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Thread: Thinking of past pigs, past mistakes

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    Unhappy Thinking of past pigs, past mistakes

    Hey guys! First of all I need to warn you this will be a long post with a lot of tragic details, BUT it could also do you a lot of good reading it. It's about forgiving yourself, learning and moving on.

    I was thinking of past piggies today and was wondering if anyone else has a hard time letting go of past misstakes? I had my first pig when I was 8 years old. Although my parents were very responsible when it came to educating me about the piggies they honestly didn't know a lot about them themselves. We did one thing right: we adopted two abandoned brothers who were around 10 months old at the time.

    Misstake no 1: They lived together in a cage that was no bigger than 3x2 feet, which resulted in a lot of rumblestrutting and minor fights. We had no idea this was normal, so we separated them. They got more space, but the separation resulted in them never being able to live together again.

    Misstake no 2: We kept them on straw that we bought at a local farm, and fed them horse hay. They were fed storebought pet food with seeds and corn. They became seriously overweight, bloated and got some kind of lice from the straw.

    Misstake no 3: Even though my mother KNEW the piggies needed extra C-vitamin, one of the boars fell ill with scurvy. He lost fur on his back and if I remember it correctly had trouble walking. We started giving him and his brother large amount of cabbage to fend off the scurvy, and he made a "full" recovery.

    And now here comes the part that really haunts me: Suddenly we had two overweight, bloated, lonely, sick guinea pigs who were fed lots of cabbage. First of all, they boath developed impaction, a conditioin that I learned about 2 MONTHS ago! Sweden in a goddamned nutshell. One brother died of what I today realize was torsion and gas build-up in his GI tract. He was put to sleep in severe pain. He was three years old. The other brother died a month later in his cage from impaction/depression.

    After a while the worst grief settled and I was ready to start over with new pigs. I was a bit older, still a child, but I promised myself that this time I would do RIGHT by my piggies.

    Misstake no 1: I bought two boars from a pet store. They were not related and hade never lived together before. No one at the pet store tould us that we needed to do a supervised introduction. We just put them in a cage a bit bigger than our last one, a way too small one - that would be, and figured they would get along. They really didn't. They were both sexually mature, roughly the same age and size. They too were quickly separated.

    I tried not to let this bring me down completely. I decided to spend twice as much time with them instead, and to let them have supervised floor time together. They had vitamin drops in their water, and I bought the most expensive brand of food I could find. (Figured it was the best too, silly me.) I bought them hay suited for piggies and rabbits.

    Misstake no 2: To provide maximum freedom I let the piggies hop in and out of their cages as they pleased. This resulted in the following: Forgetting to close one of the cages before opening the other one, resulting in violent fights. One fight I got so desperate I just plain stuck my hands in between them to separate them. I was bitten badly and was home alone for an hour afterwards. The wound got so infected the doctors were talking about flushing the joints, tendons and the bone in my finger, or even amputation! But the worst of all was that the constant hopping in and out of store bought cages with bars that eventually led to one of my boars getting stuck in the bar and breaking his leg. It is physically hurting me to write this down. He was put to sleep at only four years old.

    I didn't have pigs for a couple of years after that. But one day I woke up and realized I was 18, I had a job, and a lot of spare time. It was time for some new piggies. This time I bought them from a breeder - however I refuse to see this as a misstake. We don't really have a big scale problem with homeless piggies, I tried to look for rescues to adopt but there simply were none in my area! I immediately had them both insured, put them in the largest home-made cage I could possibly build and started reading up on cavy care. It's been three months and I learn new things every day. The reason I had to make this post was because I always had the best intentions, but your intentions are worth nothing to a piggie dying from improper care. Maybe I should go easier on myself, but I can't help feeling directly responsible for the death of three piggies. Please don't make the same misstakes that I did. Educate people! Especially if you live in Scandinavia/Europe! We have great animal welfare here, but not a lot of scientifical progress when it comes to pet care!

    In case you made it to the bottom, thank you for listening. Don't hesitate contacting me with tips, information or questions. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cavy Slave HannibalLecter's Avatar
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    re: Thinking of past pigs, past mistakes

    We may only have two good guinea pig rescues in Göteborg & Stockholm, but if you check blocket.se in your area, I guarantee that you'll find pigs at some point.
    We do have an overpopulation problem here as well, there are many homeless pigs & many irresponsible breeders. And the rescues have foster homes all over the country that would be willing to travel closer to you for a meetup. You can also find owners looking to rehome their pigs if you put up an ad, as they often don't know where to turn. As long as there are homeless pigs, there is no reason to support breeders.

    Generally, we are very well educated on guinea pig care here if you actually research, though not good enough when it comes to diet when I looked at Swedish forums.
    The information is readily available. And I dare say the general knowledge in Sweden is higher than in most other countries.
    We also have a handful of cages that actually meet and exceed the recommended sizes stated here, and many choose to build cages out of Ikea bookcases.
    What size cage are they currently in, and how many pigs do you have?

    GD Easy 160:
    GD Easy 160 svart/blå kanin :: GD :: Burar :: Smådjur :: PWSS
    Gd Easy 160 Svart/Blå 160X80X58Cm Kanin - Cyberzoo

    Trixie Simon 150 (large):
    http://grand-prix.se/g4500411-trixie...an-p-4928.html
    Kaninbur Simon 150cm - Teddytassen

    Ikea Billy bookcase (any bookcase with appropriate inner dimensions work):
    BILLY Bokhylla - björkfaner, 80x28x202 cm - IKEA

    Pictures of bookcase cages:
    http://i46.tinypic.com/2z6x9n5.jpg
    http://i50.tinypic.com/50go61.jpg
    http://i50.tinypic.com/4vqyvk.jpg

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    Cavy Slave
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    re: Thinking of past pigs, past mistakes

    ViskyCat, it takes a lot of courage to admit mistakes, and learn from them. I have a suggestion: if you can read 30 minutes a day on this site, and ask about anything that puzzles you, I'm thinking you will learn a lot in an environment where caring for one's piggies is taken very seriously. And when you get ready, if you know others with piggies, tell them about this site, and help them when they come here.

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    Cavy Caged
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    re: Thinking of past pigs, past mistakes

    Thank you for the feedback, both of you!

    HannibalLecter: Jag vet inte var i Sverige du bor, men det glädjer mig att höra att du finner din omgivning utbildad. Du måste förstå att jag naturligtvis spanade i hela mitt län efter marsvin som behövde omplacering, och erbjöd mig att ta emot flera stycken, men fick inte svar. Mina nuvarande marsvin annonserades ut på blocket, och jag trodde att det var omplaceringsdjur eller en oplanerad graviditet. Det du säger om överpopulation av marsvin i Sverige kanske stämmer, men med tanke på hur svårt det var för mig att hitta så fick jag ändå dra en slutsats rent lokalt. Jag byggde en bur av en IKEA-möbel som ingen ville ha här hemma, och BILLY-burarna är helt genialiska, det ska jag komma ihåg när det är dags att byta upp sig! Jag är glad för ditt svar men missta mig inte för en outbildad person. Jag skrev trots allt past misstakes

    English translation (rough) according to Google Translate: I do not know where in Sweden you live, but it pleases me to hear that you find around you trained. You must understand that I obviously scouted in my county for guinea pigs that needed relocation, and offered me to take several paragraphs, but did not answer. My current guinea pig was announced on the block, and I thought it was relocating animals or an unplanned pregnancy. What you say about the population of guinea pigs in Sweden may be true, but considering how hard it was for me to find so I still draw a conclusion purely local. I built a cage of an IKEA furniture that nobody wanted at home, and BILLY-cages is quite ingenious, I'll remember when it's time to trade up! I'm happy for your reply but mistaken me for an untrained person. I wrote after all past abuse takes
    Last edited by Paula; 01-06-13 at 06:27 pm.

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    Cavy Slave jacqueline's Avatar
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    re: Thinking of past pigs, past mistakes

    @HannibalLecter - those bookcase cage pictures you linked to are beautiful!! Thanks for sharing!

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    Cavy Slave HelloKittyLover's Avatar
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    re: Thinking of past pigs, past mistakes

    Oh my, yes very much so. I truly feel you. I was the same age. I did not know how to take care of them AT ALL. They suffered because of me. It hurts me till now just thinking about it. I can't even explain it. But you're not alone. At least we have both learned our lesson, and we take great care of our piggies now.

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    Cavy Caged
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    Re: Thinking of past pigs, past mistakes

    Quote Originally Posted by HelloKittyLover View Post
    Oh my, yes very much so. I truly feel you. I was the same age. I did not know how to take care of them AT ALL. They suffered because of me. It hurts me till now just thinking about it. I can't even explain it. But you're not alone. At least we have both learned our lesson, and we take great care of our piggies now.
    Yaaay a humble gpcages user! Thank you for your answer, I bet your pigs are living the life! The translation of my swedish post is hilarious by the way - I think I'll write in English from now on. ..

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    Cavy Slave missybct's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of past pigs, past mistakes

    The thing is, you've learnt from your mistakes. Many people don't. We have a family friend who is constantly going through guinea pigs, mainly because they a) cannot afford to give them sustained treatment at the vets, so have them PTS at the first instance and b) because she doesn't care for them the way they should be cared for.

    When I was growing up (around 11 years old) my Mum acquired two guinea pigs from the school I was at - same old story, school decided they couldn't cope with two hormonal boys and passed them off to my Mum who is an absolute sucker for anything furry. She is incredibly caring and would never deliberately harm anything, but she really had no proper knowledge of how to house, feed or care for guinea pigs. This was in the early mid 90's, so in some respects the information we have at our disposal now was not available back then (and in my Mum's case, still not available as she's a technophobe!) - I don't know if there was anything specific she did that massively contradicted the care we should have given, but I strongly suspect there were a few things we could have done a lot better. We loved those guinea pigs though, very dearly, and they lived to 7yrs and 8yrs, just before I left home.

    When I decided I wanted to have guinea pigs again, aged 27 - I did read up on a lot of things. I am sure I have made mistakes along the way - we all do. I bought my first two piggies from a petstore in the UK because I couldn't bear to see them being bullied. Now, I wouldn't choose anything other than a rescue/adoption privately. I spend each day looking through posts on various forums to better educate myself, so that one day, I will be educated enough to help other people. I am ironically fortunate that I am long term sick with severe anxiety and M.E, which allows me to monitor my four boys almost constantly as they live in the living room, where I usually am.

    As for the family friend, I have tried desperately hard to help her care for her piggies. Some people don't want to know, or are ignorant that people are trying to help. It breaks my heart, but at the end of the day - she feeds them, cleans them and waters them. Maybe one day she will listen to me!

    xox

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    Cavy Slave KaileighRussell's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of past pigs, past mistakes

    Those bookcase cages just flooded me with amazing ideas for future cages!

    I hear you, even when I started reading up on piggies I had them in a "big" storebought cage thinking that was perfectly okay - because it was big. Ha! This ended up in massive fights - and me actually trying to rehome my girls because I just didn't have the space for a big enough cage.

    Thank god for Craigslist and family because I sold my extra furniture and made them a massive C&C cage which stopped all the fighting. It makes me happy when people are able to learn from mistakes (me included) and have supportive forum people to set us straight when we need it!

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner 2198lindsey's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of past pigs, past mistakes

    I had a guinea pig when I was about 6. It lived in a plastic tote. With news paper and a dog. Looking back, I feel so bad for Gwuinee The Pig. He died from a URI at a couple months old.
    The thing is we didn't know any better. We didn't own a computer let alone had even thought about looking on the internet for care.
    I feel bad for us, and the pig. It was a terrible fate, but there's nothing you can do to change it.

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    Cavy Slave CandyApple's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of past pigs, past mistakes

    Hey,
    We've all suffered from these mistakes. When I was four, my mom got me a guinea pig from a pet shop. I kept it on hay in the yard, in a hutch. I visited her once a week, giving her a handful of grass every now and again. I got bored of the guinea pig, and it was sent back to the pet shop after three years
    So you see, every one's made mistakes. At leas you've admitted them, and learnt.
    Keep reading here, and asking questions, and you'll get there eventually

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    Cavy Slave BernieAndBert's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of past pigs, past mistakes

    I got my first guinea pig when I was 8. Her name was Petunia and I loved her dearly. I got her from a pet store and she was pregnant (big surprise) We gave the son, Dandelion away to family friends (who took horrible care of him, his cage was always SO, so dirty and it made me so angry) and kept the daughter, Daffodil. We had two pet store cages connected to each other, so the size wasn't horrible, but still not big enough. My father was very good about keeping the cage clean and we fed them decent food/hay and occasional veggies. I still know that we could have done better. Daffodil developed an abscess at one point and we didn't even think to take her to the vet. We drained it for her repeatedly and eventually it did close up and heal over, but still...At about 5 Petunia started having mini-strokes/seizures and her two back legs became paralyzed. I hated watching her drag herself around the cage so my mom and I took her to be put down. After Petunia went Daffodil was pretty much forgotten about. Her basic needs were still taken care of, but I had favorited Petunia so much that I'd never developed a relationship with Daffodil and I'm sure her life for the next two years was very lonely.



    Now I'm 22 and have my first pigs since that time. I'm trying my absolute best to give them an awesome life. That's all any of us can do.

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    Cavy Newbie mufasa's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of past pigs, past mistakes

    Sadly, it's all too common to do things wrong with your guinea pig. I had one as a kid, and I don't even remember too much about him, except that he died of what I now know was a URI after only a month or two.

    As an adult, I was determined to do things right, but I made a mistake immediately and bought Mufasa from a pet store before I knew about adoption. Then I didn't follow my instinct that he was sick, even though the signs were very subtle, so he died of a URI. It still breaks my heart to think about it.

    Thankfully I know better now, and my girls have a great life, but still makes me feel bad to think it's the life poor little Mufasa should have had if only I'd known better.

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    Cavy Slave MissJean's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of past pigs, past mistakes

    Speaking as a young adult, I'm always amazed at how drastic my views change in such a short time. When I first came onto this website I vehemently (and ignorantly) defended getting my first pair from a petstore. I said all the things I hate hearing from others now! I used my emotional issues as an excuse, and made illogical points. It's kind of embarrassing to think about. I'm very stubborn and I honestly find it difficult to be nice to people I disagree with on the internet.

    It's great you recognized your mistakes. I also hope that you can understand that adopting is possible even your country. Sometimes it just takes patience. If guinea pigs are being sold from stores and breeders, you can find someone in the years to come that wishes to rehome their pet. I hope in the future you will adopt.

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    Cavy Slave HannibalLecter's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of past pigs, past mistakes

    Quote Originally Posted by ViskyCat View Post
    Thank you for the feedback, both of you!

    HannibalLecter: Jag vet inte var i Sverige du bor, men det glädjer mig att höra att du finner din omgivning utbildad. Du måste förstå att jag naturligtvis spanade i hela mitt län efter marsvin som behövde omplacering, och erbjöd mig att ta emot flera stycken, men fick inte svar. Mina nuvarande marsvin annonserades ut på blocket, och jag trodde att det var omplaceringsdjur eller en oplanerad graviditet. Det du säger om överpopulation av marsvin i Sverige kanske stämmer, men med tanke på hur svårt det var för mig att hitta så fick jag ändå dra en slutsats rent lokalt. Jag byggde en bur av en IKEA-möbel som ingen ville ha här hemma, och BILLY-burarna är helt genialiska, det ska jag komma ihåg när det är dags att byta upp sig! Jag är glad för ditt svar men missta mig inte för en outbildad person. Jag skrev trots allt past misstakes

    English translation (rough) according to Google Translate: I do not know where in Sweden you live, but it pleases me to hear that you find around you trained. You must understand that I obviously scouted in my county for guinea pigs that needed relocation, and offered me to take several paragraphs, but did not answer. My current guinea pig was announced on the block, and I thought it was relocating animals or an unplanned pregnancy. What you say about the population of guinea pigs in Sweden may be true, but considering how hard it was for me to find so I still draw a conclusion purely local. I built a cage of an IKEA furniture that nobody wanted at home, and BILLY-cages is quite ingenious, I'll remember when it's time to trade up! I'm happy for your reply but mistaken me for an untrained person. I wrote after all past abuse takes
    The translation cracked me up, I love google translate.

    Oh no I didn't mean to criticize you at all, I just wanted to say that we generally have a higher standard of guinea pig care than in many countries, though it still needs alot of improvements. We have larger & sometimes properly sized pet store cages which hardly exist in the UK & US, it's also uncommon to house them outside like they often do in the UK. And the Swedish forums & new cavy care books are generally correct in their advice about care, making it easier for new owners, and a slightly higher chance to actually do things right from the beginning.

  16. #16
    Cavy Caged
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    Re: Thinking of past pigs, past mistakes

    Quote Originally Posted by HannibalLecter View Post
    The translation cracked me up, I love google translate.

    Oh no I didn't mean to criticize you at all, I just wanted to say that we generally have a higher standard of guinea pig care than in many countries, though it still needs alot of improvements. We have larger & sometimes properly sized pet store cages which hardly exist in the UK & US, it's also uncommon to house them outside like they often do in the UK. And the Swedish forums & new cavy care books are generally correct in their advice about care, making it easier for new owners, and a slightly higher chance to actually do things right from the beginning.
    Now that I definitely agree with. One of the reasons I really love Sweden. Finding a proper vet is still a pain in the butt though...

    Also; lots of cred to everyone in this post sharing their mistakes however big och small. It really sucks thinking about painful memories like that, but knowing that you can find forgiveness and sympathy on such a hardcore pig-loving forum such as this is pretty relieving.

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