Laverne and Shirley entered the rescue approximately two weeks ago, with the help of our southern friends at Atlanta Metro Guinea Pig Rescue. They had been contacted about these guinea pigs and while they were desperately full, they wanted to help. Their owner had lost her job months earlier, and when the girls began to scratch, seize, and scream, she was unable to provide them with medical care.
Although the girls (especially Laverne) look as though they’re in dire straits and not long for this world, both of them are simply suffering from mange mites. Mange mites in guinea pigs are species specific and relatively common. So common, in fact, that we treat all guinea pigs entering our rescue as a preventative measure! Though they are communicable, they do also exist naturally on guinea pigs in minute numbers which cause no symptoms. Stress, illness, and other factors can cause ‘flare ups’ which may need help to be contained.
When left without treatment, the itching that mites cause will progress to serious hair loss, heavy wounds (as the poor guinea pigs scratch themselves desperately), and even seizures. Heartbreakingly, we sometimes get calls about these poor bald pigs where the owners inform us that the guinea pigs are on their backs “trying to scratch”. They are having painful convulsions. If left long enough, they can cause death. But this takes several months of neglect!
Mites are easily treated with ivermectin or Revolution (selamectin), and these girls are continuing their treatments with us. In a couple of more weeks we hope to be able to do a ‘before and after’ unveil of beautiful, sleek girls.
Greatest thanks go to our crack team of Cavy Couriers that helped us get these girls all the way from Georgia to North Carolina in one busy day! (As well as providing them with some of the lushest 3rd cut of KMs hay I’ve ever seen!)
Mischa, Persia, and Morrigan found their happy endings with their new family! Mischa and Persia were from a hoarder case that was broken in 2008! They’d been with the rescue since October of 2008. Morrigan was left at a local animal shelter shortly afterwards as a baby. They were put into a communal cage, and their roomates got adopted from around them, leaving the three.
Having fostered together for over a year and clearly closely bonded, we were determined that they would go home together, and we got our wish!
Penny and family (who run the illustrious Pig Pals of NC — a potbellied pig rescue helping our oinky friends) saw the girls and fell in love with the “old ladies”. They went home to a wonderful new cage and quickly took over the duties of shoulder sitting, treat munching, and person bossing.
Thanks Penny and family for giving our elder lady rats a good retirement home, and for helping so many homeless pigs as well!
Duncan and Bryony have found their forever homes! We despaired of ever finding a place for Duncan, who had earned notoriety as a finger biter after he was surrendered to our vet’s office in Charlotte. Purchased from Petsmart as a child’s toy, he came home with a respiratory infection and chlamydia (which manifests as eye infections in most grazing animals). After being shaken and grabbed by a four year old and then having his poor sore eyes smeared with antibiotics three times a day for two weeks, he wasn’t what most people would call pleased with the situation.
After months of foster, he slowly lost his biting ways, was neutered, and fell in love with the beautiful Bryony, who tolerated his presence near her when she was in a good mood and if he was not too close. Bryony had also painted herself into a corner by failing four separate introductions with four separate girl pigs!
Deborah and her daughter, Shannon, saw these two and wanted to give them a forever home. Shannon, being an adult, was not likely to squeeze and shake Duncan, and their calm lifestyle was ideal for the somewhat high strung pair. We arrived this Sunday with a C&C cage, constructed it on site, and had the piggies installed with a great big pile of hay.
Bryony arrived slightly soggy, having needed her skirt washed for excessive laziness and slothiness. But as you can see, Duncan immediately started looking for the pellets.
Shannon also impressed us with this wonderful drawing of Duncan and Bry (now Zeke and Gigi):
Winnie and Leo have the distinction of being some of our longest fosters, and definitely our longest bunny fosters! Anne and William were looking for another pair of bunnies to add to their life after the passing of their beloved Patches. They saw Leo and Winnie on Petfinder and were interested in the pair!
The meeting between the two went well, and we prepared for their adoption on the 18th. We carefully explained that Winnie was quite reticent and somewhat shy, and that she may take a week or two to warm up to her new surroundings, but that Leo was nearly bombproof and shouldn’t have any issues. Leo had been carried to Rabbit Day in February and spent the entire time boredly rambling around the rabbit pens we brought with us while Winnie refused to leave the carrier.
Rabbits being rabbits, they set out to prove us wrong. Winnie ambled out like she was returning to an old friend’s house, and Leo graced us with his unhappy face. Serious disapproval was aimed at Andrea for interrupting his Sunday afternoon.
Despite Leo’s disapproval of his travel plans, Anne and William built an awesome rabbit palace for the pair and bunny proofed a playroom for them to enjoy. They’re settling in wonderfully and arrived to a giant box of hay and plenty of interesting things to chew.
Thank you Anne and William for adopting Leo and Winnie in memory of your wonderful Patches.
Beatrice and Hero are our newest intakes. These two girls were left at a downtown library in Charlotte, NC. The two were tied into a plastic Wal-mart bag and left in front of the library! Luckily for these girls, the staff of the library kindly brought them in, and then bought them a cage and some provisions until they could find someone to take care of them.
We got a message about these girls, and Andrea, our Charlotte coordinator, was over there that afternoon. We had expected literally anything when we got there — elderly guinea pigs in need of significant medical care, terrified babies that were barely handle-able, guinea pigs who had suffered a heat stroke… and she arrived to two healthy, friendly girls who appeared to have been cherished family pets.
Their background is a mystery. We believe they are between two and three years of age, but they could be as young as one or as old as five or six! Although their nails were on the long side, they otherwise appeared to have suffered no neglect.
On that note, please never leave an animal outside in any location! Most animal shelters will accept small animals. Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Control does. The people at the animal shelter are good people and go out of their way to try and find a home for every animal. We watch the shelters routinely, and they call us when animals come in. Even if everyone is too full, and your pets end up euthanized, it is still a kinder death than the ones which happen outside.
Last year there were two guinea pigs abandoned in an office parking lot. They weren’t as lucky — it was too hot. One of the two died in my arms gagging and agonal about two hours after he arrived to the rescue (and that was with subcutaneous fluids, handfeeding, and a trip to the vet). It is a miserable way for an animal to die, and abandoning or releasing an animal into the ‘wild’ (or even in an urban area) is a recipe dooming them to die of exposure to the elements, of becoming a snack to a lucky predator, or even of becoming the victim of a terrible person who would find it a ‘kick’ to harm a helpless animal. Had these girls been a little less lucky or had someone not noticed them, they could have suffocated in the plastic bag they were abandoned in or died of heat stroke.
A domestic animal released outside does not live out a happy ever after. It lives a shortened, frightening life before it expires or becomes food for another animal.
ACR&S wishes a sad farewell to Ori the rat, who had been sanctuary with us for nearly two years.
Ori came to us with another rat named Patchy. The two were surrendered because the owner’s cat kept pawing at the cage and trying to eat them. A couple of short weeks after surrender, Patchy was found prone and gasping for unexplained reasons. A trip to the emergency vet did not produce good news, and we lost her that evening.
Ori was left alone. We deliberated what to do with him — he wasn’t a very adoptable rat. He was scared of his own shadow (and everyone else’s) and would not accept treats, did not want to be social with people, and basically kept to himself. We made the decision to bring him in as a sanctuary animal to help keep company to some of our other, more sickly rats (we had Phredre and Ysandre at the time). He thrived in a quiet environment where he could laze in hammocks, inhale Suebee’s mix, and basically be respected as a scaredy-rat who didn’t want much to do with us.
About a month ago, we noticed that Ori seemed to be having heart problems. X-rays weren’t conclusive, and we opted to try heart medication to see if we could improve his health. He did get marginally better, but never really seemed to recover. On his last day, he seemed to panic when I picked him up and began gasping heavily for breath. We stabilized him at home and got him in to Dr. Munn first thing the next day. We could never get his breathing entirely to normal and as he began to degenerate we opted to euthanize him.
Necropsy revealed that Ori hadn’t had a heart problem at all. He had an enormous lung tumor that was pressing into his heart, mimicking the symptoms of heart disease. We were comforted that, although we were wrong, we hadn’t missed a problem that we would have been able to solve anyway. Lung cancers are fast moving and deadly. Rest is peace, Ori, we were happy to have you as a friend for so long.
Congratulations to Lucas and Liam, two boars who were abandoned separately at the Charmeck Animal Control but who quickly bonded in foster. They’d been with us since around
Christmas, and were apparently just waiting for Jennifer and her family to notice them and bring them home to their cavy palace!
Jennifer’s family had sadly lost a guinea pig to pneuomonia. Though they were saddened by the loss, they knew they wanted to help another guinea pig who needed a home. They sat through a quarantine period (just to be safe) with a lot of anticipation, and were finally able to welcome their new family members home the weekend of the 17th!
As you can see from the first picture, the initial cage exploration wasn’t very brave, but followup pictures show two happy guinea pigs enjoying some couch potato time!
The new family reports that Lucas is the brave one, but Liam is slowly warming up. Thanks again for the wonderful home for these two!
Petal, daughter of Noelle, was born in our rescue in late February along with her brothers, Bud and Leaf.
This past Saturday, Petal found her forever home with James and Amanda! James and Amanda’s pig, Lucy, was looking for a friend after the passing of their beloved Daisy. We talked about several single female pigs, scheduled a day for dating, and crossed our fingers!
Turns out we didn’t need to do much finger crossing. Petal scooched right over to Lucy and snuggled down. Lucy was pretty patient with the tiny interloper, and they were soon sharing carrots and veggies together. (Well, Lucy was sharing — Petal was eating right out of her mouth!) After a quick cage cleaning, both girls went in, noshed on some pellets, and fell asleep inside their towel tents.
Thanks to Amanda and James for offering our Petal such a wonderful forever home! Also for not letting me steal Lucy who is adorable and puffy and likes to give kisses!
Valor’s story, as so many, starts off with an email.
We have a young 4-5 m.o. male guinea pig we named Toffee (for his lovely color) we bought as a companion to our beloved Snuffy (also male). They get along OK, but Toffee and I (human owner!) don’t really get along. He is very restless, and squeaks constantly. He doesn’t seem to be very happy. I think he might need to be with a larger group or maybe a different owner. We looked at a list of local shelters offering guinea pigs and found one named LEAF from Morrisville. We thought Leaf might be a good companion for Snuffy and a nice pet for us. I’d like to offer an exchange. Would this be possible? I’m also open to other male guinea pigs if Leaf is taken.
We were pretty flabbergasted — Toffee was a young guinea pig. Young guinea pigs, by definition, are loud, restless, squeaky, and (dare I say it?) can be pretty obnoxious to deal with. It’s one of our primary educational points when people want baby guinea pigs. They will not be cuddly, friendly companions! They are like toddlers who have eaten an entire candy store worth of chocolate and will constantly run, scream, bounce, and squabble with each other until they mature into adults who are too lazy to bother with such antics.
It’s one thing to try another partner when your two pigs aren’t getting along, but realistically trading an even younger, more reactive, louder, and more restless guinea pig for one which was already causing dissatisfaction was unlikely to help the situation. We wrote to her, described the personality of young pigs, and recommended that she persevere with Toffee and he would (over time) become calmer and more affectionate as he became used to her and aged out of the terrible teens. This was especially important because the guinea pigs were bonded, and often reacted poorly to being torn apart from their herd.
The following Monday, we were contacted by one of the local shelters who said they had a young male guinea pig. Not unusual — the shelters are full to bursting with all kinds of small animal right now. We said that we’d take him and arranged a pickup. They sent back pictures letting us know that his name was “Toffee”, and that he was five months old. His owner surrendered him because he didn’t get along with her guinea pig and he was a show pig. Toffee had been abandoned.
When Toffee arrived to foster, our hearts broke. Toffee wasn’t “restless” and “squeaky”. Toffee was terrified out of his little mind. He stood in his quarantine cage, legs trembling, as he cried softly to himself. I’d never seen such a scared guinea pig (and guinea pig owners will realize what a feat this is — they’re timid animals by nature!) Finally he gathered up all his courage and dashed into his hidey house, not to be seen for the rest of the night.
Over the past few days, Toffee (now Valor — we felt like he needed a little confidence boost!) has slowly come out of his shell. Though he is still very scared by the hands which enter the cage, he’s brave enough to come up to the side of the cage to see what’s going on, and has started begging us for veggies like a normal guinea pig. Still wiggly in laps, he’s slowly learning that people aren’t big scary monsters and that there’s really no need to skitter off and hide from them.
In addition to being a scaredy-pig, Valor has another obstacle to overcome. He is a satin guinea pig. The satin coat (which is especially shiny and has an unusual sheen) is genetically linked to a condition known as osteodystrophy. Our own Picadilly (also a satin) dealt with this problem. Basically the bones of these guinea pigs can start breaking down from the inside. Typically, these guinea pigs will need to be monitored with x-rays (so that the bone loss is caught in a timely manner) and then afterward treated with calcium supplements and a special light to help them absorb it, and pain medication as needed since the pigs often become sore and almost “arthritic”.
Valor is available for adoption and is looking for the perfect home!
Clarence is Sponsor a Guinea Pig’s pick for April!
Clarence is an absolutely adorable piggy. He came into Small Angels in April of 2009 as part of a large group taken to a local animal shelter when their owner was moving away.
He was in a poor state on arrival, thin, weak, and dehydrated. He was thought to be an older piggie, due to his conformation, but the lady piggies who came in with him were all pregnant and in due course gave birth to babies who bore a striking resemblance to him (!)
Clarence suffered from chronic diarrhea and on and off he also had a runny eye and nostril for most of the summer. After being neutered he remained in the rescue for an assortment of treatments. In the Autumn he was found to have an abscess under his jaw and the prognosis was poor, so we had to decide if he was a good candidate for surgery or not (the alternative being euthanasia). It was a difficult decision, but throughout all these months he had remained perky and lively, in spite of still being somewhat thin. So we decided to give surgery a go.
Clarence tolerated a long course of antibiotics and then had surgery to drain the abscess and remove a rotton tooth. It was successful! Since then, he has remained on anti-biotics twice weekly and needed probiotics to address the resulting diarrhea.
Clarence is a delightful little guy, amazing us with his upbeat character and endearing manner. Recently he has gained a little weight and he gets very excited about having his veggies, hopping up on his wooden house to wait for them.Clarence also still likes to chat to the ladies
Visit their blog for more info on Clarence!
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