Both had grown up in families that had always had animal companions and they realized that was what they were missing. While they saved up a 'pet emergency fund' they discussed what sort of animal companion might complete their family. They both agreed that their schedules and apartment weren't suitable for a dog, and the one spouse had a cat allergy, so they started to look at other small pets.
After doing research some research on recommended forums on both bunnies and guinea pigs, they decided to head down to the local humane society to see some of the available animals.
The humane society had always been crowded due to their no kill policy. With it being a few short weeks until Easter, the small animal room had expanded into a second room due to an influx of unwanted bunnies. All of the cages were full and there were temporary pens set up on the floor to house all the little ones. At the same time, the main sound in the rooms was the barking of the dogs in the next section of the humane society building. It was overwhelming.
After spending a little less than five minutes in the first small animal room, the couple discovered that the spouse with the cat allergy was also very allergic to bunnies. They were saddened to have their options for animal companions narrowed even further, but decided to look in the second room. This room also seemed to be full of bunnies, and their mood lowered as they walked through the room, knowing that they would not be able to offer any of these animals a home.
Then, at the back of this room, they saw a small cage. It was lined with a towel and fully half of the cage was taken up by a pigloo. Sitting outside the door to the pigloo was a clearly terrified tri-colour guinea pig. As soon as she saw them lean over the cage, she stuffed herself into the door of the pigloo, and a different guinea pig came out into the cage. This poor girl was mostly white, but had a bald nose, bald ears, and was bald across her shoulders with deep, bloody wounds.
The couple flipped through the attached charts and after reading about how the pigs were dumped at the humane society in a cardboard box, they quickly resolved to take these poor girls home, even though they had not planned on bringing home an animal that day.
After getting hold of a volunteer, she had to check with one of the vet staff to make sure the girls were cleared for adoption. The two pigs had apparently been in much worse shape when they were dumped.
She came back a short while later saying they girls were cleared for adoption, but that the couple had to sign a form saying we understood that they had medical issues and may continue to have medical issues in future.
Papers were signed, a cage, food, bedding and other supplies were quickly purchased from the humane society store and the adoption fee was paid.
The couple and their new charges bundled themselves into a cab for the short ride home.
Once home, the cage was quickly set-up and the two still-frightened girls quickly hid themselves in their new, larger home.
Sorry they're so blurry - this was from my old crap-ola camera
Rosie - you can see the terrified expression on her little face
My poor babies were afraid of everything! They both wheeked horribly whenever they were touched. Poor Princess itched so hard, she'd run in circles and scream while scratching.
One of the first things we did was book an appointment at one of the recommended exotics vets. They contacted the humane society for the girls' treatment history and what they discovered made us really angry.
The humane society had only been treating Princess for parasites! Both girls had a severe mite infestation, but Rosie had been suffering for who knows how long, and re-infesting Princess in the process. My poor, poor girls!
We immediately got them both on Revolution and pulled some hairs for fungal testing. The girls could soon be touched without angry piggy noises!
Everything was still frightening for them. Being out of the cage was clearly a scary experience.
Wedging yourself between two objects and staying perfectly still was the preferred method (as demonstrated by Rosie-peeg).
However, come June, despite the parasite treatments, Princess was still very, very itchy, and she started to loose more hair.
All the fungal tests came back negative, experiments with anti-fungal cream showed no difference, and the vet (and the other vets she consulted with) couldn't figure out what was going on. So, they suggested a biopsy to see if we could get some more information. Since she still had large bald spots with self-inflicted wounds and wanting to solve this for her, we agreed.
Up next, so many owies!