I couldn't get the photo rotated...but...did someone say lettuce???
I am a full time grad student and at the time was in the middle of the semester plus working 20-30 hours a week. As much as I would have loved to have kept the babies, I knew nothing of taking care of orphan babies (let alone 9), and the more I learned, the more I knew I would not be home nearly enough to help these little babies survive and thrive. I reached out to a shelter that had significant experience in abandoned and/or orphaned pups. They were very knowledgeable, and they offered to take in all 9 babies. After vetting them thoroughly and hearing only good things, I made the drive there and they took in the pups. They kept in very close contact with me and kept me updated, per my request. They even let me come to the vet with them when they took the babies in for a checkup a month later (all of them sexed and separated accordingly).
One of the babies (who was actually born the smallest of all 9), the vet found, was completely blind. As I've mentioned, I have a blind pig already, Remy. After having Remy for several months, I knew that this baby would likely struggle a little and would be difficult to find adoptive parents. I knew I had to bring her home with me. So, I drove the trip back home with this little ball of fluff the size of my palm, anxious to see if she would get along with my (now) little herd of three (Maggie, Remy, and Rory).
Maggie never had pups, and she attatched to Remy like glue when I brought home her as a little ball of fur. Remy was still older than this baby when I got her, so I didn't know how Maggie would react to a new baby. Maggie is now well over 2lbs, so I knew if they didn't get along, the baby could get seriously injured. However, Maggie instantly went to her, curled around her, and it was like they were long-lost friends. Maggie became her cuddle buddy. Remy showed her how to do everything, and the baby followed her around like a lost puppy. Rory wasn't thrilled about the new pup, but she tolerated it until she got used to her. They're still not best friends, but they're ok with each other.
So, now my little herd is 4. The pup's name has changed once or twice as she has developed more an more personality. Now she is about 4 months old and we call her Peanut (after the Jeff Dunham character because she acts very silly sometimes, and due to her small size at birth). I don't love the name, since it was my dad's nickname for me as a child, but It's growing on me. I don't have many pictures of her yet, and I haven't gotten the ones I do have onto Photobucket, but I hope to soon.
It was heartbreaking to lose two very sweet girls, but Peanut seems to have relieved a little of the ache in both myself and her herd sisters. She sometimes still runs into walls, she's the messiest grape eater in the world, and she will bite your fingers off trying to get a carrot of your hand, but she is so very loved. I hate that we had to lose two beautiful, sweet piggies to get her in our lives, but I am thankful some good came of it and she's with us now, goofiness and all.
- Supporter in 2018
Thank you for taking in a tiny helpless baby and providing a good home for Peanut.
I am very thankful for the shelter. The rescue still has 5 of the 9 piggies living there that haven't been adopted yet, and they often send me pics and updates...all five are happy and healthy! The remaining 3 were actually adopted together by a family that is friends with the rescue owner, and sometimes they post pics of them on the rescue's facebook page...they also look very happy and healthy. I could not have asked for a better outcome for them!
I hope you all have a good year for you and your pets as well.
Unfortunately, Peanut was just diagnosed with pneumonia. The poor thing does not feel good at all. She got her a shot of dexamethasone and a big bottle of oral azithromycin to take home. Thankfully, the vet gave me a huge bottle in case the others have already caught it and aren't showing symptoms yet, so I won't have to bring them all in for the same thing. Every time something like this happens, it is so mind boggling... I've always been careful to not have her in a draft, I didn't allow her face to get any water near it when she had to have a bath, she's never been around children, and she hasn't been anywhere that is known for it, such as a pet store. Yet, somehow she caught it, and I now understand why the first warning you hear about guinea pigs is URIs. This stuff does NOT mess around. The degradation of the poor piggy's health is far more intense and fast than I could have imagined.
Here's hoping that she has a speedy recovery and the others are spared from it. For all those who have ever dealt with piggy respiratory issues...I am so so sorry. This is not an experience I'd wish on anyone!
Since Remy is blind as well, and she spends the most time around Peanut, I'm keeping an extra close eye on her as well. Maggie already gets weighed daily because of her tummy troubles, so I've added Peanut and Remy into that nightly routine. Rory absolutely hates being weighed (or picked up for that matter), so I'm holding off on daily weighing unless she starts showing concerning signs.
Even though the others have already been exposed, the vet suggested separating Peanut to lower the chances of the others catching it if they haven't already. It will also allow me to keep a better eye on how much she is eating and drinking, and how the antibiotics are affecting her poops. As soon as I got home, I reconfigured their loft area to give her her own little recuperation cage. She started sniffing around and acting a little panicked, and then she started crying. When Remy started crying, too, and standing against her hidey to try to see into the loft, I realized they were upset because they couldn't find each other. It was so sad, but it's good to see that the two have bonded so well! However, if she doesn't settle down soon, I may let the antibiotics do their thing for a day or two and see that she's still eating, drinking, and pooping well, and let her go back down with Remy. From What I've read, the stress from being separated won't do her or Remy any favors and Remy has already very likely been exposed.
So far, her first dose of azithromycin hasn't seemed to affect her stomach much (knock on wood), but she still has a few days to go. The vet said 5 days of daily dosing, but from what I've read, it can take longer than that to completely clear this up, and it very well may start messing with her stomach by the time all of it is said and done. If she's as upset when I get home today as she was last night, I'm definitely putting her back in with the other's regardless, as I know the stress will be too much on her or the others, and I'll just have to keep an extremely close eye on her when I'm home.
Even before I separated Peanut when she was sick (for less than a day), we were having issues with herd pecking order. They were introduced following proper procedures, and things seemed to be going ok on neutral territory. I needed to replace the chewed up coroplast anyway, so when they got put in the cage, I put in the brand new coroplast, a brand new liner and beds, and then them. There was the normal explorations at first, of course. Maggie and the baby cuddled a lot, Remy let the baby follow her around like a lost puppy, but Rory was not a happy camper that she had a new "sister". There was the normal chasing, rumbling, etc. but then came the teeth chattering. There have been VERY minor scratches to the babies rump, but I was there when it happened. It was more of a 'Rory was chasing the baby, the baby stopped suddenly, and Rory caught up and scratched her while mounting her' than an intentional injury, so they weren't separated. Remy will sometimes chase her if Peanut is drinking and she decides she wants to drink first, but nothing more severe than normal establishing dominance.
When Peanut got sick, I separated her into the loft area for a short period of time, but it was too hard on Peanut to keep her separated. Even Remy would cry and try to climb on her hidey to see Peanut. So, I don't think she has a real issue with Peanut. However, Rory still just does not seem to like her. The worst side effect of this is Rory barbering Peanut. She'll get Peanut cornered under a bed (only if her butt is sticking out from under it) or in the corner and will pull the hair right out of her rump. I've witnessed this several times. We've done bonding baths, we've gone on car rides (I read somewhere that that 'fearful' experience bond them), etc. Now Peanut will hide under the beds so Rory can't see her, and she'll only come out for food and water.
Things ARE slowly improving. I can now safely put in a cuddle sack and not worry about Rory actually harming her; she will kick Peanut out if she decides she wants in instead, but there have never been any biting issues. The only problem we're still having is the barbering and what I consider bullying but is really just chasing. When Rory starts chasing her, Remy tends to enjoy in on it for kicks and giggles. This chasing happens at least 3-4 times a day, and it lasts for quite a while until Peanut can get under a bed. She'll pancake out underneath the flat bottom of a cuddle bed, and Rory doesn't bother her after that. I've never had these kinds of issues in the herd. Cage size should not be the problem, as they have plenty of room. Rory was always bottom of the herd, and I'm hoping this eventually ends when she gets over her superiority complex or whatever this is. I also blame this partly on puberty...Remy started acting as if she was starting to hit puberty and started challenging Maggie about a month ago, and Rory has started this. They're both about 6-7 months old, which I've read is an age where that kind of behavior can begin.
I feel badly for poor Peanut and her little bald spots from barbering, but am at a loss for what to do. Maggie and Peanut are very close, as are Peanut and Remy. On top of that, Rory, Remy, and Maggie are all closely bonded. So if I were to separate Rory or Peanut from the herd, that will lead to a lot of stress. So, right now I'm just hoping this eventually ends, the order of dominance gets established, and everyone can calm down. A night's sleep without Peanut waking me up 'screaming' while Rory chases her would be nice too (LOL). I remember Rory doing the same thing when she was young; she would scream like she was being murdered, even if the other girls were just sniffing her. That eventually ended...so I'm hoping this will too.
Anyway, that's the end of my late night rant. I'm sorry for any spelling/grammar/rambling mistakes; it's about 0400 here, and I've been up since they woke me up at 0100 with their antics...I'm starting to see what people mean when they complain about having trouble introducing a new piggie to the herd; it's not fun when they don't want to get along!