Bereavement

We get asked quite a lot about what to do for the best when a piggy loses a friend, so here’s a little story to let you know about when that happened to us. Sad to say that Harry, one of our oldest rescue pigs went over the rainbow bridge just before Christmas. It was a sad time for us, but even more so for his friend Hilton.

Hilton showed all the typical signs of a grieving guinea pig. He sat in the corner, was quieter than normal, and wasn’t eating as much as usual.

We left them alone together, this gave Hilton a chance to sniff Harry and see that Harry had indeed crossed the bridge and wasn’t going to be around anymore.  Hopefully, Hilton could start to grieve for him and eventually move on.

Hilton started to sit in the spot where Harry had died.  He then started to search for Harry, this was obviously very stressful for him and very upsetting for us to see.

We carried on feeding Hilton as if he were still in a pair so that he didn’t lose weight in his grieving process. He didn’t eat all the food, every meal time but it was always there if he wanted more. We put the radio up a little higher so that he didn’t feel lonely during the night when we weren’t around, and gave him a soft toy for company, and a heat pad for night time, if nothing else he could cuddle up to it if he wanted to.

The grieving didn’t last that long really, maybe a week at most, and he got back to his usual self of hurtling round the cage, and nibbling the side for food, and coming towards us to say hello,

Should he be young(ish), free and single? Or find him another boar friend? Or get him neutered and have a harem of sows?

We decided singledom wasn’t for Hilton and no doubt he’d love a harem, but in the end, we decided to try to pair him off with Harry’s brother Dougal.  Dougal was living as a single piggy after falling out with Harry, some years ago, and refusing any other guinea pig as a new friend, but we threw caution to the wind and tried it!

So that was the plan, we introduced them and waited cautiously to see if they would get along.

They had 2 of everything, bowls, water bottles, tunnels so they could escape from either end if needed and a huge hay area, in the hope that they may lay together if they had enough room. And it worked! They are still together, I wouldn’t say they are best buddies just yet, but they eat together from the same dish, lay near each other in the hay and so far, we haven’t had any fighting, which is all good

Anyway, the point to all of this is to say that when you lose a piggy, please don’t think that that has to be it, there are lots of options to consider and some, no matter how unlikely, might just work!

 

 

 

Since writing this post a few months ago, we are sad to say that Dougal has now crossed over the rainbow bridge too, so after a good few months of fun and friendship, sadly Hilton is alone again and waiting for some girlfriends after he was neutered.