juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
Today I broke down and scrubbed out Kuzco's cage and accoutrements, and we went to the Oregon Humane Society to donate his belongings and have his body cremated. I didn't opt for a private cremation (where the ashes would be returned to me) because that wouldn't help me with my grieving. The person that dealt with us referred to this as letting them take care of everything, which was an incredibly thoughtful way of putting it—one that doesn't imply a lack of care by the owner or indicate a lack of care given to the body, but instead says that they will willing bear the responsibility of caring for his remains. They happily accepted all of Kuzco's things, including opened bags of bedding/pellets/hay, which I'd worried they wouldn't be able to take; she said they appreciated the donations, and I imagine small animal-related donations are particularly rare. I'm glad that stuff will be put to good use, as it's great quality and shouldn't just be thrown away. All in all, the best experience that I could have asked for; they were immensely understanding and kind.

They were in the midst of a number of events, including a Home for the Holidays general adoption sale, so the place was bustling. After dealing with Kuzco's remains, Dee and I walked over to look at the cats and dogs up for adoption and it was basically the best way to ... counteract things, I guess. There were adorable kittens being stupidly adorable, and sweet older dogs who let us give them cuddles through the bars, and there's no much better in the world than a bunch of animals finding homes, so.

I'm doing okay. Today wasn't easy, but having it done helps. And there's no regret in it, none—the pain of loss doesn't make me wish for a moment that I hadn't had him for seven pig-filled years, first; him, or the rest of the herd. And stupid adorable kittens and a golden retriever finding a home is good reminder of that.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
Kuzco died at about 4a last night. He held steady for a while after his vet visit, but never put much weight back on and his teeth never regrew and wore properly; over the last little while his weight began to drop slowly and then sharply, and I began feeding him Critical Care again until he started rejecting even force feeding (he would just spit it back up). In his final days he also developed an upper respiratory infection. One by one we could have fought or treated these issues, but taken all together and considering his advanced age, this was his time. Details of his death. )

I've seen this coming for some time, and I'm glad I could be there at the end. I can't say how much it helped that I was there without idealizing or anthropomorphizing him, but at least he was warm and undisturbed; I was able to sing him the song I used to sing to comfort the guinea pigs, the same song I used to sing to myself during long nights of anxiety-induced insomnia, which at least helped me. I appreciate seeing the biology of death, it makes it more concrete; I've still not grieved, and no doubt I need to vent my emotions, but on the whole I'm fine even though this comes at the height of some menstrual body/mood issues. He was old and ailing at the end of a long and pretty good life and frankly I was relieved to see him pass in peace and relative swiftness; that's all I'd ask for.

Kuzco is the end of an era: he was my last surviving guinea pig, and I don't plan to have another or to have any small animal for some time. Between Odi and the multiplying cats, I'm surfeited with animals to love.

I was the primary caretaker of my elementary school guinea pig Chumley and I loved him to pieces, and that's why I wanted them as pets. They are everything and nothing that I remembered. I'm a strong advocate against pigs as pets for the casual pet owner (not that there should be any such thing), because they're not what people expect them to be: they're not social the way that people think of pets as social, they require lots of room and fair bit of upkeep, and maintaining for their health can be effortful. But they are also pretty well incomparable, because nothing else can scream for food like they do, or popcorn for a clean cage and then poop in it, or communicate with the mothership in birdlike chirps, or believe that purring while shaking one's rump makes one in any way threatening, or be a guinea pig better than a guinea pig.

Dee is helping with the disposal of his body and belongings (he'll be cremated, and I hope to donate his cage—he was in a travel one in his old age—and useful goods to the Oregon Humane Society), bless. Devon is providing emotional support even at five in the morning. Sympathies and thoughts are welcome, for Kuzco and for all the pigs: they were seven some years of my life, seeing me through literally the worst of it.

I leave you with these pictures of Kuzco at 3 weeks old.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Today was Kuzco's vet appointment, down at Southwest Animal Hospital, where Alfie (and Dink) went a number of years ago. Verdict: He's on more medications than any beast in the house, now, but will most likely be fine. Unless he continues downhill, it looks like my initial concern—lost tooth was bothering him, so he was avoiding food—was correct: he has a few other health issues, but they're on account of being an old pig; it's mostly the food issue, which has left him underweight and a bit dehydrated.

He got his teeth trimmed (the other three incisors had grown scraggly and pointy because he hadn't been wearing them down; his molars were fine) and is on meloxicam, an anti-inflammatory/painkiller, so his teeth shouldn't bother him anymore; he's on acidophilus and metoclopramide to improve digestion and stimulate appetite; he's also getting Critical Care to replace the hay and pellets he's been avoiding. In short, a guinea pig get fat quick fix. The first round of squirting medications down his throat was messy, but now—well it's still messy, but he's greedily sucking down Critical Care so yay.

Critical Care smells exactly as you'd expect: quasi-semi-digested guinea pig food. For some reason it had gained a certain infamy in my mind as the superfood you force-feed your guinea pig to prevent the worst from happening; it rather lives up to expectations. It's stinky and goopy and gets everywhere and Kuzco actually loves it.

And—and this sounds awful, but—Kuzco and I have always bonded over his trauma. With a guinea pig that's almost necessary, because terrified can be their de facto state. But Kuz has always wanted cuddles most after being at his most vulnerable, like a bath or when I check his stomach and boybits. The syringes don't traumatize him anymore—quite the opposite, he was pretty hyped up over the last round of Critical Care—but we've always bonded over his vulnerability and being hand-fed his delicious nom noms and helpful medications is pretty much exactly that, and so it feels oddly ... right, in a mostly non-exploitative way, to care for my old man pig like this.

The vet was exactly what I needed. It's out of the way (in a Portland suburb) and isn't as cushy as the vet we use for all the other beasts, but it's exotic-specific and I felt confident putting Kuzco in their hands. There's also something rewarding about talking pigs with someone who's part of the pig club, and knows all about necessary diets and the correct size of poop and how they're still cute even if they're 90% sure you're about to kill them RIGHT NOW.

He didn't even pee on anyone, bless.

4-times daily Critical Care feedings means no Corvallis trip for now, but I'm okay with that. We've reached a lull in pet stress: Kuzco is perky and already filling up and taking well to the many syringes; Gillian is in limbo between finishing his antibiotics and waiting on viral tests (they want us to wait two months before restesting, due to incubation periods), so he'll have more bathroom-only time followed probably by supervised time roaming the house only when August is enclosed in a separate room, a compromise which means we won't have to worry about cat socialization efforts just yet. There's daily upkeep but it's manageable and I don't have to pay another vet another hundred dollars within the next few days and guys, I will take what I can get.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Last weekend was fantastic and hugely busy. On Saturday, Dee and I made a day trip down to Corvallis. We brought Odi to board the day in grandparents's outdoor dog kennel, and went with Devon and my family (parents and sister) to the Fall Festival, an outdoor fair of local artists. I usually go just with my father, or sometimes with my sister as well; having such a large group was a bit like herding cats (oh, the yelled cell phone conversations), but it was also lovely. The weather held at mostly sunny but not hot, my parents bought some metal work for the garden, and I got to show off one of my favorite artists, Cameron Kaseberg. When we were done with the booths, we split up and Devon, Dee, and I went across the street to the library book sale, where everything was half price for the end of the day; I am absolutely drowning in books over here, but I still managed to find Dracula, some Atwood and Woolf, and a Southern Gothic novel of questionable potential for $6, and who can say no to that. Then we went out to a delightful dinner.

Back at Devon's grandparents's house we discovered that—true story—as soon as we'd left, Odi had managed to pull up the chain link sides to the kennel, wriggle underneath, and follow Devon's scent trail across the yard and back to Devon's house, where he had found Devon's father and invited himself inside and spent the day gorging on found bags of cat food and playing. We're exceedingly lucky that he wasn't hurt in the escape and that he immediately found a safe place to go (as a one-eyed dog he's pretty identifiable, so Devon's folks recognized him), but: WHUT.

On Sunday, Dee and I took the bus to Hawthorne—one of my old Portland stomping grounds out in SE—for the Under Wildwood release party. The Wildwood Chronicles take place in St. Johns (our neighborhood here in Portland) and the vast park visible from the neighborhood; at the release party we got a pre-release signed copy of the second book in the series, and the author and illustrator did a joint talk which was all about the book as a collaboration—their joint approach to creating its world, and then exploring it in their respective mediums as author and illustrator. Afterward, we went to an early dinner at Chez Machin—I'd never had savory crêpes, and they make theirs with chewy robust buckwheat; mine was filled with mozzarella, mushrooms, and tomatoes, and topped with a pesto sauce. I'm an extremely picky eater, mostly in regards to texture and new foods, so it was a bit of a risk but a complete success: A+, would love to eat again.

On one hand this is exactly what I want of autumn: more to do, more desire to do it, the delicious exhaustion and enthusiastic downtime that follows having done it. That said, we noticed this week that Kuzco has been having some troubles eating: he lost a top incisor a bit ago, which is totally normal, but I think he lost this one way down at the root and the root got infected. It's just broken through, so he's probably fine, but he's lost a bit of weight in the meantime and the infection may still linger. He has a vet appointment tomorrow just to make sure he's fine, but here's the thing: Kuz is 7 years old, and guinea pigs live between 5 and 8 years. He's developed a cataract in one eye; when he's eating well (which is usually) he gets rotund but the weight is all in his tummy—he's never been a very plump pig, but he's on the bonier side now. What I'm saying is that he's an old man, the last of his herd. This tooth issue is probably unrelated to aging, but it sort of makes his mortality hit home. I'm not dreading or even anticipating his death—Kuzco has had a good life, and he can stick around for as much more of it as fate determines—but this comes while we have a cat in limbo and while I just feel ... exhausted.

It's money issues (even if Devon doesn't seem to think there ... are any), it's fear of commitment and responsibility, it's general exhaustion and the need for some downtime. Two weeks ago I was exhausted and went to escape in Corvallis, and spent the whole time having an extended nervous breakdown. Then there was cat, then there was social stuff, now Kuzco, and I haven't showered in a couple of days and when I'm not surfeited with distraction (making stars while watching a show, reading a book while watching video games) I'm on the verge of a crying jag.

Gillian is fine! He managed to groom the section that he had groomed to the skin, so that's still healing, but most all of his scabs have flaked off and he's no longer vibrating with itchy frustration. No other health problems, he's on the second half of his preventative medication course, and really the only thing he hates is being trapped in one room. I'm just having a hard time bonding, because right now I don't see "cat I love"—I see "ongoing responsibility and monetary investment." That's selfish, and it doesn't mean I don't love him, but it's a connotation I can't shake right now.

If sleep were easier (not having nightmares, just sleeping restlessly), I'd want to sleep for a week. Devon wants me to come back to Corvallis for another try at downtime, but it depends on what Kuzco's vet visit turns up. I just wish there were an off button for the world, or for me.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
While I had my camera downstairs* to photograph pumpkin muffins, I thought I'd prove that:

Kuzco in the sun
Hey would you look at that this little guy also lives here.

A few weekends back, Devon and I did some touch-up painting in my bedroom and in the dining room/office downstairs. As a result, we were able to move my bed and rearrange my room, and move Dee's office, and construct furniture for Dee's office, and reposition Kuzco. Getting things done is a cascading chain for both the good and the bad: get it started and it can keep going, but if you want to get it done you have to do a dozen other steps first. Anyway, all this means is that Kuzco is approximately in the area he'll have permanently. He still needs a custom cage built for the space (this is his roomy-but-still-undersized travel cage), but he's so positioned now that he gets some nice sun early in the day (when it's always cool enough to want some nice sun), and he's right by the windowsill so August can now sunbathe while watching Guinea Pig TV. Life is good.

+1 of Kuzco. )

Meanwhile, August was on the couch going:

This is ALSO becoming August's blanket
Dis blanket also mine.

+1 of August. )

I have laundry to do, and a bag to pack, and so off with me.

* I bought my camera as a high school graduation gift for myself, and it's officially showing its age. The lens is dusty and needs cleaned, 4.0 megapixels just ain't what it used to be, and now the battery is dying—battery life had been falling for years, but as of a week ago it's fallen to about four minutes between charges, so I have to tether it to an outlet to do much with it. Fun!
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
I woke today to soft, pervasive, pale white light flooding the room, a cool breeze and the white noise of the city coming through the cracked windows, and a cat pressed against my ankle. I invited her up for snuggles and she fit herself into the crook of my arm and flopped over so that I could rub her belly. I read a few selections from the anthology I'm working through, then sat up to check my email. She's curled up behind me now, on the blanket I have wrapped around me, her back pressed to my back. That's where she prefers to be, if she can: just touching. She'll sit in my lap on occasion and she's taken to walking in front of my desktop's monitor (of course), and she goes crazy for deep-down, flopped-over, blissed-out snuggles, but the rest of the time she likes it if she can just be close, touching and warm but not a bother—she's probably just napping, after all.

So what I'm saying is that I'm happy.

Later today I'll post August's introduction and story proper. I'll post pictures, too. I can't tell you how easily and quickly she's adjusted—she's still growing and changing as she settles in, but she's been at home here from the very moment that she arrived. Her behavior is fantastic, her appetite likewise; she barely seemed to register the fireworks last night. She doesn't hide under the bed—she explores down there. She hasn't been wary or frightened. She just wants love. It's surreal and impossible, and I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for some last-minute freakout or, I don't know, expensive incurable disease. This literally seems too good to be true.

But we've established that for me, happiness always does, right? It's not an art I've mastered. I'm better, now, with it. I've had some practice in these last few years and months. I can see my guinea pig these days, easy as you'd like, and that means he's happier and healthier than he's been in years. I can cook, if I want—and I do, and it even turns out well! I can do a load of laundry without having a crisis, and this shouldn't be a big deal but it is. This home is mine, too; I'm comfortable here, and free, and happy.

She sleeps pressed against me, and hogs my best squishy pillow during the day, and yet I don't quite believe that August is here and she's mine and she's forever. But it's starting to sink in. These last few years and months I've been watching my own heart come together, piece by piece. And a cat, oh, a cat is a huge piece of my heart. I'm whole and living and alive again—and how the everloving fuck did that happen, guys?

But thank you, thank you, that it did.

(Oh hey look, it's more passive-affection! [livejournal.com profile] century_eyes is the reason all of this is possible, in so many ways, and I will never forget that.)
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
If you have never lived with a guinea pig, then you may not know that a healthy pig in a paper bag in a freshly-cleaned cage is just about the cutest and happiest thing on the planet.

So I thought I would let you know.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Kuzco has been doing little, grown-up-pig popcorns, lately. I have a lot of thoughts about this, but they're as much about the guilt I have about how distant I'd been from him back at the other house as they are about the experience of having him here, and this post isn't about that. It's about a spoiled, loved guinea pig who makes little twitches of happiness. It's a happy post. I'm so glad to have him here.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
Last weekend I had a long weekend with Devon: [livejournal.com profile] century_eyes went up home to visit her family over the weekend, so I house-sat; I went home with Devon late Sunday evening and was in Corvallis until early Wednesday morning (I took the train up, which is a totally affordable and viable transportation option and we will probably use it again in the future). I played The Endless Forest, saw my family for dinner, and brought back ALL THE BOOKS, and it was good to have longer, more natural, more relaxed time with the boy. He won't be coming up this weekend (and after two weeks of hellish amounts of travel, I don't blame him). Biology has left me a bit beat up these last few days, but I imagine Dee and I will find some worthwhile way to spend the weekend. I did learn, on that quick trip south, that I miss very little about my current living situation in Corvallis. It was fantastic to see my parents and four very loving animals, but I don't miss that house and I don't miss living there. This doesn't make any of my future decisions about living arrangements any easier, but it at least makes the situation a bit more clear-cut.

Anyway, things are better. They're not 100% good, but that's to be expected. But having Kuzco here has undone most of the mental damage of Alfie's death. It's much easier to love and be close to him without a crowd in the way, and he has health and companionship and good foods, here, and that's what I so desperately need to give to him right now. It's fantastic to see him warming up and adjusting to this house: he's becoming more vocal and hanging out outside his wooden house, and I cleaned his cage and bathed him yesterday, and he's beautiful. These things help so much.

I say all this because I've been a bit off the radar lately—which, again, is no surprise, but I don't want to leave things at that. I have folk to get back in touch with, soon—and if you're one of them, know I'm around again for poking and conversation. Man have I had one hell of a crazy month, but things are gonna be okay.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
Yesterday evening, Devon came up with Kuzco and Alfie's body.

Kuzco is indeed 100% fine. He's in the dining room/kitchen area in the travel cage set up atop a table, which will work just fine until we figure out longterm arrangements. He didn't exactly love the drive, but he's already warmed up enough to stand against the side of the cage and sniff out, and he's active and has a big round tummy, and it's fantastic to see him there. Yesterday evening he took a nap in my arms while I watched Dee play Dragon Age: Origins. These things are good.

After we got Kuzco inside and set up, I saw Alfie. This is the part I always feel vaguely apologetic for, because we all cope with death differently and there's a certain awkwardness to a corpse. An embarrassment, really--they become all biology, stiff and floppy in just the wrong ways, and you want to apologize: this is not the guinea pig he used to be, and when I loved him he was alive, vibrant, fucking batshit crazy, curious, wary, he put everything in his mouth, he listened to voices no one else could hear. But that's the point, really. For me, that's the point. That awkward physical body tells me that, yes, he did die; that yes, his body is just a corpse, now.

All of my pigs—Chumley, Dink, Alfie—have died without me. With Chumley I was on vacation, with Dink I was asleep, with Alfie I was in another city. I don't understand death well, for reasons that I talked about after Dink died: I don't have a good concept of time, I don't miss what's absent or gone. I hadn't seen the pigs since I came up here, but I didn't miss them—I loved them, and cared for them, but didn't miss them. Death at a distance is unreal, because it's a change that changes nothing. I hadn't seen Alfie for a few weeks. Now I would never see Alfie again. That difference is huge, but with the way that my brain works it was meaningless.

When I unwrapped him (and Devon's father had wrapped him, so carefully, in packing paper before sealing him in a box) and saw that first little tuft of butt fur, it started to hit home that the change did mean something. And petting him, dead and cold and so soft, made it clear that there was a pig here, and now he's gone. I can see the difference, now.

There's a lot of sobbing emotion tied up in this too, and I know I'm not done processing things. I've been keeping myself busy, consuming games and books and films and making sure my thoughts are safely somewhere distant. I'm taking refuge in the coolness and distance when I can get it, and if that makes me sound uncaring—or more fascinated by my own reactions than sympathetic to his death—I'm sorry. This is how I cope.

That, and by giving Kuzco lettuce leaves and bits of carrot. I'm grieving and I'm numb, but I also have a pig, this beautiful living pig, and he's soft and warm, and curious and hungry, and the glory of his life outshines all the rest. Alfie never did much like Kuzco (oh, is that an understatement), but perhaps he won't begrudge me that his legacy is in my love for that other small, furry monster.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
This is just a quick entry to say that Alfie died a few hours ago. The pigs have been back in Corvallis while I've been staying here, so I wasn't there with him, but Devon and Devon's family—his father in particular—were, so he wasn't alone. Whatever killed him was pretty quick onset—he was fine earlier today, but in the afternoon/evening started showing some signs of lethargy, disinterest in food, and a drop in body temperature. They got in touch with me to figure out what should be done, and at midnight Devon was planning to take Alfie in to the vet when they opened tomorrow; a few minutes later I got a call saying that he had died. This could be possible heart failure; he had no other URI symptoms, but really, it could have been anything. These things can happen so fast.

Devon is coming up tomorrow with Kuzco, who is thus far 100% fine, chipper and stuffing his face full of carrot and otherwise healthy. (Prior to this they were eating the same food and sharing a divided enclosure.) He'll live in the travel/quarantine cage with me for a bit while we figure out where I'll be and he'll be, &c. Right now I just really need to see my pig. Devon will probably also bring Alfie's body, because I think that seeing it may be the only thing which makes this real for me. I imagine he'll be buried in Corvallis with Dink, though.

This isn't to say that I haven't been a sobbing shaking mess. I have. I also have Dee here with me (staying up until 2a to watch a comfort movie, and otherwise being so beautiful and sympathetic and full of hugs) and I'll see Devon tomorrow. I've just exhausted myself for the evening, that's all. My plan now is to sleep for as long as humanly possible and fill the rest of the time with movies, and to throughly take advantage of whatever degree of disassociation this is. As I've said before I have a poor concept of death, but I think I understand this one better in lieu of Dink's not-too-distant passing. It's all unreal and heartbreaking and, unless I indicate otherwise, I don't really want to talk about it online right now. (Condolences are welcome; questions less so.) But I feel like it needs to be recorded and so, here: it is.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
Haven't done one of these in a while, have I? I come bearing pigspam. With bonus cat! and dog! and video!

Alfie, outside
Om nom nom nom nom. )

Woof'll do that more or less endlessly when they're outside, pausing only to sit by their cage and stare at them while she catches her breath. The pigs are her babies, her beloveds, and few things bring her more joy than pseudo-herding them. (Woof is currently fighting a skin infection, and so has irritation and missing fur on her rump. You probably didn't notice it before, but you will now; regardless, rest assure that she's being treated.)

The outside enclosure is the top of the travel/temporary pig cage, stuck in the middle of the yard; Devon's dad mowed around it so that the pigs would have lush burrowable grass within.

When uploading the video I wandered back to my older guinea pig vids, which include Dink. As much as I don't miss, I don't mourn, as much as these concepts are to me foreign ... I miss him. Not constantly, not daily, but watching him—my lovely, my sweetheart, chocolate-brown with that pointy nose and his big ears and his little white spots, his intelligent eyes, his liveliness—my heart breaks all over again and I want nothing more than to hold him. All the better reason to celebrate the pigs that remain, but—

But what, I don't even know. I love him and wish he were still here.

The irony (if that's word for it) is that the other day I took Kuzco out and he was acting listless and sleepy, and I was instantly worried. I kept a close eye on him all day, but his eyes and nose were sparkling clear, he was pudgy, and mostly it just seemed that he wanted to sleep. I was checking on him late that evening when I found out that Devon's father had taken the pigs out earlier that day, and Kuzco got fifteen minutes more than Alfie (because Alfie started being a butthead). He wasn't sick. He wasn't off his food. He was full.

So, yes. The blessing is that I still have batshit crazy pig and adorable tiny pig, and even if my baby has left me there is still great joy to be found in those two boys, and they are healthy—and well.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
I only answer this because the answers that have been appearing on my flist delight me.

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Woof (the dog): OMG! I love you. Touch me. Touch me more. Is it guinea pig time? OMG I think it might be guinea pig time! Let us pet the guinea pigs! Together! Hey are they gonna eat that?

Maidson (the cat): For I am great queen of the universe, and all lower beings must bow down to me. I think today shall be "sleep on the paper bag day." The paper bag does make beautiful noise, which delights my even-more-beautiful ears. Oh, hello. I didn't realize you were listening. Pet me?

Dude (the cat): I love you. I looooooove you. I love you more than I've ever loved everyone before. Pet me. Hold me. Allow me to climb upon you and shove my purring love in your face. I love you. You are my favorite person in whole world until someone else enters the room. Hold me...

Kuzco (the guinea pig): Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you, that's all I'm saying. Also: FOOOOOD! FOOD FOOD FOOOOOD TIME FOOD!

Alfie (the guinea pig): ...

Okay with Alfie I admit I'm stuck. I can't even pretend to imagine what Alfie is thinking, much less what he would say. I believe he thinks not in desires or thoughts as we know them, but in alien beeps and pauses—like Morse code, only undecipherable, and constantly punctuated by desires for carrots. So if he has words, it is a loud call for food. But the rest is nonsense not even Kuzco could understand.

Jamie (the dog): As far as we're concerned, James does talk in the best human-decipherable English she can manage in silence and as a dog.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
Madison still has not left the guinea pig cage, which she entered when we cleaned it last weekend and filled it with Carefresh bedding. Well she has, of course, but she's chosen it as her new home and bed and comes back there whenever she's done running around for the day—despite family attempts to remove her from the cage (she just jumps back in a few minutes later) and despite Kuzco's perhaps-accidental, perhaps-targeted habit of peeing in her spot whenever she does vacate (she finds a new one, or else waits until it's dry again).

What can I say, the cat loves her Carefresh.

So I have pictures, of course—of Madison, with cameo by pigs, although somehow this largely turned into a illustrated devolution of Madison's grace and dignity. For those who are forgetful or new, since I've visited these subjects in a while: Madison is my boyfriend's family's cat, a batshit tiny gray tabby who's just learned to appreciate people-beasts; Alfie is the pink-eyed-white guinea pig and Kuzco is the honey and brown pig, and they live separated by bars because they have never, ever gotten along: Alfie has the self-awareness of a rock and Kuzco has a Napoleon complex, and that's a poor combination.

Madison asleep in the guinea pig cage
+2: the motley crew, and Maddy's face. )

Alfie was restless today so I gave each of the pigs a paper bag (and then threw the cat outside, because while she ignores the pigs I don't think she could ignore a vibrating paper bag, and I don't need her batting at a guinea pig toy), and for the first time since Dink died I saw Alfie popcorn—and then he immediately can to the cage bars and tried his damnedest to break through to Kuzco's side. It was heart-stirring and heart-breaking all within just a couple of seconds: he's happier but he's lonely, and I have no fix for that. I can offer him things to chew and hide in which help keep him occupied at least, but I can't give him cuddles to replace a cagemate (Alfie sometimes tolerates but never enjoys human company) and I can't give him a cagemate either. The split cage is a decent compromise, but it's hardly perfect.

I don't mourn—missing beings that are gone just isn't a skill I possess—but I am well-practiced with guilt and I still feel so much of it over Dink's death. Alfie, love, how I wish I could bring him back to you.

They are adorable beasties, though, all of them. (Kuzco was thrilled with his bag too.)

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
Madison is asleep in the guinea pig cage. We cleaned it yesterday, filling it with Carefresh this time, and Madison has decided that there is nothing better in the world. Normally it's Dude who snoozes in the clean cage, but Maddy discovered it this time when I was saying goodnight to the pigs—I was ignoring her for them so she moved to where they are, and damn if she will be moved now. She curled up in a corner of the cage on her crunchysoft bedding and purred herself to sleep. She barely even knows that Kuzco is there—the cats are as blind to the pigs as Woof is obsessed with them. He for his part is sleeping in his pigloo. She'll be out of the cage in a day or so, when she realizes that the wonderful bedding is also used to absorb pig pee, but it sure is cute while it lasts. Dev wants to put some Carefresh in a cardboard box just for her—it would be such a great gathering of awesome that her tiny little heart would probably explode from joy.

Indulge me? Dragon eggs for your clicking pleasure:

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!

I used to collect these back when I was more active on the BPAL forum. I've been browsing the forum lately as I put together a masterlist of my collection and wants, and it's given me irresistible cravings. There are so many new ones since I stopped! But I'm not buying/reviewing enough BPAL to warrant posting (and sharing my eggs) there, so ... yeah. Eggs. That's an awfully long explanation for a silly online meme-ish thing.

Perhaps I can get another few hours of sleep now.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
I come bearing cute pictures, the likes of which may never be seen again. No, really:

Kuzco and Alfie
Because on a whim, I put Alfie and Kuzco on a chair together: +2 pictures. )

Apologies for the shitty quality, but it's autumn in Oregon—we haven't a lot of natural light to go around. (And not only do I abhor flash above all things, trust me you do not want to see pictures of Alfie taken with it. He looks like a demon-pig.)

Alfie is definitely lonely without Dink—Mum compared it to losing a life partner and I think she's right. Alfie and Dink were rarely snuggle buddies but they were cage mates for years, and you can't get much more intimate than that. When Kuzco started living alone he grew a lot more human-oriented, coming to the cage bars for attention. Alfie, on the other hand, not so much. He's neurotic and distrusts humans entirely, so while he definitely desires contact he will never, ever ask for it. He has gotten better about out-of-cage snuggle time though, so that's something. Ideally he'd have a cage mate but I don't want to take on another pig, and Kuzco is a no go. So it's a split cage and begrudged snuggle time for him, poor boy.

On a related note, the boys are healthy and well. My headspace is much improved, as well—I think I am finally at terms with Dink's death.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
So here's a funny story about Kuzco (the guinea pig)...

I just gave each of the guinea pigs one piece of a baby carrot—a round piece approximately 0.5 x. 0.25 inches in size. Dink and Alfie ate theirs, and I gave them a second little round. I reached up to Kuzco's cage, poked his second carrot bit into his hidey place, and he wouldn't take it. Dink and Alfie finished their second bit and Kuzco still wouldn't take the carrot. I could feel his nose, he knew the carrot was there, but he wouldn't take it from my hand.

Then he ran out from under his cover and he still had carrot piece number one jammed in his mouth. He had bitten into it so forcefully that it was wedged between his top and bottom incisors, and he was stuck, carrot-faced, unable to bite the rest of the way through.

I was somewhere between wordless surprise and laughter.

I caught him, eased open his jaw (his little chin was soaked with panicked open-mouthed piggy drool), and then let him eat the carrot bit safely—and in pieces this time—from my hand.

Oh, Kuzco.

ETA: Some pics of Kuzco, just because. Featuring, of course, his poor beleaguered mouth. Piggy lips are some of the cuter things in this world.

Kuzco closeup in black and white

+2 of Kuzco and Woof )

Woof's infatuation with the pigs of course continues. Kuzco is her favorite, probably because his cage is stacked above the one that Dink and Alfie share, and so is too high to look into from dog height. She can stare at the others whenever she wants, but can only see—much less try to slobber on—Kuzco when I take him out of the cage. Therefore he is rare and desirable, and she is compelled to whine when I go near his cage and stares at and runs circles around him whenever he's out.

I'm enamored with that action shot—before and after Woof licks Kuzco. Woof loves to kiss the pigs but Kuzco in particular has no idea WTF that means and why he's now wet up one side of his face.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
My parents this weekend were out of town this weekend, seeing plays, so I housesat and dogsat. It was good timing to be with the dog, because Jamie recently had a few lumps removed, one of which biopsied as cancerous. This is not halfway as bad as it sounds—it's not unusual for dogs her age and breed, she's starting some preventative medication, all in all this is mostly a early warning and she's going to be fine. But we all dealt with cancer in our last dog, Cokie, and that was tough on all of us—so we're pretty shook up. I was really upset when I first found out, but a few days spent cuddling with James has done wonders to calm me. It's not good news, but it's bearable news, news we can act on. And right now Jamie couldn't care less. She things her pills are treats, her sutures are healing fine, and as a dog will, as Jamie does, she is loving every single day.

And when you live every day with all your heart then you can be happy ever after, even if it's only a short time.
—Virgina Lewis, The 10th Kingdom


But I suspect she has many years more to go.

And I took pictures! I suppose that's a perquisite for dog visits. I'll admit that I love this first in part because of all the color in the background. The second is purely sunlit—when sunbathing, she glows. There are also a few pictures of some of the other animals in my life.

Jamie sleeping

+1 Jamie, +2 Dude and Madison, +3 Kuzco and Woof )

The weather has turned hot—unpleasantly so sometimes, but the animals love it. The cats (Dude is black and white, Madison is the tabby) enjoy the sunbeams almost enough to share the same breathing space—not something they often do. The pigs have been feasting on fresh grass and enjoying occasional trips outside, as per these pics of Kuzco outside. Woof thinks that this last is epic awesome: she's part sheepdog, and thinks the pigs are puppies; when they're outside, she runs circles around their cage and watches them eat. She can get a little overeager (I think all of the pigs have had an overenthusiastic dogtongue explore unwelcome places by now), but for the most part she's an angel with them.

It is warm, the earth is glowing, and while I am a fan of autumn myself it is so far a lovely summer.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
Kuzco, Adorable

Kuzco would simply like to share with the world that he is the most adorable thing you have ever adored.

(I love natural light. And his tiny little mouth.)

That is all.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
I haven't done one of these in a while, so: I come bearing pigspam!

Crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] guinea_pigs.

One pictures, of Kuzco in the travel cage, peeking out from behind his blanket and into the sunlight. One video, of (mostly) Kuzco exploring his fresh, clean cage. When I'm cleaning the cage, Kuz goes in the travel cage and Dink & Alfie go on Kuzco's smaller side of the C&C cage. They can't interact from that far away, so it's rather lively when everyone goes back in the big cage. There are some adorable shots of Kuzco popcorning for joy, and also some shots of how they all interact through the bars of the cage: Kuzco teases Alfie, Alfie is a jerk, but they can't fight.

The second video is an amusing recent phenomenon, exhibited by Alfie: all three of the boys have a certain spot, just on top of their bums, that makes them spaz out if you scratch it. It's not unlike a dog's scratch reflex, but guinea pigs groom by scratching, licking their paws and rubbing it against their faces, and bending around to nibble at offending body parts—so when you find their scratch spot, their particular brand of crazy reaction involves nibbling, paw grooming, and squirming attempts to reach their faces around to their backs. It's funny to watch.

Onward, then, to the cuteness.

Kuzco peeking out
+2 videos. )

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