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Thread: How to help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate? : (

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    Cavy Slave webjetter's Avatar
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    How to help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate? : (

    Its so heartbreaking to have to ask this question, but how do you help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate and spend the rest of her life without a friend?

    Ive had my two girls PJ & Chestnut for 6 years, and they have shared their lives together since they were about 3 months old. PJ died 3 days ago (see my other thread on this topic in the "In Memory" forum) and I want to be able to help Chestnut cope in the best way. I know she must be grieving and that I need to allow her to do so. What should I know about this situation? I have absolutely no experience in this area.

    Im trying to see through my tears as I write this when PJ died in the middle of the night, I dont know if Chestnut saw it happen. When I found PJ at 4:00am, my hubby and I decided not to remove her from the cage for a few hours to make sure Chestnut would grasp what had happened and could say goodbye. She wasnt acting too strangely, she was just looking at us anxiously and frequently dashing around the cage from place to place and looking at us. Im not sure if she was begging for food, or nervous and confused. Since then shes been hibernating under the blanket all the time unless shes nibbling on pellets, drinking, or its mealtime. Sometimes she doesnt want me to pet her under there. I think shes depressed and doesnt know what to do with herself. Weve been showering her with extra attention and TLC since the day it happened. And Im also weighing her daily instead of once/twice per week to make sure shes not eating less. No change in weight the first 2 nights but last night she had lost 1 ounce. It could be because were feeding her veggies at extra times to give her something to look forward to, so maybe shes just eating less pellets. Im going to keep monitoring and experimenting.

    What have you guys found to be good suggestions? Please dont suggest getting her a friend, because my hubby and I have agreed that we cannot keep going through these losses over and over again theyre too heartbreaking. If we get Chestnut a friend, when she dies well have to get a friend for the friend, and so on and so on for decades. Personally, our hearts cant take that. We're not getting any more pets of any kind. Were going to have to go through tremendous pain again when Chestnut dies, and the thought of that already seems like too much. So unfortunately she will have to be by herself but I know she can do it because shes pretty strong and resilient and because we give her lots of attention and love.

    Thanks so much for your help,
    Debbie
    webjetter
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    Cavy Slave GuineaGal2013's Avatar
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    Re: How to help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate? : (

    I haven't had much experience in this area, because when we lost Bugsy she was a single pig. I am so sorry for your loss. The only thing I can think of is a friend... but maybe instead of getting her another cage mate you could arrange "piggy play dates" with other cavy owners in your area (just be sure that they are the same gender). That may be a completely stupid idea... but it is the only one I have.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner RodentCuddles's Avatar
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    Re: How to help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate? : (

    @GuineaGal2013 from what I know you should never suggest doing play dates as it is very stressful for all the pigs involved.

    This is because each and every time they meet they have to go though the dominance things, usually when people do play dates apart from just plain not being a good idea and every stressful it is also just gonna make it highly likely that the pigs will not like each other as each time they meet they get stressed out and tired.
    It's nothing like play dates with dogs, they don't end up playing first, they go through the pecking order sorting out who is boss...then each and every time they meet they go though it again and again.

    I've heard of people giving their lone boars a stuffed teddy/soft toy, It could just as likely give a sow as much company and happiness. (:

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    Cavy Slave GuineaGal2013's Avatar
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    Re: How to help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate? : (

    This post might be a good one to follow for ideas http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/...ging-play.html

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: How to help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate? : (

    Wow. I just read your post and it hit home. My now 6.5+ year old Skippie has outlived two brothers. His first brother and him were the same age but his brother had horrible kidney stones starting when he was just a baby. He died very suddenly and unexpectadly. I felt a massive amount of guilt for not taking him to the vet sooner, making quicker decisions, and for not being with him those last few hours. He even waited until I was with him to die in my arms..it was just a few minutes after I was back with him. I cannot tell you how hard it was on me and his brother, Skippie. Skippie didn't understand what happened. He started biting me aggressively and whenever I held him. He became very depressed and didn't care about food. He stopped playing, stopped popcorning, and pretty much stopped moving. I ended up getting another guinea pig who was younger than him, thinking Skippie would have a playmate for life. The two boys literally fell in love immediatly and were the best of friends. However, two weeks ago, Skippie and I lost him too. The difference this time was that he had been sick for months. However, I thought he was getting better but he turned around fast and his last 24 hours were bad as we had to wait for someone to euthanize him. Skippie is not in anywhere near as bad of shape this time. I think he understand that it was coming. Anyways, I am sorry for being so long-winded here but after reading your story I wanted to share mine. I thought it might help. Like you, I don't believe I will be getting another pig for a while because there tends to be so much heartbreak. I have other animals and I may end up with more guinea pigs in the future. However, I need time to heal and I am sure you do too, as well as your other pig. Keep weighing her, spending extra time with her, and watching over her. If she isn't already, maybe move her cage to the part of the house that you spend the most time in so she can watch you, have some natural light, etc.. I rearranged the cage to keep it interesting as well and am try to add some new, fun things. For Skippie, the biggest thing has been to just take him from room to room with us. This had been surprisingly easy to do with only one pig and of course, because he is a senior now. I think you are doing everything right and you have obviously been loving, attentive parents. Remember that even though you are going through so much heartache, animals may find their way into your hearts in the future. Everyday that they are loved means everything to them. I wish you and your pig the best.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: How to help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate? : (

    My pigs had play dates before and they were not stressful at all. They actually really enjoyed them and hit it off with the other pig. We did it because the other pig was a single pig.

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: How to help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate? : (

    Quote Originally Posted by webjetter View Post
    What have you guys found to be good suggestions? Please dont suggest getting her a friend, because my hubby and I have agreed that we cannot keep going through these losses over and over again
    Debbie........I don't mean to be hurtful, but your concern should be for Chestnut's welfare and happiness, not your own emotions.

    I went through something similar when one of our boys died. We used the same rationale for not getting a companion for Chester and this went on for a year. He seemed healthy and happy and got loads of attention because his cage sits alongside my desk and I frequently work from home. I finally realized that he no longer would popcorn with delight. In fact, he mostly stayed in his cozy except for lap time. We tried some floor time, but he would simply stay in one spot without moving.

    He apparently began regarding me as his "cagemate" and when I would go away on business, he would become depressed, stop eating, stop pooping, and hide in his cozy. Twice this behavior earned him a trip to the vet. Within 24 hours of my return home, he was back to normal.

    Last Spring, I built him a big cage and we could finally see how lonely he was. We got another cavy last May and it was literally love-at-first-sight for Chester. He's still the same happy, loving fellow, but no more separation anxiety and loneliness and he adores his "baby sister". She put new life in the old boy and just now they have been wildly popcorning around the cage......what a joy to watch!

    You may be ascribing human emotions to Chestnut. I'm not sure that they grieve. Sounds as though you and your husband are the ones grieving, understandably so. Ask others here on the forum.........I know that Mufasa has dealt with the death of two cavies in short order. Most of them have found the best course of action is to find the surviving piggy a new friend. A young piggy might just be the thing that both you and Chestnut need.

    All the best........

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    Cavy Slave webjetter's Avatar
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    Re: How to help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate? : (

    I appreciate the thoughts so far, thank you guys for sharing. Though it's a lot to process, I need more data ...

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner RodentCuddles's Avatar
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    Re: How to help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate? : (

    Quote Originally Posted by Skippie View Post
    My pigs had play dates before and they were not stressful at all. They actually really enjoyed them and hit it off with the other pig. We did it because the other pig was a single pig.
    How do you know it was not stressful? Any intros are stressful for any pig. If you could tell me why they are not, I'd like to hear them as for me it is just logic that they are.

    A rule I run for our rescue (and my personal piggies) is that unless the pigs who will be put together are going to live together for the rest of their lives then they will not be introduced as apart from being something very stressful it is also very sad that they can create this amazing friendship bond then it all disappears the moment they are separated. I just think it is useless to do unless they are going to live together...it's just not fair to put so much stress on the pigs and to then make everything that just happened a waste of time and energy for the pigs by taking them away.

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    Cavy Slave Kermit_Koeller's Avatar
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    Re: How to help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate? : (

    @webjetter, have you thought about maybe getting a friend, then re-homing him when Chestnut passes? There are quite a few rescues in Florida that would take Chestnut's friend for you and pair him up with another friend. This would be easier on you and Chestnut I think. Just an idea though. So sorry for your loss. There are a lot of people here who know what you are going through, me included, so you are not alone. Warm wishes for healing hearts to you, your husband, and Chestnut!

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner 2198lindsey's Avatar
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    Re: How to help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate? : (

    What part of Florida are you in? About what @Kermit_Koeller said, that would work. There are so many rescues here it's crazy. If you needed help with transportation, I'd be more than happy to volunteer...

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: How to help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate? : (

    Quote Originally Posted by RodentCuddles View Post
    How do you know it was not stressful? Any intros are stressful for any pig. If you could tell me why they are not, I'd like to hear them as for me it is just logic that they are.

    A rule I run for our rescue (and my personal piggies) is that unless the pigs who will be put together are going to live together for the rest of their lives then they will not be introduced as apart from being something very stressful it is also very sad that they can create this amazing friendship bond then it all disappears the moment they are separated. I just think it is useless to do unless they are going to live together...it's just not fair to put so much stress on the pigs and to then make everything that just happened a waste of time and energy for the pigs by taking them away.
    @RodentCuddles...There is really no need for you to decide that you know my pigs better than I do. How do I know it wasn't stressful? Because I am highly involved with my animals and KNOW them, making it easy to see they were not stressed. Instead, they were excited, playful, and popcorning. Some animals may not get along with others, some do. The experience was far from a waste of time. I don't consider time spent with my pigs a waste nor do I consider time spent bettering the lives of animals a waste. Instead, I saw three happy pigs who had a little extra joy in their day. Please don't judge those you don't know.

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    Cavy Slave GuineaGal2013's Avatar
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    Re: How to help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate? : (

    @RodentCuddles and @Skippie can we take this elsewhere? there is an individual (and a guinea pig) hurting/grieving here. I admitted it when I said it that it might be a bad idea. I am not going to pretend to know about something that I don't. But I do know that this person is hurting and she doesn't need us bickering. If you wish to continue your debate, that is between the two of you... but please move it to a private message so that this individual doesn't have to deal with it on top of everything else. I have said my peace and will say no more on the subject.

  14. "Thank you, GuineaGal2013, for this useful post," says:


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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: How to help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate? : (

    I'm really sorry for your loss.

    I know it's very hard to read tone in a message format, so I'm emphasizing that I'm saying this with the utmost gentleness.

    In the immediate aftermath of losing a pet (or even a loved one), it's easy to swear off any new pets (or loved ones -- I'm thinking partners specifically here). But hearts do heal in time. Right now you're hurting. It's so hard to lose a beloved pet. But your piggy may very well be much happier with a friend. If you don't want to continue an endless cycle of love and loss and you really do think you're close to the end of your guinea pig ownership, do you think maybe you could adopt another senior pig for her so that neither is going to significantly outlive the other? You would also be able to give another pig a home, and not just any other pig but a pig who may very well be hard to adopt otherwise.

    My heart hurts for you. Losing pets is never easy, and watching someone (or something) we love grieve or seem to grieve is just as hard and sometimes harder. I am hoping you find healing and peace.

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    Cavy Slave webjetter's Avatar
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    Re: How to help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate? : (

    Quote Originally Posted by 2198lindsey View Post
    What part of Florida are you in? About what @Kermit_Koeller said, that would work. There are so many rescues here it's crazy. If you needed help with transportation, I'd be more than happy to volunteer...
    Wow, that is so nice of you to offer, especially since you didn't know where in Florida I am. (Northeast, by the way.) What a big heart you have.

    We just can't do it, though.

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    Cavy Slave webjetter's Avatar
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    Re: How to help a surviving piggie adjust to the loss of her lifelong cagemate? : (

    Quote Originally Posted by GuineaGal2013 View Post
    @RodentCuddles and @Skippie can we take this elsewhere? there is an individual (and a guinea pig) hurting/grieving here. I admitted it when I said it that it might be a bad idea. I am not going to pretend to know about something that I don't. But I do know that this person is hurting and she doesn't need us bickering. If you wish to continue your debate, that is between the two of you... but please move it to a private message so that this individual doesn't have to deal with it on top of everything else. I have said my peace and will say no more on the subject.
    Thank you so much for your respectful comment and suggestion. I understand that everyone means well, and many are passionate about their views. But thank you for giving a voice to that, it was well said.

  18. "Thank you, webjetter, for this useful post," says:


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