with you and I pray that you will find peace and comfort with all of the memories you have. You were a good mom to Gari and did everything you could to give him the best life a capi could have. God Bless you.

  • I’m so sad. Without words. I was such a big fan of your capys… they would cheer me up, in your blog, everytime I was down.
    I’m from Spain, and crossing the Atlantic Ocean is a long flight, and I didn’t have the time to do so… but my husband and I want to go to America someday, and even I convinced him to travel to Texas to see Garibaldi.
    I’m so sorry, for Gari, and for you, and your family… I know you’re suffering so much.
    Big big (virtual) kisses and hugs from me and my four pigs… they were little fans of Gary and of course Bumblebee Pig.
    You made me love capys, and you, and your magnificent sense of humor and love for the animals, and your beautiful photos and amazing blog.
    All my love for you and my sorry for your loss.
    (And please don’t mind very much my bad english…)

  • stacey

    Thank you for sharing Gari with us and thank you for sharing Caplin with us. I got a lot of joy from your writings and photos of both.

  • Yigal

    So sorry. We shall remember him forever…

  • Karen Norris

    I didn’t know the poor, sweet guy, but I am so sorry for your terrible pain and loss. As I read his history I was thinking kidney failure as you described his symptoms. Don’t worry about posting until you feel like it, rest, and know that he’s over the Rainbow Bridge, happy and playing…

  • Kristin Pawlewicz

    Dear Melanie and Rick,

    I was so saddened and shocked to hear of sweet Gari’s passing. He will be sorely missed. How devastating it must be to lose him! I am sure you’re still numb. May all the wonderful memories of the fun (and sometimes challenging!) times you had with Gari these past few years help to sustain you during this difficult time. You have the support of so many people out here who love and admire you for your work with these beautiful animals. Thank you for all the care and commitment you have given to both Caplin and Gari. Through you, they both learned that humans can be good after all, and you gave them both such a wonderfl life! At the same time, you have educated thousands of people about these regal, intelligent animals, while entertaining them with your amusing blogs. Please accept my sincerest condolences! And TAKE CARE! Thinking of you and sending positive vibes your way. I really hope this is not the last we’re going to hear from you. 🙂

  • barb salapek

    I am so sorry. I will try to focus on his freedom from pain & suffering. I’ll always remember. Thank you for sharing. Much love.

  • Andi Tointon

    I only heard of your Capybara, Gari a few days ago and I was thinking he would pull through. The love and care you gave him was second to none. So please don’t go off line because it’s people like you who educate people like me about how fascinating and unique these creatures are. He will always be there with you just look into your minds eye and there he will appear…forever. I offer you my condolences in all sincerety. You did everything you could do. Love and Light.xx

  • Kim

    So very sad, but he passed loved and warm and in a safe place. You did the best for him. We all loved him very much and you are in our thoughts.

  • Beth

    I am beyond words. My heart just stopped and I cannot stop the tears. Thank you for the joy you brought Gari, but more importantly the world by letting us I to your home and heart. Love to you and peace.

  • Linda

    I am heartbroken to hear of Gari’s passing. Thank you for sharing him with us through web and facebook postings.He will be missed.

  • Oh Melly, I am so, so sorry. Sending you lots of hugs and love, and a ton of purrs for the House of the Mostly Black Cats kitties and George the Duck

  • Leslie M. Bliman-Kuretzky

    My Heart has broken in a million plus pieces. I do not know what to say. I am just devastated. We all loved dear Gari and Melly. I am just in shcokd and utter disbelief right now 🙁

  • Lori Courtaway

    So terribly sorry for your incredible loss. He was truly a marvelous guy. We will all miss his priceless antics.

  • Erika

    I am shocked and truly devastated about Gari. My heart breaks for you, Melly, and for your family. You have always shared your beloveds with us, first Caplin, then Gari, letting us learn & fall in love with such a special animal.

    I wish you all the strength, love, and support that you need at this time. I will continue to support the ROUS foundation in both of your beautiful Capy’s honor. Much love to you all.

  • Lisa

    I am so sorry for your loss. Gari was a beautiful and charming soul. Thank you for sharing his life stories with us. Sending wishes for healing from Missouri.

  • Franci Zalon

    Oh Melly, I am so sorry for your loss and really, the Garibaldi community’s loss. Your sharing him with us all brought so much joy. My thoughts are with you and Rick at this time. May your sorrow turn to joy in time at the thought of Gari and what you did for each other! All my love…..

  • Katy McElwee-Stevens


    Please know we are all grieving with you. You are a great capy mom.
    Thank you for sharing Gari with all of us.
    We will all miss him so deeply.
    Positive thoughts are surrounding you & Rick.
    With deepest sympathy and warmest thoughts….

  • Melly, I am so very sorry for your loss. My heart is crying for you and your family. Poor Gari had a hard beginning but the love you gave him surely made up for that. I wish that you didn’t have to go through such sadness and sorrow on top of an already tough year for you. Thanks so much for sharing Gari with all of us. I will read your eulogy and cry more; I I will cry for the loss of Gari and for your struggles. In the end, I will remember Gari as the most beautiful capy. Take all of the time you need and do what is best for you. The capybara, guinea pig and exotic animal world on facebook will be here if and when you are ready. We will embrace you with open arms reaching from all parts of the world. Much love, LIzzie & Pozee piggie.

  • ChrissyBara

    I am so terribly sorry for your loss. Much love to you and to all who loved Gari. Thank you for sharing with us so much of his life.

  • Lisa Nason

    You poor thing! I am so sorry (and so very saddened) to hear of Gari’s passing. I’m in total shock. My sincerest thoughts go out to you and your family. I loved following Gari’s adventures. I cannot even begin to tell you how shocked I was to read this. Once again, I am so sorry. You gave Gari a wonderful life in a loving home, filled with so much happiness. He will be missed, but never forgotten.

  • Heather

    I know no words can help during this difficult time, but maybe someday you can look back and realize how much all of us appreciated you sharing Gari’s life with us even though most of us never met him. He will be greatly missed!

  • Stephanie

    I am devastated to read this. I really thought he was going to perk up like he did with the first tooth surgery. I am so sorry. If it helps at all, my grandmother died of kidney failure, and she said herself that it was not a horrible way to go. Other than some discomfort from bloating and a lot of urinating, she really didn’t experience much pain. Better than being eaten by a jaguar, right?

  • Karine Jans

    I am so sorry, so is hub. Pet lovers know and understand the suffering of losing a family member, furry or not. Hugs!!!

  • Milana

    I’m so, so sorry, Melanie. You gave Gari a wonderful home and life and he was so, so very loved by you, Rick, and his adoring fans.

    I know nothing we can say can ease the pain, but you’re in my thoughts and my heart breaks for you. I’m so sorry.

    Take care of yourself and keep us updated if you can. We’re thinking of you.

  • Robin

    I am so sorry. I can’t even imagine your pain. Sending love.

  • jana

    I am so sorry for your loss…the world seems just that little bit bleaker today without Gari in it…I will miss your updates and pictures .thinking of you xx

  • Pattie

    Heartbroken to hear this news! Thank you for sharing Gari with us. He made the world a brighter place! I’m so sorry for the pain and sorrow you and your family are feeling. Keeping you in my thoughts <3

  • Marta Cassatti

    Gari estoy muy triste, por tí y por tu mami Melanie revivo el dolor de hace 9 meses. Gari busca a tu hermano Caplin y a Rocco y juaga con ellos. Te Amo Gari !!!

  • Josiecat

    I am so sorry to hear of his passing.

  • Catherine

    Our family had always hoped to finally go on our cross-country vacation, and detour to visit Gari along the way. We adored Caplin, and then little Gari stole our hearts. Please take care of yourself, Melanie. We will miss all of you very, very much.

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