Alfalfa’s surgery was scheduled for Monday. So when I got home from school on Monday and was faced with a daunting task…I had to pack for his overnight stay. I stood in front of his cage staring at all of the ‘stuff’ he has. I realized that he was a spoiled little dude and was used to a high level of comfort. I had no idea where to start…no idea. As I stood there, Alfalfa walked up next to me. I looked down at him, “Dude,” I sighed, “What do you want me to pack for you?” He looked up at me and popcorned. “You want a treat, don’t you?” I asked reaching down towards his treat bag on the shelf. Alfalfa ran a zoomie in a circle and did several more popcorns. I handed him a carrot treat and went back to complicating this daunting task.
I finally found a cloth bag that I thought was big enough. I got out the plastic baggies and went to task. The food was first on my mental list. I bagged: timothy hay, fresh spring mix, carrot slices, cucumber slices, apple slices, and a small bag of Critical Care. I placed all of that in the selected bag. It was too small already. So, I got out a medium size cloth bag. I placed all of the items inside. They fit and there was room to spare. The next thing on my list was housing items that he might need. I gathered his: water bottle, feeding dish, and pig-a-loo. I went to place the items in the bag and promptly ran out of room. “Aughhhh…” was all I could say as I went in search for another bag.
I finally found the large cloth bag I owned. I unpacked the now insufficient medium bag placing the items into the large bag. I also placed the new items into the large bag. ‘Ok,’ I thought, ‘Now what?’
He needed his blankets. So, I grabbed two of his blankets that were not washed for him and put them in the bag. That’s when I realized that I was packing more for my guinea pig than I would for myself for an overnight stay. I packed the car and grabbed Alfalfa for the trip down to the vet.
Of course, I cried the entire way down to the vet’s office. By the time I got down there, my eyes were puffy and streaked with tears. I was a total mess. I unpacked the car. I carried a huge bag of stuff, a pet carrier, my purse, and Alfalfa in a cozy sack into the vet’s office. When I walked through the door, the receptionists looked up at me. Both of them had wide eyed surprised looks on their face when they saw me. Imagine me with a carrier, bag, guinea pig in a cozy sack, with tears on my cheeks and puffy eyes… I was a mess and a sight to see. To their credit they recovered quickly and cleared their faces of surprise. I approached the desk and plopped everything I had down. I placed Alfalfa on the counter in his cozy. I spoke first, “Hi,” I said with a bit of relief, “I’m here to drop off Alfalfa.”
“Ok,” the receptionist said. “Who is all of this stuff for?” She was truly confused about why I had so much stuff with me.
“I think I over packed for him…” was all I could get out before bursting into tears again. The receptionist handed me a box of tissues. “Thank you,” I said grabbing one and handing back the box.
“No,” she replied, “you can keep it…you need it.” I checked in Alfalfa and went to sit with him waiting for the vet tech. I felt like the entire waiting room was looking at me. The vet-tech came out and was surprised to see me surrounded with all of the stuff. She sat down and I started babbling, “I over packed for him…I didn’t know what to pack, so I packed it all…How do you prepare for a guinea pig overnight trip? I didn’t know…I just packed it all.”
The vet tech put her hand on mine and said calmly, “It’s ok, explain what you brought for him to me…” I went through all of his stuff and why it was here. To her credit, she did not blink or question my reasoning behind the items. As I sat and explained the items to her I started to calm down. “Let me take this stuff and get a house ready for him,” she told me. “I will be back to get him in a couple of minutes.”
I started crying again. I hugged Alfalfa and kissed him on his head. He quietly chattered back to me. I smelled his fur and was comforted by Alfalfa’s unique scent. I love the smell of Alfalfa’s fur. The vet tech came back to sit near me again. “Listen,” I said to her, “I have to warn you about this boy…”
“Go ahead,” she said.
“He’s a bad boy,” I explain.
“That’s ok,” she said reaching out and petting his head, “We can handle bad boys here…”
“Not like this guy,” I said with as serious of a tone as I could muster. “He may bite, he may try to jump out of your hands, he may try to poop on you, he may try to pee on you…”
“That’s all pretty normal,” she said.
“He has a bad attitude…he’s an Abby. Have you ever dealt with Abby guinea pigs with attitude?” I asked.
“I’m sure we have,” she reassured me.
“Ok,” I said with some doubt, “he is a free-ranger. He doesn’t like cages. He will run around the cage and try to break out. He will cause as much havoc as he can.” The vet tech giggled a bit. “I am totally serious. He doesn’t like most men and most strangers.”
“We are good with animals here…” she reassured me.
“I know you are,” I stated. “But this thing,” I said using my chin to point at Alfalfa, “has scared the maintenance guy out of the apartment.” The vet tech was giggling again. “The next door neighbor calls him ‘El Diablo’.”
“Ok,” she said finally conceded to my serious nature, “I’ll put a note on the cage that he’s a possible problem child.”
“Thanks,” I said. I gave Alfalfa one more cuddle and kiss. I handed him off to the vet tech. As I watched her walk back to the office area I heard Alfalfa let out one huge wheek. He was saying, ‘Don’t leave me mom!’ I started crying again.
On Tuesday I went to pick him up after the surgery. The vet tech came out to talk to me about his medicine and recovery. She sat down next to me and sighed. “Oh, no,” I said, “He was a bad boy…”
“He’s a wild child,” she replied.
“What did he do?” I asked. “How bad was he?”
“He ran in his cage all day yesterday,” she explained. “He would not calm down. He is feisty.”
“Yeup,” I said, “I warned you…”
“Was he loud?” I asked.
“Nope, he made a huge mess…” she said.
“Yeup, that’s typical,” I sighed.
“It took the amnestic to calm him down…” she giggled. I saw another vet tech with Alfalfa and ran over to her.
“Oh, baby,” I sighed. I carefully took him out of her hands.
“Be careful,” she cautioned me.
“I will be careful,” I promised. “Oh, baby boy,” I said into his fur smelling him. “I missed you and I love you so much.” I kissed his head and sat down for the medication instructions from the vet tech. My baby was coming home.
Here is quick video of Alfalfa’s recovery: Alfalfa’s Recovery Video
Author’s Note: I want to thank everyone who has help Alfalfa make it to this point so far. He still has some recovery to go but, it is looking good. He is eating and pooping. Those are two good signs that he is on the right path. I am grateful to all the good thoughts, prayers, advice, recommendations, posts, and everything else. I could not have made it here without your help. You are a truly special. Words cannot express how I feel about having Alfalfa home now. I keep checking on him to make sure he is ok. When he looks back at me with that cute face, I feel as if I am one of the luckiest people in the world right now.