Cavies As a Kid
I first fell in love with cavies in second grade. I had a friend who had a cavy named Brownie, a (believe it or not) brown piggy, with an adorable crest on his head. I visited her house, and immediately fell in love with Brownie. I spent a lot of the visit holding Brownie and feeding him carrots. We let him run around the yard, and then placed him back in his 10-gallon aquarium.
My love of Brownie didn't end with just playing with him. At school, we would run around the playground pretending to be guinea pigs. If memory serves me, Brownie's owner pretended to be Brownie, and I pretended to be an imaginary black guinea pig named Rose. We would play in a part of the jungle gym that was our "cage", crawling around on our hands and knees and wheeking.
I never really wanted a guinea pig, they were nice pets, for sure, and fun to pretend to be, but it would be much more fun to have a dog. So, for years, I lost interest in cavies and starting begging for a dog, but my parents never wound up getting one.
Then, in the summer of 2003, that changed.
Coming up next: Meet Mumu!
In the summer of 2003, my aunt moved from California to Virginia on a cross-country road trip, and her daughter’s guinea pig, Mumu, came with her. Her daughter no longer wanted the pig, so she asked if I wanted the pig. I wanted a pet, any pet, so I happily agreed. And so, I got my first pig, Mumu. She was a solid light brown pig with no marking at all. I knew nothing about cavies, so simply gave her pellets(and the more ingredients it has, the better, right?), and she lived in her petstore cage with cedar bedding. Mumu was a wonderful pig who loved to be held, and would happily sit with you while you watched an entire movie. Her favorite thing to eat was lettuce, when I would give her a leaf, she would grab it in her mouth and run all around the cage before eating it. She was the perfect pig.
But, after only a month of having Mumu, she was sick. The cross-country trip and the stress of living in a new home with new owners much have weakened her. I was too clueless to realize that she was losing weight, but my aunt, who had known her when she was healthy, knew something was wrong. My aunt took her to her house hoping that she would recover. She passed on later that night. Although I was devastated by the loss of Mumu, I decided I needed another pig. So off to the pet store I went…
Coming up next:
In September 2003, I went with a friend to a pet store called Petland. We both picked out "female" pigs to bring home, as well as some vitamin drops for their water, and seed treats. These were going to be spoiled pigs! I had chosen a white pig with an agouti patch on the left side of her face, and on her bottom. Her colors reminded me of a Snickers bar, so that was what I named her. My friend picked out a ginger colored coronet, which she named Twix to match the candy theme. The night we brought them home, we kept them in the same cage until I got my pig cage back from my aunt. We noticed Snickers mounting Twix, but figured they were just playing.
Snickers lived a decent piggy life, considering how clueless of an owner I was. He got plenty of pellets, and hay and carrots as treats. He loved going into the front yard to eat grass and play with Twix. But, in 2004, Twix passed away, and we decided we needed to get Snickers a new friend.
This is Snickers:
As you can see, he's not too thrilled with my collection of My Little Ponies:
Coming up next:
In the mean time, I continued browsing the MGPR website, and found Cavycages. I realized how small Snickers' cage was, and decided I needed to make a bigger one. I also found Cavy Spirit for the CC website, and realized how wrong breed, pet stores, and things like that were. I had become a cavy slave!
Judi from MGPR emailed us back, and told us what I had found out- our cage was too small. But, she offered to make a C&C for us, and we could pick it up, plus a friend for Snickers, at the November adoption meet. I was so excited for November to get there already!
On the day of the meet, I loaded Snickers into the car, and we set off on the drive to the meet. I couldn't wait to meet Grayson! After I met everyone, Grayson and Snickers were put in a pen together. A rescuer noticed that Snickers was acting unusual for a female, so she took a look "down under". Snickers was a boy! What a surprise. Well, poor Grayson was being humped liked mad by Snickers, so we decided that Grayson wasn't going to work. We tried Snickers with a few other pigs, but he didn't get along with any of them. We went home dissapointed.
That was, until we got another email from Judi.
Anyway, Judi sent me an email about a guinea pig in the Baltimore shelter. The pig's name was Hannah, and she was a crested golden agouti. Judi sent a website that had a photo of Hannah to us, and my mom and I fell in love wsith her. We said we wanted her, so Judi took her from the shelter and spayed her, and we set the date for when I would adopt her-December 18th, 2004.
I eagerly awaited the day we would adopt Hannah, and when the 18th arrived, we quickly set out on the 2 hour drive to Judi's home in Maryland. Judi brought out Hannah, and put her in a playpen on the floor. I put Snickers in, and waited to see what was going to happen. They sniffed each other and popcorned, clearly very happy. Snickers did quite a lot of rumblestrutting, but Hannah didn't mind. It was piggy love.
We got a clue towards Hannah's true personality the first day we met her. Judi brought out some raddichio for the two, and Hannah quickly gobbled down every morsel. However, we failed to realize that she would soon become a 3 pound whopper.
Hannah went home with us that night, and promptly peed on me. I didn't care, I was as much in love with her as Snickers was.
Hannah settled in very quickly, and things for my pigs were very comfortable for the next year.
So, last winter we decided that we needed another cavy, so we contacted MGPR. We arranged to come to their meeting on January 15th, and pick out another pig!
We got to work expanding the cage. We built another 2X4, but ths time it had a little hayloft. Then we built a table to set the two cages on. We drilled a hole through the table and the new cage, and built a ramp so the pigs could go between the levels.
So, we drove to Alexandria(thankfully only 1/2 an hour away) and let Hannah and Snickers meet some new pigs. First, we tried a very large, floofy girl who looked a lot like Snickers. However, she didn't get along with Hannah, because the both wanted to be the boss. So, I then asked about a pig I had seen on the site that I thought was cute - Elsie, a little black and white dali/roanish shorthair. They got along! Elsie seemed to willing be bossed around by Snickers and Hannah. So, a little bit of paperwork later, we brought Elsie home. She spent her first few days hiding in a pigloo, but eventually came out of her shell. She started wheeking in the most adorable way, it started out quiet and slowly got louder, and sometimes it would sort of falter. It was so cute! Elsie was very shy around people and would flinch when you touched her. But, she was a sweetheart, and you couldn't help but love her.
I'll tell you about some of the more interesting moments with the herd now.
Hannah, as you'll know if you've seen the "Disapproving Pig" thread, is mean. Well, one day my friend needing a pigsitter for her lone boar, Diablo, and I could do it. When he arrived, I decided to let him spend a little time with my pigs, since I knew the poor guy was lonely. So, for a few hours they got along, despite the girls being annoyed by his infatuation with them. Eventually, Hannah just got sick of him. She plopped her immense flab down at the base of the ramp that goes between the two main levels, and refused to move. Elsie, who had been on the upper level, had run halfway down the ramp, then noticed Hannah, and stood there, her tiny brain trying to decide if she should be brave and face Hannah, or go back upstairs. Poor Diablo was on the bottom level of the cage, and wanted to go up. Nothing would stop the little guy. He walked up to Hannah (ignoring her sounds of hatred), and jumped clear over her, onto the ramp, while she lunged at him, extremely pissed. He just kept going, quickly jumping over Elsie, and up to victory! Yay for Diablo!
Here's the little cutie at the 2006 Spring DC Pignic.