I got my first guinea pig in December of 2006. These guys are expensive than you may imagine.
My first guinea pig is Cabby, for short. Her full name was Her Royal Highness, Princess Cabrielle, Ruler of all She Surveys. As if you couldn’t tell already, Cabby was a butt. Within the next week I got her a friend: Coco (Cocaina, for the sloppy splash of white on her face). Coco’s worst habit was constant rumble-strutting. Rumble strutting is described as a rump-weaving walk, vibrating and cooing. This establishes dominance in piggies.
Chai (Chai Latte) came later in the next month and I was up to 3. I wanted 4.
I got Chira a month after, but sadly she died within 2 weeks of a URI.
I was at my parent’s house at the time when Petsmart called and said she didn’t make it. They had another one from the same shipment die as well.
I hadn’t yet gotten into adopting piggies, and I like to take the time to understand all sides so with the aching little spot in my chest that Chira left behind, we went to a breeder in Texas to have a look. This was a few hours from my parent’s house I was visiting.
Cori (Coriander) made it home on the car ride from Texas to Arizona, hiding in a Kleenex box in a tub in the backseat. She was a tiny thing, just about 3 weeks old and going to live with 3 5-month old girls.
I had not yet learned that guinea pigs needed quarantine periods of 3 weeks before new introductions.
My next girl was Chloe. I found her at a Petco as a surrender. Her owner gave her up and she was FAT. Her food was colored, there was no hay out, the cage was small for such a portly gal as herself and there were also two hideys. She also had dandruff and never had her nails clipped so they were curled into different positions.
A few months later I paid for Cat (Catastrophe) from a Petco to get her out of there. She was over 6 months old in a ten gallon tank with overly long hair that needed bathed, trimmed and also had lice!
I later got Callie and her babies off Craigslist. I wanted to understand a mommy/baby dynamic. Her two daughters were Chickie (I swear she bawked) and CC (looked like cotton candy). Cici was nearly a Lethal. Her teeth were malocclused and she was blind and mostly deaf. In fact, she didn’t have all her teeth. She was also very small. I always called her my pygmy.
Chickie went to a girl on Craigslist that was starting her own herd and she was also going to ASU as a vet tech. I think that is a great home life. Her mom gave me a few pics along the way but we lost touch.
After a while I wanted a boy and I picked up Crunchy. Crunchy was not yet ready to get neutered and I found Emerson up at Petco as a surrender, and hopefully a friend for Crunchy. Emerson was a sweetheart and not scared of people at all. Crunchy tried to kill him. I guess with the girls in the other room always going into heat made Crunchy all crazy for it, and his alpha skills took over.
Crunchy was rehomed in early 2010 to make room for the old ladies at the time to get more activity. The cage was opened further for Cori and Coco to be less sedentary.
I also wanted a Skinny. This is a hairless piggy. I found one on craigslist and she joined my family during the winter. She came to me as Milkshake but was renamed to Skeeter, since when she flips her ears they buzz the sides of her head like a mosquito.
Mu-Xi was added in fall of 2011 for Skeeter. Her mate died and the remaining pigs were picking on her and scabbing her rump up. Mux is crazy. She has certainly changed the feel of things. Stealthy girl.
After Chai died, I adopted Lily from the Humane Society because Mu was the only piggy left. I thought it would be nice as Lily was not a baby and was about 2 years younger than Mu. Well…it backfired…A month later Lily gave birth to Murphy, Ruby, and Potsticker as well as another tiny guinea pig that did not last past day #2 into the world.
I mentioned early that we lost Chira early one from an upper respiratory infection.
Cabby had an ear infection and a fever when she was still young. She had a shot in the back and antibiotics for 2 weeks.
Coco once came down with a UTI complete with urine scald and crystals. My poor baby.
Emerson and Crunchy both had their neuters done, and through their abdomen too! My vet recommended the procedure be performed this way because the risk of infection is lower than to do it around the genitals.
Emerson has also had 5 staples in his neck from a fight with Crunchy. His throat was slit pretty well. Poor Emmy.
Emerson was found to have a poly cystic kidney in December 2010. He continued to decline shortly after diagnosis. Within 2 weeks he died. Port mortem showed a tumor entangling his lower intestine.
Cabby died in 2009. There was no reason we could find. She took her antibiotics in case there was a systemic infection. She took her hand feedings fighting me to tears. It gave her another week.
Cici was euthanized. She stopped being able to eat and the smell from her mouth was terrible. The vet said it was a tooth root abscess and the tooth would need extracted and due to her size she was not a good candidate for general anesthesia. She would also need to wound packed and gauze changed for roughly a month and antibiotics. It was a decision the doc and I made together.
Chloe passed on in 2008 or 2009. She had an issue with a sebaceous gland over her right rump. We had it removed and the surgery went well, but she never really was a comfortable pig and a week later she just gave up from the stress. The necropsy showed nothing wrong and even that there was enough food through her tract from my hand feedings.
Cloud got a spay. She was showing signs of hormonal changes that looked like it could be from ovarian cysts, though the doctor found nothing during the procedure.
Cloud had a very large bladder stone later in 2010 and couldn’t even pee. The treatment costs, her weight issues and recurrence was likely and she was humanely euthanized.
Cat died spring of 2011 in her sleep in her pigloo.
Coco has had issues in her old lady-ness with a large cyst in her abdomen. It drained internally during aspiration at the vet’s office, but luckily there was no allergic reaction to it’s contents and she was ok. That same visit there was a very large bladder stone that had traveled all the way down to lodge visibly in the urethra. We had to pry it out after several benzocaine injections. Oof. Old lady pig was given weeks on Critical Care supplement after that office visit.
Coco was taken in for a pre-spay evaluation. A cyst ruptured while we were waiting to be seen. She went into respiratory arrest after going limp and non-responsive in my arms. Her belly was drained of fluid, her heart rate monitored and was shown to still be in decline even with the oxygen administration. We gave her the shot to euthanize her. Coco died August 2010.
Cori was hypertensive and her back feet red, indicating a change in her strut. She was too thin and her heart rate too high to undergo anesthesia to see what was going on around her abdomen. Euthanized. After the initial anesthetic to put to to a sleep state, her tummy was palpated to find a large mass, assumed this is what she was guarding when she walked. She died only a few days before Coco.
Emerson was an interesting case. Just do a search for his name. I don’t feel like writing it twice.
Callie went under for a possible spay, due to her age and fluctuating weight. My vet found a tumor that wasn’t operable. She was put down during surgery in 2012
Skeeter passed in May 2013, hopefully in her sleep. There was nothing that was wrong with her on the outside. The guinea pigs will pick on you if you’re sick and she didn’t have a mark on her. Something just went wrong inside somewhere.`She was almost 4 1/2.
Honey has been living here since May 2013. Since she arrived, she came with a mammary tumor and has also developed a thyroid tumor. She is on daily medication to control her hyperthyroidism, but is still super bright and plucky. But, sadly as piggies do, we lost her in November. She was a total joy to have here for the months she was ours.
Chai reached eight years old. She had a cystic kidney she was on pain medication for. I was hand feeding her four times a day to keep her weight on. One day she decided she didn’t want to eat. That night she passed on in Dismal and I’s arms.
Mu-Xi Mu was euthanized after discovering a mass in her abdomen. We were treating her with pain management, but her appetite as well as her weight and responses kept diminishing. She was almost 6.
Ruby died unexplained around age 2 1/2.
Potsticker died of suspected heart failure at the vet office 1 month before her third birthday.
Lily, their mother, was spayed April 2018 for cystic ovaries and endometriosis. She later died October 2018 from G.I. stasis and bloat. She was between ages 4-5.
Murphy broke her teeth in October 2018 and had dental work done under anesthesia. She had also developed issues with ovarian cysts, but as an only guinea pig we completed the series of three Lupron injections instead of doing a surgical spay. Unfortunately my sMurph had a difficult heart condition diagnosed and was gently put down June 2019.
I loved my pigs. They are all different and I have stories for each of them that I don’t want to bog this page down with. Cabby and Coco were the herd leaders. Coco was my baby girl. I had abbys, american, coronet, skinny, and mix coats.
Ratties and Hamsters
Jane would hoard whatever she could into the bottom of her cage. April would build nests nearly a foot high. *giggle* George hoarded loves. My boys hoarded food.
Not all animals are the same, just like people! I love rats. My very first is George. She was sold to me as male and she was a hairless dumbo that looked like George Burns. I re-sexed her before getting her a friend and didn’t rename her. I like confusing people, I guess.
Jane was George’s friend. She was a fancy coat dumbo that was not eligible for sale having had an abscess removed.
George developed a head tilt a year and a half later that was not treatable with antibiotics. Later she lost a bit of weight, developed dry skin and within 3 months she was done. Suspected pituitary tumor via Rat Guide.
April was adopted from the Humane Society a week later. She and Jane got along well, but April was LARGE by comparison. Very strong and very skittish. I guess she wasn’t very much a pet rat in her previous life, just left to their own devices. She was dumbo chocolate Berkshire.
April developed mammary tumors. She was not a good candidate for surgery due to her behavior. Once she lost mass around her hips and along her spine, and 1 tumor the size of a golf ball and several others developing, she was humanely euthanized.
Jane developed mammary tumors a short time after and hung in with us for several more months. Her primary father did not want to go through surgery with her and when she was becoming emaciated she was humanely euthanized.
I had to take a break from rats for a while. Too much heartache.
That being said, I did take rats back up in 2010. I had 2 hairless dumbos males named Little Bastard and The Captain. Later, there was Damien. He was a standard pink eyed hairless.
The Captain had some neurological issues. Damien was too sick by the time I found out he was sick. Little Bastard went through a growth removal, then abscess treatment related to suture issues. He ended up with pneumonia.
Hamsters are great as well. They require less work and are an excellent starter pet. When I was 22 I got a hamster. I had one as a family pet back in the day and this was my venture as an adult.
I have only ever had Syrians and this was a female named Tator Tot. Her nickname was Tor and we harped on her lovingly for being well tempered and overweight.
After a year and a half she gave out without rapidly failing health.
I was attacked by a rottweiler when I was four years old. There wasn’t any lasting damage. I was very upset and had red marks from being jumped on and gummed up, but you should always learn to listen to pet owners and watch for body language.
I was told by strangers that I easily won their dogs over by the time I was twelve. Antisocial dogs would have me and I would give them the time to hang out and chat. We clicked.
I had grown up with 2 dogs from the pound. My mom and sister had a corgi mix and I ended up primarily assigned to a one-eyed pekingese. When their dog died we ended up with a border collie mix that was labeled as terrier mix by the pound. The family always had females and they were primarily lap dogs. This girl ended up being 45+ lbs. I’m glad my parents kept her. She was a very intelligent dog and played awkwardly with my pekingese. She loved to learn and always wanted to please people and gain approval.
We never had any cats growing up. It was a popular opinion that they were the source of all our pet allergies. I thought I was absolutely safe with dogs.
Not only was I allergic to cats but also to dogs. Specifically short haired, bristly dogs would set my allergies off with hives and itching and wheezing and sneezing. Dogs were no longer my immediate, trusted companions. Sometimes they were well meaning snipers.
Eventually I came to accept cats as a big part of my life and learning to lower my body’s reaction by not stressing that a possible allergen was about to make me miserable.
But before I got to that point in my life,
I got Lila from a rescue in California.
She was part pekingese and part something else, and nothing like my other peke.
Tommy Gargoyle is more like my first Pekingese than my dog was and he is my kitty.
Spring 2013, Lila left for the Midwest to live with my parents. She lived with me for four years, but the cats and square footage were hindering her self-esteem. She did well with two other dogs, a house and a yard.
Lila was euthanized February 2017 in ailing health.
AND THEN THERE WAS IDRIS. SHE GETS HER OWN IN ALL CAPS. She was borb.
We had Idris since 2012. She’d hatched Valentine’s Day that year, and was super cuddly and outgoing. She didn’t have her own bird, so she always gravitated to humans. She was the third bird, and by the time she reached age 7, she’d grown so frustrated that she challenged my cat to Battle every day, and attacked my middle bird (Koi) in hopes to murder her and take Jak as her mate. Two week separation began in February, then slow reintegration, then Jak was injured and left Idris with Koi most days for two weeks. When Jak was well, I knew what was coming, and Koi made things very clear to me. She wanted Idris to stop sleeping in their cage. I obliged. Then Koi and Idris began fighting during the day, and I had to keep them separated, spending hours a day with Idris. Koi wanted to know why she and Jak weren’t getting regular time with me. Somehow, all the birds were just fine for an hour or two at dusk, but no other times. I told Koi please hang in there; I will work on this for you. Eventually we did find a pretty swell home for Idris, where there were no cats or established pairs, and she has the humans all to herself or will try to woo her own bird if they take in another.