My granddaughter had been after us to get her a guinea pig for months and the answer was a resounding no. My reasons were that I knew from experience how much goes into the day to day care and I knew that she would lose interest in it after a few weeks, or as soon as she got grossed out cleaning his cage. She was a typical 11 year old, so it was a certainty. There was also the cats to consider. Well, her grandmother finally caved and got Mr. Bubbles. She named him for the purring noise he always makes. He was about 5-6 weeks old.
True to form, she slowly lost interest in being a guinea pig owner. Since I can't let such an adorable little guy go neglected, I took over. That turned out to be the best thing I could do, as I fell head over heels in love with him. So much that I felt bad that he didn't have a piggie buddy. We are somewhat space challenged as far as a large cage goes and their cages have to stay in the bedroom because of the cats, but I compensate with lots of lap and floor time and lots and lots of visits to love on them. I also leave the TV on at all times so they can hear human noises I hope it doesn't rot their brains LOL. I also put the cats away or if it's nice, the cats prefer to be outside anyway, so he could have floor time cat free. Weather permitting, I took him outside with me to graze on fresh grass; taking every safety measure necessary to safeguard against predators, heat, cold, you name it.
After about 6 months, I decided to get Mr. Bubbles a piggie buddy. Enter Scruffy! It's pretty obvious how he got his name. Out of the 5 male babies at the pet store, he was the only one who actually climbed up on the glass to see me. The rest bolted to the safety of the shelter they had in the tank (yes, they are keeping them in glass tanks instead of open cages ). I knew right then that he was meant to be my Guinea Pig. I took him home hoping my wife wouldn't be mad. After all, it is better to ask forgiveness than permission!
Scruffy was such a cute, lively little guy that he melted Mama's heart right away, so she wasn't mad at all. Now if only Mr. Bubbles would only feel the same way. I've never had only one guinea pig at a time before. When I was a kid, we always got them in pairs, so I had to research how to introduce them so they could share a cage. After 2 days of quarantine, as suggested I went to introduce them and discovered that Scruffy had a discharge from his nose. It was coming out of both nostrils. So back to the pet store with him.
I was beside myself when they told me that they were refunding my money and keeping him because I had already fallen in love with him. Once they explained that after their vet examined and treated him, I could buy him back if he pulled through. The next day, they called and informed me that he had a URI and his prognosis was decent. It was the most excruciating 10 days I had gone through thus far as a guinea pig person. Finally, the day came when he was all better and could come home. I was told to quarantine him for at least 5 days before introducing him to Mr. Bubbles.
Finally the day came for the introduction and hopefully a long friendship between the boys. The first attempt ended in failure as they just kept lunging at each other and clicking their teeth at each other. If not for the potential injury to one or both of them, it would have been funny watching tiny little Scruffy stand up to the bigger Mr. Bubbles. We tried the first time in the dining room with a 6 foot square area with places to hide, no food or females present.
We decided to move the affair outside the next day due to the more open feeling and plenty of long grass for eating and hiding. This time was more disastrous than the first. They didn't take more than a few seconds to get after each other. The result was a small chunk out of each other's ear and my hand. It happened so fast that I didn't even have time to get my gloves on or drop the towel on them. It was then that I realized that they would probably never be paired together and I gave up on it. It makes lap and floor time a little more challenging as I have to give it to them separately, but we're pressing on.
They are both over 2 years old now and they do their communing through the wire separator. Scruffy just turned 2 and Mr. Bubbles is just about 4-5 months older. He's had 2 eye infections that were effectively treated, the last one being nearly a year ago, but otherwise he's a healthy and happy little guy. There was some kind of hard growth or something in his ear, but it's shrunk down and continues to so. I mentioned it in the medical thread I had started on both piggies.
Scruffy is another story. We nearly lost him to a severe infection in his bowels. Thankfully, he pulled through. Here's a link to the medical thread:
I had never dealt with a sick piggie before and I still can't show enough appreciation for the people in this forum for the support and advice I received. Scruffy is very appreciative as well. He's as lively and vibrant as he ever was. The personal care I gave him brought us very close. Even closer than we ever were before. Now that I've gotten the back story all done, I will be chronicle their lives here. I hope to share my experiences over a long and healthy life for my precious boys.
Don't forget that being the prey vs. the predators, guinea pigs may also get really scared and run to hide, often in the most difficult to get at locations!
Your guinea pigs are lucky to have you! If you ever chose to add any more, be sure to check out your local shelter and look for guinea pig rescues. As you discovered, pet stores are not a good choice. We enthusiastically advocate adoption over pet store purchase.
p.s. your imgur links don't seem to work. They are properly formed with url tags but I don't see any pictures, only an error message.
I have a collapsible play pen I put them in when I take them outside, so they can't run away. Plus I sit right there with them at all times. I don't go more than 2 feet away or take my eyes off of them even for a second. They don't seem to be nervous or afraid. They are relaxed and enjoy the fresh air and grass. I pick shaded areas or cover the pen and they aren't out during the heat of the day. They only stay out there for about 30-45 minutes at a time.
He didn't think much of the bath tub and just stared at me like "what the heck is this?". Getting him dried off isn't easy since he bites if I rub his belly or bum, especially with a towel, so he's getting extended lap time so my body heat can keep him warm while he dries. He's mad at me so he won't let me get a picture of his face. Talk about the cold shoulder!