The sun is shining, it's warm out but not freakishly so, and I have a houseful of things that love me.
I would like you all to meet my Sophie-Mo.
Of all of the creatures that I have had the good fortune of knowing in my years, Sophie-Mo is the sweetest, gentlest being that I have ever crossed paths with. Over the years she has just gotten sweeter, and more wise and humble. Whenever I see her, pick her up, or even when I just hear her wheeking, I can't help but smile. How did I come to share my life with this loving little spirit? A little bit of luck, and a lot of chance.
In the spring of 2008, I was Bundergrounding [to transport a bunny from place to place via a chain of pick-up/drop-off points, usually involving multiple rescuers] a feisty little lionhead bun from the Stevens-Swan Humane Society in Utica, NY to my hometown of Syracuse. At the time, I'd been trying to adopt a pair of guinea pigs for a little under a year and had basically given up hope. The first thing I did when I got to Utica was to get very lost. Then I finally found my way to the shelter.
Upon walking in, the first thing I noticed was all of the guinea pigs! They had at least 6 [two to a cage] in the little foyer. I retrieved the bunny--whose name was Fufu--and while I was signing him out, asked the woman at the desk how much the adoption fee for the guinea pigs was. "You want one? Oh, you can just have them. They've been here so long." I went over to check out a pair of texels that were very cute, but skiddish as all get-out. After a few moments, I decided on the pair that was against the back wall, a fluffy white pig and a tri-color covered in cowlicks. Their names were Mo and Sapphire.
Driving home, I just couldn't stop looking at them. I couldn't believe it. Guinea pigs were in my car. They were coming home to me, to stay and live with me. I decided to name them Olive and Sophie, but almost immediately started calling Sophie "Sophie-Mo," Because both names fit her very well.
Sophie and Olive were my very first guinea pigs and I'm happy to say, two years later, they're still with me. At first we thought that they were sisters, but these days I'm not so sure. Most guinea pigs don't really show that they're aging, but Sophie-Mo has certainly slowed down. We have had her checked for heard disease, but the results were inconclusive.
As many of you know, Sophie-Mo [and Olive and Natasha] got pregnant in the summer of 2009. When Olive was less than two weeks to term, and Sophie about three, I had to make a very difficult decision. I knew that if I just let them have the babies, someone would die--whether it was the mothers or the babies, it would be impossible to tell in advance. Sophie and Olive were two years old, at least, and had never birthed before. But an emergency spay could lose all of them as well.
I took all three girls, heavy with young, to my vet to get her opinion. She seemed very confident that they would survive the surgery. So with a very heavy heart, I kissed my two girls good-bye, wished my vet and them the best of luck, and headed home with one very pregnant Natasha. I called off of work that day, explaining to my boss that two of my friends were fighting for their lives and I could focus on nothing else. I'm lucky it was Scott.
Dr. Roach had promised to call me once the surgery was done, and at 6:30pm I was starting to get anxious. I called the hospital and explained that I'd dropped my two cavies off that morning for emergency surgery that morning, and just needed to know that they were okay. "Oh, Amy! Yes, they're fine! I'm so sorry for not calling you sooner--Olive's babies are still alive.. they're not doing too great but all the vet techs are doing their best to keep them going. They're such little dears. You can pick your pigs up tomorrow morning, honey, I'll call and let you know how the babies made out when my shift ends at 9, okay?" The woman on the phone was a nurse whose name I can never remember to this day, but she [and pretty much everyone else in that hospital] absolutely loves me and my pigs and bunnies. It turned out that the babies didn't make it, they had barely any fur and a necropsy showed that their lungs were under-developed. They would have had very hard lives.
My girls' impregnation was a complete accident, and I in no way promote breeding of guinea pigs as '"education for the kids," or for any other reason, but there's no denying that some creatures are just born to be mothers. I saw how proud and confident it made my Natasha. And I can't help but be a little sad that Sophie-Mo didn't get to raise her babies. Being with Tasha's babies gave her such joy, you could just see it in her eyes.
I could write novels about what a wonderful and caring soul my fluffy white girl is. But if I don't get up and do the girls' laundry, I will have five very disgruntled sows on my hands. So, I'll be going now. That is the story of my little Sophie-Mo. I am grateful for every day that I get to wake up and share my life with these seven guinea pigs and two rabbits. And you folks. Please do have a wonderful evening.