Goodbye Princess Piggy Poo

princess-piggy-poo-goodbyeIt’s with a heavy heart that I tell you Princess Piggy Poo has taken her final adventure over the rainbow bridge. Five years is such a short time to have precious pet. But in that time Princess Piggy Poo lived a guinea pig lifetime. She seemed to be a happy little cavy with a big personality. She was oh-so soft and thoroughly adorable. I’ll sure miss her chatty, curious spirit.

Almost five years ago, I remember looking at baby guinea pigs at the pet store with my friend Mariam. She told me that I should adopt Princess Piggy Poo because she may bring me good luck — and she did. At that time, I was unemployed and now I have a successful business. Princess Piggy Poo and I were lucky too, in that my working from home gave us a ton of time together. We had our daily routines and favorite habits that became second nature. It’s been odd to navigate a new normal.

princess-piggy-poo-ma-1I knew for awhile that Princess Piggy Poo had an enlarged heart and I hoped that giving her heart medicine would extend her life. But as my grandmother used to “God has a book. Next to the day you’re born, He writes down the day you will die. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing on that day, it’s your time.”

The only negative about having a pet is that it will die. Even though I did my best by Princess Piggy Poo — she was loved, cared for and revered in this blog — and that we had years of joy together, it’s still heartbreaking to say goodbye.

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Geriatric Princess Piggy Poo

Princess Piggy Poo GeriatricNext week Princess Piggy Poo will be five years old. In guinea pig years, that’s getting up there. Princess Piggy Poo is a true Hollywood cavy. She still looks young and vibrant with her adorable face and shiny coat. However, Princess Piggy Poo has her old age maladies. Just like grandma, Princess Piggy Poo takes benazepril, a heart medicine, and Lasix, a diuretic.

Twice a day Princess Piggy Poo gets both drugs in addition to her vitamin C in the morning and cranberry juice at night. She takes her medicines like a trooper. She especially enjoys her banana cream-flavored heart medicine. There’s always a tug-of-war to get the syringe out of her mouth.

While it’s hard to tell, I’m guessing Princess Piggy Poo has good days and bad days now that she is in her sunset years. Of course, she still enjoys her usual guinea pig treats including decorative tissue box houses and toilet paper rolls filled with cilantro. My goal is to keep presenting Princess Piggy Poo with reasons to stick around. Even though Princess Piggy Poo is technically an old lady, she’s always my baby to me.

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Finicky Princess Piggy Poo

Princess Piggy Poo FinickyPrincess Piggy Poo was acting quite cat like regarding her appetite for pellets. Something was amiss with either Princess Piggy Poo or the new bag of guinea pig food I purchased. I was worried that she may not be feeling well, but Princess Piggy Poo ate her hay, crudités and supplements with gusto so I waited a second day.

When an animal with “pig” in its name won’t go near her cavy cereal two days in a row, it’s time to start troubleshooting. On the third day, I thought I should get a professional opinion, so I called Princess Piggy Poo’s veterinarian. Because Princess Piggy Poo was being finicky only about her pellets, I was told to wait a couple more days before scheduling a vet visit.

The trick was to keep her calories up so she wouldn’t start losing weight. To make up for lost calories, I gave Princess Piggy Poo an extra cookie (urinary support supplement) at bedtime. Right after I handed over the tasty treat, I wondered if Princess Piggy Poo was just playing me.

On the fourth day, I decided to head back to the pet store to buy another bag of guinea pig pellets on the off chance that the last bag wasn’t delighting her discerning taste buds. (A new bag of guinea pig food is definitely cheaper than an exotic vet visit, so it was worth a try.) The same brand of cavy food four days later was now in new packaging. It’s as if Princess Piggy Poo knew her other pellets were outdated. Royalty must always be on the forefront of everything. To my relief, Princess Piggy Poo gobbled up the new pellets and now all is right in the kingdom. Thank goodness my finicky cavy is back to being a little piggy.

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Chatty Princess Piggy Poo

Princess Piggy Poo ChattyOne of the nicknames for a guinea pig is a whistle pig. Anyone who has been around a cavy for any length of time knows they are vocal little creatures. Princess Piggy Poo makes her whistle sound at the anticipation of food, but she has a repertoire of vocalizations. Sometimes, I even think she is responding to my vocal cues.

Our conversation begins in the morning. Princess Piggy Poo and I begin our day with cuddle time. This entails me getting out of bed, grabbing Princess Piggy Poo and letting her chill under the covers. Usually I spend a half hour reading. Princess Piggy Poo can be pretty quiet while I’m reading. Once time is up, I pull away the covers from Princess Piggy Poo and I offer up a silly, off-the-cuff, personalized song. She stares hard at me, as if she’s passing judgment. Even a tiny cavy can be condescending and intimidating. Just before embarrassment makes me stop my diddy, I hear Princess Piggy Poo joining in — a duet if you will.

When I talk on the phone, she always participates. “I hear your guinea pig,” is a common comment from the friend on the other end of the call. It would be interesting to know what Princess Piggy Poo is saying. My guess would be that she is requesting cilantro or telling me that she likes when I scratch her cheeks, but not under her chin.

Throughout the day, Princess Piggy Poo and I will both offer brief comments as we go about our business. It’s entertaining to have such a chatty cavy.

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Arctic Princess Piggy Poo

Princess Piggy Poo ArcticWatching Princess Piggy Poo mosey around her cage recently filled with fresh white bedding is like watching a miniature polar bear traveling the frozen tundra. Her cute little cavy butt wiggles as Princess Piggy Poo steps through her tissue box, over her hay and into her hiding house. Princess Piggy Poo’s gait is an uncanny replica of an animal that weighs 150 times more than her.

Princess Piggy Poo’s snow-white bubble rump and her adorable gait are undeniably as much fun to behold as a polar bear mom frolicking with her cubs. Her cheeky guinea pig personality can be as unexpectedly ferocious as a polar bear, too. But petite Princess Piggy Poo would never be able to do as much damage as a big white bear.

It’s always entertaining to see Princess Piggy Poo reign over her territory. Roaming through her fluffy white bedding, Princess Piggy Poo is camouflaged the way a polar bear blends with its landscape — all here in the warmth of Southern California.

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Princess Piggy Poo’s budget

Princess Piggy Poo BudgetRecently, someone asked me how much it cost to have a guinea pig. Well, I’ve had two guinea pigs and costs do vary. Princess Piggy Poo has been a pampered princess while my other guinea pig was a low maintenance boy. Last year, Princess Piggy Poo averaged $200 per month. As of July this year, Princess Piggy Poo has cut her spending to $179 per month — a whopping $21 savings (or four mocha lattes at Starbucks each month).

So, what are the line items in Princess Piggy Poo’s budget? The most expensive item is healthcare. Doctor visits, X-rays and medicines took up half of her guinea pig expenditures. Otherwise, Princess Piggy Poo’s necessities include her super soft bedding, pee-pee pads, two premium brands of hay, the finest cavy pellets, urinary health support supplements, cranberry juice and the fruits and vegetables that we share.

I learned with my first guinea pig that cavies don’t care about toys other than tissue boxes and toilet paper rolls. So no money has been wasted on leashes, plastic balls (that are dangerous for guinea pigs) or those types of items. Princess Piggy Poo has a wooden hidey house that she chews on so wooden chew toys are unnecessary.

You may not need to spend as much on your guinea pig, especially if you can avoid some of the healthcare expenses. I don’t know for sure that these changes would have reversed Princess Piggy Poo’s medical issues; however, if I could go back, I would feed her timothy hay-based food from day one, instead of alfalfa-based, to avoid bladder issues, and given her more exercise to avoid heart disease. Although, I never could figure out how to make Princess Piggy Poo exercise, other than lifting her hiding house and watching her dash around her big cage. If your guinea pig has a buddy, they may get more exercise than a solitary cavy.

As responsible pet owners, we try to do the best for our pets. Whether you have a dog, cat, guinea pig, bird, reptile or other animal to love, you don’t need to spend a lot of money spoiling them but it’s nice if you can. Princess Piggy Poo may have a budget, but she’s glad she doesn’t have to stick to one.

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Cranky Princess Piggy Poo

Princess Piggy Poo CrankyMaybe Princess Piggy Poo is cranky from the heat. She is definitely in a mood. It could be that Princess Piggy Poo had a bad dream. Although, I would imagine a cavy nightmare would include being eaten, so just waking up should make her feel relieved and happy. I wonder how many things there are that could make a guinea pig irritable. Maybe I fed Princess Piggy Poo green beans, when she really wanted cilantro.

So, how can I tell that Princess Piggy Poo is cranky? Her sideways glances, her extra bites, her squirming, she may have even rolled her eyes at me. Mainly, it’s a feeling and sensing a change in her disposition. Being around Princess Piggy Poo all day, every day, I’ve picked up her vibe.

I guess all living creatures are entitled to a bad mood every now and again, even a cute guinea pig. I figure I’ll give Princess Piggy Poo her space and hopeful her cranky mood will go away. A little cilantro couldn’t hurt either.

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Princess Piggy Poo’s summer stay-cation

Princess Piggy Poo Stay-cationPrincess Piggy Poo enjoys the confines of her castle. She looks forward to her daily routine and thinks the only change of scenery that’s worthwhile is the one that appears on the television. Imagine her joy, when I decided to stay home this summer.

I don’t know if all cavies are creatures of habit, but Princess Piggy Poo seems to know she has it good and likes to keep it that way. When I travel, my guinea pig is relegated to her smaller bedroom cage in a friend’s home for a few days. While I’m out having fun, Princess Piggy Poo’s getaway is more of a monk’s retreat with no TV and sparse living quarters — definitely not suitable for a royal cavy.

Princess Piggy Poo is a big proponent of the stay-cation. She is happy to have me popping in and out of the house while she chills in the comfort of home. For a guinea pig that’s supposed to be having adventures, Princess Piggy Poo would rather dream about what’s happening in the world than go out in it.

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Princess Piggy Poo’s air-conditioned comfort

Princess Piggy Poo Air ConditionPrincess Piggy Poo is blissfully unaware that Southern California is having a heat wave. She is a pampered guinea pig living in her temperature-controlled cavy castle. For Princess Piggy Poo, every day is springtime or fall.

It’s my job to keep Princess Piggy Poo comfortable. Someone asked me if guinea pigs sweat when it gets hot outside, and only thinking of my own cavy, I answered, “No.” It seems, however, that may be the truth for all guinea pigs. Similarly to how dogs pant to relieve heat instead of sweating, guinea pigs only have sweat glands on the bottom of their feet. Cavies can also regulate their body heat with their blood flow. If Princess Piggy Poo gets warm, her pink ears will redden. Supposedly, she may lay down with her legs stretched and feet out so the sweat glands can get air.

Some guinea pigs live outdoors and have to deal with the heat. To help keep outdoor cavies cool, it’s recommended to freeze a bottle of water, wrap it in a towel and place it in their cages. Then if a guinea pig gets hot, it can get near the frozen bottle to cool off.

The best thing though is to keep the temperature regulated for your guinea pigs. Whether you have an indoor or outdoor space for your guinea pig, always make sure there is fresh water available.

Princess Piggy Poo seems to enjoy having the air conditioner set to 78 degrees in the summer. And, conveniently, that works for me, too.

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Princess Piggy Poo crazy from the white noise

Princess Piggy Poo White NoisePrincess Piggy Poo is a TV-holic. From the time we wake up in the morning until the time we go to bed at night, the TV is on. A few years ago, a friend who had guinea pigs suggested I keep a television or radio on for Princess Piggy Poo and I’ve done that ever since. I’m not watching it, so it’s totally for her cavy-vision enjoyment. Even when I leave the house, the TV stays on for my guinea pig.

For outings that I know I’ll be away for more than three hours, I turn off the TV and turn on the radio, because for some reason, the television’s converter box automatically shuts off after three to four hours. Unfortunately, when the cable goes off, the television stays on, so without the cable feed, the television is static.

When I’m home, the white noise alerts me to turn the converter box back on to restore programming, but when I accidentally stay away too long, Princess Piggy Poo is serenaded by the mind-numbing chronic shhhh and bouncing, flickering black and white dots. Sometimes, I come home and the TV is off completely. I wonder how long it takes before that happens. I don’t want my cavy going crazy while I’m away.

So far I haven’t noticed any ill effects from Princess Piggy Poo having to deal with this scene from Poltergeist. And, I sure am glad she stays away from the light.

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