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Pig pal, Mr. Reddin, recently wrote to us about his family's memorable guinea pig, Patches.  We weren't aware that there were so many guinea pigs available in shelters!  If you are considering having a pig come to live with your family, maybe you can do as Mr. Reddin did and go to your local shelter.  He explains:

There was a column in our paper that showed a picture of animals for adoption in the animal shelter. (This was a daily thing if I recall.) Well, one day there was a little GP and I called my wife to see if she wanted to adopt the poor thing. My wife loves animals too so she said she would. She called the shelter but that GP had already been adopted but they told her that more were in the shelter. When she got down there after work all the GPs had been adopted out. Then someone remembered the GP that was in the back. Apparently this GP had been there for ages and no one wanted it (poor thing). When they brought out this GP, it was HUGE! I have never seen a GP as big as that one ever! Well those soft brown GP eyes worked their magic and "Patches" came home to live with us.

No one knew how old Patches was, we named her that because she had different coloured patches of fur everywhere, but she had very soft nails. It was though she had not gotten the proper nourishment as a piglet and her nails never hardened properly. Our vet checked her and said she was healthy and an old pig but he couldn't be sure how old. We were there with Patches when someone else had a GP to be seen. They thought their pig was big. We were asked to bring Patches out of her box and out she came. Well, the look on the other people's faces! They thought it was a groundhog instead of a pig!

On the way home from the vet, we had Patches in a cardboard box and we stopped off in a restaurant for lunch. Naturally you can't bring pets or animals except seeing eye dogs into restaurants but we couldn't leave her in the car so we brought her in. No one knew what we had in the box until we started eating a salad. She could hear the crunch of the lettuce and started hollering, "Where's mine, where's mine" at the top of her little lungs! We had to drop some in to keep her quiet because she sure could "pig whistle" really loud when she wanted to.

We must have had Patches for about 3 years or so and one day we saw she was not using her front paw and her leg was quite swollen. We took her to the vet and he told us that she had a cancer in the bone and had caused the bone to expand and it had broken on one side only. He said that she was probably in pain although she didn't complain at all or squeak when she was examined.  We knew we had to make the hardest, yet kindest, decision a pet owner can make and have Patches put to sleep. If there was anything else we could have done we would have done it but she was old and in pain. She had been rescued from an animal shelter and had been given a very good life for a GP and it was her time. We stayed with her while the vet gave her the shot and she went to sleep. It was strange though. As he was preparing the needle and we were stroking her she said "goodbye" to us. She was resting on her towel and she gave a couple of whistle noises that pigs make before he gave her the injection.  We buried her under a big bush in my parents back yard with the other family pets.

Well, that is my story about our GP, Patches. I know it is a little bit sad, but Patches had a good life and was old and I'm sure she is running around GP heaven squeaking and having a grand old time with all our other GPs we have had. One day we will see her again.

We are sure of it, Mr. Reddin, and thank you for telling us about Patches!

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