Poppins & Caleb

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Post   » Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:57 pm

This is the story of my guinea pigs, Poppins and Caleb :)
I can't write about them without first mentioning some background info and my first piggy, Buster, who recently passed away.

(You don't have to read this whole thing, it's pretty much a prelude to Caleb & Poppins meeting)

Poppins is a 3-year old Abyssinian. He is almost completely white except for his left eye, which looks like he has black eyeliner around it. My boyfriend bought him from a pet store, where he was on clearance because he "looked weird" (crazy Abyssinian hair!). He was about 3-4 weeks old at the time. He was meant to be a friend for my first pig, Buster.

I adopted Buster from the shelter when he was about 2.5 years old. I knew nothing about guinea pigs. I went in looking for a rabbit but fell in love with Buster instantly. He was a chubby tri-colored guy with a cowlick in his hair. When I learned he needed a friend, my boyfriend ended up getting Poppins. I know, I know-pet stores are horrible. But what was I going to do? Take him back? (Shortly after getting Poppins, that store stopped selling live animals, yay!)

Buster & Poppins lived together for about 3 months. After that it was constant fights and they eventually had to be separated. They still had a bond, though. They talked to each other and copied each other. They would even lay next to each other through the divider. I always assumed Poppins was the aggressive one, mainly because he was the one who had bitten through Buster's lip causing the separation. It was sad to think that my boys would never experience living with another pig, but at least they weren't completely alone.

In December Buster passed away. He was 6 years old. He was diagnosed with cancer at 4, so he did live longer than I had expected him to and I'm grateful for every day I had with him. After he passed, I took him and showed Poppins his body so he could understand what had happened. Pop sniffed him, looked at me, and ran into his pigloo. He stayed there all night. He was quiet the whole time, which isn't like him at all.

It wasn't until a couple weeks after Buster's death that Poppins started talking to me again. I could tell he was depressed. He needed a friend. I wasn't really sure I was ready for that but I started looking on Petfinder, just in case. One guinea pig kept popping up. His name was Caleb. A 3 year old single boar. He was brought to the shelter in the beginning of December.

About a month after Buster's passing I decided it was time to start looking and went to the local shelter, PCAPS. (I always go to them-this shelter holds a special place in my heart. I got my dog there when I was 7. He was my best friend. After that I would have my birthday parties there. Instead of gifts my friends would bring donations for the shelter :)

When I went in they asked what I was looking for and when I said a guinea pig the woman immediately said, "You have to check out Caleb! He's a little older but he's the sweetest guinea pig. He's always begging to be picked up!" Of course, I fell in love with him right away when he started licking my fingers. After that day I went to visit him every other day for 2 weeks while I tried to make my parents understand that guinea pigs are social animals and Poppins could not live alone!

When I finally got Caleb home and quarantine was over, I put the two cages next to each other. They both started popcorning immediately!!! Pop ran around his cage in zoomies like he hadn't done in weeks! At this point I was used to the idea of two bonded boars who live in separate cages. From what the shelter knew about Caleb, he had been a single pig his whole life. I assumed Pop was aggressive so I kinda put the idea of introductions out of my mind.

Also, this is random, after I posted a pic of Caleb on my FB someone sent me a link. He was actually on the news, on the Adoptable Pets thing they do. That was in the beginning of December, I couldn't believe he was still at the shelter near the end of January!


Post   » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:11 pm

So, Poppins and Caleb were both super psyched to find out there was another guinea pig in the house! It was like the both thought they were the only one of their kind stranded on an island or something, they were so excited to see each other!

They talked and popcorned around their respective cages for a few days while I watched them. And listened. When Pop would talk to Buster, it would often get chatter-y. It wasn't like that with Caleb.

They made super bubbly sounds when they talked and both did little popcorns when the other would come out of his pigloo to talk.

So I finally did what I thought was going to be the hardest thing ever: introducing two 3 year old boars who have never successfully lived with another guinea pig.

It was so uneventful. Poppins mounted Caleb for a second and it was over. No fights, no squabbles. They share food and hay and everything. I was afraid they would be possessive of the pigloos, but they aren't.

They chase each other around the cage and through tunnels during floortime. They chat and munch hay for hours together. Every day they are getting closer.

I don't know how to explain how great it feels to see Poppins living with another pig. I never thought he would get to experience that part of life, and I guess I've kinda always felt a bit sad about that. But now they both get to experience all the things about guinea pig life with a roommate. I'm so happy! I think it might be like...if you had a child and they finally made a friend. That sort of thing.

Sometimes they groom each other, but they have yet to cuddle up together in the same hidey. Caleb recently found out that he can basically wheek really loudly at me whenever he wants treats. It took him a few weeks to learn, but now he's 10x louder than Poppins.

I'm so happy to see Caleb coming out of his shell and Poppins enjoying everything about having a friend.

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Post   » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:15 pm

You have a similar situation as my first two boars, Mr Bubbles and Scruffy. Loved each other through the wires, but fought like cats and dogs without the wire between them. When I got Sammy and Dean, who share a cage just fine, it was the same between them and each of the other two. Scruffy's untimely passing hit the rest of the boys pretty hard, but they got over it sooner than I thought they would and I believe it's because they have each other.


Post   » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:45 pm

Isn't it funny how sometimes their personalities just don't click?

I'm sorry about Scruffy :( I do believe having each other helped them as well. So do they all three share a cage now? Or just the two and then Mr Bubbles separate?


Post   » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:28 pm

Buster on our last day together<3

Poppins as a baby:

Poppins all grown up:


Caleb & Poppins:

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Post   » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:16 pm

I'm happy to hear Poppins and Caleb are getting along together. I really like the idea of having a friend, too.

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Post   » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:59 pm

Sammy and Dean share. Mr Bubbles and Barry Jenkins each have their own.

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Post   » Sun Mar 15, 2020 10:40 pm

So sorry for the lost of Buster. He looks a darling. Also sorry to hear about Scruffy. RIP boys may you run together and popcorn in Paradise maybe together in perfect health forever young.

Caleb and Poppins also looking little sweeties especially the tootsie splayed out! Real relaxed and happy! We have 5 girls but it's the youngsters that make us laugh. Jay just over 1 year old and Jersey around 5 months, everytime we clean them out and put them back they are jumping and a flipping like we start hot coals in there. They are just popcorn machines and at times even popcorn into each other and then tear off in a different direction.

Hoping your boys enjoy many happy years together and bring you love happiness and joy and many memories!

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