The Grey's Gang

GreysGuineaPigs

Post   » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:10 pm


Raised on a farm, I grew up around tons of animals. No 'small animals,' per se, but we had about 8 dogs, cats, and a lot of cattle. At one point, we also had outdoor rabbits. I moved off to complete my graduate work and earn my doctorate, into a two-bedroom with no roommates and no dogs allowed. Last year, I decided that I was either going to have to get myself some furry company, or I was going to go slowly insane. I started out with two dwarf hamsters. As a pharmacy student, I am addicted to Grey's Anatomy, so they were named Christina and Meredith. I loved the little furballs and still do. One day I went to the pet store to get some of their food when I happened to look at their wall of animals. Inside one of the ridiculously tiny cages was an entire litter of Syrian hamsters. It broke my heart to see them so cramped...so I took home three of them. Since this forum isn't about hamsters, I'll skip to the end of that road and say that after a year I ended up owning 2 dwarf hamsters and 4 Syrian hamsters, all of them spoiled rotten.

I was doing a clinical rotation about an hour from home and had a long lunch break, so I decided to stop by a family-owned pet store and see their puppies. Inside a little plastic tote on the floor next to the puppies were two TINY baby Syrian hamsters. I had made up my mind I was coming back for one at the end of my shift when a woman (one of the owners) comes up to me with a ball of fluff. "Hamsters are great, but you're never going to look back if you get one of these," she told me. In her hands was this small white guinea pig with little spots of white around its eye. I knew NOTHING about guinea pigs, so I told her not today.

Work was slow when I returned, and that little fluffball was still in my mind. I started using my phone to google guinea pig care, and I spent the majority of my afternoon doing so. After work, I stopped back by the pet store, still only planning on getting the baby hamster. I looked in another storage bin on the floor and inside were 3 guinea pigs. After my research, I knew their enclosure was far too small (MAYBE 3.5 sq feet), and I felt truly sorry for them. Thinking she could use some breathing time out of the little box, I picked up a mostly gold guinea pig with white stipes and a little mohawk. While the others were terrified of me, this little girl was crawling up on my shoulder and nuzzling my neck. I was in love. With the little hamster in a carry-home box, the guinea pig rode in my lap the entire hour drive home (she would not stop screaming if I tried to get her to ride in the pet carrier). I got home, built her a very large cage, and loved on her quite a bit. While I knew I should let her settle in before loving on her too much and stressing her out...she wasn't too keen on being left in there alone.

After more research that night, I could not leave her without a companion in good conscience. The next day after work, I got a second guinea pig from the same place. Her black, orange and white chubby butt made her look like an adorable out-of-season Halloween decoration. She warmed up to me quickly and got along great with the first guinea pig, probably because they had shared a cage at the store. I finally decided on names. The gold and white mohawk received the name Amelia, after a very adventurous character on Grey's, and the other, Bailey, the gruff boss (which is still a VERY accurate description of Bailey the pig's attitude). All night I felt guilty as Hades for leaving that poor last guinea pig all alone in that tiny tub. It broke my heart, but each of the guinea pigs were $50 a piece, and that was before the other costs of caring for them. In one week, that is a hit to a college student's budget. I went to bed telling myself that two was plenty...but I'd go check on the remaining one at the store after work and make sure she was ok.

After work, I went and checked on the final guinea pig, the first one the owner ever showed me. Her white fur and little eye patch made her look like a tiny, lovable pirate. It was probably in my head, but she looked soooo sad. She didn't even run from me, and her food and water looked untouched. The owner said she had acted a little off all day. They were all from the same litter; I had just ripped her two siblings away, so I obviously felt guilty. The owner decided that the guinea pig was better off with her sisters than alone and depressed and told me she would give me her for free. So...Lexie, the name I gave the 3rd guinea pig, rode home with me to join her sisters.

I have fur balls whining at me for their bedtime snacks, and this long post is probably putting anyone who reads it to sleep, so...to be continued. I promise the rest of the story gets much more interesting.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:22 am


You have me hooked! I want to hear more!

p.s. the white guinea pig sounds like it may be ill. I also hope you were wise enough to determine their sexes and that the pet store had not mixed males and females.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:54 am


Ditto Lynx. Turn them all over and compare their nether regions. Pet stores are notorious for missexing pigs.

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GrannyJu1
Supporter in 2018

Post   » Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:11 pm


As Lynx and bpatters said, check the little ones carefully. If necessary have a vet confirm sexes. I know that's a big expense, but it could be necessary. Your little pirate may need to see one anyway.

However, that said, I'm very jealous. Enjoy them while they are this small. It doesn't last for long. :o)

GreysGuineaPigs

Post   » Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:30 pm


Y'all already guessed what's coming.

I had checked all the guinea pigs sex, and they all looked like girls to me, but I still had not learned how to appropriately check them. There are no cavvy savvy vets close to me, but I found one about an hour away who could get me in the next week. The day before the vet appointment, I was holding Lexie and felt a little bump on her tummy, so I took a closer look. Luckily it was just a bit of bedding (I used paper at the time), but it got me looking closer...she looked just a little bit different 'down there' than the other girls did. I started looking more information on sexing them, and after a lot of reading, I checked all the guinea pigs again. Amelia and Maggie were definitely girls, and Lexie certainly was not.

I took them all to the vet the next day, with Lexie in a separate cage. The vet confirmed they were all healthy and Lexie was definitely a boy. He said that the likelihood of my girls being pregnant was extremely high. I was not a happy camper to say the least.

I took the babies home and built another big cage for Lexie--now known as Owen. A few days later, I decided Owen didn't need to be alone, so I found a guinea foster-mom in Little Rock and made the long drive down there. I found this beautiful black angel with a white swirl on his back, and a tiny teardrop of orange next to his eye. He was a bit mean, but he eventually let me hold him. I looked at the rest of her babies and saw this tiny, so tiny, little fur ball in the corner of a cage. I coaxed her out, and she uncurled as I pet her head. This little baby was white with eyeliner on one eye, tan on one ear, and black on the other. Then, on her rump, she wore pants...perfectly divided down the middle, tan on one half and black on the other. She was definitely a girl, but I was smitten. She was shy, but she loved to cuddle, she curled up in my hands and began to lick my fingertip. Something about her told me she had to come home with me. So, Derek and Sofia went home to meet their new siblings.

GreysGuineaPigs

Post   » Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:51 pm


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GreysGuineaPigs

Post   » Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:52 pm


Sorry, I tried to post a picture but I apparently have NO idea how, or how to delete the comment that says 'IMG_4672.JPG'
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GreysGuineaPigs

Post   » Sun Jul 15, 2018 6:12 pm


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Amelia

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Bailey

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Owen
Last edited by GreysGuineaPigs on Sun Jul 15, 2018 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

GreysGuineaPigs

Post   » Sun Jul 15, 2018 6:12 pm


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Derek

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Sofia

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:45 am


What adorable guinea pigs!

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GrannyJu1
Supporter in 2018

Post   » Mon Jul 16, 2018 12:33 pm


I REALLY like Sophia's coloring. They are all gorgeous, though!

GreysGuineaPigs

Post   » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:21 pm


Thank you! And honestly, Sofia's coloring has to be my favorite, too.

GreysGuineaPigs

Post   » Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:42 pm


After a few weeks with the 5 of us, I was looking on Craiglist to see if anyone had timothy hay. It has been hard to find good hay for a decent price in my area...depsite the fact we're surrounded by farms. I came across a posting for a free female guinea pig, but I ignored it, as my little family was plenty large enough. However, a few days later, I happened to scroll past the post again. Her furry little face tempted me to click on it, so I did. I contacted the owners to see what their situation was. She had belonged to her daughter during high school, but the daughter had moved to college and left the guinea pig with her parents. I asked to meet her and drove the hour and a half there when they agreed.

The guinea pig, now known as Maggie, was the sweetest thing I had ever seen. She's a beautiful 2-or-3-year-old brown and white Abyssinian She obviously came from a very loving home...but one that knew nothing about caring for guinea pigs. I am definitely no expert, and I'm still learning each day. However, Maggie had always been kept alone, her nails had NEVER been trimmed, her extremely long fur was matted, and she had never been fed veggies, except for the occasional carrot. My heart sank looking at her. Even if they found her a good home, she would need a lot of care to get her into a healthy state, and I knew that would be hard for them to find on Craigslist. So...guinea pig number 6 came home with me.

The following day, she got to meet the vet. She had never been to a vet before, so she was a little rattled. She got her first nail trim at the vet's too...they were bad enough that the vet suggested letting him try to work on them first. Once she got the all-healthy, she came back home and got her first haircut! It looked awful because I had to cut it short enough to remove all the matted fur, especially on her rump, but she's still adorable.

After an introductory period, Maggie was placed with the other girls. I was nervous at first...she was double the size of most of the others and over triple Sofia's size! However, she quickly put my fears to rest. She loves her new sisters/cuddle buddies, and Sofia appears to be her favorite. They stay cuddled up together for most of the day. Maggie often will pull hay out of the bin and lay it down for Sofia to chew on, since Sofia is so short. It's one of the cutest things I have ever seen.

Maggie is also the cuddliest out of the herd. During floor time, she'll explore for a bit before crawling into my lap to sleep. She will often sit for a couple hours each night while I do work or watch TV...and she'll let me know about it if I don't give her enough laptime (her lungs appear to be in great shape...lol). After the addition of Maggie, our little family feels complete.

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Also...the paper bedding from the pics is finally gone!!! I am so in love with the fleece that replaced it.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:10 pm


You know, when you get to the 99th guinea pig you have adopted, we are going to think you have a problem ;-)

GreysGuineaPigs

Post   » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:11 am


Don't put it past me! ;) The office has already been fully converted into a guinea pig habitat...I'll eventually have to stop when I run out of apartment!

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:23 am


With lots of guinea pigs come lots of medical issues. You will need to be very informed on what to look for and prepared to seek veterinary care when needed. As guinea pigs get older, they seem to have more issues. The care involved during illnesses and sadness of loss can be very hard. For many people, the financial burdens can be difficult. You might choose to put a hold on adoptions at this point and focus on your guinea pigs and learning everything you can about them.

GreysGuineaPigs

Post   » Thu Jul 19, 2018 7:51 pm


That's the plan! Two of the pet store girls have already had a fungal infection, so they've been going through a lot of treatment and vet bills with that, Sofia has had to visit the vet and get treatment for an eye issue due to a piece of hay getting trapped, Maggie has had to visit the vet a couple times due to the shape she was in when I got her, plus I took all of them for their initial vet visit when I got them for check-ups...so six has definitely been plenty for me to handle lol. I work two jobs just for extra cash, so they've been well taken care of!

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:27 pm


Well, it does sound like you have an idea of what you are getting into! I hope they all heal so you can have a few trouble free, happy years.

GreysGuineaPigs

Post   » Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:25 am


They're getting much better. Bailey's fur is finally growing back on her nose, and Owens' ear is finally looking better. Tonight I felt a bump on Amelia's side behind her right leg, and it looks like she's got a touch of the fungus too (all the ones that have had fungus have been from the same litter/store, so this isn't even surprising at this point). She's going to the vet this week to make sure that's what it is since the others' started on their face and ears. Sofia's eye is getting better, and it will heal more quickly if she'll quit face-diving into the hay!

On another note, Derek is being a little monster tonight...he's healthy as a horse, but he seems to be going through this "bite-and-pull on your skin" phase. He's never broken skin until tonight, but he got me good this time! He definitely lets me know when cuddle time is over.

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GrannyJu1
Supporter in 2018

Post   » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:23 pm


It took years for us to realize the thinning hair on my Fuzzbutt's side and flank was due to a fungal infection - BEFORE I brought home the last two babies from the same family run pet store. I brought them home 2 weeks apart, so the first had been with Fuzz before we caught it. Then again, since we didn't recognize the thinning hair, it could be they caught it from her but since they were so young (6 weeks) it hit them harder. Either way, I was a bit worried about Fuzz's hair, but the vet didn't think it was a problem.

Anyway after weeks of treatment and vet visits, they are finally all cleared up and Fuzz's hair has grown back. My point is: it would be a good idea to check ALL of them closely for a week or two, just to be sure. (Yeah, I'm that worried Momma!)

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