Last year, Leslie and I went to the PetCo right up the road to get some dog food. Well, we make it a few feet in the door and we both see the guinea pigs. Well, we had to each hold one. Leslie pick out Lilo ("Queen of the Guinea Pigs" -- since she was technically the FIRST guinea pig -- first one that was seen -- that makes her the 'Queen'). I wanted to hold the first one I saw, 'Stitch' (Let me see that one with the screwed up hair and huge ears). Stitch started immediately licking my fingers while I held her, and Lilo started making little woop woop woop sounds to Leslie as she held her.
We ended up getting about $350 worth of stuff for the pigs that night. Pet store cage, hay, pellets, etc -- Got it all. We also got the dog food (heh, that IS what we went there to get after all!).
Well, we get the guys home, and set them on top of a card table. Cage fit perfectly. And every night, Lilo and Stitch would join us in our bed while we watched a movie. They loved it, we loved it, and all was fine.
One week passes and we notice that Lilo is all hunched over in a corner. Not really moving, fur all puffed out. Well, in the past week, we had found a few guinea pig websites (we'd already "settled" on Guinea Lynx -- neither of us registered yet -- just lurking and gathering information) and knew from posts that this was indeed a DEFINATE bad sign. We freaked out, we were worried sick. And we start madly searching for an exotic vet near us open at 11:30pm on a Wednesday night. Well, we find one about 15 miles away -- we go there, and find out that Lilo has intestinal problems.
Fourteen days of Bactrim and BeneBac and minus $200 later -- we get Lilo home to nurse her back to health. HOPING that she survives this thing (we were *VERY* worried about her). We went ahead and had Stitch checked as well, but she came out fine.
Next day -- Leslie goes back to PetCo to raise hell about them selling us a sick pig. They didn't really seem too concerned, and said to her, "Well, you want another one?". At this point, Leslie calls me at work -- in tears -- telling me what they just said. I freaked. I mean, how *DARE* they offer us ANOTHER pig after SELLING us an already sick one?!? I tell Leslie to talk to the manager, let me talk to the manager, anything! Well, turns out that they had this guinea pig (for sale, of course) that had gotten into a fight. And lost. In a bad way. Seems this guy had an eyeball gashed and punctured, a slash across his throat, not very active, and just in overall bad shape. They offer THIS pig to us. They had him in the back waiting for him to die. They didn't want to put him down, because (as it turned out MUCH later) this guy was the employee's 'favorite pig' (yeah, sure? now they do THIS to him?!? PUT HIM DOWN!!). So, they kept him around. They didn't want to spend the money to get him fixed. They couldn?t do that unless he was "somebody's pet". Leslie calls me again and tells me the situation, and I tell her to get off of the phone with me, and get this guy to a vet. If the vet can not save him, then so be it. If the vet CAN save him -- WONDERFUL!!!.
Leslie takes him to the vet (our wonderful Dr. A). And basically says, "fix him. Cost is no object. Fix him, please.?" Dr. Ahern wanted to put the pig down at first. We argued it. Asking Dr. A if she had the ABILITY and EXPERTISE to save him. Can she safely handle this punctured eye? The throat? Maybe even neuter him while she's at it? Dr. A starts telling us that this pig will never look 'normal', he may have a permanent head tilt due to the eye loss, he may never behave like a 'normal' pig. He will also need a very loving home, and lots of care. Well, we can do that. The 'love' isn't a matter to be questioned -- what is to be questioned is whether or not Dr. A can actually SUCESSFULLY perform all the work needed on this pig. Leslie then tells her the situation about the whole PetCo fiasco and how we acquired him. Dr. A was LIVID! She called the PetCo and raised hell Yay Dr. A!! Well, she removed the eye, stitched up his throat, and neutered him and billed PetCo the $1,300 it took to fix him.
Tigger enters our family.
We come to the realization that this is just ONE pig in a bad situation. We've got the time, the space, definatly the heart, and the money to help more. So, we kind of put the word out that we'd like help more. Getting Tigger healthy gave us such a good feeling, there just HAD to be more that needed help. Well, our friend from the House Rabbit Society tells us that she knows of two pigs needing a home from a shelter in Alabama somewhere (we live in Atlanta, GA). She was going to Alabama to pick up some rabbits, and wanted to bring these two pig to us.
Blaze and Spaz arrive. Spaz is adopted out -- our first adoption!! Blaze is three days away from giving birth, has pneumonia, and a broken leg. And she has the most adorable face. I instantly fell in love with her. I KNEW that she would become a permanent member of our home. I'd just have to convince Leslie that this one would not be for adoption. She gives birth to S'more, Abby, Pippin, and Mr. E. All are adopted out -- Mr. E stays with us -- we think (still do) that he has a heart problem. Plus, the thing that makes Mr. E special -- is that out of all of pigs that have now come and gone from our home -- he is the only one that has only had just one home. With us.
We've now grown to a population that fluctuates between 10 and 25 pigs. Everybody that enters our home WILL become healthy, WILL be well fed, WILL be socialized, WILL be loved, WILL be totally cared for, and WILL have adequate cage space, fresh, clean food and water.
Never before in my life have I ever done anything that is as personally rewarding as doing the rescue. For once, I actually FEEL that I AM making a difference. Albeit a small one. I never got that feeling when I was teaching kindergarten, and I sure as hell don?t feel it doing tech support.
We've cleared out our dining room to make it the "Rescue Room/Quarantine Room". We?ve got a cage now in our living room that sits on the coffee table. Our permanent population (that consists of Lilo, Stitch, Tigger, Blaze, and Rebecca) stays in our back room. We've 'trial and errored' our way to finding the most efficient way of doing cages. We?ve 100% done away with shavings. We put towels under pigloos, hidies, cozies, and tunnels. Cage has consistently gotten bigger and better. It did start out with a second floor, but we removed it. We've done away with the connectors that hold the C&C cages together and have gone with tie-locks. Everything has become a very efficient operation. Scales, syringes, stock of medicines, towels, fleece (TONS of fleece), water bottles, food dishes, we order hay and pellets from Kleenmama exclusively now (our pigs LOVE the hay! And the pellets!).
Everybody is very happy. Everybody wheeks for me all the time. I give them little whistles, and (so far) Stitch has learned to mimic my whistles back to me -- Blaze and Rebecca are learning. We have nightly talks -- with everybody.
I've said before that I'm a 'cat person'. No longer. I'm a 'Guinea Pig Person' now. Without any shred of a doubt in my mind. I love these guys more than I ever possibly knew possible. Before Lilo and Stitch, I never even knew guinea pigs make noises! Now, if I don't get my daily doses of WHEEEEEEK, woop woop woop woop brrrrrrrrrrrrrr woop woop -- I feel like I?m missing something.
We haven't 'lost' anybody yet -- but I know when that time comes, I'm going to be an emotional wreck. I don't know why I fall in love with animals with such short life spans, but I do. While these guys have their short years on this Earth, I vow that every one that enters my home -- as a rescue, owner surrender, or permanent addition -- will have a healthy, active, social, and loving life.
a.k.a. -- Xanlexian
I have to have a few moments alone with the guys before I hand them over. It hurts. I keep telling myself that I will not fall for these guys.
Oooo! New rescues! I will not like this guys... I will make it a point to just feed them, water them, hold and pet them, and that is *IT* -- yeahhhhh riiiiiiiight.
We recently got two more rescues in -- Carl (I call him "Cleatus") and DarkStar (who is no longer on pregnancy watch -- well, since it turns out DarkStar is a male! HAH!)
They're so great! DarkStar is so beautiful, and he has TOTALLY warmed up to me in his two short weeks so far with us. And Carl, we think is deaf. I think he is a bit retarded as well (he has that 'duh' look face. Just can't mistake it). But he is SOOOO complacent. And when you hold him, he just loves it. You can ALWAYS reach into his cage, and he doesn't even flinch.
Great. Absolutely wonderful guys.
Yeah, adoption days suck. But, we have to have them. Guess you gotta take the good with the bad, eh?
But yeah. That's why I call him Cletus. "Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel".
And "DarkStar -- You're a DUUUUUDE!!!"
P.S. -- I know we're making a lot of people happy. If that wasn't the case, then I'd PERSONALLY have all these guys. hehehe
And none yet of Cletus/Carl. Here are some of Tigger! (or as I call him, "Lord Balthazar", or Sir-Tiggs-a-Lot) :) My little buddy.
Tigger is also the ONLY pig I've seen that likes to lay on his back and have his belly scratched!! He LOVES that!!!
I can do more -- and there are always pics on our website!
- Just Do It
Darkstar resembles my Hairy Potter. Yours looks much softer and has more shine than my Hairy.
Thanks for sharing, I am always amazed at all of the different looks of g.ps. Have to check your site now....
I was out of town last week and Leslie called me to say, "hey, I just vacuum'd the cages and EVERYBODY is going nuts!!!" I told her, "yup. they know Veggie Time!!! is coming! It's a psychological thing!"
The belly rubs are great. Tigger is such a cool pig. Rebecca -- another rescue that came in (she came in with Tommy -- rescue number 3 and 4) ended up staying with us. She wasn't meant to, but she just grew on us! She's large, she's fat, she waddles, and she's just a self-righteous bitch. We love her and we had to keep her. Not to mention, her eyeballs are friggin' HUGE!!! I joke around with her telling her that her eyeballs make up most of her body weight.
Currently in the rescue room we've got Tommy (the wuss), Mr. EEEeeeee!!!, Calvin and Hobbes (my huge mutant gerbils), and Pebbles (Steak) and Veronica (Potatos) -- both, my "dark-eyed babes".
I always talk about the pigs to people -- and I ALWAYS get the same reaction, "Guinea pigs?!? You RESCUE guinea pigs??! Why? They're just guinea pigs!"
Yeah, be that as it may, but I'm sure YOU'D do the same for a cat, dog, maybe a horse, or a child, no? I try to tell people how the majority of our guys are 'potty trained', they CAN be trained in general (hence the mimicing whistles I get), they KNOW their names, and the show affection for affection received.
Never would I have thought a guinea pig would become a pet that I ever owned -- much less a valued member of my family.
and when he popcorns (which in and of itself is hilarious to watch!) -- he is "Tigging all over the place!"
I address them all as "My Minions" -- when I leave the house, I put Tigger in charge (that's when he becomes 'Lord Balthazar') and he is to rule in my absence.
Of course, being neutered, he's in with the females -- and they are "Tigger's Harem".
But it seems that everbody has been wanting a piece of Blaze lately. Poor Blaze.
Stitch will decide she's horny and try to hump Blaze (it always seems to be Blaze that gets humped... guess it is because she's sooooo sexy) and Blaze will run off, and occasionally snap at Stitch.
Tigger will try to mount Rebecca, and Eyeballs (Rebecca) will get pissed and go after Tigger. But it is all over just as fast as it started.
But as far as an out-of-the-blue totally random fight (more like 'spat') or aggressiveness? Not really.
Funny thing I saw last night as I was heading to bed -- Blaze was in the haybox, Tigger standing in line, with Rebecca right behind him, and Lilo behind Rebecca. Just waiting their turn patiently for the haybox (it's big enough for all of them. go figure)