30 may 2011
The fourth guinea pig of my years. Half-way to Princess Shiloh-Chailin, the one I have now. Short-haired, all black, no rosettes (supposedly decorative cowlicks). Born late in 1984, and from January to June of 85, he belonged to my parents. They'd got a pair of pigs for themselves composed of male Smoky for Dad and an orange and white female called Peach Blossom for my mother. When my daughter was out for a summer visit with my parents, she returned with Smoky. Not having been present, I don't know whether Dad simply offered the pig (my father was never much into caged animals, though he was kind to them), or if the daughter wheedled to get Smoky. Whichever it was, he became ours. He was the beginning of the second continuous animal family of my life, the one in western Mass. The FIRST continuous animal family had extended from my birth until the age of 31, when the last cat of my eastern Mass life died. Then my daughter and I moved west when I was 32, and Smoky was the first member of the second continuous family that would go on until 12 March of 2008.
He was smart, he was good, and he was fun. And while he remained an only child, he was king of all he surveyed. In the spring of 1986 I got him a buddy, as I hate to see any animal living without another one of its own kind. And what did they have in the pet shop in Hadley but a nearly full-grown male, short-haired with no rosettes, and all WHITE. I loved the idea of the all black and the all white, so home the new guy came with us. I called him Snowball.
I repeat that male guinea pigs can't share a cage once they both reach sexual maturity. We had a few months when they could be snuggle-buddies, the all black and the all white, but when Snowball became a man, we had to separate them. I put their two cages side-by-side so they could still always see each other, lie down side-by-side with the glass between them. And there were supervised playtimes of freedom on the floors.
On 31 May 1988, Smoky died. It wasn't wet-tail, but I don't know what DID take him. He was three and a half years old, and at that point in time I had never had a guinea pig live longer than that. The three before Smoky had all died at almost exactly the same age.
He began a second animal family that I thought would persist for the rest of my days. On the day Smoky died in my hands, I couldn't foresee the mafia-chick or the psychotic landlady or the spiteful, lazy caseworkers of the Department of Mental hell who would one day demolish that family that Smoky had begun, and demolish me with them.
read... Spite and Malice... Stolen Stars
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