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Truman, meet all my friends in the computer.  They are very important to me.

Everyone, meet Truman, our guinea pig.

Truman Harper Ford Blog

We brought home Truman on Sunday.  We met him on Friday when we went to see the guinea pigs at the EPD.  I fell in love with the idea of getting a guinea pig on Friday, but I didn’t fall in love with either guinea pig that we met.  My eyes kept going to the hamsters, especially the ones that looked like Cozy, and then to the guinea pigs, that did not look like Cozy.  Cozy looked similar to an Abyssinian guinea pig even though he was actually a teddy bear hamster.  The teddy bear guinea pigs at the EPD looked like short haired teddy bear guinea pigs.

When we went back on Sunday, I kept waiting for that huge surge of all consuming love that happened the first time I met Cozy.  But it didn’t happen.  So I pulled Josh into another section of the store so we could be alone for a second and said, “I’m really scared because I’m not in love immediately.”  But he promised me that I would fall in love.  And that love would be no less intense and real when it came.  Still, I was — and still am — embarrassed and upset with myself for this reaction.  I was supposed to instantly have my heart melt.  But my heart felt swollen and raw.

Our first day at home was difficult.  He was okay being held but clearly anxious.  When he went into his cage, he stood, frozen.  Not eating, not drinking.  He wouldn’t relax and lie down in front of us.  I worried about him even though I knew that he was going through an adjustment period.  I told him about Cozy.  I admitted that seeing him made me miss Cozy, that maybe I hadn’t been ready for a new pet, but I had wanted to do something — anything — to stop the sadness I was feeling over the loss.  Things were hard for him too.  He was apart from his twin brother, away from familiar sounds and smells.  We would have taken his twin brother, but the EPD said they would have been separated anyway in a few weeks due to aggression.  She promised the ChickieNob that guinea pig twins are not like human twins.  But he was clearly sad, clearly out-of-sorts and confused.  And I was sad and out-of-sorts.  I loved him because we were both unsure, because we could still cuddle up inside that unsureness.  I asked him to be patient with me.  I told him I would be patient with him.

The next day was a little easier.  We talked and cuddled in the morning, and then I played him YouTube videos of other guinea pigs wheeking.  He immediately started wheeking back, calling to the guinea pigs on the screen.  And he finally came out of his corner and ate two bites of apple and a nibble of kale.  A few of his guinea pig pellets.  I’m sort of embarrassed to admit that I did this for an exceptionally long period of time; playing guinea pig videos on YouTube for him.

Later at night, we had a cuddle on the sofa with Josh, and as my hand went over his back, I realized that he was much softer than I thought at first.  He wasn’t smooth, like Cozy, but he had folds of soft fur that skated under my hand.  I started to fall in love; he started to trust.  And that’s where we are now.

His name is Truman after both Truman Capote and Harry S. Truman.  Josh likes American history, and we obvious love writers.  His middle name is Harper after both Harper Lee (good friends with Truman Capote!) and Bryce Harper of the Nationals.  So Truman Harper Ford.

We also gave him a Hebrew name (because how else will we know what to call him at his guinea pig Bar Mitzvah), Tomer.  Tomer means “date tree” in Hebrew, and he was one of our favourite characters on the old Israeli television show, Florentine.  One of our first dates was to watch six Florentine episodes in a row in this little theater.  The creator of the show, Eytan Fox, modeled Tomer after himself, and he was one of the first openly gay mainstream characters on Israeli television.  So we wanted to honour someone else’s creation, plus we loved his coming out scene — one of the best moments on television ever.

So that’s where we are.  Slowly coming together, two unsure and nervous beings.  But we’re very slowly, and very carefully, falling in love.


1 Carla { 04.09.13 at 8:06 am }

Laughing out loud at the idea of a guinea pig Bar Mitzvah! Losing pets is terrible, and most non-pet people just don’t understand what a loss it really is. My cat Maddie has been with me for almost 16 years, through job changes, moves, heartbreaks, family deaths, infertility, etc., and she is such a comfort. I can’t stand thinking that I am likely to lose her in the next few years.

2 Wolfers { 04.09.13 at 8:08 am }

Guinea pigs are awesome!! And your Truman is beautiful-I hadn’t seen one in that color before! Welcome to your new family! 😉

3 Tiara { 04.09.13 at 8:15 am }

Hello, Truman! Nice to meet you! Glad you’re falling in love with each other, Mel!

4 Tracie { 04.09.13 at 8:19 am }

Hello, Truman Harper.

He is very cute. We have been thinking about getting a guinea pig for my daughter, but I’m not sure we are ready to take that plunge yet. I love that you played youtube videos for him. That is very sweet.

5 Delenn { 04.09.13 at 9:00 am }

Hello there, Truman! He is sooo cute!! We went to a pet store the other day and I was thinking about whether you had gotten a guinea pig yet. Love the name and the reasons for the names.

Happiness is a warm fuzzy guinea pig!

6 a { 04.09.13 at 9:26 am }

Awww! He’s so cute! And you’re immediately getting him addicted to the internet – how appropriate!

Also, you guys and your pets are hilarious…

7 Wishing on a Snowflake { 04.09.13 at 10:00 am }

Aww I love him! I’m so glad you’ve decided to have him join your family. And I love that you’ve told him about Cozy. 🙂 I’m sure he will realize what a wonderful life he’s just stepped into and adjust soon.

8 KeAnne { 04.09.13 at 10:47 am }

Congrats on your new addition! Welcome, Truman!

9 Catwoman73 { 04.09.13 at 11:00 am }

Hello Truman! Welcome! I’ve never had a guinea pig, but seeing him makes me want one. So cute!

10 Kathy { 04.09.13 at 11:12 am }

Truman is adorable Mel! I am glad that the early days with him are going well overall. I was so moved by what Josh said to you when you had mixed feelings about the connection, or lack there of, which you felt before bringing him home. I also love this:

“I loved him because we were both unsure, because we could still cuddle up inside that unsureness. I asked him to be patient with me. I told him I would be patient with him.”

I think a lot of parents feel that way when they first hold their children. Of course we want to love them immediately and we do, but sometimes it takes a little while to fell more sure of ourselves as mothers and fathers.

Thank you for sharing your pet parenting journey with us.

On a related note, after our goldfish Nemo died earlier this year, I had a goldfish sized hole in my heart that I never knew existed. When Marlin and Dory arrived a few weeks later, I definitely had mixed feelings about our new goldfish. It was different to have two this time and initially they seemed unsure about their new surroundings too. They were very still the first few days and I was sure they weren’t going to last long. But now they are very active and we are all getting used to each other.

Sending peace, love and light your way as your family and Truman continue to get to know and adjust to life with each other.

11 Katie { 04.09.13 at 11:17 am }

He’s so cute! And I love the name. 🙂

12 Battynurse { 04.09.13 at 11:30 am }

Welcome Truman!
I so understand the mixed feelings of a new pet. Hugs to you and thinking of you.

13 Chickenpig { 04.09.13 at 1:18 pm }

He’s so cute! And he totally looks like a Truman 🙂

14 Erica { 04.09.13 at 2:10 pm }

Welcome, Truman. You seem like a very handsome and personable guinea pig, and I’m glad you found yourself such a good family.

15 Amy Elaine { 04.09.13 at 2:23 pm }

YAY FOR TRUMAN! He is gorgeous.

16 Pepper { 04.09.13 at 2:32 pm }

So happy. Cannot wait for his bar mitzvah.

17 mlo { 04.09.13 at 3:01 pm }

I’m so glad you found such a handsome young guinea pig to add to your family. There is nothing like the love of a pet – or the love we give them.

18 Dora { 04.09.13 at 4:49 pm }

What a cutie! How will you get the teeny tiny yarmulke to stay on his head?

Sunshine and I are in agreement that we are not ready to get a new cat. We said goodbye to one of our cats a week and a half ago. She agrees that our remaining cat needs a companion, but a new cat wouldn’t be Woohoo, so she’s not ready.

19 Lori Lavender Luz { 04.09.13 at 5:52 pm }

Welcome to our world, Truman Harper Tomer Ford. I must admit I am a bit jealous of you, getting to know Melissa’s stories before the rest of us.

Nice to meet you, you handsome creature.

20 TasIVFer { 04.09.13 at 7:05 pm }

When you get over the fact that Truman’s face isn’t Cozy’s face, you’ll see how gorgeous and loveable a creature he appears to be! Those eyes, those ears – and that fur!! Welcome home – one day it will feel like home. I remember the first few days my darling Lottie was home: she was scared, confused, kept hiding under shrubs and having to be pulled out – now I’m home and I know she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

21 Stinky { 04.09.13 at 7:09 pm }

awwww, this made me think of the Guinea Pig Song – I think someone did this in tribute to their late guinea pig. Dunno if I should link to it or not, just ignore/don’t publish this if it turns out I shouldn’t . . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1GKM0zuf7U
it makes Mr Stinky and I laugh, especially the zoom-in eye profile shot

22 Justine { 04.09.13 at 8:35 pm }

Welcome, Truman! You look like a loveable little one … and you’ve found yourself one amazing place to live.

I was struck, too, by your story about falling in love … and couldn’t help but think about how that experience expresses itself in human parenting, too. I was remembering how I wasn’t completely in love with N. the first time I saw her. I think part of it had to do with loss … it was hard to bond with someone whom I’d been so sure would leave, after I’d lost the others, too. And it was even harder because everyone else seemed to be talking about how you fall in love at first sight with your newborn; I thought for sure something was wrong with me because I needed to do it on my own terms. But I’m glad that you’re taking it slowly, and being gentle with yourself, and that love is finding its way between you. 🙂

23 Brid { 04.09.13 at 11:52 pm }

Lucky pig!

24 luna { 04.10.13 at 1:46 am }

just wait til he starts purring in your lap.
wait, how do you know he’s a he and not a she?
enjoy each other. I’m sure the twins are happy!

25 Katherine A { 04.10.13 at 6:49 am }

What a beautiful guinea pig! Lots of good wishes for many, many happy times with Truman, and thanks for introducing him to all of us!

26 Juanita { 04.10.13 at 7:35 am }

Hi there Truman! Mel, he is the most adorable cutie-pie ever, sure to melt your heart and make you love him a lot very soon! Sure that Cozy will be happy that your love won’t go to waste.

27 loribeth { 04.10.13 at 9:02 am }

Hi Truman! What a cutie you are. : )

(Relieved to hear the “Harper” is not in homage to a certain Canadian prime minister…) ; )

28 Peg { 04.10.13 at 9:38 am }

Welcome Truman! So cute!

29 marwil { 04.10.13 at 2:43 pm }

Aww, what a cutie! His fur looks real soft.

30 Kelley { 04.11.13 at 1:38 pm }

So cute!!!

31 JustHeather { 04.13.13 at 5:27 am }

Welcome, Truman Harper. He’s cute!
I understand what you mean about him not being Cozy. When we got Mansi, it took a while to warm up to her. I still missed Kantti (and still do) and they are not the same.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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