While reserved, and yet with a lot of "bite" in her, it was love at first sight. We'd race and fight over who'd take her out of her cage first, and have this sweet creature on top of us while laying down in the lazy boy watching TV together.
We introduced Leia to everything and everyone, particularly the Kroger vegetable section. She not only ate, she devoured everything we threw at her. While most always tentative to get picked up and taken out, she never minded human interaction if it meant food in her direction.
We traveled a lot by car, and there she was, always in her cage with us, either in the back of the car, or on someone's lap. Didn't matter the season, how cold or hot, how far or nearby, we'd always make a point to pack all her vegetables neatly, and be the first one to be fed through countless rest stops. Alas, she was always the first one to be put away at our destination, making sure she had fresh water, hay, pellets, lettuce, carrots - you name it - before vacation or business began.
Like all guinea pigs, Leia had the look and sweetness I could not turn away from. It didn't matter how much work I had, how late I'd stay at the bar, beach, outing, pool, game, or work, I'd always get going and go feed her when I felt she needed attention. I'd get mocked, jeered, even taunted, but I didn't care - our Leia superseded anything and anyone. Not only she became my responsibility, she became my family and my good friend.
She'd just turned 6 yrs old in June this year, and the only thing that had changed about her after all these years, was all the weight she'd gained. But then summer began and we got busy again, like every summer. However, this time around I did begin to notice she was losing a step, sleeping longer, keeping away in her cave, and eating less frequently. I'd go from cleaning her cage bedding weekly, to hardly a need to even add any more liner. Then July came around, with all the festivities, I began to see the need to reshuffle her meals more often, then to feed her by hand because she was just not eating the usual.
I knew something was wrong. I introduced some new things to her diet, but it'd work just momentarily. With another vacation looming, we began to become desperate and ended up finding a vet that looked into pretty much every specie. On July 6, I finally get her into appointment, for the very first time. After a sequence of very hurtful episodes she had go through during her examination, the X-rays turned up a large bulging tumor in her intestine - and hardly any trace of food or fecal matter in her.
I knew years in advance I was going to crushed the day we had to say goodbye to our baby, and it has been every bit as painful and heartbreaking. I'm still currently away on vacation, and while I try to tell ourselves Leia is somewhere out there smiling down on us, can't help but miss her dearly whenever I put my head down at night, while playing Michael Jackson's "Ben" in my head, over and back again.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this anymore, but I'd like to thank this site which has helped me relate with many others, and share the life of my beloved piggie. I will miss everything about her, and I just hope she knew just how much she meant to all of us, and how much we loved her.
Goodbye Leia. You will forever be in our hearts.