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Thread: How did you feel?

  1. #1
    Cavy Slave Aleks's Avatar
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    How did you feel?

    When you got your first guinea pig, how did you feel?
    Today I've felt like a failure as an owner, quite honestly. The main reason being that I didn't know I had to clean George's anal sac..
    I feel like I'm just learning as I go along. And while I'm sure there are lots of piggie owners out there that wouldn't even bother with researching the proper care for them, I still feel like a bad owner.
    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Cavy Newbie mufasa's Avatar
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    Re: How did you feel?

    I can relate because I bought my first piggy, Mufasa, from a pet store because I didn't know better. I thought I was doing right by him by getting him the absolute largest cage they sold and a variety of store bought treats. Then I came here, and it was like d'oh! I'm just glad I found this site pretty quickly...poor little guy only lived 15 days, but I learned enough to make sure his short life was good and that my present (adopted) piggies get the right care.

    Don't feel like you're a bad owner because you're NOT a bad owner if you're hanging out here and learning. That's what GOOD owners do. Bad owners are people who know better and who treat their pigs badly anyway. Good owners are open to learning and modifying their behavior.

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    Cavy Slave LithiumRiot's Avatar
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    Re: How did you feel?

    When I first got my piggies, I felt 2 very strong emotions.

    One was happiness. I absolutely fell in love with Sweetie Belle (my youngest girl) and was so happy that she could finally be mine. She was happy too. It was just wonderful.

    The second thing I felt was fear. I had cavies when I was younger, much younger (like 6-8 years old) and looking back, I did not take good care of them. I feel like I did everything wrong when I had them....sometimes I'll even start crying thinking they could have been so much better off with another family. I thought that a similar thing would happen to sweetie Belle and I wouldnt be able to take good care of them.

    Dont feel like a bad owner. This forum will help you a lot. you'll learn what you need to know to take good care of your piggies. Trust me there.

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    Cavy Slave Aleks's Avatar
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    Re: How did you feel?

    @mufasa My boyfriends' family got George from a pet store as well. Why did Mufasa only live 15 days?
    @LithiumRiot I can relate with how you're feeling. I had a guinea pig once before when I was around that same age and I didn't know anything about taking care of them properly. It makes me really sad sometimes, as well.

    Thank you all for your encouraging words. I've been trying to do the best job that I can taking care of him.

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    Cavy Slave LithiumRiot's Avatar
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    Re: How did you feel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleks View Post
    @mufasa My boyfriends' family got George from a pet store as well. Why did Mufasa only live 15 days?
    @LithiumRiot I can relate with how you're feeling. I had a guinea pig once before when I was around that same age and I didn't know anything about taking care of them properly. It makes me really sad sometimes, as well.

    Thank you all for your encouraging words. I've been trying to do the best job that I can taking care of him.
    You're gonna be a wonderful cavy owner :3 Just keep researching. Even the best of us have things to learn about our furry friends

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    Cavy Newbie mufasa's Avatar
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    Re: How did you feel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleks View Post
    @mufasa My boyfriends' family got George from a pet store as well. Why did Mufasa only live 15 days?
    He had an upper respiratory infection, which I later learned is extremely common in store-bought guinea pigs. Like a typical prey animal, he hid the signs until it was too late. It's amazing how attached you can get to these little guys in only two weeks. It was heartbreaking.

    Oh well, I've tried to make some good out of it by adopting all the rest of my pigs...he may be gone, but his life wasn't in vain because it led to Amy and Quinn having a good home. Hopefully all will be well with George and he'll spend a happy, healthy life with you.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: How did you feel?

    When I got my first guinea pig, who was also named George (sadly he has since passed) but I felt excited, and also completely unprepared. He was an impulse buy (yes, buy. I like most, didn't understand the whole pet store issue. It's still kind of hard for me to comprehend.) But anyways, I had gone in looking for a hamster, but I found this guy instead!
    I had done a tiny bit of research on guinea pigs before and knew some because they are kind of similar to rabbits (which I also had at the time.) But I was unprepared and uneducated on most things. I also realized I made a ton of mistakes, and yes, it sucks. But you can't dwell on that. All you can do is fix your mistakes and give him the best life you know how to. Making mistakes doesn't make you a bad owner as long as you learn from them. Bad owners are people who refuse to learn how to properly care for their pets, or do learn and just don't care.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: How did you feel?

    When you know better, you do better. Now you know, so I'm sure you will (or have been) cleaning him. Bad owners are those who know and refuse to care for their animals.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: How did you feel?

    Quote Originally Posted by LithiumRiot View Post
    The second thing I felt was fear. I had cavies when I was younger, much younger (like 6-8 years old) and looking back, I did not take good care of them. I feel like I did everything wrong when I had them....sometimes I'll even start crying thinking they could have been so much better off with another family. I thought that a similar thing would happen to sweetie Belle and I wouldnt be able to take good care of them.
    Oh man, I know this feeling. I had a gecko when I wasn't even that young, maybe 12-13, and we basically killed him because it wasn't "convenient" enough for us to drive to the store to buy him the live feed he needed. My mom said she released him into the wild while I was away for the summer, but I know he died because he wasn't taken care of and it still haunts me.

    As for my guinea pigs, I felt soo happy when I found Basil. I had gone to one pet store, totally undecided on what kind of rodent I wanted (it was an impulse buy, although I had been wanting a pet for years). I saw the guinea pigs and asked the owner about them and such, but they didn't sell cages so I wanted to get one before buying the guinea pig. Randomly, I decided to check out another pet store on the way (there are only three in the whole city!) and that's where I saw Basil. He was all alone in an aquarium-style cage, but I didn't know anything about guinea pigs except what the owner had told me so I didn't really think anything of it. He was so cute and sweet, so I got him then and there. When I got home, I immediately went on Google to research and found this page, and boy was my world turned upside down! :P

    I adopted my second and oldest piggy Hazel from a family that was looking to give him away because their young daughter wasn't taking care of him. He had cabbage and giant carrots in a bowl he could barely reach into and no hay, so I was totally offended, but some people (my old self included) just don't think far enough to consider that animals may have other needs besides what we think is most "convenient". Especially around here in Europe, where small animals are considered "decorative" animals. And that's no joke, a bag of guinea pig food I was considering to buy said "made for small decorative animals". Needless to say I did not consider it for long.

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    Cavy Slave iadoremypiggies's Avatar
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    Re: How did you feel?

    I didn't plan to get my girls. I was at the mall and decided to go in the pet store, which I do everytime I go to the mall cause I loveeeee animals. I happened to glance over and see Cinammon and it was like love at first sight LOL. I didn't care what I had to do - I had to have her. I made the pet store employees promise me they would keep her till the next day cause I would be back. I bought a Guinea Pig care book and spent basically all day and night learning about Guinea Pigs. The next day I bought her. I had her in one of them little Super Pet cages (ewww). Well, a month later (not even), I decided I wanted to get her a friend. I went back to the store in the mall and I fell inlove with Coco as soon as I seen her. Then, I bought a bigger cage from Petsmart that is only like 5.5sq ft. I realized that the cage isn't big enough as they are older now. I'm currently waiting for my big c&c cage to come in the mail WOHOOO they are going to love it!!!! I have been feeling like a bad owner bcus the poor things have been in the 5.5sq ft cage for a year, but due to lots of reasons, I had to wait to get a bigger cage. I was so excited and happy when I got them. I was also scared something would happen to them. I honestly feel like a parent with them. I worry about them. I don't know how I will handle when they pass away. It honestly terrifies me. I took my dog and my hamster dying of old age really bad. I am honestly more attached to my piggies than any animal I have ever had. I couldn't imagine never hearing them squeak everytime I enter my room...or squeaking everytime my bed squeaks cause they think I am getting up to feed and pet them...or seeing their cute little faces.

    It's weird that I have seens tons of piggies at the petstores, but that day I seen Cinammon - idk. I instantly loved her. Same with Coco. If you're reading this you're probably thinking I am crazy ...but I don't care cause IADOREMYPIGGIES!

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    Cavy Slave CritterSlave's Avatar
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    Re: How did you feel?

    I felt a mixture of anger and relief when i got my boys. To those of you who do not know Zim and Gir's story I'll retell it. I was driving down a back road with some friends and I saw a cat carrier on the side of the road. I made them stop and I checked it and there were two half bald sickly looking boars in there. I already had a 2x5 c&c from a pair of sows that I had that before moving away from an extremely abusive ex. He had disappeared and so had my sows. Took them home and started a mite treatment soon after. They also had scurvy and had never seen hay or veggies before. They are now perfectly healthy and very happy in their 2x12 with a raised kitchen. I was angry because somebody dumped these poor boys and left them to die and relieved because I found them and could give them the care and love they need.

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    Cavy Slave Aleks's Avatar
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    Re: How did you feel?

    @mufasa Oh i'm so sorry. It's good that he had such a loving owner and a happy life before he passed, though. Since I got George from a pet store, should I take him to a vet to get him checked out for a URI? Is there a thread on here that lists all of the signs/symptoms?

    @CritterSlave That's terrible! I absolutely hate that there are such cruel people out there. I'm so happy that they're healthy now. They're lucky to have found you.
    Again, thank you everyone for sharing your stories and for your encouraging words. I can't express how much I appreciate it.

  13. #13
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: How did you feel?

    The first thing I felt when I got Terra was delight and concern. He was soooo cute and terrified I just wanted to make him feel at home. My son got Terra from a pet shop ( we didn't know about the problems of pet shop pigs) I made mistakes at first (I had absolutley no idea how to take care of a guinea pig) But I learned mostly because of forums like these. I got online and I learned how to properly take care of a guinea pig. One of the mistakes I made is I only bought one but we are going to get him a buddy as soon as our finances will allow us to.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: How did you feel?

    I have so much anxiety about my boys. Constantly. I'm ALWAYS worrying that this isn't normal or that isn't normal. I spent hours on Guinea Lynx reading all the possible illnesses and all the symptoms of them...and that was a big, big mistake. Whatever you do, do not go looking for all the possible things that can go wrong. There's so much and really...you don't NEED to know all of it. You just need to know what a normal, healthy pig looks like, feels like, acts like, weighs, etc.

    The truth is, I worry all the time that I'm a bad owner, but I comfort myself with this fact:

    BAD owners, truly bad ones? Don't care. They don't worry about their pets, and when confronted with something they're doing wrong, they just brush it off. Like, whatever, this cage is fine. This food is fine. They don't need a vet. Oh well. It died. Get a new one.

    As long as you care, make an effort, and keep learning more and more every day, you're not a bad owner. I've seen experienced guinea pig owners, even moderators and admins of this forum, asking questions and making mistakes and learning. That's what we're all here to do.

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    Cavy Slave Aleks's Avatar
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    Re: How did you feel?

    @Lisa21264 I hope that you can get a mate for Terra soon! I also only have one piggie at the moment, I'm hoping to get another sometime soonish. I need to make sure that I'll have enough money for food and hay for two of them first. And I'm still trying to help him get over his trust issues caused by my 4 year old niece who he was originally bought for. Right now George seems to be pretty content being an only piggie, though.

    @Lovecraft I know that feeling all too well. I worry myself sick about George sometimes. :/ It's nice to know that I'm not the only one that feels that way!

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    Moderator foggycreekcavy's Avatar
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    Re: How did you feel?

    Aleks, you only need to clean his anal sac if it needs cleaning. Most don't.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner 2198lindsey's Avatar
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    Re: How did you feel?

    When I got my first cavy, it was a mix of anger and absolute fear.
    Like many people said I once had a guinea pig named cleverly 'guiney the pig' who was a pet store pig and died about a month after I had him. I don't know why but seeing as how we kept him in a plastic storage container and all he got were pellets, so I didn't have the slightest clue on how to care for a guinea pig. Danu was a rescue pig from a family whoo had her living in a 1x1 crate. Her nails were very overgrown and growing into her nails and she had scurvy and an ear infection. I had nooo idea what to do for any of this and was more scared han anything.

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    Cavy Slave LitaRutherford's Avatar
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    Re: How did you feel?

    I went crazy when I got my first two. They were itty bitty babies from a very awesome pet store (ie they had names, cages cleaned daily, given veggies and handled at least once a day plus they treated sick animals and refused to sell them until they were 100% certain they were ok) and I had some idea since I looked up info before I got them. This led to panic in the first week or two since I was convinced they had every possible illness. XD But I was crazy for them (still are) and was just ridiculously happy.

    When I got my third, however, it was a bit different. I was more nervous, sad and worried about him. He was abandoned at that very same pet store and sat there for a month before I could finally take him. He wasn't used to veggies, his nails were over grown, and he had (still has) trust issues. Months later and I'm still working with him, especially after he developed a habit of picking at my shirt (and skin if its in the way) when he gets overly nervous or scared.

    And I'll have to say if your looking at what other people do or have for their pigs you will always feel like a bad owner. I see the fancy cages, the varied diets, the clockwork schedule of cleanings and clippings and weighings, the perfect fleece beddings, spotless cages, and I feel like I must be doing something wrong. My cage is always a mess, and its big yeah but always seems to small to me; I try to do weekly weights and clippings and cleanings but I get busy or forget so sometimes it takes two weeks; sometimes all they get for veggies is lettuce and bell peppers. And they definitely don't have an outdoor run. The most outdoor time they get is when I take one to the store with me on occasion (which is yet another thing people have tried to make me feel horrible about). But as long as you have the basics to start and are open to learning more, you can never be a bad owner. Heck in my opinion none of us really know what we're doing. We're all learning as we go and helping each other as well. The guidelines are always changing.

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    Cavy Newbie mufasa's Avatar
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    Re: How did you feel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aleks View Post
    @mufasa Oh i'm so sorry. It's good that he had such a loving owner and a happy life before he passed, though. Since I got George from a pet store, should I take him to a vet to get him checked out for a URI? Is there a thread on here that lists all of the signs/symptoms?
    This page will tell you everything you need to know:
    http://www.guinealynx.info/uri.html

    Just be aware that the symptoms can be very subtle because prey animals try to hide illness. Mufasa sneezed once in a while, but pretty rarely. I never even saw his nose run, although he had bits of hay stuck to it so apparently it was wet at some points but never when I was looking at him. He didn't get very obviously sick until the night before he died.

    You probably don't need to do a check-up unless your piggy shows symptoms, although if you can afford it, a well-piggy exam is never a bad thing. I'm sending out good thoughts that George stays healthy.

  20. #20
    Cavy Slave Aleks's Avatar
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    Re: How did you feel?

    Can it be normal for them to have rough fur or would that always be a symptom of a URI? Because George has kind of rough fur and red eyes [even though he's not albino] but I've heard that it could be genetics?

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