On the other side of the coin, we have had a slew of happy endings recently as well.
Firstly, our bouncy buddy Pantalaimon the chinchilla found his forever home shortly before Christmas. His new adoptive mom, Diane, had a girl chinchilla named Olivia who was looking for her forever partner, and Diane just couldn’t get over Pan’s handsome (if goofy) face on Petfinder! She contacted us, we arranged to get Pan neutered, and then he travelled home where he and Olivia are now working on introductions together.
His mom says:
Once we got home, I contained the kitties upstairs and went downstairs with him, set his crate on the floor and opened the door. He didn’t want to come out so I lounged on the bed down there and put the crate next to me. He came out and sat on my chest and belly for about a half hour. Oh, my god! I am in love! He was letting me kiss him and pet him all over!
Olivia and Pan are slowly getting to know each other (Pan loves Olivia, and Olivia thinks he’s ok — like a lot of human courtship as well? ) and will eventually cohabitate, but chins are so fragile and persnickety that their new mom is taking things slow.
Next, our little snuggle buddy Phoebe (often called “Peepers” in her foster home) has found an amazing adopter who fell in love with her adorable Petfinder picture and couldn’t understand why an adorable baby dumbo rattie couldn’t find someone to live with! We met, and Phoebe made her choice. She snuggled into her mom’s cuddle pouch and went to sleep while we were talking! Adoption plans were made, and overall Phoebe is doing well in her new home. Her mom is giving her some time to settle in before she introduces her to the rest of her mischief so there’s not a ton of scary happenings at once, but we at ACR&S have our fingers crossed for a great fit.
Her mom says:
Oh my, what a talker she is! And she likes for me to talk back. What a personable little rat! She’s spent a lot of time in the igloo you brought. I think that has really worked well to make her feel more at home. I guess we’ll have to wait for introductions, but I just cannot imagine that she is not going to work out beautifully.
The whole experience was great, and I got to spend a lot of time being snuggled by her mom’s other rats, who were so pampered and spoiled that they happily walked right up to me and crawled into my arms for snuggles.
Finally, a big congratulations to Zinnia and Marigold.
These pair of girls, abandoned at the local animal shelter with five other pigs, have hit the jackpot! Their new mom Susan and new best friend, Kaylee, have spoiled these little red piggies rotten. Initially somewhat afraid of their new surroundings (and who wouldn’t be!) they’re now spoiled and plump, and happily beg their new family for yummy snacks, especially their daily salad. I stopped by to see them a week after the adoption to drop off some extra cubes for their cage, and it was clear how fast these little ladies have bonded to their family! They were immediately out of their hidey house and up to the cage trying to wrangle a few extra treats.
Thank you Susan and family for giving these girls the kind of home they never even knew existed!
All Creatures Rescue & Sanctuary has already had a very rocky Christmas. We lost a foster animals and two sanctuary animals, in addition to the loss of my mother.
Friday, December 19th, we lost Patchy, a double rex girl who was surrendered a couple of weeks ago by a couple with allergies to rats. They had recently adopted the rats, and her husband was unexpectedly allergic and they contacted us. Patchy was initially from a breeder, who’s website advertises that she’ll ship anywhere in the country, although she is located in our state. Double rex rats have genes which make them lose and regrow hair in random patches (also sometimes known as “patchwork” rats). This “responsibly” bred rat came to us already with entropion issues (where the eyelashes sometimes grow into the eyes), and mild occlusion problems (which sometimes required minor dental work).
She was discovered in her cage gasping for breath after I returned home from the hospital with my mother on Friday evening, and we rushed her to the emergency vet. We could not stabilize her on oxygen, and the vet recommended euthanasia. We reluctantly agreed with her, seeing the misery that Patchy was in, and that all outcomes were likely to be fatal (either tumor related, serious cardiac condition related, or pneumonia so severe that she was affected literally to the point of near death in 24 hours).
She left behind Oree, her neutered male bondmate who is terrified of people, whom we worried about greatly. We weren’t sure who to put him with, as we had no other available fosters which seemed to suit him.
Phedre solved our conundrum for us by lying down on Christmas Day and dying quietly in her sleep. My mother died in the early AM of Christmas Eve, and I returned home the day afterwards (having sent Anthony home to tend to the animals) to discover that little Phedre had gone over to her food dish and curled up around it, and then gone to sleep and left us. It was heart wrenching, even on top of the recent death of my mother. Phedre was my first rat, and was talked about earlier in the blog, here. As the year had passed, she had become more frail and spindley, but hung onto life with an almost grim determination. Each time I began considering euthanasia, her huge personality would shine through. Once, when I had determined that the next day was “the day”, she leapt out of the cage and into my arms to beg for a treat. Her pairing with Ysandre (first talked about here) was wildly successful. Both were unable to frolic and roughhouse like healthier rats, but they loved cuddling and snuggling, and it was unusual not to find them with each other at all times. Phedre taught me so much about rats, and became the impetus to focus our program more closely on rats.
Ysandre was left alone, and we have begun bonding her with Oree. They now share a hammock together, and Oree is warming up to his human friends.
Finally, late last week, our little friend Picadilly, also laid down and appeared to have had a heart attack. He was first talked about with my other Jacksoneville retention, Hobo in the post here. In a way, I am grateful that he was able to pass quietly in his sleep. The alternative for many pigs with osteodystrophy is having to be euthanized as the ongoing pain of their crumbling bones and swelling joints becomes too great to cover with pain medication, and I am grateful that my gentle grey piggie never have to suffer through that. But I am saddened that his particularly pointy nose no longer pokes out of the cage at me in the mornings when veggies are coming, and his cagemate, Mogwai, was devastated. Picadilly’s ears showed great distress — Mogwai had stood next to his friend, urgently grooming and chewing his ears in an effort to get him to stand up again. Because of his severe distress, we opted to go ahead and attempt introductions to Mnemie, who seems to have alleived some of his loneliness.
So goodbye to all my little furred friends. Hopefully they have all gone together, and are released from the painful bodies that kept them from frolicking happily for so long.
This is Gabriel’s story.
Gabriel was surrendered to ACR&S shortly before the Christmas holiday. It started with an email:
I have A guinea pig he is one and a half give or take. I got him for my daughter she is five now and She is severly allergic to him. She wasn’t at first but it keeps getting worse. I was wondering if you had room for one more because he is a very sweet guinea pig and it breaks my heart to have to give him up. But he doesnt get the attention he deserves here. I play with him when I can but its just not the same as it should be. Also about a month ago his hair fell out and he started to itch ALOT!!! so I got some anti itch spray and I sprayed him a couple times and he got better and his hair is staring to grow back. About a week ago he
was acting lathargic and drinking water like crazy I noticed he had a puddle of poo around him so I started treating him for wet tail. He didn’t improve much so I took him to the vet. The vet said he might have ring worm or something else. And he gave me some medicine that he said might work.And It could be contagious to me. ( I know the ring worm is, but he was saying a parasite of some kind) Basically he didn’t know. I just want to be totally honest with you. I really wanted to find him a good home before he got sick, but I know you guys will take care of him even if he is sick. You guys can hve his cage and everything I have to go with him I just bout him a new bag of food and treats. He has about a half a bag of bedding left and he loves oranges and apples. Every time you open the fridge he thinks he is supposed to get a treat too! I would really appreciate you concidering him as a rescue. Again he is very sweet
but we are just not the right family for him and he needs to be with some one who can play with him more and give the attention he should get.
It’s unfortunate, but we get several dozen emails like this every month. “Hi, I have a sick animal, and he’s still sick, and can you take him?” These animals cost us hundreds of dollars, and yet there are not really other options for them. Most shelters are unaware of what needs to be done for them, or even how serious most of these problems are. Often these animals have no other options, and often we are too soft-hearted to say no to them.
We were optimistic. Hairloss and diarrhea, although not ideal, are fairly treatable, and are also fairly inexpensive.
We arranged for a pickup with his owner, but due to the last-minute nature of the exchange, our Charlotte coordinator was unable to complete the transport (the piggie himself was in SC). The owner then refused to meet us when we could not meet her with literally 24 hours notice. We sent out a call for any volunteers or former adopters in SC who were ready and willing to pick up a corner of the transport to please email us. We were desperate.
And they responded in force! We quickly had transportation agreements, kind people offering donations for gas money, and a cheering section rooting for this little lost pig. 2 days after the failed transport, our volunteers managed to meet with Gabriel’s owner and pick him up. Brenda, one of our treasured SC operatives, called us nearly in tears. “Please”, she begged, “can I take him to my emergency vet? The vibrations of the car are causing him to have seizures over and over again!” The “minor hair loss” we’d been told about was one of the worst case of mites we’d ever seen in a living animal. We encouraged her to go straight to the emergency vet, where poor Gabriel was stabilized and given valium and pain medication to try and dull the agony of his broken body.
He then continued his trek northward, and ended up with Andrea. She threw the kitchen sink at him — antibiotics, benadryl, Revolution, hand feeding, veggies, you name it. She spent her nights by his cage, nursing him, trying to feed him, asking questions and contacting vets. She held him while he seizured, and tried to clean off his poor damaged face (which started losing disturbing clumps of hair around his eyes). He had support from all over the country being mailed in, and had developed quite a cheering section.
On December 27th, a few short days after his initial rescue, Gabriel laid down to sleep and didn’t get back up. Although his condition had improved, he had too many odds stacked against him. The mites, his poor husbandry prior to surrender, and possible poisoning from the use of over the counter medicine to treat him were too much.
In Gabriel’s name, this is my plea: demand better care from your vets. Do not stand by while your animal dies. Gabriel died from mites. From a parasite treated with $5 worth of medication because his vet didn’t know any better and because his owner said nothing as his health spiraled downward. Nobody looks at a pig like Gabriel and thinks that he is fine. Nobody listens to an animal screaming in agony as it has convulsions and thinks that they’re ok. According to Andrea, the first night, Gabriel would seizure and wail every five minutes, and could be heard all over her house. She couldn’t sleep because of the noise. Please, speak up. You are your pet’s only advocate! A death like this is not a quiet release, it is a bone agonzing descent into nothing but pain, until pain is all the animal knows. And Gabriel suffered, alone, without even the benefit of pain medication.
So goodbye, Gabriel. You were our failed Christmas miracle, but at least you didn’t die alone, and you got a measure of respite from the pain that you had been trapped in for so long.
A little late, it’s time for another month of Sponsor a Guinea Pig! Jackie and Chester are a bonded pair of special needs sweethearts in the Texas Rustlers Guinea Pig Rescue. Jackie is missing her top teeth, and requires some careful dietary considerations, an expensive monthly dental procedure, and her beloved parsley. She recently lost her long time guinea mate, Claude, and at the same time began going blind in one eye, requiring further medical care. Meeting Chester helped her immensely.
Chester is three years old, and also needs expensive monthly dental procedures, as he has a painful mouth infection. The poor boy is on daily antibiotics and pain meds. This doesn’t stop him from being a complete snuggler and cuddler with people, and cheering up Jackie again after her loss.
Please donate to support these piggies today! Visit Sponsor a Guinea Pig to make a donation, or donate directly to:
160 Cedarcrest lane,
Double oak TX 75077
Due to a rough month, we missed showcasing December’s piggie, Peaches, who was rescued by our friends and neighbors at Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue
. Peaches is a five year old sanctuary guinea pig who wasn’t even supposed to live through her first night with the rescue! Each month Peaches’ medical care costs the rescue $134.50 – their December goal was to raise enough for two months of her medical care! That’s $269. This includes the office exam ($22.50) an incisor trim ($15), her Meloxicam ($23), critical care ($28), Cosequin ($11.50), Benazapril ($11.50), and Metronidazole ($23).
Although SAGP exceeded their fundraising goal for Peaches, we don’t want her to miss out! If you haven’t already done so, please visit Sponsor a Guinea Pig or MGPR to make a donation to her now, and to read the rest of her wonderful story!