I have two male piggies, Spot and Fido. I had no experience with Guinea pigs, or any furry creatures for that matter, until about a year and a half ago when we bought Spot for my stepson, Sean, as a Christmas gift. He had wanted a pet soooo desperately and we´d put him off for years and years.
Finally, my husband broke down and decided to get him a gerbil or hamster for x-mas. We figured little guys like that would be low maintenance. He talked to the pet-store clerks who told him that Guinea pigs were much better pets as they had tons of personality. When my husband told me this, I thought, "Yeah, right. A rodent´s a rodent. Whatever." So he came home with this furry little creature that made cute little sounds and hopped around like a bunny. I thought it was the cutest thing I´d ever seen!! I was fascinated with him and would play with him for hours.
Before x-mas we stored the new piggy at my office so Sean wouldn´t hear the rustlings of a live animal in the house. It was hard for me to work as I was constantly watching the little guy eat, drink and poop (yes, my work is pretty boring). I´d hold him in my lap during confernce calls with clients (thank goodness we didn´t have video conferencing!) and loved every moment with him.
Sean was nine at the time. X-mas morning came and we gave Sean all his presents and told him his last present was a book. He got a look on his face like, "woo hoo (yawn), a book" and still not much more excitement when he found it was a book on "How to care for a Guinea pig." But then my husband walked into the room carrying a cage with the little animal inside. Sean was shocked at first (Dad would NEVER buy a pet). Then, I took the piggy out of the cage and handed him to Sean. Sean held him in his little hands and he was so happy a tear dripped off his cheek onto the piggy´s oily fur (we got it on video, it´s precious). Sean named him "Spot" for reasons I can only begin to guess (I think he really wanted a dog).
Needless to say, I quickly became attached to our little Spot and soon became the primary care taker (since Sean is so young and only with us every other weekend); but I didn´t mind because I got so much pleasure out of Spot (yes, me… who once considered Guinea pigs simple rodents). I would come home from a stressful day at work, hold Spot on my chest, and all my troubles would disappear. For those few minutes, I didn´t have a care in the world - I could just cuddle and whisper to him and Spot would reward me with purrs and little licks on my face. Then I would put him on the ground for a good laugh while I watched him popcorn his little heart out. I didn´t even care that he peed on the carpet… they were just little stains, and we were renting (paid for that later!). It´s amazing what you can forgive when you love something enough.
Spot is an absolute angel baby. He is so sweet, calm and loving. He´ll snuggle up to your neck when holding him and purr when you pet him. He´s very people-friendly with a very passive (did I say sweet?) personality.
I soon started feeling guilty for leaving Spot alone all day. So we decided to get him a "brother." I had read in Sean´s "How to care for a Guinea pig" book that putting two males together was fine, but that the new Guinea pig should be a baby so that dominance was predetermined. Well it was predetermined all right...
We got Fido about 6 months ago, so he´s about 7 months old. From day one, he was very aggressive with Spot. He was just 3-4 weeks old, and about 1/6th Spot´s size, but would steal food right from Spot´s mouth! He would also push Spot´s chubby butt out of the shelter when he decided he wanted it now. He was just a miniature bully. Funny thing is, Spot didn´t seem to mind. He is just so passive, he didn´t object to being pushed around. I felt horrible though… in an effort to make Spot´s life better, I had effectively made it much worse.
Fido was anti-human when we first got him. He´d let me hold him but would be very tense, staring at me suspiciously as if he was sure the beating would begin at any moment. And he´d jump at the slightest noise. Once when I was holding Fido, my husband bent over to kiss him on the head… the kiss (or the sound of it) scared him to death and before I knew what had happened, Fido had darted off my lap and under the couch. (My husband said some of his ex-girlfriends would react the same way).
Over the next few months Fido calmed down a bit and when I would hold him he seemed... tolerant. I think he finally realized I was not the enemy, and in fact the food source. He was still a bully. Wherever Spot was, Fido decided that´s where HE wanted to be and would push him out of the way. But Spot seemed to deal with it and learned he just had to wait in line for food and water.
However; after a few months, I noticed Fido getting even more aggressive. He must have been going through a strange puberty thing because he started humping his big brother! This turned out to be one thing Spot would not tolerate. He never bit Fido or anything really mean, but would at least squeal and jump out of range when the mounting started. But Fido wouldn´t let up. So I finally ended up separating the boys into their own cages, just to give Spot a break.
I would put them together for floor-time and after about a couple months, the humping seemed to have stopped. I decided it was time to try putting them back together but not in the same small cages. Instead I researched cage designs and built a C&C cage, 4x2 cubes. They are living together now and seem to be getting along very well.
I had a dream last night that Fido, with his sharp little claws, mounted Spot and dug his claws into the side of him so hard it skinned him down one side! A 4x2 inch slab of skin and fur was torn off exposing raw meat!! So, other than the nightmares, everything is going well.
I would like to thank the wonderful people here at Guinea Lynx. So many of you have been very entertaining, comforting when necessary, and knowledgeable. I´m happy to have found you!