02.15.08

Guinea pig love – theirs, and ours

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:18 am by ACR&S

Love comes in many shapes and sizes, and this is the story of a very special pair of pigs, and the love they shared.

Chuck

Chuck was our very first rescued piggy. He found us just before Easter 2000. He was a teacher friend’s classroom pet, and when I first saw him I couldn’t believe there existed an animal that looked just like an ambulatory mop head.

Chuck’s House

I offered to pet-sit him over Easter, and was not sorry when he was left with me for good. He came to us in a tiny, filthy cage, with no decent food, and I quickly learned all I could about proper guinea pig care. Unfortunately, that was before I had Internet access, and what I learned was hardly sufficient. I did get him onto a better diet, with hay and lots of veggies, but didn’t yet know about C&C cages, so he lived in a big Rubbermaid storage bin.

Chuck

We soon came to love Chuck and he was definitely “loving” in return. He would purr contentedly while being cuddled, and one Christmas, I was taking care of Chuck while my parter DKMS was with his family. He called and left a message for me on the answering machine – and when I played the message, Chuck started wheeking frantically as soon as he heard his daddy’s voice! But at this point, Chuck was still “alone” from his perspective – we didn’t have any other piggies for him to play with.

Spanky

About two years later, I had started getting into rescue. One of my earliest rescues was Spanky, a funny looking white pig with red “glasses” and a red “ribbon” around his belly.

As much as we loved our piggies, we still didn’t know the truth about guinea pigs’ social needs, so we thought (mistakenly) that intact boars couldn’t live together. We kept the two in separate storage bins and they never interacted.

One day, I came home and found Spanky missing from his storage bin. Yikes! (I was also mistaken about how high they could jump.) I looked everywhere, terrified that he’d gotten stuck behind the fridge or escaped into the space where the dryer vented. About forty panicked minutes later, I was near despair, when suddenly Chuck’s cage caught my eye. It looked a little fuller than usual… had Chuck somehow doubled in size?

Sneaky Spanky

Tired of being alone, Spanky had hopped out of his own cage, and into Chuck’s!

From that moment, the two boars were inseparable. They were our first experience with pigs living socially, and learning that this was possible motivated us to start keeping all of our pigs in pairs or groups.

Chuck & Spanky

Another year passed, and we finally learned about C&C cages, and Spanky & Chuck were moved from their storage bin up into a spacious 10 sq ft cage. Some boars, when moving from cramped quarters to larger ones, start displaying aggression as they finally feel able to claim a “territory”. This never happened with these two. They would always follow each other around, would happily sleep in the same pigloo, and Chuck would gently nibble Spanky’s ears to groom him.

In August of 2003, Spanky became ill and spent a few days in the vet hospital. After his surgery, we brought Chuck to visit with his friend. As soon as they were placed together, Chuck started calling loudly. Spanky, still sedated, actually managed to chortle softly in response. Chuck climbed back and forth over Spanky’s shoulders, trying to entice his drowsy buddy to play, wheeking and purring all the while. They had clearly missed each other and were happy to be reunited.

It has been several years since both Chuck and Spanky crossed the Bridge, but they are still remembered as the most loving, affectionate pigs – with one another, and with humans – that we have ever had the pleasure to rescue. Their love for each other, and the love we felt for them, inspired us to go forward with this rescue, and to educate owners about how to give their piggies the best lives possible.

So this day-after-Valentine’s day, if you have a single piggy, I hope you will take a moment to think about how much you love your little furry friend, and whether you could show your love by making his life better. Your piggy will love you more, not less, when he has the love of a piggy friend to share with you!


If you’re looking to adopt, be sure to check out our Petfinder page in the next few days! We just took in eight little piggies last night and their pictures will be up very soon!

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