There once stood an animal who greeted me at the door of his cage, who would take food out of my hand, who loved his chin rubbed and would climb up to say hello and chirp for his carrots and lettuce. This special little animal was my guinea pig who we named Chocolate, but I just called him "Piggie". We brought him home from the pet store four and a half years ago. He was a little scared, as all guinea pigs are when you get them, but with a little training they get more comfortable with you. It takes about 6-8 weeks to tame a pig to come to you with food in your hand and you need to handle them so they get used to you. This special pig could even slide the cage door open with his teeth and so we never closed the door and he never fell out. He would just pop his head out whenever he wanted to just to say hello.
About a week and a half ago, he was having trouble breathing and so I took him to the vet clinic. They found a large tumor/lump on one his legs, but could not conclusively determine what was wrong without x-rays. We chose not to do the x-rays because it may not have changed his fate and guinea pigs don't typically live very long with an average life expectancy of 5-7 years so Chocolate was getting older. We were sent home with antibiotics and were to give him Critical Care (a supplement for small animals) by mouth with a syringe.
Throughout the week he got worse, not eating his hay (which he loved) and not drinking his water like he used to. He would eat some kibble and his favorite foods such as lettuce and cucumber. By the end of the week, I cuddled with him on the couch and just sobbed knowing I couldn't do anything for him, but didn't want to see him like this as this wasn't my little piggie that I once knew. Friday November 30th, I stopped giving him his medication because it wasn't working, he just curled up in his little hut and sat there. I still gave him his Critical Care because I was hopeful it would work. Later in the evening, I took him out of his cage and his breathing was very short like he was struggling. I told my daughter Piggie was not good and we both had streams of tears running down our faces. As my daughter was holding him, he got very restless and wanted out of her arms, I tried to give him lettuce, but he didn't want that and he was so uncomfortable. I put him in his cage and as I did that he just flopped his body over. I moved him to his little hut, but he didn't curl up, he just laid there. I moved him again and then he moved to the corner of his cage as he tried to get comfortable. As I put my hand softly on him, his little body contracted in and out tightly twice and then stopped. He now lay limp, his cage now was lifeless with an open door, his food and water untouched, no little squeals, no more chirps to greet you or grabbing food out of your hand to scurry back to his hut. I just ran my hand across his soft coat as tears ran down my face. Goodbye my little piggie. Saying goodbye is one of the hardest things to do and so I am grateful of the memories and that I was able to take some great portraits of him to cherish.