Then Christmas Eve, he comes home with a cardboard box. In it, he has 2 guinea pigs. I was in shock. I am a planner. I don't like surprises. And here I have 2 pets that I wasn't prepared for, on Christmas! Not to mention we would be in and out the next couple days visiting family.
The next big shocker came when he told me the long haired one was a GIRL and the short haired one was a BOY. Umm, so one has been fixed then?? Nope. So I asked him, you do know what happens when you get a girl and a boy guinea pig together right?
He said not to worry, the pet store owner had been trying to breed them for a YEAR with no success, and if she was pregnant now, she would take all the babies. I couldn't contain my anger anymore.
Needless to say I was furious. We fought a lot all Christmas long. He thought he was doing a good thing. I was horrified at the thought of a million guinea pig babies running around.
He said he would take them back, but of course even though I was angry I couldn't let him do that. I let the longhaired one sit in my lap and she snuggled against me...I was in love. We named them Karen and Hank after the show Californication which we were watching at the time.
I jumped online and spent loads of time on the internet. Pretty much everything we had started with was wrong. Small petstore cage, cedar shavings, iceberg lettuce. Then began the process of trying to fix everything he had screwed up. We got Hank neutered. I was nervous about surgery but he was so devoted to Karen that when we separated them he cried and chewed at the bars. I had my ex exchange the cedar for aspen, and eventually fleece. He built them a C&C cage. And for the first week we had them we would handfeed them veggies trying to bond with them. They were skittish and terrified at first, but then became friendly pigs that even made non-pig people love them!
We adored them and they quickly became a very huge part of our lives.
So as the months went on their C&C cage got bigger and their fleece collection got bigger. They were in the spare bedroom with my computer, so I spent tons of time with them. Karen often snuggled on my lap while I watched tv or was on the computer. Hank wasn't as snuggly, preferring to zoom and popcorn around the cage.
Hank adored Karen. I often said I wished that I could someday find a man to love me like Hank loves Karen! haha. He followed her, slept by her and let her take food right out of his mouth. She tolerated his love.
And when I decided that wasn't big enough....
They look so young here! Also, I don't promote that amount of carrots, or whatever in the world that red thing is. This was in the beginning when I was still learning :)
Within a day or so I came upon an ad for a tiny black abby. The family said she was about a year old. They were moving out of the country and couldn't take her. My ex went to get her the next day while their kids were in school.
She was so tiny compared to Hank and Karen! 728 grams. I thought she was petite. But um, now....let's just say she is a lot more than that. They have a way of fattening up at this house. She was very skittish and shy. She would only wheek when we weren't in the room.
Then came the dreaded introductions. Things at first were civil. Hank couldn't believe it. He kept running up to us and back to Nancy, it was almost as if he was saying "You mean I have a wife AND a girlfriend??" He popcorned like crazy and was thrilled.
Karen on the other hand...was annoyed. But things got nasty back in the cage. Karen went after Nancy first, then Nancy turned and went after Karen! They were a ball of blonde and black fluff. I ended up having to get them apart, scrub the cage down, and then tried it again. This time it worked out better. But still to this day Nancy and Karen are not buddies. When they started to bicker Hank would get in between them and shake his hips and say "Hey ladies no need to fight, there is plenty of me to go around"
Then I came across a gray and white female pig at a kill shelter near me. I couldn't get my mind off of her. I knew the reputation this shelter had and they adopted very little out. My ex firmly said no more pigs, but I did get him to agree that we could foster. I ended up naming her Rachel and fostering her for All Creatures Rescue in NC. She was a good pig. She would popcorn like crazy every night when we would refill the hay. When she got adopted it was hard, but made me realize I wanted to continue fostering.
My fosters, Audrey and Shirley. Two of the sweetest pigs ever. They got adopted by a great couple.
My fosters, Leisl and Marta. Poor Marta was sick with pneumonia. I remember being snowed in with her on my birthday sitting in the bathroom with the shower running hoping that the steam would help her.
My fosters, Ruth and Angelique. Sadly Angelique passed away suddenly this past October. I was getting ready to clean cages and she was walking in the cage and fell over and then stopped breathing. This was the first time I had seen a guinea pig die in front of me and it broke my heart. I deal with death all the time at work, but it was so different with one that I had so long I considered my own. Poor BabyTulip listened to me carry on and sob that night! I have her ashes in a little wooden box that I will keep always. I felt badly that she was never "adopted" but I always loved her and treated all the fosters as if they were my own.
The foster that I had only 24 hrs still to this day brings me to tears.
She was at the kill shelter and her name was Lucy. She was 6 years old. I told my ex I was getting her. He said no. We had a dog, cat, our 3 pigs, and 4 fosters already. In my mind we had plenty of room. I went and got her anyway ;) I have a weakness for seniors. When we were handling her that evening we found lumps on her lymph nodes. She enjoyed wonderful veggies, hay, and cozy beds. But by that morning she refused to eat and I knew it wasn't good. I drove her to Jennicat since I wanted her to have the best chance at making it. But she died later that day. I like to think that at least she didn't die alone in the shelter and she got to experience the good life for a day.
And so I continue fostering up until I moved to Richmond this past winter. I miss it and would like to continue it again someday. And finally I live alone so I can decide about taking in the fosters and not have to listen to someone else complain about it ;)
My relationship at the time wasn't so great, so my pigs and my fosters kept me busy. Often I was ignored in favor of computer/video games, so I ignored him in favor of the pigs :) When we broke up I had nowhere to go, so I moved in with my parents, sister, and niece. That added up to 5 people, 3 cats, 4 dogs, a hamster, a 55 g fish tank, and 5 guinea pigs all crammed into one house :/ I felt badly because my pigs didn't get the floortime they were used to, and they were sharing my bedroom instead of having their own, but I was doing the best that I could.
A couple months later I met a great guy. Things were going well, but he had been looking for a job and found one 5 hrs away in Richmond. So I decided to move too. Crazy and completely unlike anything I had done, but I had lived in the same town working the same job and I needed something different. I had always dreamed of working at an emergency vet, but never had the guts to try. I actually got a job faster than I thought I would, and moved to Richmond staying with my boyfriend until I found a place. His apartment didn't allow pets, so my family said they would care for my animals until I saved up some money and found my apartment.
I found a cute little apartment that was absolutely perfect for the pets and I. And no carpeting so I had already planned out all the floortime they could have when I was home. Everything had finally fallen into place and I planned my trip to come pick up my pigs.
Then I got the phone call from my sister that Hank passed away :(
She said he seemed fine that morning, and then 2 hours later found him with Nancy and Karen by his side. It looked like he had passed in his sleep. I still beat myself up that I didn't get him here and that I wasn't there when he died. I was so worried about my other pigs and how they would cope that I went the next day and got them and brought them back to my boyfriend's apartment for a few weeks until my apartment was ready. Nancy and Karen still were eating and drinking, but they were bickering more. Hank literally would always stand in between them during their squabbles.
I decided naturally the best thing to get them to get along would be to add another pig.
But instead I got a very loud demanding pig! haha. She is a complete nut! She wheeks all the time, stands up at the front of the cage begging for treats, and does some of the silliest things. If I walk by the cage and don't acknowledge her she carries on. She likes to sit on top of the stool instead of under it. She popcorns all the time and talks to herself as she walks around the cage. She cracks me up all the time, she is such a happy pig!
" Excuse me, look at meee....I was abused remember?? I think I need more yum-yums."
The first introduction between Cosette, Nancy, and Karen did not go well. The next attempt I did a buddy bath and that seemed to help. Right around that time Karen got sick and I have had her separate from them to monitor her. Nancy and Cosette have been best buddies! They snuggle together, eat together, and Cosette even cleans Nancy's ears! I feel like sometimes things happen for a reason. I feel like I was meant to get Cosette, and I feel like it happened at a time so that Nancy wasn't all alone and now she has a friend. I don't think Karen minds to have a cage to herself right now as she sometimes seemed to be annoyed by the other pigs.
I can tell more stories to get us to the next page ;)
I remember when my ex and I broke up and I was worried about moving the pigs into my tiny bedroom at my parents. He wanted to keep the pigs. I believe my exact words were "over my dead body" haha. He was a terrible boyfriend but he did love and care for the pigs well. But I still had no plans on leaving them with him. He really wanted Nancy, saying he was the one to go pick her up and pay the $20 for her. I told him I would give him the $20 then but she wasn't going to stay with him. It has now been 1.5 yrs since we broke up and we have messaged each other only a handful of times. It has always been updates on the pets. Even though I was furious with him back then, I am glad that he got Hank, Karen, and Nancy for me.
I have a few types of pigs on my "dream pig" list. I really want a black and white peruvian, a skinny, and a gray pig.