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11 August, 2008

Guinea Pigs - Old Clan


Giggler Clan:  Gill, Bob Wiley and Sigmund "Siggy Papa


Update 08-08-2008:  With great sadness I must write that my dear soul mate and beloved guinea pig Siggy Papa passed away on July 6, 2007.  It is hard to believe that it has been over a year since his shocking and untimely death. It was so traumatic that it took me a year to even update the website and share this. Both Gil and Bob Wiley passed away this summer but their deaths were not unexpected or sad as they were both old. Neither one ever bonded with me and neither enjoyed being held much or loved on because they were institutionalized for too long and were not normal guinea pigs, nor was their brother Dr. Marvin who also passed away earlier this year. May the three brothers rest in peace and be living happily in the guinea pig afterlife!


A Tribute to Siggy Papa


  Siggy Papa, however, was such an extraordinary guinea pig that I feared I would never find another one like him, or even close. And of course, as with people, all animals are unique with their own personalities so I would never find another one like him, nor would I want to because that would mean he would not have been as special as he was.  Although I had him only 11 months, we bonded liked we'd been together for years and had grown up together. We were the best of friends and soul mates - if that is possible. I do believe in soul mates - that people can be soul mates with animals and with people but its rare and that is what makes it so special.  The only soul mate animals I had before were Jajjuzza and a cat that I had growing up named Fitz "kitty". 


  Siggy and I were loving on each other more and more as time went on and we were spending more time together the longer I had him. He came to visit with me on my desk every day and as a result we were bonding more and more. He jumped on me constantly and almost never seemed to want to be on the desk anymore. He absolutely loved jumping on me and sitting on my neck behind my hair and chewing on it. As soon as I would put him back on the desk he would immediately jump back on me. He was like an automatic jumping bean! He was skittish though and as he got older he was harder to catch in the pool. It was weird that he was so afraid to get caught since he adored me so and loved to be with me once I finally was able to pick him up.  Guinea pigs are not usually so affectionate as to constantly jump on you and want to sit on your neck for an endless amount of time. Most guinea pigs do gravitate to the chest and neck areas but they never jump up on you the way Siggy Papa did and they don't usually want to stay long before they begin to fidget, squirm and bite to show their angst in getting back to their living quarters. This is why Siggy was unique - he didn't exhibit those anxieties and seemed to delight in being with me for long periods of time. Of course the only drawback to him sitting on me for a long time was getting peed on sometimes. If I put him down on the towel on the desk frequently then he would pee on that so I tried to put him down as much as I could remember. But he certainly lived up to his name Siggy "Papa" (Poops And Pees A lot)!  I spent a great deal of time with Siggy and so we bonded more than I've bonded with any other guinea pig I've ever had. He loved to run around on my bed, on my desk, out in the back yard under my supervision, just about anywhere I set him down! He especially loved to be placed in the Mexican petunia patch next to the patio where he would pee and eat the leaves of the plant. If I put him down in the patch for a few minutes I was assured that he relieved himself and was ready for another long love fest with me. It was amazing that he never ran too far and seemed to delight in staying put and munching on the plants. I just loved to watch him in the patch and it was one of my favorite things to let him do.


  On Friday July 6, 2007 I was having a thoroughly delightful day with Siggy Papa and had him out four times for love fests. This was unusual - I normally had him out at least once a day but it was usually twice, may be three times a day between the time I got up and the time I went to sleep. But now I know why God had me get him out of his pool four times that day by 4:00 PM. The first three times were typical - he jumped on me, I enjoyed the time together and then I put him back. During one of the times together I had him visit with Bob Wiley and Gil so the three of them had a love fest with me and it was fun. I had them all go in and out of a pillow case and we all played hide and seek. The last time I had him out it was just the two of us and it was not a long session because of what happened at the very end. At the beginning of the last visit I had him on my desk for a few minutes where he jumped on me as usual and then sat on my neck for a minute or so until I needed to go to the bathroom myself so I got up from my desk chair and brought him over to the window sill for a few seconds. He jumped on me from the window sill and then I held him on my chest like I normally did when carrying him and we walked down the hallway to my bed room and then to my bath room. I placed him on the floor next to the toilet and I sat down on the toilet to pee.  Before I could even start to pee I saw that Siggy Papa was convulsing and thrashing on the floor. I was completely shocked and perplexed at the same time. I couldn't figure out what was happening or why. I quickly picked him up and tried to comfort him and see if I could stop the convulsions. His mouth opened really wide and contorted and he was gasping for breath. He gagged and I quickly thought perhaps he had an airway obstruction so I put my fingers down his throat to see if I could clear an object from his airway but there was nothing in it. He was dead and I didn't realize it. This all happened within seconds from start to death. It took me minutes to finally realize he was actually gone. I still kept thinking that he would come to and everything would be fine with him. I waited and waited for him to come back to life but it was obvious that he had died and for absolutely NO reason whatsoever! 


  Siggy was so young and we'd been together only 11 months so his death was especially tragic and unexpected.  On top of that he was extremely healthy and had never been sick a day in his life. He never exhibited ANY signs of sickness in any way so why he would die so suddenly and in the manner he did was just baffling. What caused the convulsions? What was the reason he gagged at the very end of his life? How come he was able to jump on me from the window sill like he always did but then just mere seconds later convulsed and died?  Did setting him down on the floor while I tried to go potty have anything to do with his death? If I had held him on my lap while peeing would it have prevented him from dying? The questions were numerous but the answers were none.  I sat on the toilet forever before it finally sank into me that he might be dead and not coming back. I had to force myself to pee just so I could off the damn toilet and try to grasp the seriousness of the situation. I picked Siggy Papa up and carried him into the living room and laid down on the bed and cried and cried like I'd never cried before. I prayed and prayed like I'd never prayed before. I asked God to revive him but God had already take my precious Siggy home. I'll never know the reason but I could feel the love and comfort not only that God gave me but I would always have the love and comfort I felt from Siggy Papa as well.


  My biggest question was why did God have to take my favorite guinea pig? Why the one I had a soul mate connection with, the one who was the coolest, the most fun, the most unusual, the one who was a virtual Mexican jumping bean which made him so special? As with the typical "Why God?" question I got the typical lack of answer at first. I'm not at all saying God doesn't care or that he doesn't answer questions, but HIS ways are not our ways and he works differently than we do but he always comes through for us, just not in the time or way we want.  I did have my prayers answered though and I did use Siggy's death to make something positive out of a negative situation and that story will be shared when the time is right and in the right forum. Suffice it to say that through the death of Siggy a new life was begun that otherwise would not have so God used the situation for the better. 


  Because his untimely death was at 5:00 PM on Friday and it was hours before I pulled myself together, I had to put Siggy in the freezer until I could get him to the vet for a necropsy. Normally I would never do a necropsy on a guinea pig but Siggy was not only my soul mate but he was a young and healthy guinea pig who had inexplicably died and I wanted to know why.  The following Monday I dropped him off at the vet and then anxiously waited for what seemed liked an eternity for a phone call from the vet with the necropsy report. She told me that he was "pristine" inside and she could not tell what killed him. I felt let down to say the least. It felt like I had "no closure" because there was no understanding of what killed my precious soul mate, no definitive reason of why he died so suddenly and so young. The mystery of his death was unsettling and disturbing and it left a huge hole in my aching heart. Not having an answer to why he died was maddening and cruel and taunted me in an evil way. Obviously there WAS a reason why my little angel died and not being able to know the reason was punishing. Why couldn't the vet figure out the cause of death? She was a trained exotic animal veterinarian so what was so abnormal about his death that she couldn't find the reason? And was it abnormal or was the vet just not astute enough to find the cause of death? She told me that some causes of death could only be detected if the necropsy was done within an hour or so of death - causes from the brain for example. She theorized that he had a congenital defect in the brain that finally caught up with him and caused his untimely death. It was a guess of course, but it did make sense as a possible explanation.  I had Siggy Papa privately cremated and put in a wooden box urn and I have his box sitting next to a framed memorial photo of him - the one above with the wording.  The box has a plaque with engraving on it.  On the opposite end of the counter is Jajjuzza's urn box and memorial picture. 


  I realize why I had taken Siggy Papa out four times that day. It was because he was going to die and God had me spend more time with him than usual because he knew that he would be calling Siggy home that day. I don't know why God works the way he does, no one knows that, but I am sure eternally grateful that he did have me take Siggy out four times that day, and most grateful for the last time because I was able to be with him in the last moments of his life. I am especially grateful that I was able to see him pass away although it was extremely painful to watch and traumatic to go through. If I hadn't seen him die I would have been even MORE traumatized by his death not knowing what had happened to him. If I had found him in his pool dead I would have been completely dumbfounded since he was so healthy and young. It would have made me insane trying to figure out what could have happened to him. 


  I have read a few similar accounts of guinea pig deaths on the internet. The guinea pig suddenly had convulsions and died. The owners were as shocked and mystified as I was.  Most often though, owners find their guinea pigs dead without witnessing the death or seeing any signs of sickness before death. Guinea pigs are "prey" species because they are small and live on the ground which means they are easy targets for bigger animals to eat. The theory goes that since they are prey species they do not exhibit signs of sickness which would signal they are weak and vulnerable, thus allowing themselves to live a few extra days. I don't really know that the theory is true but I do know that usually guinea pigs do not show signs of sickness and that when they do, its usually a respiratory illness and they die within days if they aren't treated with the correct antibiotic immediately. Siggy Papa did not have signs of respiratory illness at all or any other malady so the veterinarian's hypothesis that he died from a congenital brain defect seems to be a plausible possibility. At this point it doesn't matter why he died anymore. I have gotten through the grieving process and accepted his death. I still think of him on a daily basis and have pictures of him on my desk, in my bed room and on the front counter next to the urn box. I will always remember him and always love him and always know that he was a soul mate to me.


  Our special connection can never be taken away even though his body was. May Siggy Papa rest in peace forever and may we someday be reunited to live with God forever in eternal bliss.





Original Page Content

  The Giggler Clan has the bottom pool as shown to the left.  This is my FAVORITE clan of pigs! Gil, Bob Wiley and Sigmund "Siggy Papa" make up this clan. You can see Gil and Siggy in the picture on the bottom.

  I adopted Gil and Bob Wiley from the Wildlife Care Center in Fort Lauderdale in July 2005. They are brothers who were horribly thrown into a dumpster when they were babies. By the grace of God someone found them and brought them to the Wildlife Care Center. There were also two other brothers, Dr. Marvin, who lives in the Gweeker Clan, and another brother who died the first night I had them.  I think the stress of taking them out of their surroundings after 1.5 years and driving them 45 minutes in the summer heat put a strain on them. They were not the healthiest guinea pigs when I adopted them. They were all living in a cramped space and had little room to walk around. The center took really good care of them its just that they had a lot of animals to care for and not much space or enough large cages to house them all. In the beginning, I had all three brothers together but they did fight and never included Dr. Marvin in their daily activities or allowed him to go into the houses they hid in.  Dr Marvin in turn was aggressive with them and often started fights.  About six months after I got them I was given Betty and Wilma so I made a new clan with the two ladies and Dr. Marvin and its worked out really well ever since.  Male guinea pigs can be very aggressive with each other, even if they are siblings and were raised together.

  I was very lucky that Gil and Bob Wiley allowed Siggy Papa to live with them without fighting with him. Perhaps it was because he was young. Only time will tell whether aggression comes out. Males who fight can eventually kill each other from their deep wounds. They have long teeth which can bite deep and cause damage where infection sets in. Usually the bites aren't that deep but you never want to take the chance that a bite can cause serious illness or death. Besides, if you've ever seen male guinea pigs fight, the "fur flies" and its not a pretty site! I've never understood why some males fight or why all of sudden older males will begin fighting when they didn't before.  How they ever get along in the wild is a mystery to me. For such docile creatures they sure can be mean and nasty. Females can fight too but my experience is that you rarely see it.

  The names Gil, Bob Wiley and Sigmund  (and Dr. Marvin) come from the movie "What about Bob?"  When I was setting up their cage for the first time the movie was on TV so I used the character names in the movie for the boys' names. Kind of goofy but it works for me! Gil is named after the goldfish, Bob Wiley is the main nutty character played by Bill Murray, Dr. Leo Marvin is the other main character, a totally frustrated psychiatrist played by Richard Dryfus and Sigmund is Dr. Marvin's pre-teen son.  I don't know that any of the guinea pigs act like the characters they are named after, but I do think Bob Wiley does act a little goofy like the Bob Wiley in the movie.  Gil is definitely the most animated and vocal, so unlike the goldfish! Gil loves to scream for food and make cooing noises with his two bunk mates.  Bob Wiley is quiet, you never hear him gweek like Gil does.  Bob walks funny because he's plump and his legs don't work too well. They all love to hide in the hay and make tunnels in it.  But when the morning meal is served they all come running out of the hay and start chewing like crazy. One thing guinea pigs are for sure - chewers!

  Sigmund "Siggy Papa" is my all time absolute favorite guinea pig! The reason I call him Siggy "Papa" is because he just loves to Poop And Pee A lot! Actually ALL guinea pigs are "Papa" since they expel their bowels and bladder MORE than any other animal on the planet that I know of! I was really missing having a baby guinea pig and desperately wanted a pig that I could raise from a baby so after having my retina attachment surgery in July 2006, I went to a local pet store to cheer myself up.  It was an instant love affair when I spotted Siggy. He was only about 4 months old at the most so he was still young enough to have the baby quality I was looking for.  Although he wasn't a true "rescue" he did get rescued from a pet store and a possible awful life stuck in some small cage "cared" for by people who didn't know a thing about guinea pigs. I have to have my "Siggy fix" at least once a day where I take him out and play with him or have him sit by my keyboard on my desk while I work.  Siggy has gotten better about holding his bladder as he gets older. Overall, I think guinea pigs have about a 5 minute threshold for holding their bladder and thats it!


  My Siggy Papa is just the most snuggly pig who loves to burrow in my shirt or sit on the back of my neck underneath my hair, sometimes even chewing it.  The most amazing thing I discovered about Siggy Papa is that he is jumper and a climber like no other! One day I was sitting at my desk with him in front of me and all of a sudden he jumped onto my neck and scared the death out of me! Ever since then we've both been having fun letting him jump onto me from various platforms. He genuinely seems to love jumping and I certainly love being jumped on by him. See, I just knew he was a special little guy from the get-go! I have a really great video of him jumping on me from my desk in the player right below. Don't miss it! As pictured above, Siggy loves to sit in the PVC pipe. He spends most of his time in the pipe whereas Gil and Bob Wiley prefer to tunnel in the hay.

  Thank you for visiting the Giggler Clan page. I hope you will enjoy the video and pictures of them!





Click on Playlist to view the twelve movies of MY SIGGY, Gil and Bob Wiley.





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DISCLAIMER:  This website was set up to SHARE my OWN experience with my reptiles, guinea pigs, ponds/fish, gardens and local wildlife and to post pictures and video of them. It was NOT SET UP to offer my opinion or expertise on ANY QUESTION that I am asked and what I post on this website should not be taken as "EXPERT ADVISE" or how to take care of reptiles, guinea pigs, ponds/fish, gardens or local wildlife. I AM NOT A REPTILE RESCUE GROUP, GUINEA PIG RESCUE GROUP, VETERINARIAN, REPTILE EXPERT, GUINEA PIG EXPERT, PONDS/FISH EXPERT, GARDEN EXPERT OR WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR! I have limited experience with reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish and gardens, therefore, I am NOT QUALIFIED to give out advise or answer questions and you, as a visitor to this website, should not take anything on this website as expert advise or accurate information.  I present this website for fun and fun only - NOT as a reference website to instruct anyone on how to properly take care of reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish or gardens.  I share how I DO THINGS for my reptiles, guinea pigs, local wildlife, ponds/fish and gardens and this is not intended for others to take as expert advise or to mimic. Furthermore, my political views are my own and not intended to offend, annoy, hurt or demean any person, entity or organization. I express my views as an American who has the right to free speech under the Constitution of the United States of America. Please feel free to set up your own website and express your views, post your pictures and video and share with the rest of us in cyberspace what your little corner of the world is like. Thank you very much for your kind understanding in appreciating the value and contents of this website.


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