Sunday, December 28, 2014

Remembering Bertie and Pinniped

I adopted Bertie and Pinniped (named Sweetie and Midnight) on a cold January evening in  2010.  We had lost Pippin a few weeks before, and I had been on the lookout for a pair of young sows to keep Willow company.  Willow had been very lonely.  Bertie and Pinni had been part of a large seizure of guinea pigs on the Cape and had been in foster care until they had weened their nine pups.  The two of them had been up for adoption only a few days before I took them home with me.

We debated about what to rename Sweetie for several days.  I liked Godiva or Guilian, because her colors made me think of chocolate.  But her blue eyes and dapper, dopey personality made us think of Bertram Wooster.  So we ended up calling her Bertie.

Bertie was one of the most stubborn, opinionated pigs I've ever had.  She liked things her way and took no arguments.  So much attitude in such a small little package.  It was at odds with the cute, timid demeanor she had about her.  Bertie was fairly easygoing about life and yet would stand up to Pinniped if she started to push Bertie around.  She maintained this attitude right to her very last breath.

Bertie will be remembered best (and is most famous) for her love of her hay rack and my misguided attempts to keep her out of it.  People cheered for her each time she made it past whatever constraints I had built.  It's one of the more entertaining piggy tales I have gathered and people still enjoy her videos.

Bertie was a very active pig.  I would listen to her thumpa-thumpa around the cage every morning as she raced around the cage.  She loved being outdoors and running figure-eights in the grass or checking out all of the different guinea pigs at the Boston Pignic.

Her life was cut short, from a mixture of a series of viruses we believe she picked up before I adopted her and a kidney tumor.  She started feeling unwell in the summer of 2011 and very slowly lost weight and energy over the next year and a half, before the kidney tumor ultimately claimed her on December 28, 2012. 

I wanted to name Midnight after the Greek goddess Artemis, because her left paw made me think of a crescent moon.  But Rob's idea of naming her Pinniped was so much better and turned out to be extremely fitting.  In all the years we had her, that nose was always waving about in the air, just like a sea lion.  Her nose is what attracted me to her at the shelter, and lots of people got to see it in action.

Pinni was the big reason we had to put Willow in her own cage; Pinni had to be the top pig and Willow strongly disagreed.  Pinni tipped the scales at 1400g before we separated them, attempting eat all of the food so Willow couldn't have any.  What a pudge.

Pinni was vocal and charming and became the people-pig when Willow had passed.  She enjoyed the company of other guinea pigs as long as they realized that Pinni was supposed to be the pig in charge.  That made me a little nervous in finding a companion for Pinni after Bertie passed away.  But Cannoli was happy to let Pinni rule the roost and the two of them got along famously - maybe even better than Pinni and Bertie.

Pinni was a leaky rodent.  She battled bladder issues most of her adult life.  Bladder sludge eventually turned into stones.  She never quite recovered after removing the stone, and in November 2014 we found a large mass in her bladder.  We knew the end was near the day the nose stopped going.  She passed away quietly on December 15th, 2014.

I started blogging the same year that I brought Bertie and Pinniped home, so I have lots of posts ups and downs and the silly things they did.  You can read about their adventures that are labeled with Pinniped and Bertie.

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