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Conga & Ebby's Guinea Grave
Conga & Ebby's Guinea Grave,
originally uploaded by natashayong.
I've never had a real pet of my own. Not till in June 2000 when I had Conga and Ebby; two chubby, cuddly guinea pigs. They were truly the sweetest little creatures to have around while in Australia, and all they really needed to do was eat, poo, look cute and grow fat. Ebby passed away from dehydration in November 2001 from a heat wave that hit Australia. Later that year, Conga; the sole survivour was transported back to Singapore in an animal cargo flight, which quarantined her for about a week.

Being a South American guinea, she settled nicely into Singapore's warm conditions with occasion skin and fur problems that triggered on and off. In 2002, Conga had a new friend, Luna. It was only a couple of months back that she developed an unusual growth on the left paw. The swelling doubled the size of her normal paw and became a hassle while she moved. A visit to the vet suggested that her foot be amputated! On a fortunate note, we revisited the vet on a separate occasion with a different, more senior doctor and she commented that with Conga's obese size, cutting off her leg may put unnecessary pressure on her body which wouldn't be advisable for a little animal. With some anti-biotic, the swelling gradually subsided till it was only slightly bigger but not in the way.

Over the weekend, Conga suddenly lost appetite. Which was obviously a horrible sign since she loved to eat. On Monday afternoon, she was found lying on her side, breathing very hard to catch her breath.
She was rushed to the vet in the evening for emergency treatment. Conga couldn't even sit up when the doctor lifted her up. It was the most heart-breaking sight. Then the doctor said "In her current condition, she is likely to die in the next couple of hours". I was holding back my tears while I asked her what treatment she could prescribe for Conga and what was the likely cause of the illness. Doctor claimed that Conga was likely suffering from a brain infection, her left eye was twitching with an eye ulcer and she was shivering.
An assistant brought Conga into the surgery area and put her onto this DIY oxygen tank made up of a cut top portion of a 2 litre coke bottle and a rubber covering where little animals can stick their entire head in. We spent the next couple of mins outside the clinic deciding what our next course of action might be:

1) Put Conga at the vet overnight with fluid and oxygen and give her a fighting chance for survival
2) Put Conga to sleep
3) Bring Conga home

We chose option 1. We couldn't bring ourselves to put her down after some misdiagnosed incidents. Conga had always been a fighter. It was unfortunate the clinic was not a 24hr animal hospital. However, the doctor had already given Conga an anti-biotic suppression and some fluids. Should something happen through the night, there would very little they could do.

I spent the last moments before leaving the clinic with Conga. She was still on the DIY oxygen mask and was covered with towers near a hot water bottle. I comforted her by putting my palm on her while she shivered uncontrollably. I could sense she felt more assured. It was my last image of Conga alive.

The clinic called at 8:45am on 26 September. Conga did not make it through the night.

I arranged for half day leave in the afternoon to pick Conga's body from the vet. We decided that she will have a burial arrangement similar to Ebby's back in Australia. A hole 1.5 foot deep with a cross made up of branches and flowers. It was a gray afternoon. The heavens cried a little right after we settled the grave. It was a nice closure to 6.5 years of being a loving pet. Though she was only a guinea, small and didn't do tricks, she touched my heart in her tiniest way. I never knew that loosing her would make me so upset. I'm glad she had a long, fruitful and happy life.

We'll miss you Conga.


  1. Hi Natasha,
    Heartfelt condolences. Maybe you might meet your small furry friends again someday - in heaven!

  2. all guinea piggies go to rainbow heaven :)


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