I was completely new to guinea pigs, so the rescue sent me home with Xena, who is a very sweet, people-friendly girl, but can have a little bit of an attitude with other guinea pigs. She'd been bonded to a cuy who had passed away, and after that she had yet to find a new companion that she liked - she'd been adopted as part of a trio, but had been returned for nipping at the female of the remaining pair.
Since I'm very much not a guinea pig, we got along pretty wonderfully - she was easy to catch, hold, and feed, and had the courtesy to use the litter box 99% of the time, although that didn't stop me from panicking and frantically googling to find out if something was wrong (nobody had warned me of how much they poop!).
We decided to try her with neutered males in the rescue to see if she liked any of them better. After a few tries, we found one that was acceptable (read: backed down completely when she warned him off) to her.
His name is Bartholomew, and he's some sort of Peruvian mix that had had the misfortune of belonging to a little girl who "coloured him in" with pink Sharpie and cut his beautiful hair completely short! He and his brother were surrendered by the little girl, and he had to be neutered because he was bullying his brother (more like chasing him around in - his brother went on to find a companion that he absolutely adored, so that worked out well for him!
My husband's reaction on meeting Bartholomew was more or less how I'd imagine him meeting his teenage daughter's boyfriend for the first time - "all the boys in the world, and you pick THIS one?"
Bartholomew was terrified of people and hands, but after an initial nip we came to an agreement and he eventually became reasonably comfortable with being handled. He spent the first day scuttling around the cage like an enormous tarantula, while clucking like a chicken (can you tell that I'm not very used to guinea pig behaviour?), but mellowed out substantially by the time they were both adopted.[/img]
I've realised that I left out a very important part of the story: introducing myself. So, here it is. My name is Sasha and I'm a South African who's recently moved to San Diego to study. I used to have rats back in South Africa (I might post bios for each of them later on), but I've ended up fostering guinea pigs once I arrived here. I'm slowly learning the guinea pig ropes (I'm also involved in a bit of adoption counselling through the rescue) - seeing how little I know about them has made me realise how much I'd had to learn about rats!
I am really surprised at how many people don't seem to appreciate guinea pigs as pets, so I've really enjoyed reading the threads on this forum and seeing that there are people who really love these special little creatures. I don't expect everyone to love every kind of animal, but it shocks me how many people have had guinea pigs but didn't really like them, mostly because they weren't taking proper care of them, so their guinea pigs were likely bored and lethargic.
On another note, it's almost time for Bubbles - the guinea pig who might have started a lifelong love of cuys. :)