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When we talk about someone inspirational, often it turns out to be someone with superlative accomplishments, people like Martin Luther King, Mandela or Gandhi. Nothing to quibble about and yet isn’t there a yet there? The one that comes from having such an impossible standard for inspiration? Instead, don’t examples of inspiration abound in our daily life? Examples like Goldie, my five year old guinea pig, who inspires me everyday.

I met Goldie and her cage mate Abby on August 4, 2011 at an animal rescue shelter. There was an awful stink in the air, one that became more powerful, the nearer I got to Goldie and Abby’s cage. Walking around sniffing, it was clear Goldie was the source of the stink. She was releasing such awfully smelly farts. Rather then being repelled, my heart melted. Poor Goldie. What a sensitive GI tract, responding badly to the awful shelter food. And, oh she had the most adorably melting eyes. In short order, Goldie and Abby were ensconced at home.

From the get-go, another thing was clear. Gourmet, Goldie was not. Glutton, most certainly. If ever someone lived to eat, it was Goldie. Unlike Abby, physical activity and personal hygiene were never Goldie’s priority. Only eating. “Dirty butt”, the inevitable nickname, followed. Things were hunky-dory though. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. Until July 2014.

First, it started with dermatitis. All over the body. Mites? No. Fungus? No. Hair loss. Vet’s perplexed. Then, swollen feet. Pododermatitis (foot infection)? Likely. Give her the antibiotic, Baytril (enrofloxacil). She reacts badly. Weight loss. Diarrhea. Through all of this, Goldie soldiers on. Here she is last December, in her special harness. Her delicate skin is very itchy because of the dermatitis. The harness protects her skin from her scratches.

Hand fed and weighed twice a day. Many stressful trips to the vet. Handling by inexperienced technicians. X-rays. Through it all, Goldie perseveres with the utmost resilience and tenacity. It’s almost as if she understands that no matter what, humans are trying to help her. Everywhere you touch her, there are lipomas. Vets say pododermatitis is extremely painful. None of these difficulties seem to faze her. As soon as she improves even a little, there she is, devouring a tomato or green pepper or swiss chard or cadging a pumpkin seed from my hand. That’s my Goldie.

If such resilience and joie-de-vivre isn’t inspirational, what is? Through Goldie’s example, I have a daily source of inspiration, someone who just puts her head down and gets through the day, come hell or high water. She just wants to live another day. Live to eat. So, who in your daily life inspires you? Is it someone remote, with superlative accomplishments, impossible to really know, understand and relate to, or is it someone close by, someone who escapes notice because of our psychosocial blinders, the ones that insidiously dictate that world-wide fame is somehow a necessary qualifier for being inspirational?

Vanessa Surian, an inspirational Quoran, you inspired this post.

Post by Tirumalai Kamala:

Inspiring figures abound in our daily life if we learn to look for them

Inspiring figures abound in our daily life if we learn to look for them