(Super Capy was going to help me write this by drawing on Gari's inspirational writing talent, but he's not up yet. He spent most of the night complaining (very politely)... Did we really expect him to live in one hotel room after having the run of a large, capybara filled home? And why was the room such a mess, so many suitcases and bags strewn everywhere.)
Melanie has created a magical world for Capybara lovers with her beautifully written blogs and wonderfully evocative photographs. A place to escape to, from all the disappointments and unpleasantness in today's world. I feel very privileged to have entered that world. And Gari is a million times better in real life.
When we arrived at Gari's home he was in hiding, wise Capybara that he is. Not many handsome young males would look forward to a visit by an old woman who claimed to be in love with you and probably wanted to kiss you.
Gari has the most perfect habitat for a pet capybara and at this point he was buried in the depths of his outdoor, vegetation filled pond completely invisible to humans. It was, of course, a losing game for him and he was persuaded to migrate to his pool. At first he was quite wary of me and viewed me from the furthest reaches of the pool. Melanie had very kindly provided 2 huge lettuces to act as bribes and he slowly began to accept me.
Melanie understands Gari and on many occasions predicted what he was about to do, sensing on this occasion that he was about to leave the pool.
We moved to the living room where I spent most of the afternoon scratching him (scratching isn't a very nice word, though accurate. Pampering describes my role better) with occasional breaks for snacks, Gummy Bears, Yogurt covered raisins and long, red, sweet chewy candy from HEB which he loves. By watching the hair rise up, pouffily, on his neck and back I could tell when I was reaching his favorite spots. Several times during the course of the afternoon he came to a state of near ecstasy when he started to roll over on his back to be scratched on his tummy. This is his favorite place to be scratched but only once he has accepted you. It would be quite inappropriate behaviour for a stranger to venture into such a personal and private part of his body. Unfortunately, there was often not enough room for him to roll over on the couch without falling on the floor. He also had an unhelpful habit of rolling over in such a way that his tummy was as far away from my hand as it could possibly be.
I could spend all day scratching Gari. He looked so peaceful, and blissful and relaxed; in the Capybara "heaven" that he deserves to be in, because of all the happiness he brings to so many people.
He was so gentle when I gave him a raisin. His nose is so soft. Melanie had warned me not to inadvertently let my fingers get bitten, but on the few occasions when they strayed into his mouth, he nibbled them so gently. There was nothing greedy about the way he took food. He was so dainty taking one raisin at a time and chewing it thoroughly (just like Mummy told you to) before taking the next one.
He is the most beautiful shape. Perfectly formed, beautifully fit; his warm, svelte body is absolutely perfect and incredibly desirable in an "I would do anything to make you happy" pampering way.
When we came back from our walk round Melanie's 40-odd acres estate, Gari immediately went over to "our" couch and waited for me to join him, and start pampering him. I kissed him. He looked as if he enjoyed it!
I love him so much, I just want to spend all day pampering him and trying to make up for his unhappy childhood before he came to live with Melanie. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body, he never bites. This really surprises me given that in his early life people must have hurt him and made him unhappy.
The only thing that makes me sad is thinking about his previous life before he came to live with Melanie. The first day we visited, every time he heard an unusual noise he would jump up, frightened. Even when the chair squeaked. Even when Maple, the rabbit, stamped her foot (on the carpet) at Flopsy the cat. If anyone's hand goes near his head unexpectedly he jumps back as if threatened. Justin, his breeder, described him as the friendliest little capybara in his litter. What turned the friendliest capybara into one who is so frightened of the world beyond Melanie's sanctuary? It makes me want to cry that people can keep animals and not care about their happiness. I also think about that long flight he took to arrive at Melanie's. Melanie had chosen the flight that would be the shortest journey time. But his previous owners missed the flight! They then abandoned him at the airport while he waited for an alternative routing that had him transit on the ground in Atlanta. Knowing how scared he is to even go out in a car with Melanie, I can't imagine how he ever survived that trip. He must have been frightened to death. All the strange sounds and vibrations and people and smells. Just writing this is bringing tears to my eyes. I wish I could explain to him that he will never have to be frightened again. That there are so many people who love him and would do anything to make him happy. And that he brings so much happiness to so many people.
And I can't leave Melanie out of this. Without Melanie this magical world of Capybaras and Gari would not exist. I am so grateful to her.
Gari this is for you: you bring so much happiness to so many people. I will never forget your warm body on my lap and the gentle way you nibbled my fingers and so delicately took the tiny yogurt covered raisins. (I promise I won't try to kiss you again)