Anyone who owns pets knows that they’re your children; they are such a part of your life that you literally cannot imagine being without them, despite knowing that their life spans are so short compared to ours. This weekend, we had to say goodbye to our little guinea pig guy, Loverboy.
Back when I was in school, Ilhan and Loverboy would Skype me all the time. This is from 2011.
We adopted Loverboy back in 2010. We had been searching for a baby pig, but Loverboy was a year and a half old then, still pretty young but definitely an adult. We quickly realized he was too awesome to leave behind though and we took him home without deliberation. He looked like a cute little gopher with his mousey brown hair, and he had a natural sense of adventure.
One time, we were holding him in a box while we were building his cage and he escaped time and time again, no matter how secure we thought the box was. We even put a brick on top…and he got out. Another time, he got out of the cage in Ilhan’s parents’ house and Ilhan says it was so funny walking in to his dad chasing Loverboy around the living room as Loverboy kept cheekily dashing out of reach at the last second.
Guinea pigs live 5-7 years on average, and Loverboy was about 6. A few months ago, he scratched his cornea and seriously damaged his eye; he was partially blind, but we still thought he was the cutest fella around. Last week, I had a random inclination to take some pictures of him running around with Nala, our other guinea. I wanted to capture both his adventurous side and his calm cuddly side, and I also wanted to document his blind eye. I had no idea he wouldn’t be here just a week later.
Nala loved him. She followed his every step, and she would stand frozen until Loverboy started to blaze the trail. Even though his legs didn’t work as fluidly anymore, he still loved running around under the couch and smelling all the interesting smells. And of course, he loved taking Nala on adventure playdates.
Over the past week, his health turned dramatically for the worse. Over the course of five days, he lost so much weight you could feel every bone in his body and he lost about 1/3 of his hair, despite hand-feeding him daily. The vet recommended treatments, which we followed. But he didn’t make it.
On Sunday evening, we knew he was dying. I held him in my lap and pet him and kept him warm as he passed away. It was extremely difficult as you can imagine…seeing him so bald and skinny and limp as he took his last breaths.
Loverboy was our little pal for the past 4.5 years. He was always so unafraid and vocal, running to greet us when we opened their cage and squeaking for snacks when he heard the fridge open. We got compliments from several vets about how cool and sweet he was. We’re so happy we were included in his precious life and we will miss him forever.