Anastasia Drake is tickled with her a new guinea pig, Sirius, at her Oak Harbor home Monday, May 22, 2017. Drake was distraught over the weekend after her longtime guinea pig Spice died. The Oak Harbor police brought her a new one to cheer her up. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times.

This little piggy mends a heart in Oak Harbor

Sirius is still adjusting to life in his new home.

Anastasia Drake calls her new guinea pig an “escape artist,” so she’s keeping a close eye on him as he scuttles about the sofa, looking for places to hide.

Sirius’s arrival into her life Sunday has helped relieve some of the sting from losing another dear guinea pig, Spice, who succumbed to an illness Saturday night.

Drake was so distraught about losing her beloved pet that her sobs could be heard outside her family’s downtown Oak Harbor home, prompting a 9-1-1 call that alerted authorities..

“She was really sweet,” said Drake, a freshman at Oak Harbor High School. “She was my first (pet). We developed a bond. I couldn’t take it.”

When two officers arrived late Saturday night, LaCinda and James Drake explained that their daughter was overcome with grief by the loss of her pet. The officers could tell by Anastasia’s face that she had been crying for some time.

Officers Pat Horn and Jeremy Andreano were touched by the story and wanted to do something to help.

They came by again to ask the couple if they could replace their daughter’s pet to try to cheer her up.

Around dinner the next night, they returned. Anastasia had no idea what this particular visit was about.

“I didn’t do it,” she said, jokingly, to the officers at the front porch. “What did I do?”

She walked outside and noticed a box resting on a chair. She looked inside and her face lit up.

“They said, ‘We found this piggie,’” LaCinda Drake said.

“They made her think they found it somewhere and it needed care and love.”

Hearing it was giving the officers trouble in the back seat of their patrol car, Anastasia first wanted to call the elusive pet Houdini. She settled on Sirius, named after a Harry Potter character.

Orange and white, Sirius is a four-month-old male. He will never completely replace Spice, a long-haired, black and white female Peruvian that Anastasia cuddled for four years after receiving her as a birthday gift.

Anastasia entered Spice in Island County 4-H Clubs competitions; she was the only guinea pig on a 4-H club float during the Holland Happening parade last month.

Spice, however, recently fell ill with a tooth issue that required her to be fed by a syringe. She took a turn for the worse Saturday night and took her last breaths while Anastasia sat with her.

Anastasia’s heavy grief was heartfelt. Her parents were so grateful for the understanding officers who came to their door and returned again with a gift of compassion.

“They went above and beyond,” James said.

“We were amazed,” LaCinda said. “We came from a state where cops weren’t exactly nice. They would have never done that. They would have searched the house.

“We can’t thank these officers enough. She’s still talking about them and how amazing they were. She didn’t realize there were people like that.”

Mike Bailey, detective with the Oak Harbor police, said it’s not possible for officers to help everyone in such a way every time, but they try to as much as they can.

“Our intentions are to get more involved with the community and also with the schools,” Bailey said.

“What officer Horn (and Andreano) did was great for the child.”

Not so bad for Sirius, either. He’s been smothered with affection and joins a household that includes two other guinea pigs and three cats.

“We have three cats, three pigs and three girls,” LaCinda said. “Three’s our number.”

(This story was originally published Tuesday, May 23, 2017)

 

Oak Harbor police officers Jeremy Andreano, left, and Pat Horn pose with Anastasia Drake and her new guinea pig, Sirius, Sunday, May 21, 2017. Photo courtesy LaCinda Drake

Anastasia Drake is tickled with her a new guinea pig, Sirius, at her Oak Harbor home Monday, May 22, 2017. Drake was distraught over the weekend after her longtime guinea pig Spice died. The Oak Harbor police brought her a new one to cheer her up. Photo by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times.

Spice, who was part of the Holland Happening parade last month, munches on some lettuce. Photo courtesy LaCinda Drake