Puffy was truly an extraordinary pig. Every time I hold him, he will lean his little head right into my chest. Right into my heart. He was my first piggy, the inspiration behind this website, the reason for everything. On my way home, I will speed up my footsteps just so I can see Puffy a few seconds sooner. When I am troubled, I think of his puffy little face, and everything is alright. When I am lonely at night, I hold his little body close to mine, and I feel loved.
To tell Puffy's story is to start from the beginning. It was my ex who first got me hooked on guinea pigs. He had 8 in Canada, and when he held one up in web cam...well, I found what I was missing in life =) Back then I didn't know about rescues, I hardly knew what a guinea pig was. So I went to our nearest pet store, and there in the shop window, sat my Puffy.
A timid little boy no bigger than 2 months, he was housed with an older male, and oh he was so very cute!
There was no way I could get a pet back then, and I battled with my rationality. We all know that impulse we get when we see a pet in the window and just wanna bring him home right that minute. Still, I controlled myself and just went to see him whenever I can. One day, I couldn't resist, and asked the shop assistant if I could hold him. When he was placed in my arms, he wasn't nervous or uptight at all, he rested against me and I knew he was mine.
Home he came, along with 2 big bags of appliances. This is one of the earliest pictures I have of my baby. One of the things I love so much about him is that one pink ear! It will turn a rosy hue on hot summer days.
His first cage was very small. It was the smallest they had at the pet store! Back then it seems big to me, because I had hamsters...and it was so much bigger than a hamster cage. Silly me! But don't worry...Puffy will move into a big lush mansion in just a few months.... Like many first time piggy mamas, I knew very little and only relied on the info the pet shop gave me. I had the essentials, but the quality of life was nothing to speak of.
I started browsing the internet, and one of the first things I learned about these wonderful animals is that they need companions. 3 days later, off I dashed to the pet shop and got a buddy for him. This little guy I named Booger (don't ask why!). Here is Puffy with Booger.
When I found a lump on Booger's neck and brought him back to the pet shop, they exchanged him for another: Buggy. Although Buggy has since grown into a muscly 1100g boar, back then he was like a little bird in the palm of my hand. Puffy and Buggy were good friends, although Puffy was the alpha male because he was there first! Puff and Bug enjoyed many sunny afternoons together on my bed
Meanwhile, mommy was busy reading up on everything she could on "guinea pigs". The next thing she discovered...was the wonder of cc cages! Unfortunately, there were no such materials in Hong Kong. I tried my best to put together something similar, and this was the best I could do:
Next came a long chain of events involving 2 more boars, and 4 girls! To make a long story short, within the space of a few month, we upgraded to 4 boys and 4 girls. I couldn't all house them on the floor, and it was unhygienic, so I moved them all into large store bought cages. I lined them up side by side and connected them in between, so they can roam in both cages.
Puffy was a real womanizer with them ladies!
Puffy:I shall shelter you from the wind and rain!
Shirley: er...I've got my own umbrella, thanks.
He spent his days restlessly chewing and biting on those blasted bars, doing anything he could to get to da ladies who are so....close! Yet so far
I admit, since the very day I got Puffy, becoming a Piggy Mama, I have never stopped looking for ways to make his life better. Let's see...comfy colorful fleece, check. yummy high quality pellets, check. Juicy greens, check. Delicious hay, check. Daily cuddles and kisses CHECK, But because Puffy didn't get along with the other boars, and since he was small and squishy and stood no chance in a boar fight...he had to be housed on his own. Poor dear Day and night I couldn't settle with the fact that Puffy's gonna be a loner for the rest of his life?
Next came the long tiresome quest of ordering, shipping (from UK) and setting up those long-desired-for CC cages..!!
Off he went for a neuter, and after another 2 weeks, in he went with them gals! Could someone care to think of a caption for him here?
Now I think back, the girls didn't really care too much for that balless little man who was half their weight;) But Puffy certainly wouldn't survive living with any boars He was the (little) man of the house here!
He tried (and failed) to exert his authority around the place, but those girls just refused to be told what to do
Puffy: you listen to me now, woman!
Snowy: my ASS!
Maybe the girls just thought he was a chest-hair-eating-weirdo...
Or they were jealous of his silky-beyond-smooth to-DIE for hair!!
That didn't stop him from wheeking for love from the only woman who loved him - me
You are late for our 20-minute cuddle appointment, ma!
That's not to say he was in any way a wimp, he is as demanding as any pig!
And I think he knew mommy was just a teeny bit biased towards him
get in line, ladies! these are MINE!
Oh yes, he was spoiled to bits. Here is his Personal Butt Fan
An abundance of cuddle cozies all year round....
spacious living quarters:
Oops! Wrong picture, sorry SPACIOUS living quarters!!
Friends from around the globe *waving at Fairy*
And lady friends for company. Although I heard Shylie established a rule on day 1 that Puffy wasn't allowed to come TOO close! Hence, the barrier
Since watching Lion King, Puffy has learned to ROOOOAARRR (er...yawnn.....) like a real lion!!
I ordered Gorgeous Guineas shampoo for my pigs, although Puffy gets Posh n Go all to himself. Because he deserved the best.
watch the face....watch the face....watch the FACE!
Puffy was the biggest poop eater in my herd....you can quite often catch him in this pose:
...Or this one.....
Puffy was a real sweet hubby, keeping Shylie company when she was feeling a little damp and not-so-prettyyou are always bootiful to meee, Shy!
..all the time making sure his other wife ain't feeling neglected either =)
Snowy: who said I am feeling neglected?!
There were rare occasions that his affection was returned...
And he sure cherished those moments!!
ma...she KISSED me! She kissed me!!!! ^0^
But still, he was ORDERED to keep his distance at all times by his feisty wives
He tried to think of ways to impress his women, even spending reckless hours with baffling color pencils and brushes. I'd say the outcome is quite something!
But...when even that failed to win Shylie and Snowy's hearts, he miserably downgraded to self portraits
But I think he knew, and everyone else knew....that he was the center of attention.
The center of attention that is, until 5 little fur balls pushed him right out of the spotlight!
Yes, Puffy had offspring. 5 beautiful babies he left behind for me. One of whom looks almost identical to him. I admit, I was careless for putting Puffy in with the girls just 2 weeks (instead of 4) after his neuter. I think he had some sperms left in him....and he got things done quick! Puffy was rather baffled when he encountered a little one next to him...
Something weird is going on around here...
Can you see the making of a Puffy II in the works?
Poor Snowy was a little overwhelmed at times with the duties of motherhood..
And Puffy barging in every now and then, causing the babies to tumble out of their cuddle beds certainly didn't make things easier
oof! Shove ova, papa comin' through!
Poor Puffy, never quite fit in
And was slightly gender confused at times...
I have milk??
but he was always there for his wife ?
And er...tactically avoided Snowy when she was in one of her "moods"
He wasn't just a sweet hubby,but a good daddy at that! He took time out to play with his kids...letting them roll all over his tummy!
Cotton...you're...getting too...heavy for that now..!
But really...being a daddy IS hard work! and he learned to avoid their hyper-bombarding by conveniently elevating himself
thank god for platforms!
...until the babies figured them out
When fatherhood became stressful...he fantasized being the headmaster for Pigwarts, and I think he'll make quite a charming Puffydore indeed =)
or any teacher in that case!
I thank God for blessing me with 5 lovely little babies, Puffy's special gift for me before he left. One particular young lady looks just like her papa! Each baby has their personalities, and while Minipuff looks like Puffy, Cotton has inherited his dad's squishiness. Whatever their quirks, I love them all. Puffy....I will not let you down. I will take the best care of your wives and kids.....
Puffy's health has been a little weak on and off for about 2 months now. He had mushy poops even when I didn't feed him something unusual or veggies. His appetite was my biggest worry. He used to stand right at the edge of the cage stretching his head high high high when he smelled those pellets and heard the food jars jingling. But the last several weeks, he seems to have lost that enthusiasm. Every time I refill their food bowls, I will watch eagerly as everyone crowd around to eat, and sometimes Puffy don't even seem to care there are pellets and just stay in his spot. Other times, he will sidle over for a mouthful, and then swiftly turn away and find something else to do. My heart will drop everytime I see that, and I'd scoop him up for critical care feedings. He has been receiving critical care feeding everyday for weeks now, and I have managed to keep his weight above 650g. He once reached 800g, months ago. But never topped that ever since. I have accepted that Puffy is just a small boy, as long as he is as healthy as everyone else. 2 weeks ago, the vet diagnosed that his problem is the cecum, disrupting his digestion problems, and he was prescribed meds to help with that. It DID help, for a few days. But he started dropping again after that. I was always afraid there was something more sinister, but I just didn't know what.
Dec17, Friday, when I held my baby, I felt that he was especially quiet and still. He will usually gurgle with happiness whenever I hold him, but not that night. He simply leaned into me, like he always does. But just a little more tightly.
He seemed miserable and oblivious to everything, and only nibbled a little on his absolute favorite veggie
I couldn't sleep the whole night, and found him bleeding from the anus at 4am. I rushed him to the hospital, and the doctors warned me he has a very grim prognosis. They hooked him up to IV Fluids, and injected painkillers. He had to be hospitalized and I left with a broken heart. The next day, the nurses told me he wasn't doing well because he hasn't urinated the entire night. He has eaten a little, but he's not passing anything out. The awful thing was that I had to be away on the weekend, and I called the hospital every few hours to check on him. He made it through the rest of Saturday and Sunday, and I rushed back Sunday night before the doctor went home. The doctor sat down with me to explain what was happening. After blood test, Xray and ultrasound, they finally found what was wrong. It was a stone in his right kidney. It has blocked the urinary tract and urine is collecting in his kidney fast. His R kidney has swelled to 3 times its size. The left kidney wasn't functioning normally either. It showed up small on the ultrasound, and had scarring too, indicating possible stones in the past. I still had a streak of hope for surgery, I wanted to do anything I can to save him. I didn't care how much it cost, I just wanted to give Puffy a chance. But then came the devastating fact: surgery was not even an option. She explained to me that the toxins in his urine are collecting fast in his kidney, and they are preventing his blood from clotting. This means that he is continuously bleeding from the anus. Any type of surgery, and he will surely bleed to death. She said he is in pain despite the painkillers, he has gained almost 200g of fluid weight since admission, and that if we wait another night, his kidney might burst. Which will be dreadful. That was when I realized this is the last night I will ever spend with my Puffy.
When I found him, he was in a corner in the cage, in his cuddle cup and IV fluid still going. He had veggies and hay in front of him but he didn't touch those. The nurses said he has been twitching on and off, and hasn't moved at all. When I keeled down to touch his head and murmur his name quietly.....he purred. My baby purred, he knew it was me. and then he started eating some veggies. He wanted to be strong for me. He was waiting for me. He waited for me to come back, so that he could say goodbye.
I'm so sorry, baby. I'm so sorry you had a kidney stone and I didn't know. I think of all those times when you were looking a bit "off". Were you in pain? Was it really awful? Did you have a happy life? Did the girls bully you? Were you sad when they ignored you? Did Snowy hurt your feelings that time she won't let you in her hut even though it was so cold....did you like the snugglesafes I got you? The doctor assured me that it didn't start hurting until the stone actually blocked the urinary tract, and by then I already got you to the hospital. But still, I just keep asking myself. I'm so sorry Puffy. I only wanted the very best for you. I stay awake at night thinking of little things I can do and make for you, to make you happier. I beg the supermarket to let me in when they just closed, so I can get that bag of veggies for you. I fill up my notebook with pages of sketch ideas for your mansion home. I walk home a little faster just to see your little face. When I am going through something tough, I think about you, and all is well. I remember your sweet smell, at the top of your head, I remember your soft soft hair, and your squishy body. I remember your dopey face, looking back at me. I remember how you loved me back.
Puffy...my dear Puffy. You are the name at the tip of my tongue. Sometimes when I am walking on the street, I will randomly call out your name "PUFFY?!" (someone in front will turn around and look at me...) No particular reason really....just an outburst of affection I guess. Just saying your name makes me smile. You are the only pig who has learned your name, the others are all slightly confused, since there are 13 names to call. But Puffy knows his name. When I call it, he will jerk up his head, or suddenly go still, or simply smile back at me with your sweet darling face. It's a funny fact to note that the other pigs have gotten the sounds of "puffy" and "veggie" mixed up slightly, and sometimes when I call "Puffy", there will be a thunder of wheeking as they think veggie is coming...
My dear boy, remember the chin cuddles you get from mommy. How much you loved them, the way you hold up your head for more when I take my hand away
Remember your comfy beds and pillows, those sunny afternoons you spend warming your puffy little butt...
Remember the yummy pellets and sweet smelling hay you munched on while you were here...how you waited eagerly at the edge of cage, wheeking.
Remember your wives Shylie, Snowy, your daughters Minipuff, Pudding, Pompom, and your sons Cotton Fuzz
Remember your other girl friends, and that time you told me you'd like to be a cat with a pig tail...
Remember your big mansion home, mommy built that for you, all for you..
Remember your bad hair days
...and drop-dead-gorgeous hair days
Remember how happy and bubbly you were, what a wonderful life you had. What a wonderful life you gave me
I could be a belly dancer!
Remember how juicy those blueberries tasted, just last week.
Remember where you belong...
Above all, remember you were loved, loved, loved, loved....
and thank you for loving me back