Spencer is a little sad this week as we have decided that we have somehow become home to too many guinea pigs! So Stripe (some of you know) is the "mean" one and therefore he's been "voted off the island". Poor Stripe. We did name him after a Gremlin (and the meanest Gremlin at that!) after all so what could we expect in the long run?
Still it is hard to see my boy's heart hurting. Even a little sad for me to see Stripe go. We definitely come from a family of 'animal lovers' and that gene didn't skip either of us. So many of my friends don't understand why we'd have a dog let alone our turtle or these rodents. We love them. I love that Spencer can look back on his childhood and have memories of these pets he loved and the things he can learn from them.
Something I'm thankful for in my own childhood is that no matter what new pet we'd come home with my mom wouldn't complain, she'd help us make it a bed, or a box or a cage to live in and help us learn how to take care of it. Something we learned growing up is that when you make a commitment to care for an animal it is a real commitment, you don't just pass it along when you get tired of it or neglect it when it isn't fun to take care of. To my tender hearted little boy I must be passing this along as well, because he is awfully distraught about Stripe leaving when as he put it "We''re the only family he's ever known! What if he doesn't like it somewhere else??"
I knew it would be important for Spencer to be in on this decision making so we've talked a lot about it. I know I may be projecting some of my childhood issues onto him ...and with that here goes my little side note.....When I was very young, maybe 3 or 4, (I know it was that early because we moved to Wyoming when I was 5 and this happens before that) I had a bunny. I think his name was simply 'Bunny'. One day he was gone. My parents told me that he went to live with the Easter Bunny and be his helper. I was a heartbroken little girl but tried to be happy that my bunny would be living with the Easter Bunny. Years later, I was perhaps 8 or 9, we were driving in my mom's van and along side of the road there was my bunny! He was the same golden color, hopping along happily, waiting for us to pick him up (or so I was thinking). But when I excitedly told my parents to pull over because there was my bunny and we needed to take him home they kind of laughed at me. Then continued to inform me that it could not be my bunny because the true fate my little bunny faced was this: We went on vacation. My older sister stayed home. She was supposed to take care of said bunny. She didn't. He died. My parents covered with the tricky "going to live with the Easter Bunny" story. I was very disillusioned. How could they have told me such a thing? We had no funeral!! I was crushed! And it caused me to question all sorts of things, like that crippled baby bird I had saved and tried to love back to health, did he really fly away to his family while I was at school? And later, when my beloved cat Muffy disappeared did my parents really not know where she was? (On this one I have to say that my mom, even recently, swears that if she did know what happened to Muffy she would tell me~~so don't worry Mom, I know you are not keeping her fate from me to spare my feelings...right?)
Back to the subject at hand. Stripe. I knew he had to go and I wanted to be as honest with Spencer about it as possible (no "going to live with the Easter Bunny" here!) So we talked. Stripe has been mean to Rhino (the other male guinea pig) and we're afraid that he's going to kill him. Rhino happens to be Spencer's most beloved tiny creature and so in discussing our problem Spencer has finally agreed that we can find Stripe a new home. His first solution was for us to make another cage (I say us, I mean John) but I vetoed that idea because the thought of a third cage to clean is not in the cards! Yes it would be a third because the girls, Princess Ostrich and No Name, live in the second one. Stripe is now looking for a new place to live, and in the meantime he is in a makeshift cage we put together. So far no one is interested in adopting a mean guinea pig. Shocking isn't it that there is such a small market for such a creature? The only offer I've had is someone who wants to feed him to their pet boa. I turned it down. Hey, I don't want him but after caring for him for the past couple of months I just can't bring myself to feed him to the snake. (I'll note here that even the goldfish that we get to feed to Timely, our turtle, get 'rescued' and put in the fish tank in Spencer's room if Timely isn't quick enough at dinner time that week).
Maybe I'll just give Stripe to nieces Deja & Darien. Then when he 'disappears' it can be in Charlotte's hands to explain how "He went to live with the Easter Bunny". Because as parents sometimes we do what we can to protect those tender little hearts.
(Photo: Dena and Bunny 1980ish)