- Thanks for the Memories
Many pigs lead up to Max. Our pig story really began with Allison the First, a loveable red and white sow that was given away because she was "too quiet". I´ve been a slave ever since, with small breaks.
One of those breaks was in college, after Naughty Noel. I bought her because her red and white coat reminded me of Sandwich, a much-beloved boar lost in my childhood. Noel was...high strung. She bit. She chattered. She tormented cats and dogs and people alike. She chewed everything. No book, sweater or carpet went unmolested. More Alpha than any pig I´ve ever seen, she harassed our sweet teddy (Teddy Jo) and refused to share floor time. After Noel, I needed a break!
Somewhere around my junior year, I saw a cream self boar in the pet store. Nope. I wasn´t gonna. But I couldn´t help but think of him. With summer a few weeks off, I went back only to find out he wasn´t there anymore. But that had gotten me thinking about pigs again, so I started looking for a new one. These were my pre-rescue knowledge days so Max was a pet store piggy.
Max goes to college
Max was one of two in a large aquarium. I loved his wild hair and brought him back with me. He lived in a box for a week in the wardrobe (open, of course!) before our treck home. Max did not endear himself to students facing finals, but we all survived. I was quite upset to notice bald spots on him. My Max was barbering himself. So I clipped him short and it seemed to do the trick. His coat grew back fine, and he didn´t chew on it.
My parents weren´t informed til I brought him home. My mother thought he was cute. My stepfather wanted to know how much grass he could eat.
At the end of the summer, Max learned how to be quiet and returned to college with me.
Max vs the Kitten
Max travelled back and forth to school for a year. That first Christmas, my mother got a kitten. Max was in his traveling box and my mother warned me to "watch the kitten". I did. I watched the kitten poke at Max. Max chattered. The kitten did it again and our other cat settled on the couch to watch. More chattering. The kitten tried his luck a third time and flew across the room, terrified. Max chubbled. I swear he was laughing. The older cat was like "I told you so." To this day, that cat is terrified of guinea pigs. He knows their bite is worse than their wheek.
Max vs the Fridge
Max´s favorite hiding place was behind or under fridges. He started doing this in college. One night, I couldn´t find him after floor time. We turned the whole place upside down. I even looked upstairs and went to look around the bushes outside. It was winter and I was terrified my poor Max had gotten out with all the people running around. One of my roommates finally found him tucked underneath her minifridge. Every time we´d moved it, we´d moved him, too. Leave it to Max to find the warm spot. From that point on, he was always found behind the fridge -- especially the big one. Many floor time runs ended with me on the counter, shooing him out with a broom. His last encounter with a refridgerator was when he got wedged. He and Steve had been out for floor time, and I thought I´d blocked the area well enough. Apparently not. I found Steve looking confused, and Max was firmly stuck between the fan and compressor. We had to unload the whole thing and tilt it forward. From then on, a sturdy ring of cubes corralled them.
Max tries to be brave
Max, ever full of life, stopped eating one May day. Concerned, I took him to the vet where blood was drawn, and Critical Care purchased. His white count seemed high, but a round of Baytril and he was back on his feet. A few months later, he had a visable lump. The cytology report wasn´t good. It was also in a bad spot, firmly attached to the main vein in his leg. I agonized for days what was best for my aging boy. Finally, the vet and I decided to just make him comfortable. He was so brave, but I knew he was feeling it. I had just a week and a half from the inital diagnosis. To add to the trauma of the week, September 12, I took my brave little Max to the vet, and said good bye. It was the hardest thing I´ve ever had to do in my life.
- Thanks for the Memories
After finding the Cavy Madness board, I decided to get Max a pal. My friend (now boyfriend) knew someone who was looking for a new home for her boar, after "she" turned out to be "he". Steve was his name, and it stuck. However, I added "van Gogh" because I like the painter, and his right ear is munched up from some long-forgotten injury. Besides which, with a cagemate named "Maxwell Java Hause", plain old "Steve" just wouldn´t do.
Steve was about a year old when he met cantankerous Max. One trial run I found them both crammed into the same box. Figuring that if they could spend an hour in the same box, they might as well try the same house. So into the pen they went.
While Max bashed through life, Steve thought and plotted. They were the Odd Couple of pigdom, but it seemed to work. Much to Max´s dismay, Steve was insistent on cramming into the pigloo or box or trying to hide under him. Eventually, Max gave up fighting it.
Introducing Julius Caesar
When we lost Max, Steve was as depressed as I. He stopped wheeking. He huddled in his pigloo. He just moped.
For weeks I couldn´t bear to think of getting another pig, but I finally did so "for Steve´s sake." I called up the local shelter and was introduced to a foster slave with young boars. Steve and I went and picked out a funny little guy - orange and white with a smattering of brown. And Crested, like Steve. After a halfhearted rumble, Steve and Julius (then Orange) settled down. Steve seemed to say "You´ll do." Julius just wanted companionship.
One agonizing week later, I brought him home and officially dubbed him "Julius Ceasar." He´s no Max, but he´s a terrific pig unto himself. He´s my alarm clock. He climbs stairs. And most of all, he just wants to be loved. For a little pig dumped in a box, he sure has a big heart. I think Max would approve.
- Thanks for the Memories
Lynx, careful what you wish for.
Max graduates and dines out
Max´s college career ended after only a year. As a final act of defiance, he and his belongings were packed away in full view of the Res Life staff. No more traveling in soda boxes for Max. If memory serves, I carried him.
However, we were then left with the problem of not having an apartment, but needing to eat before I drove to my new home. It was a warm May day and there was no way I could leave him in a car. And a few phone calls revealed that all my pals were out celebrating or moving themselves. So, Mom dumped out her canvass bag (she always has a canvass bag) and we put Max in there. We also gave him a piece of apple and I walked into the local diner like I was carrying my purse. When we were seated, I held him between my feet and we thought nothing of it.
Our smugness wore off when, as we were about to leave, I noticed bits of canvass on the floor. Max had eaten the apple and proceeded to eat the bag, too. There was a huge hole in it, and he was looking back at me through it. Thankfully, he hadn´t decided to investigate the restaurant!
I quickly bundled the remains of the bag around him and exited while my parents paid the check.
Mom had a good laugh, and was OK about the bag. Pays to be the daughter of a guinea pig enthusiast sometimes. However, the following Christmas, "Max" bought Mom a new canvass bag -- with a guinea pig on it.
Steve knows there´s an intruder
Steve knew the minute I brought Julius home for good. And he wasted no time trying to find the intruder. The normally quiet and thoughtful pig sprang into action every floor time, sniffing and muttering to himself. "I know he´s around here somewhere!" Jules would wheek and Steve would jump up, sniffing and listening. At the end of quarantine, I let Steve into the area where Julius was. Steve waddled up to the pen, and started testing it for an entrance. He even walked out into the hall and investigated the wall behind the pen, convinced there was a secret passage. I tried to tell him he´d have to grow wings to get over the cube wall, but he persisted. He even tried pushing and pulling on the cubes, but all that did was make Jules wonder who this nut was.
And, of course, when I took Jules out, Steve sniffed him over and rumbled halfheartedly and came to me looking for food. Julius fell asleep.
Ow Quit It learns stairs
Julius hates to be carried. He gets very nervous and starts nibbling...specifically the hands or arms that are holding him. Hence the title. One day, I was taking the boys back upstairs when Julius bit me and I almost dropped them both. Frustrated, I left Jules on the bottom step and put Steve back in their pen. I went back to see Julius stretching, trying to figure out what the stair was and how he could climb it. I have him a little help, and he quickly caught on that he could climb up himself. Now, instead of being carried up the stairs (or just because I need a laugh), I just set him down and up he goes. He´ll do it three times before he decides it´s enough.
Going down the stairs, however, still requires people power.
- Thanks for the Memories
Mom and I still laugh about it whenever I notice her bag. She still has it.
Jules has never been videotaped, but I´d like to try it sometime. He´s such a nut.
- Me, too!
I could use a little humor today. My old cantankerous peruvian bit 6 holes in my favorite jammies last night while I was trying to groom him--he´s so unhappy with itchy skin (yes, it´s being treated) I need a little happy humor.
- Thanks for the Memories
Due to unfortunate circumstances, Big Momma and Dutchess needed a play to stay. I offered them my sewing room. When I went to pick them and their cubes up, I accidently left most of the connectors behind!
Between my extra connectors, and some colorful twist ties, I managed to put together a cage for them. I bought a new sheet of blue corroplast to make things pretty, and to match their salad-bowl-turned-pigloo. The corroplast fought back. The packing tape and I won.
So, now with the gals happily caged in the sewing room, I decided I Big Momma needed a new name. With permission, I changed it to Momma Cass, although she's usually just called "Fluffhead" or "Cass". Miz Diva Pig is now the submissive one - if you can believe it!
I often leave the doors open so that all four pigs can wheek to one another during the day. In the morning, no sooner do the girls hear Julius than they take up the cry. It's much harder to sleep in with three yelling at you than just one (Steve refrains. It's undignified).
My dear fiance knows the pigs are part of the package (if the gals are still with me, they are welcome to come along). He's turning the spare bedroom into my office - aka Pig Paradise. Love me - love my pigs!
I love the choice of "Mama Cass" for the new name.
Thanks for letting us know how things are going for everyone in your neck of the woods...