We arrived at the pet store and BAM!! I was IN LOVE! The little guy was tiny (to my unknowing eyes)! Brown and white, with the white being a little belt around his tummy, part of his legs, and on most of his head. His eyes were surrounded by brown spots and he had the most beautiful eyeliner any woman would be jealous of! At times his eyes seem to have a blue-gray circle around the iris. I was dancing on clouds. This baby would definitely fulfill my need for love and snuggles. (I was actually half right on this.)
I was shocked when I put him in the cage with Peek (Peek’s cage with a divider – I knew enough by then to know that much at least). :o( The young one was almost as big as Peek! And were they happy to see each other! Oh my! Peek spent the next 3 or 4 days smack dab up to the grids. Oh he was Happy (yes, with a capital “H”) to see another of his kind! Baby was glad to see HIM too. They spent the rest of the separation chewing the coating off the grids.
I was in a pickle over what to name him. Nothing I could think of seemed to fit, and he was such a sweetie! One day the little girl from next door was over visiting and I showed her the pigs. She'd already met Peek but this was the first time for meeting Baby. She told me -she'd- been told to never get a guinea pig with a white belly because they usually turned yellow from the pee. :o) Oh well! No one, but NO ONE was taking my baby away from me! Certainly not over some little thing like a yellow belly! Then I asked her if she could think of any good names for him. Almost instantly the word "Scatter" came out of her mouth. Apparently the saying "out of the mouths of babes" can be a really good thing because it hit me like a ton of bricks. "Scatter" fit to a "T" and his super power was scattering poos. "Scatter" he became.
Introduction day arrived and I gladly took the grids out of the center. Introduction failure #2 – I can’t imagine why things don’t work out as I planned! Scatter promptly started trying to hump Peek and Peek just as promptly tried to hump back. Then when that didn’t teach the little whippersnapper who was in charge, Peek started trying to get away from the little pest. I suddenly found myself with very unhappy older pig. VERY unhappy. Which made ME unhappy because the baby was supposed to make PEEK happy. Well, maybe after the initial “getting to hump, errr, KNOW you” period…
We finally made it to the vet up in Olympia. When we got to speak with her, it was for about a total of 5 minutes. Ok, maybe a total of 5 minutes per cavy, but it didn’t seem like it. She checked them over and discovered half a dozen small scabs around Peek’s bum. They were at various stages of healing; the biggest was about the size of pencil erasure. She picked a little bit at that one as we discussed possible sources. We finally decided it had to be Scatter biting Peek in his demands for dominance. Scatter’s demands, that is. Then she declared them otherwise healthy. As she was leaving she said she’d send someone in who not only had guinea pigs, but they were show guinea pigs and he bred them himself, so he was more familiar with the little critters than she was. (Grrrrr. Looking back at my utter idiocy… I still didn’t understand how little most vets (even exotics vets) know about these precious, adorable little loves.)
The guy came in, talked a little bit about himself and asked to see one. I picked up Peek from his cardboard pet carrier and handed him over. Looking back now, I can remember how gently but securely he held Peek, stroking his head, cheek and ears. I know he loves/ed guinea pigs. Then only a minute into his examination, he says “This guinea pig has lice!”. No way!!! NO!!! Then he showed me. I felt a little grossed out being a bit bug-o-phobic, but mostly I felt guilty because I’d not known and I’d had Peek since March (this was August) and he’d been suffering the whole time. That’s right, I knew who’d brought them into the cage and it wasn’t the baby. I thought back to Peek’s companion who was losing its hair. And I thought of the baby sharing Peek’s cage. Undoubtedly, if Scatter hadn’t had them before, he had them now, having shared that cage for two months, even if they’d been separated most of that time. And then I thought about the vet who’d, just fifteen minutes before, given them both a clean bill of health. I felt some steam building inside me.
Anyway, believe it or not, he kept holding Peek, showing me the live bugs running around his poor little head (the white crest on top). We talked about how to treat them, and he told me about some kind of spray made by Adam’s, Flea & Tick, I think it was. Then we finally said good bye and let him go his merry way. I’m sure, if he had guinea pigs at home, he washed up before he left the clinic (and I hope he gave that vet a good talking to also, since I believe they were friends; she’d said he wasn’t there as a client) and changed his clothes before going anywhere near his pigs.
I checked every store in the local 10 miles for the Adam’s product and couldn’t find it. I looked online. Nothing had the right name. After 2 weeks, I finally emailed the company, explaining my problem and asking where I could get this spray. The gentleman who replied said that unfortunately they didn’t have a product that would kill lice. So, I finally paid more attention to Guinea Lynx. Because the local Farm Store didn’t carry the EXACT Ivermec GL recommended (have I said how paranoid I am when it comes to doing new things to them?), I ordered it online. Once it came in, I started treatment. I applied that little drop behind their ears. The first time I was terrified I’d overdosed Scatter because 5 minutes after applying it, he started coughing and having what looked like full-body spasms. I freaked and grabbed the dish cloth because it was already wet, then grabbed him and gently, carefully, but with great purpose I washed the areas I’d just applied the Ivermec to. I probably took several layers of skin off, but I scrubbed that poor baby as clean of Ivermec as I could.
Since he didn’t appear to have any ill effects afterwards, I gave them the second dose a week later (his was even smaller than the week before, just in case), but kept my eyes glued to Scatter for 30 minutes afterward, then very closely watched him for the rest of the night. Eight (cringe) days later they got the 3rd treatment. One week later, a 4th treatment. (I noted in my record book that about 30 minutes after an application of 0.055 units (using an insulin syringe, which by the way is NOT recommended!), lice and cavy went nuts.) Seven days later a 5th treatment. Treatments 6 and 7, one and 2 weeks later. Eight days later they were given an 8th treatment. It took me close to 2 years to realize I was under dosing them and therefore wasn’t completely killing the lice. I just kept applying Ivermec at various times for various number of weeks. I did finally learn I needed to treat EXACTLY 7 days apart, AND the little drop really isn't as little as my interpretation thinks it is.
After weeks of watching Scatter bully poor Peek, I knew I had to find a different solution for them both. Mr. and I talked it over. He knew that I would find a girl companion for Peek, but I’d never be able to give up Scatter, so we’d have to find a sow for each boar and build a whole new cage for Scatter and said sow. I started the search for little girls. I was still treating the boars for the lice (ineffectively, because I was still underdosing them), so I knew I might have to keep a new pig separate for longer than the quarantine time. I also started planning to have the boys neutered, but I'd read about the risks of surgery on these little guys and was worried sick. We’d found a new vet about 30-45 minutes east, who claimed to be experienced with guinea pigs, but didn’t go see her until our first little girl arrived.
Meet little Miss Flossie: Flossie arrives 8.24.13
Flossie has the sweetest attitude and she loves very easily. Every one/thing except Scatter, her cagemate. Apparently he's just about the biggest PITA on earth.
He absolutely has to prove his dominance every chance he gets. He's also either very ummm loving, or protective because he keeps his body between her and I at all times. He has to rumblestrut every time I get near the cage, especially if I'm returning her to the cage. I literally have to chase him off to get to her. NO ONE likes him. Except me. ;o) Actually, I can't say "no one". I've not tried him with VeBee.
Who, by the way, has become very bonded with Peek. They are almost always snuggled beside, or close by, each other. They look really sweet. I asked myself this morning if Peek wasn't partial to white cagemates, because A) He's never cared for Fuzz like this, and B) The guinea pig he was surrendered with was white.
Fuzzbutt just seems sad that they won't include her in the bonding. It's not so much that they drive her off; it's more like she stinks, or is too needy, hahahaha. Not funny. I do feel sorry for her, being shut out, when I know I've seen her try to get close to both of them. Vee will let her lay nearby if Peek isn't there, but Peek wants nothing to do with her. Never has.
- Supporter 2016-2017
Love the writing, I felt as if I was there, going through everything with you and the piggies.
Scaredy Scatter 2.14.16
Look at the poor guy's eyes! Even worse, this is a small carry sack and Flossie is STILL IN IT!
It seemed to suit her, sweet and tough at the same time. My husband and I both fell in love with the tiny little being. Six weeks old when she came to us, we were used to the comparative monsters the boys were. Floss didn’t even cover the palm of a hand.
Two weeks after she arrived, I went back to Juneau to await the birth of our third grandson. I was super excited but worried about how Flossie would manage with my husband. I shouldn’t have. He had a great time, and I think he actually enjoyed handling her to make sure she stayed socialized. I received a text one night saying he’d forgotten to pick up some lunchmeat while at the grocery store. His solution:
Mike's dinner Sept 2013
I can just imagine what she’s thinking, but I hoped he didn’t let her nibble on the bread, hahaha. I didn’t get any pictures of the boys, but he assured me he was treating them appropriately, too. *-*
She was quarantined in the little pet store cage, but she was so young and small, I figured that was ok. Soon the boys would be neutered and she’d join one of them in a much larger cage. Meanwhile she had fleece to hide under during the day and a wood hut at night. She was (and is) just so adorable. The white blaze up her nose turned into a streak that ran between her ears then on down her neck. Just at her right shoulder blade, it takes a sharp 90 degree turn and runs down to her throat. That was and is, her most distinctive physical feature, but her personality is still the loving one she had when we got her. When we took her for her first vet exam, during the “heart listen”, the vet told us she’d never seen such a calm guinea pig before. Now that she’s developed the Pea/Fatty eye, I wonder if it wasn’t just the first manifestation of heart disease. I guess I should have her x-rayed even if it just turns out to only provide us with a baseline of the condition of her heart. If it does turn out that there is something abnormal, getting her on medication sooner versus later would probably be a good thing.
I’d planned on getting the boys neutered as soon as we found suitable girls to put in with them, but strangely enough, there was a shortage of girl guinea pigs at the time. Then about December 1st, we got a call. To their total surprise, one of the pet store pigs had suddenly given birth, and they told me to come down and pick one out. The pups were still too young for anyone to accurately sex, but I looked into that dark cage and saw one little pig that looked like it had a white horn, rhinoceros style. I met what I hoped and prayed would be my next baby girl, working name: Scruffy.
Fuzzbutt #1 12.5.13
- Supporter 2016-2017
Scruffy actually became Fuzzbutt, but she's still super cute. If the teddy is the fuzzy/frizzy breed, that's what she is. She's a pretty big little girl - has on at least one occasion touched 1300 grams. Better bring a big cage for her. And when you put her in the cage with any other pig, be prepared for some eardrum-piercing shrieks for a day or 2. Solid day or 2. Solid HOURS of it.
Maddy, it is a shame, but try to picture this. A huge ball of black dryer lint (or cat or dog hair) with legs and 2 cute little beady black eyes. Make the right rear hip white (and the leg too,) plus 2 white front feet. Then give the lint ball a white streak starting just above the nose and going up between the eyes. Now make the fuzz on the face all different lengths so the white stripe looks like a rhinoceros horn. That's my Fuzzball, err, Fuzzbutt.
Forgot to add: Just after we brought her home, Fuzz was also called "The Mangler". For good reason. On more than one occasion, she broke the skin when biting me.
Even at 3 days old, Scruff had a mean bite and wasn’t afraid to use it. She was so cotton-pickin cute though, I didn’t mind. Man alive! I hoped she was indeed a girl. I still hadn’t studied the section in Guinea Lynx that dealt with sexing pigs, so I couldn’t tell which she was. After a couple of weeks, I didn’t care. I was pretty sure s/he was coming home with me, one way or another. Even Mike was smitten, but because she so indiscriminately bit everyone and she DID have a skin-piercing set of teeth, he wasn’t as enamored of her as he’d been with Flossie. Personally speaking, she could have bitten ME once an hour and I still would have been in “LOVE” with her. She was so cute, and when she wasn’t biting, she was the sweetest little puffball you could imagine. I soon realized that she only bit when she was in between being picked up, and being held firmly to my body. In other words, when she didn’t feel secure.
At 3 weeks old I pestered the pet store to separate the boys from the girls, but they wouldn’t listen to me. They wouldn’t listen to me about her being able to come home with me at that time either. They were firmly determined that I wouldn’t be getting her until 6 weeks of age. I’m pretty sure they think guinea pigs are like cats and dogs, born helpless, and don’t know that cavies are born little adults, eyes open and perfectly capable of eating pellets and hay, and are weaned at 3 weeks (and run fast as lightning). By this time we were all but certain she was a she, and I was worried sick she’d get pregnant. We got lucky though and at six weeks they called to let me know I could have her. I flew to the store and snatched her up.
We got her home and (still not having “gotten it”) I plunked her in with Flossie who was still in the quarantine cage since I’d discovered the boys still had lice, and hadn’t been neutered yet. Finally, mid-February, we decided they were “clean” and scheduled the neuters for the 1st of March.
The day came and off went the boys. We talked with the vet for a few minutes and then left. I worried all day until the office called about 3:00 and said to come get them, they were doing fine, although “Peek was a little slower to wake up than we liked” (head-smack #54).
On March 22, I gave everyone an extra baby carrot in celebration of Peek’s one year adoption anniversary. I grumbled at him for still being so danged stand-offish. He continued to fight off my attempts to love up to him, although he had learned if I held out one finger, I only wanted to pet him and he’d let me carefully stroke his nose and head. Anything else though and he’d disappear like a ghost. I’d learned to trap him and Scatter in a corner with a piece of chloroplast if I wanted to pick them up. At least it was BOTH boys who avoided being picked up, like I was the plague or something! Scatter was still the curious and lovable goofball we’d brought home. He’d burrow head first into the hay ball (yeah, ashamed to admit all 3 cages had them) and hollow it out as he ate. Even with his cute pointy little nose he never learned to pull it out from the side. Nope, he wanted a mouthful to chew, not one measly little strand. Typical teenage boy, right?
I chose the name “Scruffy” while I was playing around with the photo software I’d downloaded, but I was pretty sure it wouldn’t stick. After a couple of weeks I started thinking of “her” as Fuzzbutt. I’d started a “vote for a name” for the baby on Facebook, giving 2 choices and the caveat that I had executive powers of decision. The choices were Oreo or Fuzzbutt (Scruffy just didn’t fit her personality). Oreo actually won by one vote, but since it seemed like I heard that name given to every 3rd or 4th black and white cat, I felt it was not unusual enough, so Fuzzbutt she became. Sure, I’d heard the name given to a few other cats, but not in the numbers of Oreo.
Mid-April: Still not having learned, I plunked Flossie in with Peek, and Fuzz into Scatter’s cage. Oldest boy with oldest girl, right? Neither girl cared for the decision but I figured they’d get used to it. Instead, whereas Floss and Peek did some running and teeth chattering before settling down, Fuzzbutt was more vocal, consistent, and persistent in letting us know exactly how she felt. The first day she spent screaming almost constantly (how I could have tortured the baby like that, I have no clue – wait... I HAD no clue!) sometimes with her head in a corner and her butt out (exactly where Scatter wanted it), the 2nd and 3rd days, she just screamed bloody murder if Scatter came near her. He on the other hand was deaf and couldn’t have cared less what SHE wanted, he was gonna hump. Finally on the 3rd day, I decided it just wasn’t going to work and poor Fuzz needed a new, less pushy partner. I switched girls – Flossie, bigger, older by months, and much more confident and sure of herself, went in with Mr. Humpsalot. She didn’t like him anymore than Fuzzbutt had, but she wasn’t as vocal about it, and apparently could run faster. Scatter had a challenge. Peek was the Old Curmudgeon and wouldn’t have anything to do with either girl by this time, but was just a teeny bit curious about Fuzz at first. She screamed bloody murder if he came near her and he backed off, probably trying to spare his ears. I swear, if we’d had any crystal in the house, Fuzz could have shattered it, just like the old Memorex commercials. This time, I threw up my hands and gave up. She’d just have to get used to him. She did, but they never really got chummy. Peek didn’t want her near him even if she did feel lonely and seek him out. Poor baby WAS lonely, too. I could “feel” it.