Five years ago around this time my boyfriend, now husband, caved and bought me a guinea pig. I wanted a pet and a dog was too much to take on, a cat would have put him in the hospital with allergies and well, a penguin just didn’t seem like the best choice. I came home one afternoon and he had presented me with a shiny red cage, food dish, an igloo house and a water bottle. The whole home was there just waiting on its new inhabitant. We went to the pet store and bought the cutest most ridiculous looking guinea pig I could find, brought her home and named her Tallulah. She died  a week later. So we took her back to the pet store and were told that we could exchange her for a new guinea pig. Wow, who knew you could exchange pets?!? We found Jack, one of the strangest and cutest things you’ve ever seen. He had personality from the moment we brought him home. My husband thought I was crazy that a rodent would be a good pet, I assured him that guinea pigs don’t live long and he would most likely pass away before we were scheduled to move.

Well he didn’t, Jack continued to become the most peculiar animals either of us had ever been around. He was very persistant about getting treats, using his odd squeal to make sure to let us know that each time we opened the fridge, he wanted a treat too. Jack, my Husband and I moved across the country twice living in lots of different environments including a stint in a second grade classroom, Jack not us. In the classroom he was given the nickname “Elvis PotatoHead Jack”, I remind you, they were second graders. His hair was a wild mix of dark chestnut with lovely blond highlights between his mouse-like ears. I was often asked if I highlighted his hair. Giveing the guy baths was hard enough, highlighting his hair, really?

As we traveled, we were sure one of the trips would do him in, but he was happy to tag along as long as he had fresh vegetables. When we finally settled down in our apartment two and a half years later, Jack took full reign of the house, climbing into the refridgerator when the door opened and helping us cook by cleaning up veggie scraps off the kitchen floor. He ate everything and fascinated our guests by tipping a bowl of potato salad over that had been placed on the floor one night. Who knew guinea pigs were fond of mayonaise, mustard, eggs and potatos? He was also a big fan of guacomole, tomoatos, lettuce, spinach, carrots and apples. He was not a fan of the guinea pig treats that we bought from the pet store and he made it well know by just ignoring them on the bottom of his cage and squealing. He was very vocal, each morning when I finished blow drying my hair he would sqeal from downstairs to let me know he was awake and anxiously awaiting his breakfast. He had food in his bowl but he didn’t eat it, just used it as a back up when we would run out of fresh human food for him.

Jack was a popular subject at the dinner table with family and friends, he made such an impact on so many people’s lives that we were often asked “How’s Jack doing?” instead of “how are you?”. Each time someone would ask we would say “Well he’s still alive and he’s really old, starting to get grey hairs even”.  It was a joke that the pet I thought would only last six months or so lived to torment us for years. He was a bit of a traveling side show winning the hearts of all that he came in contact with. To this day I can only think of one friend who didn’t love him and she is terrified of squirrles so she had a reason I suppose.

Jack passed away about seven months ago before our wedding and to torture him one more time we put him in a shoebox and drove around town trying to figure out where to bury him. We ended up back at home and he now lives under our deck. For a few months after he died we were sure we should have buried him somewhere else. We heard echos of his squeals when we opened the refridgerator and no matter how many times we swept the floor it seemed like his hair and other things were multiplying. He has since stopped haunting us and we blame random things on him and wonder if we should get another to eat all of the ends of the veggies we don’t use. Then we remembered cleaning the cage out every week, buying cedar chips and the hardest thing we did with him, baths and hair cuts. We quickly just giggle and think that it would be crazy to sign up for all of that again. In the back of my head I think “I would totally do it again” but don’t tell my husband.

Anyhow, the whole reason for this story is because I found these absolutely adorable stuffed animals today while looking for a baby shower gift for a coworker. For some reason the eyes and looks these little stuffed wonders have just reminded me of Jack. Aren’t they adorable? I think I would like one for my desk, it would bring a sweet memory to me every day. The toys are available here: www.BrightOctober.comand are eco friendly so no worries about strange chemicals from China.