01.31.11

And then there were three

Posted in Memorials at 10:33 am by ACR&S

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but that doesn’t mean the rescue hasn’t been busy.  We’re just too busy to write much!

2010 was a great year for the rescue: we placed nearly 100 animals. That’s astonishing to me. It’s the most we’ve ever placed in the nearly 10 year history of ACR&S; twice as many as our next-best year and over three times what we budget for every year! Fortunately, we’ve had more support than ever from adopters, donors, and foster homes, so we have reached this great milestone without too much financial hardship.

2010 was a much harder year in terms of losing animals, especially our older Sanctuary residents.  We started the year with 14 guinea pigs in the Sanctuary. We ended it with only four; the lowest number of piggies I have had since I started guinea pig rescue in September 2001.  I haven’t been able to bring myself to blog about the losses for several months; after this much time with them, losing them is more of a matter for personal, private grief.

sadieHowever, so many people have been involved in this piggie’s life, that I feel it’s important to share: We said goodbye to Sadie last night.  She was originally rescued and placed by our friends at Cave Springs in Virginia, back in 2005. In 2008 she and her partner were returned by their adopter, and due to their location, we ended up picking them up in North Carolina. At around 5 years old, it was felt that they wouldn’t be adoptable, so we transferred them to the Sanctuary in Wisconsin a year later.

Chester passed earlier in 2010 and Sadie was re-bonded with Tug, the last remaining resident from the Jacksonville 48 rescue in 2005.

Sadie started having trouble with bladder stones this past summer. We kept her on a very careful diet, which reduced the frequency and severity, but once stones start to occur, they come back again and again. She also had severe arthritis and we’ve been fighting an increasingly difficult battle of pain management.

We have been able to have all of her stones flushed out, but this last one was too big. The vet also felt that her age (she’s pushing 7, if not 8 ) she was not a good candidate for the extensive surgery and long recovery that would be required to remove it. We let her go yesterday evening. Her pain is gone now.

Now Tug is alone again, sharing a divided 3′x7′ cage with Dozer and Skunky, a pair of 4 year olds who were born in the rescue and never adopted. He’s pushing seven years himself, and having recurrent tooth problems that require twice monthly trims. I honestly didn’t expect him to outlive Sadie.  Dozer had a thyroid tumor removed last summer, but otherwise he and Skunky are healthy.

I have just one guinea pig cage now, for the first time in nearly a decade.

Just three pigs, who all entered the rescue and never left it. None of them ever received a single adoption application.  They’re all pigs that nobody else ever wanted.

They’re all I have left.

2 Comments

  1. celis said,

    January 31, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I remember reading about Dozer a long time ago. I thought he had been adopted. Same with Tug. Well, there is really no place better for them than in your capable and caring hands.
    So sad to loose Sadie. There is nothing comforting to say- it just never gets easier, in fact the repetition of losses may eventually wear down even the strongest of animal rescuers (you!). Let me say what you already know: that bearing their suffering is kindness in action and many, many small beings have ended their lives with loving attention instead of loneliness, because you were there. Your compassion is a gift of immeasurable proportion. Thank you for helping them, and for enduring the inevitable pain that comes with being a dedicated rescuer.

  2. Holi said,

    February 4, 2011 at 7:52 am

    I am so sorry for your loss of Sadie. What a big, beautiful girl she was! I am new to guinea pigs. I took 2 females from a friend who had to rehome them about 6 months ago. I never realized until getting my girls what an incredible joy a guinea pig can be. And I had never even heard of a guinea pig rescue, nor did I realize that guinea pigs could even be adopted. I am currently looking to adopt two more girls in North Carolina.
    I just want to say thank God for people like yourself. Your 3 boys will be happy and loved for the rest of their lives because you are there. And I know that Sadie felt the love that you had, and still have, for her. You are a blessing to every animal whos life you touch.