Daisy and Ruby, bonded pigs


Post   » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:26 am

Ruby and Daisy came to us in August 2008 through SARs (Small Animal Rescue http://smallanimalrescue.org/) They were 4 1/2 years old. Our first introduction was this email:

Two more seniors??? Here is the story. These two are pretty old...Don't
worry if you don't have room though. No pressure.

Those 2 pigs I was boarding since Feb... can they go to pinta's too? One is Moose's daughter (beige with red eyes) and the other is her friend (brown, white with red eyes). The family is having a disagreement on whether the pigs can come into their new home, the dad is much against it and the daughter and mom are quite unhappy about it. I kinda knew this was happening as they didn't contact me all summer.

Any chance pinta could take the 2 girls this weekend or next? My place is much too hot and I worry about them since they are getting on in age. I'm sorry to sack her with these 2 old girls but they are great pigs, never any problems. If she can't, then I can keep them.



We often take on "bonded" pigs only to find them dumping each other the second they hit the pig condo. Ruby and Daisy were different. As soon as they entered our home we could tell they really were bonded. Daisy was clearly in charge. She was the voice of Ruby, her tri-coloured friend.

As Ruby spent most of her time resting her chin on the food dish while Daisy hovered over her, it didn't take long for us to suspect heart issues and to slap Ruby on heart meds. Ruby's activity level increased a bit and we increased the heart meds bit by bit until Ruby was able to move from level to level in the condo and even make her way down the ramp to check out the kitchen.

Still, Daisy kept a close eye on Ruby who was never out of her sight. If food was needed Daisy would scream for both of them. At the end of the day of grazing in the backyard, they would be found together in the same shelter. They were always within feet of each other.

When they first arrived I noticed one hell of a lump in Daisy's abdomen. The lump took up one third of her abdomen. During her health check appointment my vet thought it might be a desiccated fetus. She was x-rayed but no definitive diagnosis was forthcoming. At Daisy's age my vet was very unwilling to "upset the applecart". Exploratory surgery had a greater chance of killing Daisy than helping her. She was happy, had great quality of life and it was decided she was best left alone. Daisy and Ruby enjoyed another summer of grazing and being fully participating members of our herd.

In the fall of 2009, Daisy's hair started getting sparse. Very sparse. Damned close to "skinny" pig sparse. There was some weight loss and a visit to the vet resulted in the same "don't upset the applecart" advisory. If she was a senior before, she was even more senior now and an even poorer candidate for surgery. She was happy and had quality of life and the condo had additional heat already for the skinny pig in residence. All was as well as it could be although my vet expressed a firm desire to get a hold of her when she died to see what the hell was going on in there.

About a month ago she developed a constantly wet butt and the smell of infection. A round of sulfa had a small effect but not enough. A switch to Baytril seemed to be doing the trick until January 29.

I had uncharacteristically locked up the pigs in the condo for the night much earlier than usual. A couple of hours later, in the early morning, I came downstairs and heard a strange noise coming from the condo. It was Daisy in an agonal state. She was on her side gasping for breath. I gave her oxygen knowing although it wouldn't cure her but hoping it would make her feel better. She died in my lap. She was 6 years old.

As we always do with pigs who have passed, we put Daisy in the condo so the rest of the herd would know what had happened. We particularly worried about Ruby knowing she would feel the loss of her best friend far more than the other pigs. But Ruby looked fine and greeted a condo restocking with the same enthusiasm as usual.

In the morning we removed Daisy's body and put her in the fridge for my vet to do a necropsy on Monday.

The rest of the day was a typically busy Saturday. By late afternoon we were back home and as always, checked on the pigs. Ruby was dead. Within 12 hours of losing her best friend in the world, Ruby had died.

This we did not see coming. We had had pigs grieve the loss of friends and we had had to break quarantine on vet orders to distract a grieving non-eating pig with a new cagemate, but we had never had two best friends die within hours.

So now we had two pigs in the fridge awaiting necropsy.

Plenty of reasons why Daisy died: the lump was the biggest uterine tumour my vet had ever seen. It had adhered to the bladder which was backed up with infected urine. The ureter to the kidney was clogged. It was more a question of why Daisy had lived as long as she did rather than why she died. Ruby's heart looked good, everything looked good. There was one questionable growth on her intestines that was unlikely to have done her in at that point. Essentially there was no reason why Ruby had died. Except for the loss of her Daisy.

Did Daisy hang on for Ruby or did Ruby hang on for Daisy? All I know for sure that these really were bonded pigs.


Post   » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:23 am

Awesome, a new chronicle. Can't wait to hear more about your pigs, and hopefully.... pictures?

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Post   » Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:53 am

It was my impression the story is over, unfortunately.
I'm so sorry their time was up Pinta. But I am sure they had the best possible life with you as their caregiver.


Post   » Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:00 am

Oh, gosh... :(

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Post   » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:28 am

Oh that's so touching. *sniff*

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Remembering Nemo

Post   » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:34 am

Oh man, it teared me up :( What an amazing pair!

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Cavy Comic

Post   » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:44 am

What a very sad story. Yet, how endearing that they really loved each other that much!

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Post   » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:49 am

I'm sorry to hear about your losses. The girls must have really loved each other. Now they're together again at the Bridge.

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"Live Long and Prosper"

Post   » Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:06 am


Thanks so much for sharing this.

I had the same thing happen with Millie and her cage mate, Lulu. Millie died from a tumor and her cage mate died a week later, from unknown causes. Lulu wasn't even that old and they had only been together about a month. Lulu was the only pig Millie would tolerate after I tried so many of them, and then she passed. Very strange.

My friend Lisa's pig, Betsy, passed away and her cage mate, Penny died within a week, too. They were senior sisters, about 6 years old.

Lisa tried to bond Penny, but she hated every pig she tried, and then passed away and is now with her sister over the Bridge.


Post   » Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:33 pm

I probably shouldn't have posted their story here as it won't continue. Lynx, do feel free to move it to the appropriate spot.

Do we have a cavy psychology forum?

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Post   » Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:55 pm

Some of the stories here are about guinea pigs that are no longer alive. I think it fits here fine. Thanks for sharing Daisy and Ruby with us.

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Post   » Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:56 pm

How bittersweet! It reminds me of an ancient mother daughter pair I had as sanctuary pigs in the rescue. Daughter died first of old age related issues, and mother within the week. They had been together the daughter's whole life.

Obey My Authority

Post   » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:39 pm

They hanged on for each other, to take that long trip to the Rainbow Bridge together,... just like the way they had been doing everything else in life.

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We miss our sweet Oreo

Post   » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:13 pm

It's such a touching story, I have to admit my eyes are tearing up, too. With all of our pigs, I don't believe I've ever seen anything like that. Although there are two females who will both try to squoosh into the same pigloo. I can never tell whether its because they want to be so close, or whether they're both too stubborn to leave. I'd like to think they have the kind of relationship that Daisy and Ruby had.

Get on your bike.

Post   » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:15 pm

Oh hi pinta! You know I was wishing a story from you just the other day. Frizzle and Wooly were very much like this pair. I'm sorry for your loss.

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Post   » Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:09 am

That is so sad, but so amazing at the same time. It's so amazing how they know that they have to be with there friend no matter what. Thanks for posting such a bittersweet story!


Post   » Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:32 am

Maggie and Rosie were another "bonded" duo who came to us about the same time as Ruby and Daisy. They split up the second they hit the condo with Rosie(smooth haired red) joining up with Conway(PEW) and Daphne(smooth haired red with a white blaze). I don't think she's spent time with Maggie since they arrived.

Maggie(black and red abby) is a senior completely blind from cataracts. She immediately joined up with Daisy and Ruby and they became the old lady trio ruling one level of the condo. Daisy was then the voice for all three.

We were concerned how Maggie would take the loss of her clique but she seems to be fine although a little annoyed with constantly being poked to make sure she is still alive.

It helps that another bonded duo(brother and sister) just joined the herd. New blood makes for a healthy distraction from recent losses. Fredeye and Molly do appear to be bonded with Mollie obviously in charge. They've made themselves at home even occasionally taking over the condo level usually inhabited by Conway and his red sows. There was a time Conway would have beaten Fredeye up but he lost his thug attitude when his bonded friend, Buddy(black and red smooth hair) gained enough weight after getting on heart meds to pull a chunk of hair out of Conway and put him in his place. Typical bully: becomes gutless when someone stands up to him.

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Post   » Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:53 am

Oh wow. So these are pigs that are still doing well?


Post   » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:42 am

They're doing fine.

When Fredeye and Mollie first came, Buddy and Lily were the welcoming committee. We let the pigs do their own introductions to newbies by leaving the newbies in the living room and waiting for the resident pigs to discover them. Molly found her way into the condo within a day and Fredeye soon to followed.

Lily is a bossy undersized black and white abby who previously lived as an only pig and now believes everywhere is her territory. Her method of welcoming Fredeye was rapid fire machine gun sneak attacks from under a shelter. Fredeye was startled more than anything else(she really is underweight). After she showed him who was boss, Buddy did a great deal of waggling and some chasing ensued. Then the required territorial levitating ball of pigs occurred. They were pretty evenly matched so at one point I did the "hand of death" to break the tie and slapped each one's butt while they were engrossed in staring each other down. They were much relieved to have the "fights" broken up(saved face) and ended up side by side separated only by a shelter wall.

Since then there have only been the occasional bald spots - Buddy with cream hair in his mouth or Fredeye with black hair in his mouth and one interesting chunk out of Fredeye's ear that may have had nothing to do with Buddy at all(more than one diva sow in the condo). They both wander the kitchen and the living room together and it appears Buddy is enjoying rough and tumble boar company again. Conway used to perform this function until he wussed out on Buddy.

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Supporter in '14

Post   » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:50 am

Thanks Pinta for your story. I had abonded trio. Topica and Oreo were adopted by me in June 2004, they were 2-3 years old then. After intoductions, Cookie became bonded to them (more to Tropica than Oreo, but still the three of them were close. Cookie (6 yrs old)died from an inoperable spleen tumor on a Tuesday this past November. Tropica, who had been on heart meds for several months and appeared to be doing well, died 48 hours later, on Thursday.

They are both still in my freezer. I thought sure Oreo, who is also a heart pig and at least 8 yrs now, would join them very quickly and I wanted to cremate the three of them together. Oreo has hung on though much longer than I thought. The youngest pig in my group has taken up with her so she's not alone, which is good.

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