This morning I had a gut-wrenching scare. I went to feed the piggies, and as I brought out their greens, Starlight, my alpha male, was stretching his little body up as usual, begging for my attention and food. I put the plates down and gathered the pellet dishes. When I returned with the pellets, Starlight was lying near one of the greens plates, wriggling and rolling and seemingly unable to stand or walk. And then he just lay there.
We ended up rushing him to the animal ER and it turned out he had a seizure. He's okay now, but I wanted to revisit part of what makes this little guy so special. This is from my old blog, Jen's Word Stew:
Starlight, Star Bright
Have you ever been kissed by a guinea pig?
It's tiny licks of love sprinkled across your chin or hand. And it's rare.
I never thought we'd have pets. My husband is highly allergic to so many things that even birds were out of the question. Then some friends were going to Europe and asked us to take care of their guinea pigs. Or more specifically, they asked my son.
And I wanted him to have "work" experiences, so... we lived with two guinea pigs for a month. I hadn't been looking forward to it. Much as I enjoy most animals, rodents and rodent-like creatures don't have much appeal. Tie that in with one horrible experience with an over-reactive hamster during my student teaching experience, and I just wasn't expecting jollies from this venture.
But we all found out some things about guinea pigs:
1. They purr, just like cats, when you pet them or hold them. Not all the time. Not every guinea pig. But they do.
2. DH wasn't allergic!
3. We needed guinea pigs of our own.
We absolutely fell in love with the little, furry fuzzballs, and so, before our friends even returned from their trip, we were the proud owners of two seven-week-old females, Sunshine and Moonbeam.
There was only one problem. They were both preggers and we didn't know it. The whole story behind that is another entry altogether, so suffice it to say that now we have four guinea pigs. There were two deaths in the first litter and one in the second, and we gave away a male from the first litter. Sunshine's litter, however, were two, perfect, red female twins and one adorable, all-black male: Starlight.
There was no doubt that we'd have to find a way to keep Starlight. He was our family favorite (yeah, I know you're not supposed to have favorites) from the moment he opened his groggy little eyes at us. Smart as a whip, gorgeous, curious and affectionate, he weak-weaked his way into our hearts from day one.
There was also no doubt that four guinea pigs is our absolute limit.
So, today Starlight had his manhood taken away. This can be a tricky proposition, but thanks to the wonderful ministrations of Animal Kingdom Veternary Hospital and the talents of Dr. Vicki Marsh, Starlight will soon be safe for piggies everywhere! Up until this point, we were chaperoning his "playtime" with the others for an hour every day. Oy Vey.
So, much as I'm embarrassed to say it, all day long, my thoughts were with little "weaky-boy" as he stayed with the Vet.
But now he's home, and snuffling his way through food, litter and bed.
He's not a purrer, but tonight, when I petted him upon his return, he purred.
And he licked my hand. And I swear he smiled.