Four years ago today, The Husband (then The Boyfriend) and I made a trip to our local pet store with every intention of getting a little hamster. At the time, I was living alone and had a lease that specifically prohibited cats and dogs but said nothing of any other kid of pet. My roommate in law school had a little hamster and it was pretty darn cute and entertaining so, I thought, why not get one to keep me company in my lonely little apartment? I had no experience actually owning hamsters myself but it seemed like a good idea, so off we went.
When we arrived, I quickly noticed all the little hamsters were sleeping. I could barely make out their faces as they huddled together in furry little masses snoozing the day away. "They're nocturnal," the clerk informed us. "They're mainly active at night." I was immediately discouraged. On the one hand, I'd be at work most of the day so it wasn't that big a deal, but on the other hand, I wanted a pet I could actually interact with. A pet that would be more than just a furry roommate. One that would be my little buddy, my companion.
"Have you thought about a guinea pig? We have some that just came in this morning from a local shelter available for adoption." The clerk just happened to have two guinea pigs herself and she was quite the piggy advocate.
"Aren't they just bigger versions of hamsters?" I naively asked. Not at all! The clerk quickly informed me that guinea pigs are quite smart -about the same intelligence as a cat- and can learn their name, do tricks, even be house trained so they can roam freely around your house if you want them to. Hmm... That sounded a lot more like what I had in mind for a pet. She took me to the little cage with the four baby guineas in from a local guinea pig rescue. They were all females, and all available for adoption. Three of the four scampered off and hid in their cardboard tube as we approached but one brave little guinea pig did not. This grayish-brown little cutie with the white spike of hair came closer to the edge of the cage, just as curious about us as we were about her.
|Molly, right after we first brought her home|
It was love at first sight.
I asked lots more questions about guinea pigs. How big do they get? What do they eat? What kind of cage should they have? The clerk directed me to a book called Your Happy Healthy Guinea Pig and suggested I consider buying it if I was going to adopt one of those little babies. "I want that one with the spiky white hair."
We filled our basket with bedding, food, chew toys, treats, hay, and an igloo for her to sleep in. The last step was getting the little piggy herself out and ready to go. As soon as the clerk handed her to me, she started squeaking, even purring a bit as I pet her. I was totally smitten. How could you not be, with that cute little face?
On the way back to the car, The Husband asked what we should name her. I knew right away. You see, the night before this trip, I'd had a dream that I adopted a new pet. I was at dinner with friends, telling them all about this new little addition to my life. How smart she was, the tricks she learned, how easy she was to house train, how much personality she had, how she followed me around the apartment and cuddled in my lap. The pet wasn't actually in the dream, just me talking about her with friends, but I remembered the name I used when I talked about her. Molly. Naturally when I awoke, I assumed it was a dog that I adopted. What other kind of pet would be house trained, do tricks, follow you around the house, and cuddle in your lap?
A guinea pig, actually. That's what kind. Molly was meant to be mine before I even met her and she's made the last four years more love-filled and joyful than I ever imagined a 3-pound rodent was capable of. I'm so thankful we made the trip to the pet store that day, that those guinea pig babies just happened to be in that morning, and that we met a sweet clerk who just happened to be a guinea pig ambassador. We cherish every moment we have with Molly and look forward to spoiling her even more than usual today.
Happy four years, my little piggy-poo!
|Molly, this morning. I can't believe she used to fit in one hand!|
PS - Molly is still doing well despite her lymphoma. She continues to play with all her favorite toys and enjoy her favorite treats, but the lumps in her neck and groin area are definitely getting larger. It's been three weeks since the vet discovered the tumors, so she's already surpassed the minimum two-week survival rate the vet gave her. I'm still holding out hope she'll defy the odds and be with us for at least another month or two, if not longer. ♥