The technician led me into a well-appointed examination room. There were the standard amenities and a rocking chair. I knew all too well what that was for. I had sat in one and rocked my baby Petey in my arms after I lost him. I let out a slight gasp involuntary at the sight. The tech went to the closet and pulled out some towels and shampoo. “You’re probably the best one to clean him he remarked…”
“Yeah,” I said still reeling from the memory. “Thanks,” I said.
“I’ll leave you to your work. The vet should be about 10 minutes. That will give you time to clean and dry you little one…”
“Ok,” I said and put Alfalfa into one side of the double basin sink. He threw off the towel and started to explore his new prison. Perhaps it was the smell of old soap or the smell of another animal. Alfalfa started to wheek at the top of his lungs.
The tech walked over and looked into the sink. “Feisty little thing…” he said reaching in to pet Alfalfa. Before I could say not to pet him, Alfalfa struck like a snake and nabbed the tech’s finger. “Ouch!” he yelled.
“Yeah,” I said, “He bites… did I forget to mention that?”
“Kinda,” the tech said sucking his finger.
“Did he draw blood?” I asked.
“Yeah,” the tech said around his finger in his mouth. “I’ve had worse from dogs… But guinea pigs have these needle-like teeth that always get me… I’ll leave you to your work…” he said as he left the room.
I sighed and turned to Alfalfa. He was clearly still really mad. “You happy now?” I asked. He wheeked back at me. “You’re in the ‘dangerous pets’ room. And now you’re biting.” Alfalfa let out a huff of air through his nose and turned his head. “Yes, I know he deserved it, but behave!”
I stopped-up and filled the other sink basin with warm soapy water for Alfalfa. I placed him into the water and used a cup to clean him. The worse part, for both of us, was when I had to run water over his face. He hates getting his face wet. After the bath, I rinsed and toweled off Alfalfa. When I am at the vet, I never put Alfalfa on the exam table without being confined in a cage or high-sided container. He doesn’t care…he jumps then looks. So, I sat on the floor with him wrapped in the towel. After about five minutes Alfalfa became restless again and made gesture of wanting to explore. So, I spread the extra towel I had over my shoulder on the floor and put him down.
His feet hit the ground running. He bolted off somewhere into the exam room. I sighed and watched the backside of my guinea pig disappear underneath some piece of equipment. He had a bit of trouble fitting his rather large backside under it. After a wiggle or two he was under. “Dude,” I called, “If you get stuck under there, I’m leaving you…” Now, I know that I should have been concerned. But, it was a closed room, no way out, what kind of trouble could he get in to? Right? I sat back and closed my eyes. Fifteen minutes later I heard a knock at the door. It was the vet. I stood up as he entered and shook his hand.
“So, your guinea pig, Alfalfa,” he said as he check the chart I had filled out, “got into some hot chocolate mix?” He giggled.
“Yes, that’s right,” I sighed. “My primary concern is his heart and perhaps it disrupting his digestive system…”
“That’s reasonable,” the vet agreed, “Let’s get a look at the little guy…” The vet looked around, “Uhmmm, where is he?”
“Somewhere around here…” I said getting down on my hands and knees. “Alfalfa?” I called.
“He’s escaped?” the vet asked.
“Not exactly, he’s used to getting his way and I put him down to let him explore and work off some energy and…” I fumbled over my words. “Alfalfa, pig!” I called.
“Really?” I said, “Are we going to play this game?” I said loudly to the underside of the furniture. “Alfalfa, get your butt out here!” I yelled.
“Is he trained to come on command?” the vet asked looking down on me.
“No,” I said crawling forward, “He’s a trained pain in the ass…” The vet sat down on the rocking chair. I continued to look under the furniture.
“Perhaps putting him on the floor was not a good idea…” the vet suggested.
“Ya, think?” I retorted. I turned, “Can I borrow your light?” I asked
The vet got up and handed me his pen light. I began a methodical search for Alfalfa by crawling around the exam room on my hands and knees. The vet got on the room phone and called for ‘reinforcements’. The tech that Alfalfa had bit appeared several minutes later with two new tech. “Great,” I moaned, “an audience…” I stopped my search to address my audience, “Uhmm, it’s just a guinea pig… I really don’t need this much help, so thanks anyway…”
One of the new techs responded, “We’re not here to help; we’re here to watch… This is way too entertaining to pass up.”
“Wonderful,” I said getting back down to finish my search.
I searched the last spot in the room that Alfalfa could be hiding: under the medical storage cabinet. And there he was, “I found him!” I yelled from the floor.
“Grab him,” one of the tech offered as helpful advice. I laid flat on the floor and attempted to put my arm under the cabinet. I got all the way up to my elbow and could go no further. I was close but could not reach Alfalfa. I pushed a bit more and was rewarded with a sharp pain in the skin of my elbow. “Ouch!” I said wiggling back out from the cabinet. “I can’t reach him…” I said sitting back on my haunches. I dusted myself off. “Any idea?” I asked the audience.
“Tranquilize him,” one of the techs offered.
“Tranquilize?” I yelled more than asked.
“We can’t,” the vet said, “we need an injection for that and it’s too risky.”
“Thank you,” I said with clear relief to the only level-headed professional in the room. “Any other ideas?” I asked.
The room was quiet for a minute. “I’ve got it,” I said after some thought, “grab me a broom.”
“Ahhh,” the three techs let out at the same time. All three left the room to find my selected implement of destruction.
I got down on my stomach again, “I’m giving you fair warning you hellion, I’m coming in there, with a broom… So, get your ass out here right now!” I said to Alfalfa. He chattered his teeth at me. “You’ve been warned,” I said to him. I heard the door open and close again.
“Here,” someone said to me. I reached my arm up and felt a broom handle being placed into it. I placed the implement of destruction flat on the floor next to me and began to insert it into the space under the cabinet. Alfalfa saw the broom and began to hiss at it.
“Hey,” I said to the angry ball of fluff under the cabinet, “you were warned.” I poked at him. He hissed. I poked again. He hissed again. This went on for about two minutes. I turned and said, “The broom is not intimidating him, I’m going to try to push him down to my right and out. Be ready with a towel.” The bitten tech grabbed a new towel and got into position at the far side of the cabinet. “Don’t stand too close,” I warned. “Let him think he’s got a clear path, then snatch him up!” The tech nodded.
I stuck the broom back under the cabinet. This time I didn’t push it right at Alfalfa I went behind him and lifted it slightly. I poked his butt with it. Alfalfa jumped, turned, and bit the broom handle. “Not going to work!” I said to the attacking guinea pig. I moved the broom the my right and Alfalfa backed up in response to the motion. I used the broom to hit the floor a bit to make some noise. Alfalfa bolted for the right side of the cabinet as predicted. I saw him scoot under the edge and out.
“Got you!” I heard from my right. I sighed. I backed out and sat down on the floor. “We, got him!” the tech said triumphantly. He held Alfalfa up, still wrapped in the towel, to the window of the exam room. I heard a bunch of people clapping. That’s when I noticed that the exam room had a window with a shade. The shade was up and there was at least a dozen people watching. I sighed. I was their entertainment. Wonderful…
The vet examined Alfalfa. He was fine. The vet thought that he had only ingested a small amount of mix. The vet thought that what he ingested came from him trying to clean himself. He gave me some Benebac for his stomach if any problems presented themselves.
The office staff that checked me out was giggling the whole time. “Was there anyone that didn’t see that little episode?” I asked.
“Nope,” the lady said laughing. “That was awesome… We will never forget that one…”
“Lovely,” I said.
“Hey, at least the little guy is ok,” she offered.
“Next time,” I warned, “he’s staying here…with you…”