One night a year we all get together to celebrate and remember the lives of our smaller friends. This night also honors a pioneer in the field of guinea pig care: Peter Gurney. This was the first year that I was aware of the memorial. I participated in the candle lighting at the sunset of March 9th.
I found an appropriate candle and light it. Alfalfa wanted nothing to do with me and ran into his pig-a-loo to hide. Picking it up, I said, “Ha! Can’t hide, dude!” I scooped him up with the dexterity of an experienced guinea pig wrangler. He was restless as I walked with him over to my chosen spot for the memorial. It took a couple of minutes but he was finally calm enough to accomplish my task. I turned off the lights to say a prayer to all of my lost rodents. I began, “In the name of the father, the son…” After my initial prayer, my thoughts and prayers became internal.
Alfalfa became very affectionate when I was silently praying. He began to coo at me and snuggled into my arms. This was one of the only times that I have ever had him do this. He was quite content with the entire situation. The realization interrupted my train of thought and I thought, ‘Wow! This is awesome.’
I am not sure if it was the light or the calm that was in the air. However, Alfalfa responded to it whole heartily. His cooing continued as we stood there. I did not want move or do anything that would change my pet’s mood. So, I stood there rocking him in my arms like the precious baby that he was to me. I kissed the top of his head and he did not pull away or flinch. He snuggled in to the nook of my arm even further. Alfalfa’s cooing quieted and he sighed in total contentment.
I start to cry. I was so happy to receive love from my evasive guinea pig. He was truly a comfort to me. I relaxed and began to think about the loved pets in my life. Tara was my first cat. She followed me everywhere in the house. She had her litter of cats in my room and later she crossed the rainbow bridge in my room. She survived my childhood and my childish treatment of her. Kaycee was my first and only dog. The half shepherd-collie mix was not the brightest bulb on the strand but she was loyal as anything. She was a fierce protector of the family and once saved us from an attempted robbery on our house. Then there was Sam the Cat. He was named after the children’s book and was silly, funny, and just an overall great cat.
I thought about my lost rodents. I remembered my Petey. He was his sweet gentle natured guinea pig. Petey never talked. The vet and I could not figure out why he was mute. It didn’t matter. I loved him just the same. He would sit on my left chest by my shoulder and sigh in contentment. He was my first guinea pig and my first love in the rodent world.
I remembered my Nibbles. She was an albino rat that loved to sit on my shoulder and walk around the house with me. She would brux on my neck to show that she was happy. Her boggling skills were at their best when she was sticking her head out of my sweater sleeve. She was silly, funny, and so, so, loyal to me. She liked being picked up by others but would jump or run to me if I was nearby.
As I started to come back to reality I realized some time had passed. Alfalfa began to squirm in my arms. He was making small noises of discontentment indicating it was time for me to put him down. “Ok,” I said to the current rodent in my life. I gave him a kiss on the head and turned on the light. Placing him on the floor I said, “Thanks, my sweet boy. I needed that.” He looked up, huffed, and me and went padding off to his business. I laughed, “You had to get in the last word, didn’t you…”
I blew out the candle and said, “Thanks be to god for all of the special animals in my life. They were and are loved. I will see you all at the rainbow bridge….” I blessed myself and followed my guinea pig.