This is Colin.
He was just about 5 years old. I'd had him for 4 1/2 years. He was very soft and liked to nuzzle up under my chin when I would hold him, and when he was happy he would make soft squeaky purring noises that sounded like a tribble from Star Trek. When he was hungry, he would squeak loudly until I fed him-- and he knew exactly when mealtimes were, so I'd better not try to delay, or my eardrums would suffer. He weighed over 3 pounds, which is enormous for a guinea, according to the vet.
About a year and a half ago, Colin developed a strange scabby sort of cyst on one of his front feet. It didn't seem to hurt too much, but it was nasty. The vet had me treat it with oral and topical antibiotics, but it never would heal up. It was usually scabbed over pretty well, but I would bandage it up when it would ooze or bleed a little.
Last night, Tirithien and I left my apartment to go grab some dinner at about 8:00. Colin was fine then. He looked at us while we were leaving-- his cage is right by the front door, and I scratched his little velvety nose through the bars and told him we'd be back soon.
We made it home around 10:00 (the roads were awful, plus we'd had to stop at the store).
Colin had died while we were gone. He was stretched out in one corner of his cage, very still. He didn't respond when I shook the cage, or when I reached in to touch his soft guinea fur. His body was limp and lifeless. There was blood across the bottom of the cage, and when I rolled him over to see what had happened, it looked as if his cyst had maybe ruptured or split open.
We put him into a shoebox for a coffin, and we're going to bury him in my mom's back garden when I get home from work today.
Sleep well, baby guinea. I will miss you.