This article is profoundly hard for me to write today, because we just lost a precious 4-legged member of our family, our guinea pig Guido.
Guido passed away today in my arms, actually inside my coat at 2:30 p.m. as we were driving from a doctor appointment for my son, then we were going to the vet to have Guido put down as he was just hanging in there, barely, and I couldn't let him continue to suffer. My doctor even felt bad for him and got him a syringe of water to wet his open little mouth.
The vet will be doing a necropsy to determine exactly what caused his death as she had just seen him on Monday and ran blood tests and did an x-ray but had never seen anything like this, and feels it may help piggies in the future. It's so sad because last night he was doing great, we thought he’d pull through.
Guido was approximately 5-6 yrs old. He didn’t look or act like an old piggy, they can live to 12, but most don't and personally, I think that's due to problems with inadequate diet. They need extra vitamin C, and most guinea pig foods don’t have enough. You need to supplement them with extra greens, veggies and fruits. I've never had a guinea pig live this long before honestly, but that was before I knew about the diet issues, which I corrected with Guido, however, I know several who have lived to 12.
He was a loving, sweet little piggy who would never bite. He was unafraid of other pets, even those who wanted to do more to him than just play. He fascinated the Terriers that came here for grooming, and he would simply go to the bars of his cage and sniff them, completely unafraid of them. (That drove the Terriers’ nuts!)
Most of my other pets viewed him as little more than a furry moving squeaky toy. However, to us he was special. I’ll miss his little “wheeks”, “chirps”, and sounds he made to greet us, and the excited, “where’s my hay!” sounds at dinnertime.
He was reserve grand champion with Drew at our 4H fair in 2006. That earned Drew his first 4H trophy. He even got his picture taken with Drew in the Danville, IL newspaper.
He may have been small, but he leaves behind a big hole in our hearts. No pet is insignificant, if it lives in my house I will take care of him or her no matter what. Those who think he was "just a guinea pig" and can't fathom anyone taking a rodent to a vet or spending money on something as "lowly" as a rodent, never had the love of one as sweet as our Guido. It isn't "just a guinea pig", or "just a cat", or even "just a dog". These little guys make us smile a hundred times a day, even on days when there doesn't seem to be much to smile about. In the final analysis, we love what makes us smile. The loss is very real when we lose such a precious source of smiles.
In case you weren’t aware, Maus funeral home handles pet cremation and they also offer a line of affordable pet memorials. I have several markers and stones around a tree amongst the flowers. I’ve already spoken to Nathan Maus about a memorial for little Guido. Just because he wasn’t a dog, that doesn’t make him any less important to us as a family member.
One other thing I probably should mention is that when someone you know loses a pet, please don’t say, “So, you can always get another one”. First, that’s a rather cold thing to say when someone is grieving. You hopefully wouldn’t say something like that if it were a human that passed away. Second, just because you don’t feel the same loss, or could care less about your neighbor’s pet snake that died because you hate snakes, be nice! The proper thing to say is “I’m sorry for your loss”. Besides, everyone that has gone through this knows that no matter what species of animal you have, even if you get another one that is the same breed, color, and sex as the one you lost, you can never replace them. You learn to appreciate each new animal as an individual. If you don’t, you will be very disappointed when you find out the “new” one isn’t like the “old” one. Pets are like children, they are all unique. Love each of your pets today, as if there is no tomorrow. Enjoy every precious moment with the ones you love, be it two or four-legged. Life is short, spend it wisely. 1