Tribute to Son

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Post   » Fri Feb 07, 2003 12:01 am

Son's Story

ImageFrom Cavy Spirit Guinea Pig Rescue and Adoption

ImageSon. Intact American Male (short hair). Son is a long story. We had pig sat for him a couple of times. Unfortunately, his caretaker died. So, we offered to take him, and so here he is. This poor guy used to live outdoors with two other pigs. He would escape under the fence into the neighbor's yard (the previous owner). One day a raccoon got the other two and he lost one of his eyes in the fight. Well, the neighbor took him. They really didn't know any better, but although they loved him dearly (hence the name Son), he was kept on a wire bottom cage, spent a lot of time outdoors eating grass, wasn't given any water "because he didn't drink it," and his diet was not the best. When he came to us the first time to pig sit, we immediately took him to the vet. He had a huge mass on his chin which had been operated on once already. That vet advised not to do any other surgeries. My vet said it needed to come out again. It was growing into the bone and would soon impair his ability to eat. The owner did have my vet do the surgery when they returned. We kept him during the recovery and hand fed him for a while. The growth was a slow growing cancer that would come back. Now that he's back, he has a multitude of other problems as well. He will be going to the vet for complete check up.

The thing is, he is just the sweetest pig you can imagine. He is used to being brushed and attended to every day. He is very, very friendly, and doesn't seem to mind his problems at all. He is drinking from his water bottle (something the previous owner insisted he didn't do) and eating quite fine.

We expect he will be with us the rest of his life, unless someone has room in their hearts and their lives for a really special guinea pig.

ImageUpdate (10/16/01) Son went to the vet on 10/11/01 for a check up and surgery. We had him neutered, a small growth or mole removed from his belly, and his eye sutured shut. His teeth were checked and there is no re-growth yet of his prior tumor. All good. These are some photos before we go back to get stitches removed.

Update (10/19/01) Son had the stitches removed from his eye and his belly. He is doing fine! We will update the photos once the eye area heals and the hair grows back.

ImageUpdate (1/20/02) We recently discovered a pretty large lump on Son's chest. We took him to our vet on 1/10. We determined that, it probably should come out, but it was going to be difficult. This was a tough call. He's come through all of his other operations quite well. He has a lot of spunk, a lot of life left in him. We decided to go for the surgery. We took him in on Thursday 1/18. It was a difficult surgery. They had to cut through muscle and he lost a lot of blood. We were a basket case during the waiting time. He came around quite well and was moving around within hours. But, the next day, it was clear that he was in a lot of pain. We had him on pain meds, but felt that he needed more. Before going to the vet to pick up some additional injectable pain meds, we fed him some Critical Care (a powdered food good for recovery) and he was very thirsty and drank a lot of water. When we got back from the vet with the meds, he was having difficulty breathing, like he had an Upper Respiratory Infection. So, either some of the water went down the wrong way (he drank from his water bottle), or he was accumulating fluid in the lungs. So, now instead of giving him the pain meds, we put him on Baytril (a guinea pig-safe antibiotic)--all per the vet, of course. We have been spending all available time holding him. He likes the warmth. Also, when we are not with him, he gets some time in his cage with Rita and most of his time on cozy which is over a heating pad. He is eating on his own here and there now, but still gets hand fed. He is doing better, but we are not considering him out of the woods yet. The photos were taken Sunday evening, over 3 days after the surgery. The suture looked pretty gruesome when we picked him up, but looks quite good now.

Son and Rita:
Update (1/23/02) Son is doing better now. He is eating on his own, and pooping and urinating like normal. We still give him nap time on the heated cozies and are still supplementing his food with some Critical Care feedings. He does appear to be "out the woods." The suture area looks fine and there is no swelling. I'm sure he is looking forward to having his sutures removed in a few days or so!

Update (1/26/02) Son had his stitches removed this afternoon and is doing much better. He has put most of his weight back on now and his poops are back up in that "prolific" category! Prolific poops. That's what we like!

Update (2/10/02) Last week, Sunday (2/3) we went to pick up Son and discovered (by our nose) that there was an infection at the suture site. Some of the hardness that was part of the scar healing was covering an abscessed infection. We did our best to clean and flush it out. Took him to the vet the next morning. He dug out quite a bit of yuk. We are now flushing the area twice a day and he is on Baytril. The infection seems to be getting a bit smaller every day. He doesn't act like it bothers him at all. Although he really hates the flushing routine. Now he doesn't like it when I come over to get him. Bummer. Hopefully we'll get through this soon. I'm also pretty sure he has some back molar problems. We'll try to get that taken care of soon, too.

Update (3/4/02) Not sure when this happened, but discovered yesterday that one his bottom incisor's has broken off. He has a vet appointment for later this week to look at his teeth, probable trimming of molars. He is still on antibiotics for some remaining infection at the suture site. There is still some infection there. Here is a photo of Son catching a snooze, but being interrupted by the flash of the camera. The other photo is of Son puttering around while Rita takes a nearby siesta in her cozy. The photo of his teeth is with the lower lip pulled down to expose much of the root. Looks like he needs a good flossing, doesn't it? Please send healthy, healing thoughts Son's way. I don't know how much more this poor guy is going to be able to handle. He is still as perky and friendly as ever.

Update (3/14/02) Son went to the vet and had his teeth trimmed on Thursday 3/7/02. We think he was a bit sore and the vet took off quite a bit of the incisors as well as trimming the front molars. We hand fed him for a few days. He is now eating great. He is no longer grinding his teeth and his breath smells a lot better. It's hard to believe his teeth have grown back so darn fast, but right now, they look wonderful! His weight is much better. He is very muscular and healthy. His suture scars have all but disappeared! He is doing fabulously! We are so happy about it.

Update (July 02) The Hollister rescue happens and we are responding to various people and rescues who are willing to take in guinea pigs from the new cross-country trip being planned to get pigs from California to the East Coast. We receive a reply from Salisa's rescue in Indiana, and she expressed an interest in adopting Son if we felt he could make the trip: "I would LOVE to adopt Son. And Rita is welcome, too. I have talked to the vet, and she's willing to take him on, too. (I think she sees me as a challenge-- we were just there with Rufus and his ongoing undiagnosable skin condition) She's not done a GP tooth trim (many rabbits, but no GPs). Could she contact your vet if she has questions? The kids and I fell in love with him a long time ago, I just never thought a piggy train would come from CA to IN-- would you? We go out to the Adoptables page every weekend to make sure Son's still there! If Son and Rita come, I could take up to eight more adults, or some combination of babies & moms. I assume the babies will be easy to adopt, how can you resist those faces? (And I'd love Erin's PEW, too-- Maybe I could keep her 'til Erin convinces her Mom she can have another? hee hee)"

Update (August 02) I just thought you might like an update. Son is soooo friendly! And nosy, too. He has that nose up in the air at the slightest sound! I was wondering if you knew how much he usually weighs. He seems pretty solid, but I try to keep weights on the pigs when I have a lot of rescues (I have 20 right now), so I don't miss somebody going down hill. He seems fine, don't panic!

I took him for his "hello" check to the vet. We were admiring the bizarre enamel on his one front tooth. I, of course, thought something was horribly wrong with it. He was declared in great health. She didn't find anything under his chin, currently. She did drain the cyst on top of his head. It wasn't very big, but since we were there, she drained it. Son was not impressed.

I bought a new cozy for him. The ones he had were about 10" square, and though he and Rita sat ON them, I didn't see them IN them. So I took a regular fake sheepskin, covered it with a towel, folded it in half, towel-side out, and safety-pinned the corners. Son approved of my efforts. The sheepskin is stiff, so it stays in a shape they can crawl into.

Rita seems fine, too, although not at all interested in being held. They do like cruising in the outdoor pen (under close supervision at all times). I haven't put them in with any of the resident pigs yet, didn't know if they were the social herd type or not.

Update (September 02) Son had his "weigh-in" today. I weighed him two weeks ago just to get a base weight. He's gained two ounces ! (this seems like a lot, but I never weigh my pigs normally, so ???) He seems very happy. He LOVES to go outside. He'll trundle along all over the outdoor enclosure, sniffing and sometimes talking to himself. Thank you SO much for letting him come to our house. My daughter (9 going on 20) will sit and talk to him. I don't know what they talk about, but Son nods and looks in her eyes, and seems to be talking back!

Update (January 30th, 2003) Rita, despite a fine diet of fresh veggies, hay & pellets and a lovely 2x4 cage, floor time, etc, has not managed to lose any weight. She is however, a good lap pig once she gets settled in. She has the most gorgeous, big eyes. I think she's my 2nd favorite pig. Maybe 3rd. She's been completely boring from a health standpoint, although both she and Son shed a lot the first few weeks we had them. I assume it was stress.

Son's tumor on his right flank got MUCH bigger in October, and he had it removed. Most of it, anyway. The vet says it is attached to the rib, and she wasn't willing to do an open chest surgery to get it off, especially since it had been surgerically removed by DR N once before already. The cytology report came back the same as what his other two tumors had been. He also had his teeth filed a bit, although the vet said they weren't too bad. He lost about 10g after this surgery, and was his usual self, muttering about and pacing his enclosure.

He's very sensitive about change! When I clean, I have to be sure to let him in first, to sniff everything and inspect whether I have corrected positioned the houses, the cuddle cup, the food bowls, etc. Rita LOVES the cuddle cup.

Things were pretty uneventful until December, when the tumor on his flank started growing again. We went to the vet and she and I had a long talk about the tumor. She's pretty confident it will continue to grow back. At the moment, we've decided not to do anything with it. The one under his chin has never come back, so they must have gotten all of it. Son has an occasional impaction now, so I am sure to check him every day, which he tolerates with dignity but doesn't appreciate. He's also having this weird thing where his penile sheath won't retract, so the vet is going to put a stitch in "the ring" to help it stay in when it's supposed to. In the meantime, he suffers the indignity of me putting KY on it and prodding in gently back in 2-3 times a day. (He goes to the vet this aft, so after that is shouldn't be a problem). Son is my favorite pig, hands down. I LOVE his muttering. And he's so happy all the time. And curious. When we put him down for floor time, he's off in an instant, ambling as far as the perimeter will allow, sniffing and inspecting every cm of space. Once he's completed his inspection, THEN he'll settle down for some veggie treat, but not until then. And he's very well-mannered. Only uses the litter "flat" in the corner, never hogs the hidey houses, etc.

When Rita gets down, she heads immediately for the nearest house, and will pull the house along with her to the veggie pile! She seems to think the other females in our home herd are ok, but not anyone she wants to cozy up to.

Is Son really six? (that's what his Dr N record says)

Update (February 5, 2003) Son died today. Son passed over the Rainbow Bridge while we were away. He was bright-eyed and perky for morning veggie & hay rounds, and we found him gone, with Rita at his side, when we came home. He was a wonderful pig with great personality, and we miss him terribly. Thank you for letting him enrich our lives. I just can't believe he left so soon.

- Salisa


Son was a much loved guinea pig with quite the personality. He will be remembered by many and missed for a long time by a few.

Get on your bike.

Post   » Fri Feb 07, 2003 12:09 am

That was very moving.


Post   » Fri Feb 07, 2003 12:11 am

I'm sorry, T. I clearly remember the day you got him. He got a rough start, but ended up having a good life, thanks to people who cared.

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Post   » Fri Feb 07, 2003 12:18 am

It is so sad to see a loved one go. Tears are running down my face. He surely was a very special pig. I'm sorry you lost him.

I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Fri Feb 07, 2003 12:24 am

I'm so sorry. I know Son was very special to you.

I don't think anyone could read this tribute and not be moved to tears.

What an incredible pig and a real tribute to how much you cared for him. Rest in peace, dear Son.

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For the love of my girls!

Post   » Fri Feb 07, 2003 12:56 am

Salisa and Teresa... I am so sorry. You know it's a special pig that can move us to tears simply for having met him a few times. I guess he went when he was ready. He will be sorely missed, I know. How is Rita doing? Sounds like she has other pigs to keep her company.

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Post   » Fri Feb 07, 2003 2:32 am

What a brave little guy your Son was, Salisa and Teresa.

I'm very sad for you all.


Post   » Fri Feb 07, 2003 8:52 am

Sorry to hear Son has passed.

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Supporter 2004-2020

Post   » Fri Feb 07, 2003 9:11 am

I followed his incredible story on Cavy Spirit. I'm so sorry to hear he's gone.

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Post   » Fri Feb 07, 2003 11:31 am

Yes, a very special pig indeed. In spite fo his problems, he was a very lucky guy for being with both of you, Teresa and Salisa. I'm sorry for your loss.


Post   » Fri Feb 14, 2003 6:50 am

What a story of a very, very special guinea pig. Ofcourse I cried reading your story, it reminds me of piggies I have lost.
Sometimes it seems so cruel....
Son is with a lot of guinea pig-friends now he will be happy there at the rainbow bridge and you will meet again one day....

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Post   » Fri Feb 14, 2003 6:56 pm

I'm so, so sorry about Son. I followed his story on Cavy Spirit and still could not believe what a sweet, outgoing personality he had, after suffering so much, until I met him in person, and saw him for myself. He was a very brave pig and in the end his love was as full of care and love as we could hope for any pig.

I'm so sad to hear that he's gone.

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Fri Feb 14, 2003 7:17 pm

I was fortunate enough to meet and hold Son on the Guinea Pigs-A-Go-Go trip when Rover stopped in Salt Lake. He was a very special pig.

I am very sorry Son is gone, what a sweet guy!

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Post   » Fri Feb 14, 2003 7:31 pm

What a touching story.. I am in tears as I am typing this.
Son sure went through a lot, he must have loved his life with you to be able to be so strong and pull through so many surgery's.
He was SO lucky to have you as you were to have him. Take care~


Post   » Mon Feb 17, 2003 11:50 pm

Oh my that is one of the most horrible stories I have ever heard! I could never imagine making a poor little animal suffer through all that. The stresses that little critter went through with those surgeries and that poor little mouth, I am almost sick now.

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Post   » Wed Feb 19, 2003 9:08 pm

Every decision was made with his best interests at heart along with the recommendations from one of the best cavy vets around. He surely would have died a lot sooner and suffered more without the medical treatment he received.

Many thanks to everyone else for their kind and supportive thoughts and words.


Post   » Wed Feb 19, 2003 11:22 pm

Yes I'm sure Son lived a really great life thanks to those who cared so much. I feel so bad for that little guy. He went thru so much and was still such a sweet little piggie. I followed his story on CS as well. Each time I see him getting new symptoms, I just cring. Poor poor guy. But he lived a really good life and its all thanks to you (teresa & salisa). =)

He's up in Piggie Heaven now rolling in piles of hay.

PAL- what the crap you talking about?


Post   » Sun Feb 23, 2003 10:19 am

I remember reading about Son a year ago- that's a sad story. My heart goes out to Son and the people who cared for him. He has a lucky pig to have such caring people looking after him.


Post   » Sun Feb 23, 2003 6:16 pm

Sorry to hear about Son. He will obviously be greatly missed.

It's all quite easy for us when our pigs are healthy but it takes a special kind of dedication to look after a pig like Son. He was lucky to have you two to look after him through his life

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