I name things, be they people, animals, or objects. I acquired this habit from my father. Dad named each of his cars, not right away, but after the car did something (or he thought it did) that was peculiar. I have named my cars too, but I took the habit several steps further. I named my girlfriends, including my wife.
The pet name for my wife is a two-part name, with the second part being "bear." After we married, that second part stuck to every member of our family (including me), and to the second family pet. Both of our pets were low maintenance (guinea pigs). The second pet was requested by my youngest child, although this mostly tan short-hair whistle pig quickly won us all over. Officially, her name was Ginger, but I called her Pig Bear.
Although the word personality applies to people, pet owners learn that their pets have an identity, emotions, habits, and mood changes. Pig Bear was fearless, up to when she got scared. On the very first day, we put her cage on the floor of our house, opened the hinge door, and left it open, to see what she would do. This little animal had been around people and had been caged for all of her one year life. She put a foot outside. Then she pulled it back in. Then she put two feet out. It went like this for twenty minutes, inching forward, away from her cage, then running back inside to make certain that her home was still there. Then, something magical happened.
Pig Bear leaped several inches into the air and squealed with delight! As soon as her feet hit the carpet, she ran around a little circle. Then, she whistled at us for the first time. I must admit that our family got tears as we witnessed and shared this wee animal's pure joy of feeling free, and running for the very first time in her life. She was a great pet, always loving, craving our attention. She appreciated a small brown lunch bag whenever she could have one. It was a little cave to her. As she aged, and got bigger, she would sometimes get stuck head first in them. She lived with us for nine years, which is a very long time for a cavy (another name for a guinea pig).
In her latter years, Pig Bear labored with some burdens similar to aged people. She could not see as well or walk as well. However, she continued to detect fragrances, and she could still hear remarkably well. Pig Bear could discern the sound of my car as I parked it in the driveway. I could hear her whistle for me while I was outside the house. She knew it was me, and she knew that I would greet her, then I would go out the back door to fetch her a handful of green grass, her favorite thing to eat. Remember that I mentioned the second edge of a sword in this article's summary. I will spare you the details. But, I will say that it took me a long time to get used to the silence that greeted me when I came home, after Pig Bear whistled no more.
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