Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Remembering Pandora and Abercrombie

Pandora and Abercrombie were the first two pigs I bought as an adult.  They came from a big pet store chain and had been in a pen with at least another two dozen pigs.  They were all so cute and so tiny!  We figured they were somehow related, since all of the pigs in that pen looked so similar.

Abercrombie and Pandora
They loved to be held, and got along very well.  I would often sit with the two of them in my lap, curled up together.  I loved these pigs, but these two were a set of lessons learned the hard way.  Within months of owning them, Pandora started having health issues, one after another.  I lost them both at a young age.

Abercrombie was the smartest pig I had.  I would have loved to seen all the mischief she could have gotten into.  Unfortunately, she only lived 18 months and died of a congenital heart defect.  Losing her made me swear off buying pets from big name pet stores.

But in the short time we had her, she was very entertaining.  She loved running around and popcorning during floor time.  She did this so much at first we thought she was having seizures.  Abercrombie was smart enough to lie ("Guinea Pigs Lie: Abercrombie").

She also figured out a really neat way to keep cool:  It was a sweltering day and there was no air conditioning.  I had let the pigs loose because I thought they'd get more air on the floor than cooped up in the cage.  There was a metal strip between the carpet in the living room and the linoleum in the kitchen.  Abercrombie found it and flopped herself on it, butt against one side of the door frame and her nose pointed towards the other.  She lay there, superman style for a few minutes.  Then she tucked her back feet under her and, without standing up, slid herself forward. She repeated this every few minutes, as her body heat transferred to the metal strip.  The amazing thing was when her nose finally touched the other side of the door frame, she got up and walked back to her starting position, and did it all again.  It was the funniest thing watching her scootch along the floor.  I've not seen a pig do that since.

Abercrombie was the subordinate of the two, but she often outwitted Pandora.  I would occasionally give them a treat in a bowl.  If Abercrombie could manage to get to it first,she'd drag the bowl over to the hidey house.  The house had a door in the front and a window (big enough to walk through) in the back.  Abercrombie would get in the house, tip the bowl up to block the front door and then stick her butt in the window, so Pandora couldn't get in.  She could then eat all the treat while Pandora tried to figure out how to get in the house.

In August 1996 she suddenly lost a lot of weight and one day we saw her nails and lips turning blue.  We rushed her to a vet, but he couldn't save her.  He said it was some kind of congenital heart defect, which was common in these mass-bred guinea pigs.

Pandora got her name because she seemed to always be looking for trouble.  She was a brute of a pig; she reminded me of a football linebacker.

Pandora had a multitude of minor issues.  She was prone to abscesses and got several over the years.  She also got an ear infection or had a stroke within the first year that ended up leaving her with a permanent head tilt.  We nicknamed her Flounder.  She was a happy little pig and could do all the normal piggy things except stand up and beg (she'd topple over sideways if she tried).

I had tried to get her a companion after Abercrombie died, but it didn't work out.  It was a mixture of too small of a cage, not knowing how to do introductions and not understanding how normal pig pecking order worked.  We returned the new pig and Pandora lived on her own.  This seems to have suited her fine.

She started acting strange when she was about three and a half years old.  She'd have what seemed to be short little fits.  She suffered a seizure in the Fall of 1998.

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