Unfortunately when you just do a plain old flickr search for guinea pig you WILL run across pictures of guinea pigs being cooked and eaten. People travel to exotic countries, see racks of roasted cuy (I think that's the name, I'm not going to google extensively), think it's so crazy they've got to post a picture. The first few I saw really bothered me, then I just started skipping over them, scrolling a little faster when I got to one. I can deal with the fact that some people eat my pets, I'm not going to be some aloof westerner. I even have a well-traveled friend who's eaten it. He says it's a little greasy, but overall pretty good.
Then last night I had this horrible dream that we were at some woman's house, and she was eating grilled-up guinea pigs. I told myself I was okay with it like normal. I had my guinea pigs there with me in another corner, we were watching TV, she had this little campstove on the coffee table and was offering people food. Then I look over and she's got Pinky on the campstove. I freaked. Grabbed him off the grill, looked at his feet, held him close to my chest sobbing "I'm so sorry Pinky, I'm so sorry pinky, please be okay..." He was alright. I woke up feeling alarmed, realizing that I should no longer search my flickr tag. It's getting to me.
It's funny that I dreamed about Pinky because in real life, he's a total shithead. He's not quite a year old so he's by far the smallest pig we have but he's scrappy and will take your ass on. He bites. He chases the other pigs around. He will stare you down. He doesn't mind being petted which is funny, he's the one pig who I can go up to and just pet his head and he lays down and closes his eyes and chills. And occasionally I can even pick him right up. But if I hold him too long he becomes very uncool with it and will go for an artery. If you chase him around too long trying to pick him up when he's in no mood, he will turn and stare you right in the eyes and chatter threateningly. It's funny because I read that in a herd of males, someone will establish dominance. I always thought it'd be Jabba because he's huge and fat and has experience torturing Billy Dee in their former home. But Jabba's really afraid of us humans, and when he tried chasing the herd around Pinky wouldn't put up with that shit. Pinky will not get chased out of a house, or away from food. In fact his favorite place to be is usually on top of a house, observing all his subjects. If there's anyone who doesn't need my protection, it's Pinky. But the idea of losing him was horrible.
Incidentally I still get freaked out all the time at the thought of a dead piggy. I know they have short lifespans and since they're made for the bottom of the food chain, they hide symptoms of disease or weakness to avoid getting picked off. So I always worry we've got a dead one. I'll see one laying calmly in the corner, eyes closed, still... and I poke it to make sure it's just sleeping. Then I feel bad for waking them up but what can I do? They're so small.