Filling the Hole
We have started the process of adding another guinea pig to our family. Before you say anything, it is early. It is soon. But I also know that I’m not the kind of person who can be without a pet. In weighing out the mental health factors in taking time to mourn but being without a guinea pig vs. trying to mourn and care for a new pig at the same time, I’ve opted to go the latter route.
Is it the recommended option? No. Is it what I need to do? Yes.
The woman who gave us Cozy and Truman retired in the fall. I spent many hours Googling guinea pig breeders within a two hour drive and found only one. I contacted various clubs in the area that involved animals, and I’m still waiting to hear back if they know about private breeders. We drove to four different pet stores, but I couldn’t connect emotionally with any of the pigs. Plus I felt squeamish getting a pig where the store knew nothing about its origins. They couldn’t tell me age or breed. Probably not a good sign.
There were a few older pigs in area rescues, but we don’t want an older pig. We want a baby. We want as much time as possible with the pig. Plus all the rescues require you to adopt two pigs, and we only have room for one and have always kept pigs, one at a time.
During my third round of Googling, I found a woman about a half hour away who needs to rehome two infant guinea pigs. She posted four pictures of the male twins, and my heart exploded. One was spoken for according to the listing. The other was available.
I wrote her and she wrote back immediately, admitting that there is a possible person in front of us. They are on the fence and will decide next weekend. If that placement falls through, we can bring the pig into our family. I went to bed staring at his picture. I woke up and alternated between thinking about Truman and this new pig.
It is hard not to be hopeful, but I keep reminding myself that this is — at best — a 50/50 chance. Until he is in our family, he is not part of our family.
Part of me wishes that I hadn’t found this pig until the other person had made a decision. Part of me feels relieved to experience something akin to love toward another pig, even if that pig doesn’t remain in my life. It means it can happen. It means we can find another pig who fits into our family, who fills the hole, the missing piece, with its own unique sweetness rather than trying to replace the irreplaceable Truman.
Because I’ve had this fear that my heart wouldn’t let another pig in. It’s always the fear until it isn’t the fear; that idea that maybe our heart can’t bounce back. Maybe it’s too broken and this is it. Or maybe our heart will heal in the surface sense; we’ll be able to coo at other people’s pets even if we know that we won’t be bringing another pet into our own house.
The ChickieNob keeps telling me that our pig is out there. Maybe it’s the infant pig that we saw in the listing (we’ll know between now and this Saturday). Maybe it’s a completely different pig we don’t know about yet. Either way, we’ve started the process. We’re mourning and filling at the same time.