Jaqui's Daily Blog

A Tribute to Curly Wurly

Many tears were shed in the Swift Household yesterday as Katie and Eleanor mourned the passing of Curly Wurly, their last-but-one guinea pig. They say that having pets helps youngsters understand the processes of birth and death - but when a much-loved animal dies, be it a cat or a guinea pig, well, it hurts.


Katie and Eleanor are Animal Lovers with a capital A and L. Allowed their heads, they would probably have set up their very own Hotel for Dogs (along the lines of that film, you know, the one that made me cry.)  Every time they came to stay with us when they were ever-so-little and I asked them what they wanted to do their first suggestion was always: “Can we go and visit Clarissa?” Which was not because Clarissa is a lovely person (though she is, of course) but because Clarissa is a dog-owner and was always more than willing (bless her!) to allow the girls to spend a happy afternoon dog-walking.


Sadly dogs were out of the question for a dozen sensible reasons so the girls had to be content with guinea pigs. Though their father did insist that they did their research on the whole Bringing Up Guinea Pigs business - and gave them a test to make sure they’d done their homework – before the first two guinea pigs came to stay. Within days it became clear that one of the “boys” wasn’t a boy at all and, moreover, was pregnant.  Soon there was a veritable Gang of Guinea Pigs to look after.


Just to confuse matters further, all the guinea pigs were named after chocolate bars or sweets of one kind or another. I have to confess I never quite managed to tell Toffee from Twirl. However, while I may have struggled to distinguish one from t’other, the girls knew everything about them – from the curl of a paw, to the twitch of a nose - and were at pains to enlighten me.  It always amazed me how well they knew each one’s habits, who was the greediest, the noisiest, the cuddliest.  “Watch this, Nanna!” they would say, as we unlocked the door to the summer house where the guinea pigs lived in style and splendour.


When visiting I was always called upon to assist with the general care of the guinea pigs. Many is the time I have cut up their broccoli (or other delicacies of the Vegetable Variety), filled their drinking bottles, or swept out their bedding. Not to mention the day when we thought there might be a mouse about and I fearlessly attacked a sack of straw with the broomstick. I like to think I went up in the girls’ estimation that day, despite the fact that the “mouse” turned out to be a figment of our over-active imaginations.


Guinea pigs don’t live for very many years so sadly there have been other passings, each one as painful as the last.  One Christmas Day the girls went to feed the guinea pigs and returned in floods of tears. The Paternal Grandparents looked at Mr B and me. We looked at the Paternal Grandparents. The same thought crossed all our minds at the same time: one of the guinea pigs must have died! And on Christmas Day too! How could that happen? It turned out that the girls’ parents had left their main Christmas present – a Wii – on top of one of the guinea pigs’ hutches as a surprise.  The tears were tears of joy. Christmas was Saved.


But yesterday was the real thing.  And all I can say to my girls as they mourn poor Curly Wurly, the most distinctive of all the guinea pigs, is this: that there was never a luckier guinea pig. Never one who was better fed (all that broccoli!), more sincerely loved, more faithfully looked after.  


It was a short life but – as surely befits an animal called Curly Wurly – a very, very sweet one.

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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