My husband and I got two little guinea pig brothers, Rusty and Red, from a society in September after a few months of deliberation. I know that this community advocates shelter rescues / adoption. However, we could not find one that allowed us to adopt pets as we live in a rented property and did not want to ask for owner consent as we fear getting kicked out. The boys were really good, active and naughty, and seemed to adjust well to us.
Sadly, Red passed away middle of this month at approximately 5 months old. It was very heart breaking. Two weeks ish prior to his passing, Red ate very little, wheeked a lot, had tiny, uneven beans (the poop thread was very helpful) and was steadily loosing weight before we brought him into a specialist vet. The vet could not find anything outwardly wrong with him (coat and teeth were fine, no breathing issue, no odd internal sounds or bloating) gave him an injection (I can't remember what it was) and advised us to force feed him Critical Care as well as some of Rustys good beans. Two days after, his weight stablised and he started eating a little more. Unfortunately, on the 6th day he passed away. We did not show Rusty the body but I feel he knew it was going to happen.
I'm still really sad about Red, but I want to concentrate my energy on Rusty. Since then we've really gotten to know Rusty better and he's adorable, inquisitive and seems normal. He still popcorns at times and comes to snoop whenever we are around. I've been leaving the radio on while we are at work to keep him company, and letting him run the living room and interact with him as soon as I'm home (the rest of the house is not piggy proofed). I am also actively looking for a buddy. It's a bad time as we are going away for a week, leaving Rusty in the care of relatives (They've never had guinea pigs but I will leave them a cheat sheet, the whole cage setup, safe veggies, hay and oxbow pellets). We've scheduled to have a look at some babies from Gumtree this weekend that will be weaned by the end of the month that we can pick up mid Jan.
My worries now include:
- should we be rushing to get a new buddy
- whether Rusty is being left alone for too long and will not get along with the new baby
- as Rusty nears puberty (I've read in the forums this goes between 6 and 12/18 months) if it will affect the new relationship
- if there is a need to separate the baby from Rusty for a few weeks even though it's supposedly mite/mange treated and healthy
- if we should just wait for Rusty to be a year old and hopefully not pubescent and therefore better off in bonding - but he will be alone