My vet suggested lowering her metcam dose slightly so I've been giving her .1cc instead of .2cc. So far, she seems to be doing well. I worry a little about the lowered metacam dose, but I'm watching her carefully and weighing every week.
She's a sturdy little pig, that Ace. :)
Some gratuitous cute photos:
Nomming hay and enjoying cuddles
Pretending she's a bullet
I also made this for a youtube contest and finished in the top 10! There's some old Baozi footage in there, so making this was bittersweet. I still miss her, and I remember her so clearly still. I hope I never forget.
Last night, Ace spent hours with me on the bed and watched TV with me for what ended up being the last time. I sensed something was up, and it made me uneasy. She was the same sweet little cuddler as ever, but she kept looking up at my face, trying to crawl up the pillow to me. I put her on my stomach and she kept crawling up my body and looking at my face. She was being so sweet and adorable. In retrospect I think she was saying goodbye. I had an uneasy feeling then, but I tried to tell myself that she was going to be OK. Here are some pictures I took of her last night:
I woke up early in the morning to check on her. She was sitting on her microfiber, just staring. I was going to wake up and feed her but I fell back asleep (I had only 4hrs of sleep the night before b/c I stayed up to feed her and then had to be at the vet early the next morning). At some point my Dad came in and gave Ace some apple, and she ate some of it. I woke up again a few hours later and went to feed Ace. I sat her on my lap and started to hand feed but she didn't seem to want to chew or eat her critical care. I was very patient with her b/c I didn't want her to be uncomfortable. Then she started being very weird, kind of twitching, and she got that look in her eyes, you know the one. I knew my girl was leaving me but I still kept holding her and petting her, telling her she was not going to die and she was going to stay with me. I felt it when she went, even though I was still saying she was going to stay with me and we had lots more TV to watch and veggies to enjoy.
She's back in her cage now, in her favorite cuddle hidey that I made for her. She loved that hidey so much.
The vet clinic was closed today so we'll have her blessed by our priest tomorrow and bring her in. It's still so surreal to me. I still can't believe it. Only 3 days ago she was fine.
I still remember the first day I got Ace and Baozi from the humane society a year and 2 months ago. it's right at the beginning of this thread. I connected with Baozi right away and took Ace too since Ace was her cagemate. But as I got to know Ace's personality, I grew to love her as much as I loved Baozi. I could never choose a favorite even though Baozi was the first one I noticed. They were such opposites in personality yet both had such vibrant presences. Baozi was bold and squeaky and energetic, while Ace was quiet and lazy and placid. When I put them on the bed, Baozi would always be wandering around exploring and getting herself into trouble while Ace was content to nom her treats and pancake. Ace quickly became my squishy cuddle pig and TV buddy. She was so chubby and squishy and soft. She was the cuddliest guinea pig I ever knew. Baozi wouldn’t tolerate sitting on my lap very long, but I could have Ace there for over half an hour while watching TV, reading, or just cuddling her. She liked to burrow into my thigh gap and use me as a human pillow. Every now and then, she would rouse herself and eat some of her treats, and then pancake again.
I didn’t know Baozi and Ace’s ages when I got them, but my vet suspected they were older. I eventually learned that Ace had suffered a spinal injury before we got her and had issues with the use of her back legs. It was why she couldn’t stand on her back legs and beg like Baozi did. It was also why she tended to wee on her sleeping places and get a pee-stained butt, poor thing. She used to have frequent bum baths to keep her clean. For the past few months, she’s been on metacam to manage her pain, and she was the most active she’s been. I’d see her run laps around the cage and hop around making little squeaky sounds. She would stand at the corner of the cage to beg for food when I was on the computer or watching TV.
Eating was, of course, one of her favorite pastimes. Ace ate with such gusto my mom compared her to a lawn mower, spawning the nickname "lawn mower pig."
I still remember how playful Ace and Baozi were when I first got them. I remember joking with my friend a lot about how “special” Ace was because she did a lot of silly things. She had all sorts of nicknames. One of my friends called her “googly eyes” and another called her “stanky leg” because she liked to lounge around with her leg stuck out. Ace also had a lot of nicknames based on her chubbiness—“Fatty Chub Chub” “Furry Fat Face” etc. At her largest, Ace was 1068g and when my friend showed her Mom a picture, her Mom thought Ace was a cat at first. Even though I teased Ace a lot about her chubbiness, I did it out of love. She was so soft and squishy and sweet.
She also had a mischievous side. Every time the cage was freshly cleaned, she’d have an urge to redecorate and would tip over and throw her hideys and tunnels all around. When Baozi was alive and Ace did this, Baozi would wheek at me to come fix everything, lol.
Ace was a sweetheart till the end, always up for cuddling, never making a single aggressive action (unless you count impatient chattering for food!) Even if she didn’t catch my eye at first, she was such a special girl and I feel blessed to have had her. My only wish is that she could have stayed with me longer. I hope that she was indeed a senior, and that she lived out a long life before coming to me, and that she and Baozi were happy in the short time they were with me.
It still haunts me that I lost both of them so close together and in such a similar way—they both took a turn and I couldn’t nurse them back to health. I keep questioning if I could have saved Ace by getting her to the vet more quickly than I did, even one day quicker. I still can’t believe how fast this all happened.
I’m so glad I took so many photos and videos of Ace during her time with me. Baozi and Ace will always be special to me. They were my first piggies as an adult and brought such joy and color into my life even if they were only with me for just over a year. I’m sure that I’ll have guinea pigs again soon but for now, I need to concentrate on my future. I want to get out of this city and find another job before I get much older. I stayed because I loved Ace too much to leave her behind, but I’d rather have her back and stay than leave and have lost her, if that makes sense. I don’t know. Everything kind of hurts too much and my brain is having trouble processing everything. It just hasn’t hit me that both my girls are gone.
Goodbye, little ones. Ace, I hope that you and Baozi have reunited on the bridge and are popcorning and playing together as you did here on earth. I hope that you will think of me sometimes and remember your time with me fondly. I love you both so much and someday we’ll see each other again.
Today was one of the worst days of my life. We brought Ace to our priest to be blessed and then took her to the vet clinic for cremation. Her ashes will be returned to me. They'll sit on the shelf next to Baozi's. When I got home, I dismantled the cage and packed up all my guinea pig stuff. It was one of the hardest things I've done. I found some treats I hadn't had a chance to give to Ace yet and cried and cried.
I still have a huge full bag of hay left, a bit of bedding, and a big bag of pellets. I was considering giving them to my niece for her pig, but I'm worried that whatever Ace had might be contagious. I disposed of the hay in the cage, but I did touch the hay in the bag with my hands after handling Ace or refreshing her hay (when she was healthy). I'll talk to my vet, but I don't believe the reason for Ace's illness was ever determined, and I don't want to do a necropsy (it's probably too late, anyway).
The rest of my pig stuff, the fleece and cuddle cups and whatnot, are packed away to bring with me wherever I might go for future piggies. I've decided to take this opportunity to do something I always wanted to do, teach English overseas. I'm probably going to South Korea. Once I'm there and settled, I may adopt little Korean piggies. If I do, I will tell them about the two very special girls who came before them.
My Mom wonders how this experience hasn't put me off rescuing. The way I see it, as painful as it was to lose my piggers, the joy they brought before outweighed the pain. I always felt it took a special kind of person to love a small creature like guinea pigs, because their lives are so short (compared to dogs and cats) and they're so fragile. I think I'll always have guinea pigs, once I get settled and am not so nomadic.
I'm working on a tribute video for Ace. Working on these videos helps me to get through it. I almost feel like she's still with me sometimes.
It's still such a shock to my system to not have piggies anymore. Even with the cage taken down, I always catch myself thinking I'd better check on Ace or see if she wants a treat. I had the pigs for such a short time--just over a year--it feels surreal sometimes, like I dreamt them.
Tahnks to anyone who read this. I couldn't sleep, and I had to work all this out and thought maybe you guys would understand.
And I agree it does take a special kind of person to love a small creature like a guinea pigs or ratties, and I believe once you are out on your own, you will welcome a couple of pigs into your life again.
I'm still going to hang out at the Lynx and read you guys' chronicles. I love guinea pigs and until I can have more piggies of my own, I enjoy reading about you guys' pigs and seeing their cute photos. Some people have a hard time with that during their grief, but for me, I find it comforting. That, and working on Ace's video tribute.