As my final way of saying goodbye to my little Alphonse, I wanted to share some of my favourite photos of him, from when he was a little pup, to just before his sad departure. Although he only lives for 18 months, he made a dent in our lives and anyone else who came in to contact with him. I thought this would be a good time to pay tribute to our Alphonse.
When we met, me and Steve were walking in to our local Pets At Home, it was a warm summer's day and we were looking at picking up a cage-mate for Patch, the tortoiseshell Rex I had adopted just 11 months before. As we rounded to the guinea pig enclosure, we could hear these 2 little piggies running around in circles. One was black with brown patches. The other was a black and white pig with the sweetest stripe down his nose and a look that said "Yeah, I'm gorgeous! But I will be a little shit!" We knew right away we wanted him. There is a joke in this story about how Steve got his 50p's worth. This was because I was 50p short at the time and he gave me his contribution. This was always a joke as we were always trying to work out what part of him 50p paid for! He lived his 1st night in this small hamster cage that we had, I know that sounds mean, but he was able to move around and he was comfortable until we could introduce him to Patch.
We were woken at 5 the next morning by the little guy squeaking for food and some fuss. He was a lively little thing.
Although we needn't have worried at all. Patch took to Alphonse like a duck to water, that night when I was taken ill I spent the following evening panicking as I had left Alphonse with Patch. I returned home and they were snuggled up together in the cage. They were thick as thieves ever since that point and one wouldn't be seen without the other. They really were like brothers.
Alphonse was growing up, and he was so inquisitive and full of life. Popcorning and chittering as he hopped around the room, often looking for things to either nibble or explore. He grew in to those massive eyes and ears and was starting to become a handsome creature.
He discovered a fondness for apples, banana skins and carrots. We actually reached a point where these couldn't be consumed in the flat without him squeaking and making a huge fuss. I was very sick myself by this point and spent most of my time sleeping. Patch and Alphonse were always there offering their love, support and comfort.
I was so thankful to have such special boys in my life and would often tell them this. And in their own way, they would reciprocate.
The Christmas period came and went and although financially our Christmas was difficult, our little animals made it so much easier. Hugs don't cost a thing and we all really felt like a small family.
Alphonse was reaching maturity and he was just as playful and loving as he ever could be. Everytime I came home from anywhere, this little face would greet me. For such a small creature, his capacity for love was immense.
We laughed in to the small hours of Christmas morning. It was so funny as he used to peel off the leaves one by one and eat them, such a delicate little man.
He made us laugh so much.
He began 2011 as healthy and happy as any guinea pig could have been. Until that day when Steve's Dad had sent the kids round with some veg scraps. I don't actually think I said yes to them feeding something to the guinea pigs, as usually I would be very strict and would have washed it. When I saw the condition of the cabbage later, I was worried.
But by then, the damage was done. The cabbage was tainted with the deadly salmonella bacteria, from the kitchen at 118 Exhall Close. By the time it had incubated and Alphonse began to show any symptoms, it was already too late. The poor thing was so poorly. For nearly a week, I stayed with my pet and tried to nurse him back to health. By the time we went to bed on Monday, although the vet said he may not pull through, he seemed to be defying the odds.
This is the last picture of him, yes he wasn't looking as well as he could have been or had been in the past, but he was getting better. And we definitely didn't expect what happened next. All we knew was when Steve woke up on Tuesday morning, the poor little thing was lying there, crying in pain. The Vet suspects that his bowel perforated. Our little baby was in agony as his body was slowly poisoning him and we were powerless to stop it. Our brave little Alphonse clung on for 8 hours until his appointment. I didn't leave him for a moment and I did what I could to make him comfortable. It was at the Vets that I said that I didn't want him to suffer anymore, and we decided that, as crushing as it was, it would ultimately be kinder to have him put to sleep. The rest is history, as he nibbled my nose to say "goodbye".
Now you know Alphonse's story and how his life was cut so tragically short. All I ask now is that you (or anyone else) learn the lessons we had to learn the hard way:
1. Be careful about what you feed your pets. If you wouldn't eat it yourself, PLEASE don't feed it to your pet.
2. It is vital that ANY areas used to prepare food, especially if you prepare meat or other animal products or fish, are kept extremely clean. Salmonella can cause some vile symptoms and in a lot of cases, it can KILL.
3. Guinea pigs shouldn't eat cabbage. It can cause a fatal condition called Bloat. If in doubt, LEAVE IT OUT.
2 years ago