My sweet 10mo american breed guinea pig named "Pumpkin Spice" was adopted today by a nice family with kids, such as my own. My beautiful Abyssinian named "Butterscotch" was sent to a local pet store (I know, but they offered to help when no one else would) who promised they'd take "her" in, so she could have her babies in a safe environment. See, I thought "she" was a "he" and came to find myself (and my husband) completely shocked that we in fact became accidental guinea pig breeders. The panic that set in was mostly due to her belly becoming so big and seeing posts here about labor symptoms and 20% chance of death in young or older females. We had her in the cage with my male pig when she was a little over 3 weeks! Also, I didn't even know to separate them either, because I didn't know it was a female until she was very pregnant. I bought her from a craigslist ad, who swore up and down that it was a MALE. A mistake I wont make again. :(
So, our Pumpkin, he already had some drama, being a pet store piggie. We bought him and his brother Peanut, who died suddenly of what I guess was an URI and I didn't get him to a vet in time. He passed intensely and seemingly in a LOT of pain, so it was terrifying for my kids and especially me, as I am the main caretaker, so I was up with him. I wanted to rehome Pumpkin then, but had to give him another chance. This is where Butterscotch's story comes in. You could tell how SAD Pumpkin was without a mate, he totally lost his squeak and made no sounds at all. Once the male (who was actually female!) came in, he was SO happy. So at least that is the best part.
So here I am, feeling so sad and depressed. I open the fridge and don't hear them squeaking. I don't hear the water bottle shaking. I feel terrible for wondering (and not figuring it out!!!) why Butterscotch was eating SO MUCH and drinking a bottle of water a day. I am racked with guilt, because I limited fresh veggies at times because I already gave the standard 1-2 cups a day. I didn't weigh them enough to know something was happening to Butterscotch. Rehoming them seemed like something I had to do, because I couldn't bare to see Butterscotch suffer and then Pumpkin losing another mate.
I want to become a guinea pig owner again, but right now I am just feeling down and that I am no good at it! One died and one was sexed wrongly in the 10 months we had them. :(
You guys have any tips for me on how to deal with this? I'm mostly just venting and that feels good! I am also going to post pictures here because they are so cute and I miss them so much. Thanks all for reading!
- Supporter in 2018
Hang in there. Learn more from Guinea Lynx, and maybe in the future you will have the knowledge, money, and love in your heart, to once again become a slave. Do read a lot more before making that decision, though.
Sunset— I agree. I need to learn more. Thank you for your kind words.
I’ve grieved for many animals in my life, so I know it gets better. But yeah, it’s been keeping me up at night, for sure! I think reading and learning more is the way to go. I told my 7yo daughter (who really took it hard, so it makes it harder for me!) that one day, we will have a herd of piggies and name them all foodie names and make sure their cage stays clean and hold them every single day! When my kids are older I know this will be possible.
I think next time though, I will stick with a female pair or more. What do you guys think? I feel like males are pretty aggressive and a little stinkier? Haha. Thinking about Butterscotch I feel like “she” was a LOT more vocal but much less smelly. Lol makes you laugh about how similar piggies are to us. The ladies can’t shut up and the boys are grumpy?!
Guinea pigs deserve forever homes with responsible owners.
Tilly, not everyone is cut out to be guinea pig owners. Cats are sturdier pets that live longer and are more affectionate than guinea pigs, but, as you found out, even cats can get sick and require medical care and, like all pets, they will die at some point. Usually they live from 10 to 15 years, so you can have them quite a long time. You need to decide if that might be the right pet for you and if you can offer a home for the lifetime of the pet. It totally does hurt to lose a pet. It's normal to feel all the normal stages of grief. If you find that you can't handle losing one though, it might be better not to have them. Perhaps, instead, you could help support animals by being a volunteer at the local humane society or donating money or food for them. They are always looking for dog walkers and the like. You can help the animals while you are there, and know that you DID help, but go home without any of the responsibility.
When my son was a preschooler, we thought he might like to have some little pets to care for (we would do the caring) and we got a couple of hermit crabs. We were told they were wonderful little pets that took very little care and were entertaining to watch. Do you think we could keep those things alive? We had researched too and provided everything that we were told they needed, but they dropped dead like crazy. We would replace the dead ones only to have those end up deceased as well. It was frustrating because we found people keeping their crabs alive by keeping them in buckets of sand under the bed and we were providing the best bark, roomy aquarium with proper humidity control, etc. We finally gave up as well.
Regrets? I have loads of them after more than a decade of caring for these little guys. We probably all do.