How to Find a Companion

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brookite6955

Post   » Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:07 am


Hello fellow guinea pig guardians,

I was offered a young female skinny pig, Nibbler, in need of a home at this time last year. Her guardian was looking to re-home her after a failed initial placement. She is now almost 18 months old, and as far as I know she has never had another guinea pig to socialize with. I am interested in finding her a companion to improve her quality of life, and I could use some advice from more experienced guardians.

A friend of mine had a pair of guinea pigs who were separated by the death of one, so I tried to pair Nibbler up with the guinea pig who had lost her partner (her name is Bean). Nibbler and Bean did not work out safely, as Nibbler kept aggressively asserting her need for dominance over Bean (who was 3 years older, and much bigger than Nibbler), to the point that Bean was using her size to create space for herself. I had to separate them when Bean bit Nibbler in the foot, causing her to limp, and despite her injury Nibbler continued to assert her dominance (while limping). I felt that the introduction had become too unsafe, although I had allowed them to spend 6 weeks getting used to one another by putting their cages close together, waiting for them to be in an apparent herd pattern in their eating/activity, bathing them together, and completing introductions on neutral territory. Bean has since found a new partner with a different family, and that pairing seems to have been very successful (yay for Bean!).

Meanwhile, Nibbler continues to live alone. She is active and seems relatively content, yet I know her quality of life will be improved if I can find a companion for her. How can I go about finding her a suitable companion? I have looked into the local guinea pig rescues and adoption opportunities, but it has been difficult to find a single pig in need of a home (most I do find are in pairs or trios). On top of that, it would appear the Nibbler's limited exposure to social opportunities may have inhibited her social skills. I do not want to cause Nibbler or her potential companions any injury during introductions due to her assertive nature, and I do not know how to access potential companions outside of the pet store, as the rescues do not seem to have any single guinea pigs for adoption. How would you recommend I proceed from this point?

I really want Nibbler to have the best quality of life she can, and I know that for a guinea pig, that means having a herd. How can I find her a suitable companion? Thank you for your time and feedback.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:20 pm


You are in Placerville, California? California in general does have a number of rescues. I don't know if any are near you but do think a rescue is likely to be your best resource for finding a companion. A very few guinea pigs are loners.

Look over www.guinealynx.info/companionship.html too.

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Sef
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:14 pm


Some rescues let you do a "meet and greet" with your current pig and prospective adoptees. It's not foolproof, though. Sometimes they can seem to hit it off initially, only to have dominance issues once they get home (at least, I have found this to be true of males).

How big is your cage?

brookite6955

Post   » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:01 am


Thank you for your responses, I am in Placerville, and a meet and greet with potential partners sounds like a great idea! I can even travel out of the area if anyone has a recommendation for a rescue nearby. Nibbler is a female, and her current cage is a C&C 4x2 on the bottom, with a 2x2 on the top floor. Do you advise that as a big enough cage for 2 piggies? I had attempted to order a 5x2 for the bottom, but only received enough material for a 4x2. I can expand her cage if needed to accommodate a partner. I will need to purchase another soon, as this is a classroom pet situation, and I transport Nibbler to the classroom on Mondays, then bring her home on Fridays to spend time at home.

brookite6955

Post   » Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:54 am


*By "I will need to purchase another soon", I meant a cage. I need a classroom cage, which would allow for more easy transitions. While I would love for Nibbler to have a companion, I am more interested in a great fit than in a speedy pairing.

Bookfan
For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:21 am


https://www.petfinder.com/search/small-furry-for-adoption/us ... s=Guinea+Pig
The closest I can find is a rescue in Sacramento. You can ratchet up the distance if you're willing to go farther - Modesto. I didn't check all the pics for location. I limited this search to females.

It looks like a pair, which are probably bonded & should stay together, and 2 others.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:11 pm


It sounds like you are trying to do right by this guinea pig. You mentioned a "classroom cage". Do you intend to take the guinea pig to school? One teacher here composed a letter to give to teachers thinking of bringing a guinea pig to class. She makes a lot of points.
http://www.guinealynx.info/classroom.html

For a very few teachers who are real guinea pig lovers, they occasionally bring their guinea pigs to school to visit but never leave them there overnight.

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:56 am


Some guinea pigs are just meant to be single. In those cases, it up to the human guardian to be their companion and friend. It's more work, but well worth it.

brookite6955

Post   » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:21 pm


Thank you, Bookfan, Lynx, and Renonvsparky,
I really appreciate all of your thoughtful replies and recommendations, I will be sure to read the article written by the teacher, and I will look into the Sacramento rescue to find Nibbler a partner. I am committed to helping Nibbler have a high quality of life, so I hope to find her a suitable partner. I understand why teachers will typically only bring their piggies in for visits, and I may do the same thing with Nibbler. She doesn't love the transportation process, so I try to minimize the number of times each week that I ask her to complete the journey. I will update after I get a chance to contact the Sacramento shelter, and take her to meet potential partners! I appreciate this supportive community, and I am always open to information and suggestions to be a better guinea pig guardian.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Aug 19, 2019 9:30 pm


There is quite a bit of info in the guide. We usually point people to this page to start:
www.guinealynx.info/healthycavy.html

From there you can navigate to more detailed info.

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