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Why we gave Mom a guinea pig

Updated: May 28, 2018

Everyone thought I was crazy when I suggested we get my 84 year old mother a guinea pig. It took a lot of thought until I was sure that it would be low maintenance, fun and uplifting for her; something she needed.

Once I convinced my brother, I needed his support and ‘connections’ as a previous guinea pig owner, we presented our unsuspecting mother her new charge.

At first she was surprised, then upset, and then embarrassed, ‘this is silly, what am I supposed to do with a rodent’ she exclaimed!

After my dad died 33 years ago, mom, still in her fifties, was lost. Having been sheltered her whole life and with no financial worries, her stress came from being alone. While my brother and I weren’t far and my children gave her great joy, she was still lonely and eventually hooked up with someone I felt was too stressful for her.

People make poor choices when they're scared. This one has lasted almost 30 years.

What does this have to do with a guinea pig you ask? For the last 5 years Lulu has been a true source of unconditional love and joy. We’ve watched my mother laugh and tell funny stories about her busy routine with Lulu. When Lulu was sick mom nursed her back from the brink... twice! She’d take her to the vet wait for hours, make a kale smoothie and feed her by dropper until Lulu could eat on her own again. It was incredible. The veterinarian had never seen such devotion for a guinea pig. But Lulu was so much more.

You can be lonely even when you are not alone.

With Lulu there were no power struggles, negativity or confrontations, only gentle sweetness, loving purrs and tender touch. Despite mom’s fragile health Lulu gave her purpose.

Anyone who has ever had any kind of pet understands this healing connection.

Sadly it was Lulu’s time. Mom’s almost 89 now. She'll need a little space to mourn her friend. I'm not sure what's coming up. Who knows, maybe she’s ready for a real pig!

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