Fred by Kerry and Karen G. / Karen G.

Yesterday, Feb 24th, 2004 my daughter’s guinea pig, Fred died. Because of my loving, caring teenage daughter Kerry, he lived to be almost 8 years old, way beyond an average lifespan for a guinea pig. He wasn’t just a kid’s pet to once in awhile be cared for, he was part of our life, part of the family and held and talked to every day.

I remember almost 8 years ago when my daughter Kerry was in the 4th grade she told me the science teacher at school had guinea pigs and she wanted one too. Already we had 2 golden retrievers, Bethany and Petey but to her they were MY dog children.

She watched me feed them, groom them, play with them, buy them toys and treats and shower them with hugs and kisses. They slept with me in my room at night. Bethany on the bed and Petey along side it. So when she said she wanted a pet of her own, to sleep in her room, to buy things for, to hold, to play with, it only made sense to me that she wanted her own “child”. So off to the pet store we went and she chose a male with a coat of hair just the same color as the goldens had. He had little black spots on the side of his head and
boy was he little.

I made Kerry promise me that she would be his total caretaker meaning keeping his cage clean and feeding him every day. I had enough to do caring for my aging goldens Bethany and Petey. So a promise was made to me that Fred would be her responsibility
to the day he died.

I am writing this story in honor of my now 16-year-old daughter. She fulfilled her promise to me and more. I am so proud of her. She was the most dedicated and loving pet mom to Fred. She never neglected her duty to Fred but rather enjoyed taking part in keeping him safe, warm and fed. She bought him toys, treats and made sure he only had the best shavings to lay on. Every night Kerry would prepare his fresh fruit and veggie plate, carefully arranging the romaine lettuce with a carrot, sliced cukes, tomatoes, apples or bananas then top it off with alfalfa and
some pellet food too.

He ate more nutritiously than we did. She was the best caretaker loving and gentle up to the very end yesterday when she had to make the hard decision to let Fred go. She did not want to see him suffer. She was the one who noticed he hadn’t been eating for the past 2 days and she was the one who said we have to take him to the vet. When we got to the vet we told him he hadn’t eaten in 2 days and
wouldn’t open his mouth.

The vet placed him on the table and one of his legs fell out from beneath him and Fred was too weak to right himself when he was on his side. So the vet took Fred into the back room and opened his mouth and gave him some anesthesia to place a little scope in to see why he wasn’t eating. After a long wait, the vet came back with a picture
of tumors in the back of his throat.

He even said that Fred may have aspirated some blood from the tumors that were now bleeding. I was devastated and almost fainted, but my daughter took it in stride. She knew he hadn’t been himself and this just proved there was something seriously wrong with her beloved Fred. The vet said he would not get any better and said maybe the best thing to do was to euthanize him right then. I was by then weak and needed time to digest all of this but my daughter stayed in control making the right decision for the better of Fred. She did not want him to suffer or die of starvation in her room. So up to the bitter end my daughter remained loving and caring of her childhood friend and only wanted the best for him and I am so proud of her.

We brought Fred’s warm lifeless body home and are deciding whether to have him stuffed or bury him next to Bethany in the back yard
and plant lots of flowers.

I will miss Fred too, after Bethany and Petey died, I turned to him to hold and talk to. I used to hold Fred and sing to him the song by Madonna; I Fell in Love with a Beautiful Stranger. But changing the words to be I fell in love with a beautiful guinea. I used to love to sing the part about how he was the devil in disguise! Now whenever I hear that song I will think about my loving times spent cleaning Kerry’s room and
holding Fred and singing to him.

Today there was no one to greet me, I had no one to pick up and cuddle. The house is now petless for the first time in over 20 years. Someday, when I get enough courage, I will write my Family Pet Story of my life with my Goldens Buffy, Bethany and Petey but today this is dedicated to my daughter in memory of her beloved child, her pet FRED.

With all my love,
Karen B. G.


Lovingly remembered and sadly missed,
Kerry and Karen G.