“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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“The Story of Mari” (A Guinea Pig’s Tale)

“The Story of Mari” (A Guinea Pig’s Tale)

Guinea pigs are much more intelligent than we think; here is the story of one such piggie named Mari. What follows is Mari’s tale of how she won the heart of her human, Vicki, and her story begins below…

Mari was not your typical pet store piggie; she knew exactly how to charm a human with a winning combination of delightful piggie personality and irresistible cuteness. One day, she zeroed in on the human she wanted to “own”. “Hey, over here!” she squeaked, then she and Vicki, her chosen human, immediately locked eyes. Vicki’s heart melted, and she thought, “I want THIS one.” She located a salesperson, who gingerly picked up Mari and placed her in Vicki’s arms. Mari nestled against Vicki’s shoulder, muttering contentedly. On the way to what would be Mari’s new home, Vicki talked to her in soft, soothing, reassuring tones. Vicki thought to herself “What should I name her?” Then she thought “This piggie has butterfly-type markings on her head…let’s see, in spanish, the word for butterly is mariposa…but Mari sounds just perfect!”

Once acclimated to her new cage and its surroundings, Mari realized she had her work cut out for her. She’d need to be patient in training Vicki how to be the proper piggie “slave”. The first lesson Vicki learned was to feed Mari whenever she squeaked. Eventually, it became apparent to Vicki that failure to heed Mari’s demands would result in temper tantrums and “diva-like” behavior on Mari’s part. Mari found that rattling her cage was a very effective technique to get her human to obey. Occasionally the drama queen, Mari would move the “furniture” around in her cage to get Vicki’s attention.

Mari’s human would leave from time to time, so, with nimble piggie stealth, Mari easily scaled the walls of her cage. She was quite the acrobat, so heights were no problem for her; she could jump and land without injury. She found the kitchen floor most interesting; occasionally, she would find a piece of carrot, or other objects she couldn’t identify but interested her nonetheless. Like an archaeologist, Mari would ‘pick up’ such objects on her explorations for observation later. Then she would quietly make her way back into her cage, and Vicki would be none the wiser.

What fascinated Mari particularly was something Vicki called a “computer”. Mari would watch her owner for hours, carefully observing and taking mental notes as Vicki typed away. Mari was a quick study; when Vicki was gone, Mari secretly set up her own account on gpmail and pigbook; she made many piggie friends across the country. Mari couldn’t wait to surf the piggie-net! Sometimes the phone would ring, and Mari would hear a piggie on the other end and a human’s voice too. Somehow, Mari was able to locate the “redial” button on the phone and place calls to the other piggie. “Finally!” she thought. “Somepig I can talk to…suh-weet!” (Vicki had trouble figuring out why her long-distance phone bills were so high..)

Mari settled into a routine, and got to know Vicki’s ways quite well. Mari was no ordinary piggie; she had dreams and aspirations. She developed a love for design and fashion, and she enjoyed it when Vicki would dress her up in hats, particularly. Ever the ‘ham’, Mari would pose for pigtures; she also hoped to start a career in pigmodeling. She would act like she was being photographed by the piggarazi, and her ultimate goal was to appear on the cover of “Squeak Magazine” someday.

The saga of Mari will continue, but for now, we will leave Mari to retire to the comfort of her pigloo. Meanwhile, “piggie wishes” and “carrot dreams” from Mari to all!