The Back Story
When I was 17, I moved into an apartment a mile from where my mom lived.
At the time of this incident, I was living alone—no pets or roommates. I did own a guinea pig, but I left her at my mom’s when I made the move. I was making a big change and wanted to focus solely on this huge adjustment in my life, and my mom was gracious enough to keep her.
Her name was Hales. “Little Baby Hales,” as we often called her.
We thought it was a fun play on words—a cross between the name “Hailey” and the “bales” of “hay” she would eat. Kinda cute, very dorky.
She was a sweet girl, definitely overweight from all the veggies my mom fed her (talk about a good life). We had gotten her a year or so prior from Petco.
Unfortunately, one day, I went over to my mom’s and saw that she was sitting in her cage, seemingly traumatized. She had a bloody ear that smelled terribly of infection.
I immediately notified my mom, and we took her to the vet. We explained how sudden this was and that we weren’t sure what caused it. We wondered if one of my mom’s ferrets had somehow gotten to her and scratched her through her cage…?
(Reality check: they were actually my ferrets, and my mom also graciously kept them when I no longer wanted them. I may have had a poor track record with forfeiting pets I was not very attached to when I was younger—something I've definitely fixed since then 😊).
Anyhow, the vet ended up saying that ear infections were extremely common in guinea pigs and that the more likely reality was that she relentlessly scratched her infected ear, to the point of bleeding and tearing through skin.
Here's a pic of her at the vet. You can see her ear is a little bloody.
We had choices...
Pay for medicine and surgery, which would alleviate the problem temporarily. However, they explained, the infections were likely to return. This = big $$$.
Put her down.
If it were a matter of making one big payment to fix her medical problems, we would’ve done it. But to hear that it was highly likely for the problems to recur, we weren’t left with much hope.
As you probably guessed by now, we put her down. It was a huge solace to know she would not be in pain anymore. We hadn’t even realized she WAS in pain until the doctor said the severity of the infection indicates it had been a while. I HATE, hate, hate suffering animals. ☹️ I don't even kill bugs if I can avoid it.
So that was that...
Now, you probably thought this story was about Hales, right?
NOPE! She was just the necessary prologue to the actual story, as the events I’m about to recall happened a short WEEK after putting her down...