Today I bathed two guinea pigs. No hidden messages or trying to be funny. Plain truth. There’s two of them, they are newly adopted and I did it because of my boys. The adoption, I mean. There. Because in some years from now I’d like for them to fondly remember that December night when we drove to one faraway SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) branch to pick up two guinea pigs which we visited the night before. Why, you ask? Because I have my own fond memory of a good day at the farmers’ market with my Mom, you see. I was 10 or so, it was a nice summer day and as impressive as all those mountains of tomatoes and peaches were, I was speechless when I peeked into a big cardboard box that contained seven bunnies. I asked to hold one, the elderly gentleman chuckled knowing that the bunny will come with and asked me to pick my favorite. I pointed to the white one that had a black patch over his eye and another on his back, a twitchy nose and a whole lotta sudden love draped over it from my very own melted heart. I turned towards my mom, pleaded my case and walked home with the bunny in my arms. We had to stop by a few stores on our way home and no one was prouder than me.
Mom worried a bit about what Dad would say. He smiled mostly and offered to make a nice little sleeping quarter for my bunny. At that point I only had a hamster and chickens. The dog was about to land there in a couple of years. The bunny lived a happy long life, he was almost eight when he died of old age, after summers of roaming free around the yard and befriending my dog.
The memory of that summer day and of that first time holding my chosen bunny made me call the SPCA and discuss the adoption. Yes, it’s called adoption, and there’s many papers involved, all for a good cause. A bit intimidating nonetheless. The memory of my mom shaking her head with that half-amused smile while I was holding the bunny victoriously made me call and arrange for a bale of Timothy hay and then hop in the car and drive to where the city lights fade slightly and pick up two guinea pigs, one blind and both skittish. I signed papers, I promised to take good care of them and prayed that I will not wake up regretting it the next morning. I did not. And if I actually admitted I did it’s all the same.
The boys are on cloud nine. I am for now the one doing the cleaning, they provide entertainment and countless twigs of cilantro which the little fury residents love.
Today we bathed them, dried them in towels and fed them some carrots and peppers.
They live long enough to make my heart skip a beat when I really think about it but the boys’ smiles are worth it. They are gentle and talk softly around the new furry buddies but they still wrestle and do the boisterous boyish things they’ve always done. Good to see both sides.
As for hasty pet-acquiring decisions, what can I say. It may look like that, but I am quite sure I won’t be loading the boys in the car in a couple of years from now in pursuit of any furry creatures that might or might not like cilantro. They’d be too old for that. Yesterday is already gone and today will be over soon. I’d feel awfully bad to look back over the shoulder and think “I should’ve…”
PS: Did the title make you think pets? It’s OK to say no, I know you didn’t.