by d

I will never be in danger of becoming a crazy cat lady. Much as I quite like cats, I’m also very allergic to them. Every Thanksgiving I come back from our cousins’ place with itchy eyes and a streaming nose. That’s one stereotype I never have to worry about. I might, however, be the crazy pig lady.

This post may be off-topic — it has nothing to do with feminism — but we wanted Subterfuge to be a place where we could talk about how we’re feeling.

Today, my heart was broken. For fourteen years, I have had pet guinea pigs. I have adopted them, birthed them, nursed them, loved them, and let them go. Eight of these amazing little creatures have passed through my care, three born and given away, the other five mine to have and to hold. We kept them in pairs, and when one died we would get another, as guinea pigs are known to pine away when their partners die. This has lead to a succession of amazing animals. Babie, Porkchop (we did not name her), Brillo, Reepacheep, and Belle.

She used to fit IN this teacup.

Belle has been an institution. She was over eight years old, which is very impressive for a guinea pig. They max out at about 10, but most pigs only live to be about five. We began being gentle with her around age four.

Her partner, Reep, died last May at age six. We made the sad decision to not get another one. Belle was old, we didn’t know how she’d do, but I’m an adult and we don’t know what’s in our futures. So we decided to enjoy the time we had left with her.

We named her Belle because she was beautiful. She went by many names: Chainsaw Belle, Bellissima, Carpet Shark, Ms. Tammy Fay–she had a fin on her back and black mascara lines under one eye. She was smart. She knew exactly what she wanted and she wasn’t willing to put up with crap, like cheeky younger piglets. She wasn’t overly affectionate, but we knew she loved us.

When we first got her, and she small enough to fit inside a teacup, my mom would sit with her in the evening while she watched TV. Belle would gaze up at her the whole time, almost adoringly.

Just a few mornings ago, I brought her her breakfast of fresh greens, something I rarely do anymore, usually it’s my dad. The moment she saw me, she purred. She was happy to see me.

For the last week, she’s been showing signs that she wanted to spend more time with my dad. She shares his study, where he works all day, but she wanted to sit with him and be petted. (Funniest sight ever: Walking into the study and seeing her LEANING half her body out of the cage to get his attention.)

There are so many things about her that we are going to miss.

And it’s the end of an era. My childhood; all the time we have spent in this house. No more piggies. No more purring, or snatching treats, or wheeting for food. No more bathing bedraggled little ratties that turn into puffballs as they’re toweled dry. No more reason to walk into the study on my way between rooms to say hello.

So, here’s to my little darlings.

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog posts.

2 Comments to “Belle”

  1. Oh, I’m so sorry, D! I remember hearing about those little darlings when we were younger. I’ve never owned guinea pigs, but I’ve always been fascinated by them. Then again, I’m in love with almost all manner of pets. :p But, she certainly was beautiful and I know she had a great life with you and your family. She was well loved and she loved you all just as much in return, from the sounds of things. It must have been hard to say goodbye. I’m so sorry. *HUG*

    I know what you mean about the end of an era, though. It’s always nostalgic when something that marked your childhood is finally over. It’s a bittersweet moment, that is certainly for sure.

  2. i miss her too. I felt like I was an aunt or a sister to her or something.
    I miss my peegy niece/sister/cantankerous old lady.

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