It’s not all bad

Posted in Memorials, Sanctuary Spotlight at 2:45 am by ACR&S

We had to euthanize Dora and Daphne last Friday. These are two rats who were pulled from the OCAS last summer. They had persistent illnesses and ended up never leaving foster care.

Sometimes it certainly seems like there’s more bad days than good in rescue. By and large that’s true – by the very nature of what we do, we see more negatives than positives. But overall, the good outweighs the bad – when that changes, you usually get out of rescue.

Partly, you keep the good on top because you’re constantly trying to make good out of the bad. Fr’instance: although Cinnamon died of lymphosarcoma last Monday, we were able to let the Pathology Club at the UW-Madison vet school use her body for a teaching session led by none other than Dr Steinberg, the author of the lymphoma article I cited a few weeks back. Hopefully some of the students will get interested in guinea pig medicine and down the road we’ll have a few new vets!

Sometimes the good is unexpected: This weekend our NC coordinator Jenn did a “Bunny Party” for a 5 year old girl who is rabbit crazy. The mom is one of those rare and wonderful people who are teaching all the right lessons at the right time. She knows that a child that age isn’t a good match for a bunny, but wanted to direct her daughter’s fascination into appropriate channels. So she arranged a bunny themed party where all the kids played HRS-inspired learning games, and Jenn visited with one of our adopted bunnies, Doc, for some supervised real-bunny interaction. Jenn was surprised at how quickly the birthday girl started repeating the important messages: don’t pick up bunnies to hold them, just pet them on the ground, etc. Personally, I wasn’t surprised at all. With a parent modeling the right behaviors that way, this girl is bound to be a perfect future adopter!

We also can make good by taking pleasure in what we do all the time. We had the good fortune to bring in two new piggies, one as a pet pig and one as a new Sanctuary resident. Honi came to us in the middle of February. She was going to make up a triple with our pet pigs Stinky and Cinnamon.

HoniHoni was an owner surrender to the WI-GPR. She had lived for over two years in a 12″x12″ rubbermaid container. Occasionally, she was let out to run around on the floor with the owner’s other pigs, allowing her to get pregnant. It was after the second pregnancy that she was surrendered.

Due to her confinement and her poor diet, Honi developed into a soft, blobby little pig. She feels like she’s made out of soap suds and would just ooze right out of your hands. She’s not at all athletic and doesn’t have the muscles for the cage sprinting that some of our piggies have. However, her activity level has definitely gone up since meeting Stinky! She also had a heart condition, and is on a permanent blood pressure medication to help this.

Honi & StinkyHoni & CinnamonStinky was immediately in love (both with Honi, and with the idea of having two girlfriends), but Cinnamon, who was just starting to show her lymphoma, wasn’t so sure.

Honi and Stinky are alone again, but hopefully we’ll find another needy girl and finally be able to get them back into a triple. But it’s really wonderful to see her blossoming and running and playing with Stinky. Her 3’x7′ is a far cry from that pathetic little box she spent her last two years in.

Our new Sanctuary resident is a little intact boar named Freddie. He was being advertised on Craigslist – “Free pig with aquarium”. Apparently that owner got him from Craigslist too, along with the same aquarium, but now that her son had learned to walk, she was afraid he’d stick his fingers in the aquarium and get bitten. Apparently a lid was a foreign concept. So we expect that Freddie is probably 3 or so yeas old, and he has lived all his life in an aquarium.

For all this, he’s in surprisingly good shape. He had a bit of an URI when he came in, but that was treated by WI-GPR before he came to us. He was put in a side-by-side cage with two other single boars, and this weekend, we introduced them. Freddie & CoThey get along surprisingly well! Gonzo, there in the back, is another intact male, and Aragorn (hogging the water bottle) is a neutered male, and we expected some problems because both have always been very dominant, and we had no idea how Freddie would react. However, he was ecstatic to finally have a friend. He sleeps and eates very close to Gonzo. Also surprisingly, Gonzo has ended up on the bottom of the pecking order – he never threatens or challenges anyone, and if challenged, always backs down. It’s Aragorn who has turned out to be the big cheese. Freddie mostly defers to him, but Aragorn is always trying to remind the other two that he’s the boss. Maybe he has a complex about being the only neutered boy in the cage!

We’re still keeping their 2×6 totally empty of toys, just until we’re sure that they won’t fight if two of them unexpectedly walk around a corner and come face to face, but Freddie doesn’t seem to mind. All three of these boys have been alone for a long time, and it’s wonderful to see them enjoying each other’s company. Thus we find the silver lining!

Friday: Pictures of the Sanctuary and of the Plush Pets. F’real, the post is already written!


  1. Searching for happy endings » Sad days said,

    July 17, 2009 at 9:19 am

    […] June 11 we lost Honi. We first introduced her here – she was a rescue transfer from the Wisconsin Guinea Pig Rescue – she came to them in late 2007 […]

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    February 10, 2015 at 3:37 am

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    Searching for happy endings » It’s not all bad