We picked out two females. The mostly white one with a tan head was quickly named LouWho. The other, with her perfect bands of white and grey, was now called Tina. And home we all went.
We entered Petco as a family of three humans and two felines. We left with the addition of two guinea pigs. Or so we thought.
We’d had two female pigs when Noah was little. They were named Naomi and Esther. Black, white and tan sisters squeaking in our living room. Noah would say “piggies!” when he heard them and we’d lift him up to feed them treats. I was so busy with him all day long that I can’t say I really got to know those piggies. They outlived Noah by about five or six years. After he was gone, I always thought of them as Noah’s pigs. I did love them, though.
I found Esther one morning after she had died in her sleep. But Naomi held on for another year or so. And when I just happened to see her heavy breathing in the purple cage, I took her out and held her as she poetically died in my hands.
About a month and a half ago, I brought the big purple cage down from the attic and hosed it off outside. I hand washed the ceramic food bowls. I could hear Noah’s voice saying “piggies” while the water ran. The sound of running water plays tricks on me sometimes and I always listen closely for what I might hear.
We created a home for our new pigs and in they went to explore the grass hut and new fluff. Through the cage, they went nose to nose with their new cat friends. It’s good to bring new life into a family. Shake up the dynamic and see how much more love can be multiplied.
Speaking of multiplying…
We noticed LouWho was always a little larger than Tina. We were told they were both about three months old. Tina was the spry one with more personality. LouWho seemed shy. Maybe even preoccupied is the right word.
So bigger and bigger and bigger LouWho became while Tina stayed the same. Was it possible? Somewhere along the way, in her three short months of pig life, did she meet a smooth-talking male pig? Did they Netflix and Chill? Did pig nature take its course?
My husband took some pictures of LouWho and showed them to a very nice girl named Mary at Petco. Judging by the photos, Mary thought it was indeed possible. It’s not common, but somewhere before the pigs are divided by sex, LouWho met her Tom Jones. Her Ryan Gosling. Her Bradley Cooper. Whoever the rat bastard was, she succumbed to his charms and we were now expecting.
We watched her belly undulate occasionally and I started posting about our impending births on Facebook. We prepared ourselves with birthing videos. I really started to think it would never happen. LouWho probably thought the same.
But this past Friday night, as I was cleaning up in the kitchen and Miriam was setting up her stuffed animals in the living room to look like a movie theatre, I noticed Tina acting strangely. Repeatedly lurching back and forth, almost as if she had a hairball, she got my attention. Underneath the Polynesian hut, LouWho WAS GIVING BIRTH!!!!!!! Two babies had already come out and a third was on the way.
It was amazing. And bloody. And yucky. But amazing. There was a white one, a black one, and a stripey one. What a “bonus gift with purchase” we received.
So we now have a cage of five piggies and we have some decisions to make. First, we need to determine their sexes. Because, unless we want another miracle of birth moment, they must be separated. Then we need to decide on homes for them. We can’t keep all of them.
The same day the piggies were born, I’d gotten some bad news. A writing gig with a nice steady paycheck abruptly ended. Through no fault of mine, the execs just decided to put it on hold for now. I was shocked and upset but I didn’t panic. As I called my husband to tell him, the words “we’ve been through worse” always find their way into conversations like this.
When bad news of varying degrees comes through our lives, each time they leapfrog off each other. Each one giving us some coping skills. But each one, more importantly, gives us hope. Hope that good news will come soon. That yes, bad things certainly happen in an instant. But good things can happen quickly and unexpectedly, too.
Have faith in that leapfrog game of constantly moving forward.
So, I’m hustling for work again and listening to our pigs squeak in the kitchen. The babies are all nursing and preliminary peeks at their privates indicate we may have a litter of all boys! So, these little squeakers won’t be with us for long.
I’ll deep breathe through anxiety while feeding them dandelion leaves and alfalfa hay.
I’ll hopefully have some new assignments very soon.
I’ll think back to all the times I thought I’d reached an impenetrable roadblock…
To all the games of leapfrog I’ve played and will play.