Fred – a Life

13.06.2007 to 18.11.2011

I am devastated to report the passing of Fred The Philosopher, brother of George the Engineer.

When I first decided to try guinea pigs as my first pets, I looked around the pet shops, thought the crested ones were adorable, and then realised that rescues needed new homes, so contacted our local one. I went to collect the ones I’d seen one day, to find one had developed scurf, but there were some little ginger pigs just come in from foster – would I like two of those. So I picked the crested one (Fred) and the other one we could catch (George).

Fred always had a penchant for melon. He used to eat the inside at first, but he seemed to prefer skins in recent times. He had one this week, which was a treat for him. Here he is at 11 weeks.

I noticed early on that Fred seemed to do the investigating (and relay the alarm calls if any birds in the garden did them) and George used to rearrange the furniture… I dubbed them the Philosopher and the Engineer and when I found the GPRWA forum, it seemed that George was commandeered for all things mechanical. Fred didn’t mind, he had things to Think about. Or to chew over as the case may be:

One of the things that Fred was very good at was testing whether food he was offered was good to eat or not. I think because I had them from young, they had a wide variety of foods, so there was very little that they were fussy about. Although neither was partial to fruit. Maybe a little apple every now and then, but they’d rather have herbs as a treat. It was Hugo that was the fruitarian. They got the nickname the Gourmet Pigs as a result, but when you had nice things growing next to your run in the garden, some things were hard to resist… chard… fennel…

Until Hugo came along, Fred and George wouldn’t dream of going outside their boarded run. After he showed complete disdain for them I had to put the higher run panels up all round, but there was still interaction, as the pic of Fred in the tent (with Victor) was taken on the day Hugo created havoc by pushing the run between them over and making off to join George in his tent!

Fred went off on a few excursions round the garden…

.. but I soon learnt just to put his tent or chube in front of him without panicking and he’d happily come in again. It didn’t stop him jumping up on the raised bed with the young corn in it one year – he ignored the corn thank goodness but ate all the fennel seedlings! You could almost see George saying “Psst, get down from there, you’ll get us into trouble!”

He went travelling with George and the others; twice to Scotland and the Isle of Mull and once to Devon. We liked the view from the cottage on Mull.

Fred had a very expressive face and I soon learned that a steady stare when they were out in the garden meant it was time to come in. He also perfected his Lady Di Look, from under his crest. It was hard to photograph though, as he tended to put on a different Look for the camera. There was also the pretty withering Fredlook, too!

He and George were pretty much inseparable except when George had to go to have his teeth checked at CCT, as 4 hours in the car with no break to come out (which at least George had) I felt was unfair on him. They did numerous photo calls together as well as solo entries on the GPRWA photo competition, but the only time Fred was on the winning side was when they entered as film characters Fred & George Weasley.

He was very honoured by the rosette which Auntie PogPog sent them and it adorns the side of their C&C run to this day. [Fred & George also won the December 2011 event with their Christmas hats pose]

After George and Hugo died in the summer, Fred teamed up with Victor and they started what seemed like a long and fruitful partnership, but it was not to be, and he passed away almost six months to the day after George went. He took over George’s website and he left his legacy in his blog entries and in his Think Pieces, some of which have been published posthumously.  I was pleased that I told him that the Kindle edition of the first book about them, The Princelings of the East,was just waiting for its illustrations and could even be published at the end of the month. It’s just sad that he won’t be able to take part in any publicity for it.

The previous day Fred had blogged that he was remembering the half-year anniversary of George’s passing. I noticed he was being a bit fiddly with his food and also looked a bit fluffy, but it wasn’t that warm in the house. I was shocked to find this morning he was 150 grams lighter than normal, i.e. he’d lost 10% of his normal weight since Sunday. Having checked his mouth I decided he had a tooth problem and/or a mouth infection, gave him some daktarin to sooth the soreness and took him to the vet.

George had such trouble with his teeth and I went to great lengths to manage that without him having too many trips to the dentist aka the vet where anaesthetic is standard precedure. But I think G should have had vet attention a little earlier than I took him before he passed (with a mouth infection caused by overgrown back teeth), so naturally I took the vet option this time. Fred being now four and a half, I felt it wise he had one last check of his teeth in detail (with xray) before he got a wee bit past it. As I wrote somewhere else this week, if only we had hindsight when we have to make these decisions.

Fred had hardly ever been ill; he developed a poorly foot when George had a lot of teeth trouble at one stage, and I’d swear it was because he wanted the attention: we never found anything. That was the only time I can remember him having anaesthetic. He had a few fungal problems on his nose, some of which were very stubborn about clearing up, but in general he was trouble free. So I was happy to hear he had woken up fine from the anaesthetic and would be ready to come home, only to be called again moments later to say that he had curled up to sleep and slept the final sleep. (see this post)

Thank you, Fred, thank you George, for teaching me all I know. You said such nice words on your blog yesterday Freddie, I know that you too will be with me always, in whatever I do.

Go and join Georgie, dearest heart, and enjoy yourself with all our other dear departed friends. Run free sweethearts.

Adapted from eulogies on the Fudgkins Memorial Board at GPRWA (c) 2011

5 thoughts on “Fred – a Life

  1. Auntie Dawn

    A loving and beautifully written tribute to a gorgeous Philosopher.

    “Withering” is an excellent word for the Fredloooks. I got a couple of those when I visited.

    I’ll always cherish the time we spent together, Freddie-pie. Miss you. XXXOOO


  2. I love this! It is beautifully written, as the commenter before me said. I am worried that Nibbles might have a problem with his teeth. He’s interested in eating but doesn’t eat much. He seems to be breathing kind of hard but not acting sick.


  3. Pingback: Fred | George's Guinea Pig World

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