2007 – 29.07.2011
One snowy Sunday morning I met Vikki (GPRN) for the first time as I went to see these two boys that had lost their home due to the recession. I just ‘happened’ to have a carrier in the car, and of course they came home with me, through blizzard, white-out and storm. I soon found out what Hugo wanted: a nice warm comfortable home, plenty of food and a bit of adventure.
And what Hugo wanted, he generally got! It wasn’t that he was demanding, just patient and watchful. He could hang out of his cage watching you for hours especially if you were cooking… after all, cooking equals food for him, doesn’t it? And Victor learned to make sure he got his share!
As far as we know, Hugo had been bought from a pet shop where he had been overlooked because his coat was in none too good condition and it took a while for his first owners to get rid of lice or fungus or scurf. He was prone to scurf, especially when stressed, like having his toenails cut! Victor joined him when Victor was old enough to leave home, and the two of them made a perfect pair, one extravert and outrageous, the other calm, sweet and sleepy. Not that Hugo didn’t do a fine line in sleeping!
Hugo soon took command of the available space, since after a summer enjoying freedom in the garden, sometimes rather more than was expected since he was not a bad climber…
… and liked nothing better than to socialise with Fred and George (who took care to avoid him wherever possible!)
As winter drew in it became clear that Hugo needed space.. and so he took over the kitchen. There is a nice video of him whooshing around it somewhere, finishing with him trotting off into the sunset. However he was into everything, especially plastic bags… or anything that smelled of Fred or George … or a telephone wire (the phone rings but it’s taken me a year to remember it doesnt work and dash through to the other room to answer it).
It was this desire for plastic that masked the true cause of his illness that developed eighteen months ago, and despite extensive tests, we couldn’t discover the cause. Hugo carried on in spite of occasional discomfort, which eventually was diagnosed as bladder or kidney stones earlier this year, but not until he had lost a lot of weight.
It didn’t stop him enjoying his holidays in Scotland, along with the rest of the gang:
nor did it stop him making the most of life in the kitchen, where he knew exactly how to make sure he got his morning slice of cucumber first:
But he also used his knowledge and personality to welcome others into the fold and explain the rules of the house to them, before they were allowed the run of the kitchen with him.
His continued problems with his tummy, and steady loss of weight meant he was susceptible to things I didn’t realise, and even though he loved his grass time, it led to him catching pneumonia and dying in hospital on 29th July 2011. While he was away the house was strangely quiet. No gnawing on the bars trying to attract Fred’s attention, no hanging out of the cage, or indeed jumping out and joining me in the garden as he had done to my surprise at the beginning of the month. I won’t be saying “Oh, Hugo!” in an exasperated tone, but with love and pride, as he does something else mischievous. Always up to something, and if he wasn’t doing it, he was thinking it. That’s my boy. We’ll miss you terribly.
First published on the Fudgekins Memorial Board, GPRWA forum. Postscript:
Hugo’s relationship with Mariusz in New York has been commented about elsewhere in this blog. Were they the same pig? We will never know. Here Dawn remembers Mariusz, and there are links to her epitaph for Hugo too.