July 10th is Caplin Day, also known as Capybara Appreciation Day. We celebrate this day in honor of Caplin Rous (2007/02/10 – 2011/01/03) . He would have been seven this year. This year we are also celebrating the life of my beloved Garibaldi Rous (2010/03/11 – 2014/02/16).
It is an especially hard year for me. When I became disabled due to a massive brain hemorrhage in October, the one thing that sustained me was that I would be able to spend more time with Gari. After a month in the hospital, I came home. Garibaldi spent the first two days constantly at my side, though all I did was sleep. He lay beside me the whole time, asking to be scratched but settling for a gentle hand on his side. I cannot tell you how much that helped. Because my vision was (and is) so bad, it meant the world to me to feel his coarse fur and quiet breathing.
Of course, I will always remember Caplin Rous, who was my first love. He captured my heart when he was just a baby and held it tight. He also seems to have convinced the internet that capybaras wear bandanas. I think that is only fair.
Gari, on the other hand, tried his best to convince the world that capybaras are the clowns of the rodent world.
What they both taught me is that capybaras are individuals. They each have a unique and wonderful personality. I’m not sure Gari’s would have been conducive to survival in the wild though. Maybe the jaguars would be too stunned to attack?
This year, to celebrate Caplin Day, you can eat a popsicle or yogurt in Caplin’s memory. Or you can roll around in the pool like Garibaldi. Or you can make a small donation to the ROUS Foundation for Capybara Veterinary Medicine so that we can continue our work to understand what it takes to ensure that captive capybaras lead long, happy lives.