Sunday, June 9, 2013

"Lettuce!"

Penny is the picture of persistence. She sits next to the bars of her cage staring at me with huge black holes of love. Occasionally, when I make a move towards the fridge, she emits high-pitched squeaks that must wake the dead in the rodent world and starts running laps. I know what’s going through her mind: lettuce! lettuce! lettuce!lettuce!lettuce!lettucelettucelettuce!lettu!cel!ettu!!celet!tu!cele!ttuce!

And because she keeps squeaking and--the worst of her tricks--looking small and fluffy, I eventually cave in. The bag rustles as I take it from the fridge, and her squeaks reach fever pitch. Lettuce!!!!! This is life in guinea pig land.

Penny is the adorable creature we obtained for free after I was pining so hard for something to take care of [that was NOT a human baby] that I was almost at the point of putting out tuna for the neighbor cats. We had friends trying to get rid of a hamster, and I begged N over and over to at least try it for 24 hours. N was adamantly against it, but he knew he needed to act fast. How about a rat? No, rats aren’t fluffy. Okay, how about a guinea pig?

So we looked online through hundreds of pictures of guinea pigs up for adoption (and consequently free). The long-hairs were the cutest. We tagged webpages and narrowed things down, and I finally picked one out. It was over an hour drive to the SPCA where he resided, so we’d go on a weekend. Sure, we’d have to buy a cage and all that, but at this point, it was a small investment in long-term happiness.

And then, something magical happened: a friend of a friend was moving out of country and wanted a good home for her guinea pig. Long story short, she drove four hundred miles that weekend to drop off with me the most adorable little pig, and she has been a part of the family ever since.

We redubbed her Penny because of her unique copper colori. Most guinea pigs have white or black skin (you can tell by their paws), but Penny is spotted; three of her feet are black, and one is white, and she has a cute black polka-dot on her white lip. She is excessively long-bodied for guinea pig and can stretch to a foot and half. She is also very clean: she only poops in one corner of her cage and is fastidious about rearranging the position of her house the way most women rearrange the furniture.

And she is determined. She has figured out that I am the one to pester, because N is not so easily swayed by fluffy cuteness (so he claims; I’ve seen him baby her when he thinks I’m not looking). Like the proverbial widow who got justice by pestering the judge, Penny obtains lettuce by long, patient endurance. I feed her all the time, of course, but her memory only extends 2.5 seconds into the past. As soon as she’s finished one bite, she’s ready for another. She’ll eat until she’s stuffed if I don’t limit her food, and then she lolls around her cage looking upset. It’s your own fault, silly!


Maybe she and I have more in common that we realize. My memory is faulty. I’m always forgetting what God said. But I squeak and squeak and squeak because I know that his is the hand that feeds me. Sometimes I don’t get anything because, apparently, I’ve already overeaten, I just don’t remember. So I keep squeaking. I hear the rustle of the bag. Could this be it? I squeak louder, hoping that will help God hear. He reaches in, scoops me out of the cage, and I get cuddles AND lettuce. Score! I’m the most loved person in the world.