Friday, 12 November 2010

Death of a gay icon

Yesterday marked the passing of our guinea pig, Bolton.


He must have been 6 years old at least as we'd had him for over 5 years and got him from a guinea pig sanctuary (yes, there are such things) as an adult. I suppose he'd had a good innings and was only ill for around 16 hours. I noticed early evening on Wednesday that he was listless and taking little interest in the celery and broccoli I'd given him earlier but we got some water into him and he seemed to revive a little but by yesterday morning he was hardly able to move and was refusing water. The writing was on the wall, and whilst he was still just about alive at 11am, by 11.30 he'd gone. Not sure what did for him but he'd suddenly developed a bald patch on his back which might mean some form of common but often deadly lice infection. Yuk.


Still, why Bolton and who is this gay icon? The answer to those is one and the same. Let me explain.


We initially bought 2 female guinea pigs about 7 years ago: Squeaky and Scarlet. A few weeks later after conspicuous weight gain one of the ladies gave birth to 6 little guinea pigs - all hairy and like tiny adult guinea pigs. A month or two after that she gave birth to six more. Clearly Scarlet was no lady and as soon as we realised squeaky was preggers again he was whisked to the vets to be neutered.

Unfortunately Squeaky died a few months later by which time we'd given away the offspring leaving scarlet alone. As a result we went and got another male to keep him company - a confirmed bachelor and a widower sharing accommodation in their dotage.

The newcomer didn't know what to make of a neutered male so upon meeting him he did a little courtship dance and tried to shag him. An act he kept up for a day or two before finally getting the message. By this time we'd jokingly decided he was gay, and as we'd heard a news item that morning that said Bolton had the largest ratio of gay and lesbian residents of any UK town or city we opted for the name Bolton. It was fate.

After a year Scarlet died suddenly leaving Bolton alone but we moved him to the kitchen so he'd be around people all day and he seemed perfectly happy.

Its funny how we give our animals personalities they don't necessarily warrant. To us, Bolton was lovably camp and his cries of "Reet, reet, reet, reet" whenever he heard the rustle of a plastic bag (which to him meant lettuce/carrots/celery or some other delicacy) we decided to interpret as clear evidence of his Yorkshire dialect.

When Scarlet had died I quickly popped him into a carrier bag and chucked I'm in the wheelie bin. What it lacked in dignity it more than made up for in practicality. This time Bethan has said she wants to bury him so today I need to dig a hole. I don't think that's a bad thing as it'll help her to understand death. For the same reason I encouraged her to see him and stroke him to say goodbye. Unfortunately she has a terminally ill grand parent and may have that and her mother's grief to deal with in the coming months.

A sober end to what I hope was a fairly buoyant tale of a well loved piggy.

Its the second day where I've gone completely off script blog wise but I promise that tomorrow will be better. Just for reassurance though - yesterday's prescribed cross training and resistance training were duly completed and the diet remained good.

9 comments:

Laura said...

Sorry to hear about your guinea pig. It sounds like he had a really happy life though.

FatToLean said...

Aww poor wee gerbil! RIP

runningcupcake said...

Poor guinea pig. Although it is hard I think it is better if children get to understand death through a pet, as oppose to family members (my limited experience is down to teaching and having various discussions with children). So understanding how to say goodbye, and how to hold on to memories can be an important lesson.

Alison @ Running From, Running To said...

Guinea pigs v farm pigs? ;-) Sorry to hear about Sue's mum though..

Looking forward to the running updates :-)

Running Rob said...

So am I - its her dad! ;)

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