Both shared a deep love for all living things, although it has to be said, D's connection with the natural world was uncanny. Animals both domesticated & wild would relax around her, approach her without prompting and they seem to understand each other without words.
D's mum used to say that her daughter had 'the healing touch' and that's why animals felt safe with her.
After owning 4 rabbits since she was 2, she felt it was time to venture in to a new world: Guinea pigs.
They headed off to their local petting zoo, not knowing what they were getting themselves into.
One of the petting zoo staff selected two females whom he thought weren't pregnant & basically said those would be the only two he'd re-home at this point in time.
D didn't care and enthusiastically agreed.
D immediately fell in love with the multi-coloured guinea pig and called her Disco, because her colours reminded her of a disco ball:
And Mick went for the cream and ginger piggy and called her Skippy for unknown reasons:
Now if you think there is little info on guinea pig care in the UK or the US, then you should try the Netherlands.
Due to being given all the wrong info at a local pet store Skippy and Disco ended up in a glass tank, eating the multi coloured feed, no hay and a constant supply of cabbagy type greens.
(My heart still sinks thinking about this )
Disco was getting bigger as time went on and after 3 weeks of being at her new home, D could clearly feel something moving inside her gut. She hesitated on telling her parents as she knew how her dad would react & when she eventually did tell them his reaction was as she expected: "When they get born we'll flush them down the toilet!"
D cried for days and kept a very close eye on her pregnant girlie. Then one night she lifted up the house Disco was hiding in and discovered she was in the process of giving birth to her second pup. Immediately she put down the house & pretended nothing was going on.
Two hours later however, 4 little piggies emerged from the house happily running about.
When her dad saw that guinea pig pups are nothing like rabbit pups, he didn't have the heart to flush them down & decided to keep them.
Things seemed OK again, untill...
D's parents were very keen on selling them on as soon as possible, so there wasn't much of a criteria when it came to new ownership.
2 pups went to D's school's janitor who had two young boys of 4 or 5, 1 went to D's teacher who had a son of 8 and the other went to a family friend who's son was in D's class.
It was hard to say goodbye to the little ones, but there just wasn't any room to keep them.
A week later her janitor came to see her at school and told her the two little guinea had died because his sons had squeezed them too hard.
Little D was outraged, shocked and heartbroken. How could he have let this happen? and how cruel were those little boys?
A few days after that her teacher told her that their pup had suddenly fallen ill and died within days. D however suspected they just didn't take it to the vet..
Luckily the 4th pup was doing well and was properly cared for (as far as proper goes in 80's Holland) and well loved.
However, the loss of the other 3 was hard to bear for D and relationships at school broke down rapidly.
Then she noticed Disco scratching & biting almost continuously at her left shoulder. She examined the shoulder only to discover a small wound.
Reluctant to take her to the vet, D's parents insisted on waiting to see what would happen & applied sudacreme to the wound (cringe moment number 3).
The wound just got bigger and bigger until it was about 2" wide, which was the point her parents finally caved in and took Disco to the vet.
The vet reckoned she had skin cancer and opted for operation. The operation went well and D returned home a few days later with a very drowsy Disco with 10 stitches.
D did ask if they could have a 'cap' like dogs and cats get after operations so they can't bite the wound, but the vet said Disco wouldn't be able to eat with it.
Trusting the opinion of a supposed professional D went to have her hair cut the next day.
Just as the hairdresser was drying her hair they got a phone call..it was D's mum.
Disco had ripped all off the stitches out and was bleeding to death. They rushed her to the vets where they had her put down as the blood loss had been too great.
To this day D will never forget that phone call and how angry and helpless she felt. And the utter heart ache that followed for a such a long time.
Would her young heart dare love another pig again?
D still missed Disco, but she also missed having a guinea pig of her own.
So they went down to the pet store (cringe moment #4) and were lucky to find they had just gotten a big new litter in. All of them were black with ginger markings, but D found one she instantly bonded with and although her mother claimed 'they all looked the same', She knew this one was special and she named it DJ after her own first 2 initials (nothing like vanity in a young child).
Skippy on top of DJ on the roof of a small fishing post (cringe #5) and notice Skippy's long nails (cringe #6). *sigh*
DJ grew up quickly and healthy, even when Skippy passed away for unknown reasons (there probably was one, but our cavy knowledge wasn't exactly stunning at the time).
Mick did have another guinea pig for a little while, a very small baby abby called Spiky, but he too quickly passed on.
Things, big things, enormous things were happening in D's life who was now 12 with DJ still by her side.
She was leaving primary school to go on to 'high school' and her parents got a divorce in the same year.
DJ moved with D into her mum's new house which was only a 10 minute walk from her dad's.
Unfortunately DJ now got moved in to a pet store cage (cringe #7). Perhaps an upgrade from a glass tank, but not a brilliant upgrade to say the least.
Luck was on DJ's side though and she remained healthy until the ripe old age of 9!
D, now 16 and in the middle of hormone hell, didn't cope very well with her one loyal friend passing on.
She went in to a dark, dark place mentally and went completely off the track. She had nothing to console her, nothing to lessen the big gap DJ had left in her life and the pain in her heart was too much..
She vowed to never have another guinea pig again.
It was her first time in her own flat as she recently split up from her partner whom she was living with and it was both exciting and scary to be totally independent.
Unfortunately all was not well in her world. D suffers from Chronic Fatigue syndrome, also known as ME, which leaves her incredibly exhausted at all times. Because of this she couldn't work & was stuck at home.
Another downside was that she shared the house with 3 others, all with severe drinking problems, which did not help the situation.
D was stuck. She couldn't move because she couldn't afford it and she couldn't work to raise money because she was too drained to function normally. Slowly depression and anxiety crept in....
All her family and closest friends were in Holland, her housemates were drunks & she was too isolated for her friends to really know what was going on.
Her mum saw all of this happening from a distance and got extremely worried.
She suggested D got a pet so she had something to love and care for. D's mum knew her daughter well as nature and animals always brightened up D's life.
First she had to convince the landlord that a guinea pig would not be running about lose eating furniture and chewing the floorboards. Then she went to her local pet store (cringe #8) to see what they had & then she saw her. The only little sow left as no one else wanted her:
She named her Pippin as D was very obsessed with LotR at the time ;) Lucky pig :D