Rudy the Guinea Pig

Rudy the Easter Pig Rudy always had a penchant for the holidays. Here he is masquerading as the Easter Bunny.

Rudy, eating snow

Rudy loved Christmas, too.  Here he is eating some genuine imitation snow.

Rudy reading The Good Shepherd

Rudy had exceptional taste in books.  (Sometimes he would eat them.)

So what happened to Rudy?  I won't go into the details but I do offer the following reflection, published at Saint Paul's on September 6, 1998, shortly following Rudy's passing.

In Memoriam

    I'm surprised how much I miss my little guinea pig Rudy. It's been nearly two weeks since Rudy went on to that great big cardboard box in the sky. Truthfully, I'm not much for reflecting on whether or not pets go to heaven. I'm sure that if we need them to be happy then they'll be there. (In fact, that's a good and truthful thing to tell children, I think.) But I do like to ponder how much dogs, cats and guinea pigs add to our lives.

    From the time I was in third grade our family had pets. I'm told we had a dog when I was real little but I know Mom didn't care for them; we never got another. We had cats a couple of times; my sister Mary Beth had a way of adopting them that somehow passed muster with our parents. (That always surprised me.) Except for a brief stint with a turtle when I was four, the first pet I remember was Gretchen the guinea pig. Gretchen was our class pet in third grade. At the end of the school year Miss Hess was going to raffle her off. Mom said I could put my name in the hat (the Quaker Oats oatmeal box, actually) figuring that the odds were pretty good that little Jeff would not be coming home with an animal. But lo and behold, as I prayed and crossed my fingers on both hands (which I learned in fourth grade was really bad luck) my name was drawn. What luck! Gretchen would be the first in a long line of guinea pigs owned by my family. Gretchen, Gary, Jerry, Jackie, Scotty, Link... They all took their turn in my family's life.

    These critters really were a blessing from God, as all good things are. They helped me and my sisters and brother learn to care for and gently handle something that needed us. They were a source of amusing stories. Like when Jerry got loose OUTSIDE. Or when my two year-old brother Rich dunked Gary in the toilet. (We have no idea why.) Having pets taught us something of death and sadness too. All good lessons for life.

    So I laid my little friend Rudy to rest in the backyard and I was sad again. I'm amused that when I open the front door I cock my head to listen for his squeak. And that when I walk past his box he doesn't poke his nose out. And that I miss him. After all, he was just a guinea pig! Well of course he wasn't just a guinea pig; he was my pet– I miss the little pig.

    Since I'd written about Rudy a time or two or three I thought you ought to know he's gone now. Gone but not forgotten. You know, I'm thinking another guinea pig might be along shortly. It was kind of nice having something else live in the house (besides the fish). I'll let you know. In the meantime I'm counting the blessings of all my pets past.

Rev. Jeff Bennett

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