“My Little Girl”

“My Little Girl”

She was a beautiful baby Abyssinian (think: bad hair day) guinea pig; her fur contained a curious mix of colors: lilac, brown, white, and tan. She and her relatives shared the same cage space; the various bite marks and scratches she’d received from them told a very traumatic, sad story. My heart went out to her, and so I “rescued” her out of that horrible situation. A trip to the local vet was in order immediately, and so that’s what I did. After that, I brought her home with me, and held her for a long, long time as she lay her head on my chest. I kept saying to her “You’re MY little girl now,” and so that’s how “Little Girl” became her name.

She was special in many ways, but the one thing that made her most special to me was how affectionate she was. I’d had her for a day or so when suddenly one day she started to lick my nose, then my entire face, nonstop. Every time I would pick her up, she’d do that very same thing. It was as if she kept saying to me “thank you thank you thank you”. I joked with other people that she treated my face like an ice cream cone.

Every day is a joy when an animal shows you love like Little Girl did with me. There were times I was down, or crying, and she seemed to sense that and would lick my face even more and “cuddle” my neck. Little Girl liked to be petted and talked to, and boy oh boy did she like to eat! The one thing she really didn’t do was squeak; she was probably one of the most quiet pigs I’ve ever owned.

The saying is true that “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”.

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“In A Class By Herself”

“In A Class By Herself”

Baby was a guinea pig truly in a class by herself; she was independent and stubborn, yet very lovable. She was graced with ruby-red, luminous eyes and gorgeous lilac fur, and she was highly intelligent. From the start, she received the nickname “wild thing” because she’d managed to escape an outdoor pen and run loose for a few days. She was eventually caught, but her sense of adventure had been cultivated, and she was fearless. She was full of guinea pig attitude, and didn’t hesitate to show it. This served her well in getting the treats she so desired. She had developed a different squeak for her every whim, and she fully expected her human (Dee) to understand and immediately comply.

It frustrated Baby that Dee would talk “babytalk” to her in a rather high-pitched, irritating voice. So, to mollify Dee, Baby would put her nose up in the air to look “cute”. Dee had other nicknames for Baby like “Babe Major” (a rather silly reference from the movie “Wayne’s World”). Baby was highest on the guinea pig social order and everypig knew it. Whatever Baby wanted, Baby got.

Dee would take Baby out for a bit of exercise, otherwise known as “floortime”. Dee would sit in the middle of the floor, watching Baby’s antics. Baby would waddle a little, start hopping, and then run around Dee in circles. She would try to move Dee’s leg out of the way, and when that didn’t work, she’d nibble on Dee’s sock.

Baby wasn’t camera-shy, either. She liked getting her “pigture” taken. “What a good-looking piggie I am,” she’d mutter to herself. And she was right. When Dee would hold Baby, sometimes Dee would say “You’re such a beautiful guinea.” (And each time, Baby’s ego got a little bit bigger.) Baby rewarded Dee with a lick on the nose and thought to herself “Hope she is quiet and lets me sleep on her shoulder now.”

There were, of course, certain other perks to being “top guinea”. Before Dee would eat breakfast, she’d take Baby out in the morning and hold her for awhile, feeding her bits of orange. Baby enjoyed the extra attention and (especially) the food.

All in all, Baby lead a very “charmed” piggie life and even got to watch movies with Dee and (Baby’s other human), Eddie. One particular movie she liked was “Hoosiers”. Something about basketball piqued Baby’s interest; she couldn’t take her eyes off the screen.

Then, the day finally came when Baby knew she’d not have long before she’d have to leave this earth and it made her sad. For six years, she’d gotten to know and love her humans and she wasn’t sure what awaited her after this.

As the time of her departure drew nearer, Baby began to “see” tall and muscular shining beings; somehow she understood that these were angels sent by God to watch over her humans. To her surprise, one of them looked at her with a tender expression on his face and asked “Are you ready to go Home now, little one?” Then Baby looked into Dee’s and Eddie’s grief-stricken faces one last time, and she could feel their love for her washing over her in waves. “The love is what you’ll remember,” whispered the angel, as he cradled Baby in his arms, and took her Home.

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“Chester’s Story”

“Chester’s Story”

When I first saw him back in 2008, it was in a lonely, dark corner of a pet shop at the local mall. He looked absolutely miserable; his cage was cramped and dirty, and his skin and fur looked diseased and matted. “How long has this guinea pig been here?” I asked one of the pet shop associates. Shrugging his shoulders, he said “I dunno – for awhile, I guess.” Taken aback by his apathetic attitude, I turned to hubby with a pained expression on my face. As the sales associate walked out of earshot, I said in a low voice “We HAVE to get this guinea pig before he becomes snake food – or worse.” Hubby was resistant to the idea initially, but after glancing at him, then at my concerned expression, he said “Oh all RIGHT.”

It was then that I also noticed the guinea pig’s cage was marked “hamster – $12.00” which infuriated me further. I thought to myself “Don’t these pet shop people know the difference between a hamster and a guinea pig?” As it turned out, the pet shop was so eager to get rid of him, they agreed to a purchase price of $12.00, and we brought him home. We couldn’t decide at first what to name him, and then hubby suggested the name “Chester” which seemed to suit the boy well.

So the very next day, I took Chester to the vet, as it was obvious he had skin and fur conditions which needed treatment. The vet examined him, and sent me home with two different bottles of special shampoo, as well as oral medication, all to the tune of $89. “He’s worth it!” I thought to myself. For the next six weeks or so, I had to bathe Chester twice a day and administer his medication. He became spoiled right off the bat; I had to quarantine him in another room separate from my other guinea pigs at first. It was around this time that I found out that Chester had a HUGE set of lungs on him, and didn’t hesitate to use them when he wanted something. His squeal was more of a high-pitched, drawn out whine; a particularly “ear-splitting” kind. He got to know his name very quickly; every time I would say “Ches-ter!” he would respond with his distinctive whine-squeal.

He was very sensitive to his environment, and he’d get irritated when hubby and I would raise our voices. Without fail, he would insert a “SQUEE!” as if to say “Hey, knock it off!” We honestly couldn’t help but laugh and forget what we were disagreeing about. Of course, I would reward him with a carrot for being such an excellent guinea pig “mediator”.

Chester truly embraced the guinea pig motto “eat to live and live to eat”. The amount of food he could consume in one sitting was astounding. I remember him eating an entire small watermelon and then looking at me like “I can’t believe I ate the WHOLE thing!”
One time I managed to get a ‘pigture’ of Chester in Christmas 2009 that seems to sum up the boy’s attitude in a humorous way, which you can see attached with this article. (I’ve truly never seen a guinea pig so enamored with his reflection.)

My memories of Chester fill me with smiles and laughter. I think of the possibility that I might see him in Heaven sometimes, and so I wrote this very off-the-wall, silly poem in tribute to him:

“Heaven’s Receiving Line”

I can almost see Chester lingering in Heaven’s receiving line
Think I’ll hear him first though, can’t mistake his loud WHINE
An angel is holding him, and making sure the boy behaves
By feeding him lots of lettuce and other goodies he craves

Jesus laughs; he tells me “The boy has been quite demanding!”
So I nod and say “Chester, we need to have an understanding!”
The heavenly throng dissolves into boisterous peals of laughter
Saying, “Denise, he’s YOUR problem now, and forever after!”

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