From past experience, The Hermit and I know that the easiest way to process the sadness of losing a pet is to focus on caring for one, not on obsessing over the one that has been lost. No new animal can 'replace' the one that has been lost, but by concentrating on getting to know a new personality, the grief can be lifted and love can come back into life. Thanks to the wonders of the internet I was able to make contact with a lady who actually lives very close by who had a baby guinea pig available for adoption. Tina boards small animals and takes in unwanted pets and had initially taken in two guinea pigs for holiday boarding who basically were abandoned when the owners returned from holiday as they (the piggies) were pregnant.
Most of the babies had been rehomed, apart from one little chap whose new home had fallen through, so Tina was so pleased when she saw my message and invited us round to look him over ...
I don't think we necessarily chose a new pet - I think he chose us! As he was used to being handled thanks to Tina's care, he snuggled up with both The Hermit (guinea pigs love beards...) and I instantly and was very chatty and perky - we thought he would get along well with Jasper in terms of temperament and so we took him home, with promises to keep in touch and send pictures.
First of all though, we had to get him to tell us his name ... It took most of the day, but finally, we came to the conclusion that we have a Rowan - an Anglicisation of the Gaelic for 'little red one', coincidentally.
And then secondly, we had to introduce him to Jasper... introducing boars can sometimes be troublesome, as there are dominance issues. Jasper wasn't aggressive, but poor Rowan had to submit to a lot of chasing around, bottom sniffing, mounting, and head rubbing, although he took it fairly sanguinely and didn't cower - in fact, when placed in the newly cleaned pen, would defend the corner he thought of as his in quite an assertive manner ... meeping all the time. Of course, guinea pigs don't have huge amounts of athletic stamina, so every episode of chasing was punctuated by them curled up next to each other to sleep before the cycle started over again :o) This is basically normal behaviour and we knew it wouldn't last, although waiting it out can be a test of patience ...
Now, life is harmonious in Piggleville. Jasper is allowing Rowan to share the pod without complaint (something it took a very long time for him to do with Colin) and they are so sweet, sleeping curled up together, and Jasper is definitely taking an elder brother role. Jasper seems more himself than he had been over that last week when Colin was ill, and although Colin hasn't been forgotten, the pain isn't as sharp.
Thank you again everyone for the comments about Colin - he was a lovely little chap, so cute and a good little buddy. May he rest in peace, and may Rowan have a long and happy life with us!