Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Solo Wedgwood Dilemma

Trying to keep her busy with hay and toys
Losing Boadicea was hard.  I mean, losing every pig has been hard, but in Boadi's case, she screwed up The Plan.  I am allergic to hay; I suspect that allergy is contributing to some health issues.  If one has guinea pigs, one has hay (everywhere) and working at home increases my exposure.  Orchard grass seems to be causing the least trouble, but I'd really like to give my body a break.  Wedgwood is supposed to be my last guinea pig.

Both Boadicea and Wedgwood had been selected because they were close in age to the guinea pig they were being paired with.  The idea was that they'd age out together, leaving no pig alone for months on end.  However, I managed to lose Cannoli and Boadicea far too young, which leaves a somewhat socialized Wedgwood by herself.  She had been a solo pig for years when I had adopted her.  From her shelter notes and what I witnessed with Boadi, it was clear she hadn't lived in the same cage as other guinea pigs.  

Guinea pigs are a herd animal.  I advocate they are happiest when they live with other guinea pigs.  Keeping a lone pig does not sit well with me for all sorts of reasons.  Wedgwood is doing pretty well, keeping her weight up, acting normally.  There are times, though, that she seems bored.  She hides a bit more.  She gets needy and extra whiny (this from a guinea pig that does not like a lot of human contact).  She sometimes gets destructive (chews her cozy).  Wedg wasn't the nicest to Boadi, but life is more fun with another guinea pig to pick on.  She certainly can't pick on me.

Giving her up is not an option.  Wedgie is four, has no chronic illness, no signs of slowing down.  Realistically,  she could be with us anywhere between one to three years.  The thought of introductions with her is daunting.  Adopting a mature sow (I do need to get off this merry-go-round) scares me, because it guarantees I'm going to face heartbreak twice in the next few years.  Long term care for a sick guinea pig is taxing to my own health.  I wish I lived closer to Nevins Farm - I'd happily foster pigs that would keep sporadic company with Wedg.

So here I am - stuck somewhere between caring for my mental and physical health and my charge's well-being.  I'm not looking for sympathy or advice.  For those of you wondering why I haven't gotten a new companion for Wedgwood - this is it.  For those of you who have been through this situation yourself - I feel for you.  In the meantime, I'm ensuring Wedgie is well cared for and considering revisions to The Plan.


  1. Difficult situation but I think we all need company and sad to think that Wedgwood might be alone for several years.

  2. I remember being in this exact situation with my last. I opted to have a solo piggie. I worked from home and made a portable habitat so I could roll her with me during the day. My Raisin piggie was alone for 14 months - and they were the best months of my life. I slowly transitioned her from a not human pig to a napping companion. I think because we both needed each other, things just worked. The day she passed still makes me weep because, without knowing, I saved the best for last.

  3. My first piggie was a solo "diva". She was agressive with other pigs, and so she was much happier getting my devoted attention. I found that floor time with interesting "hide-and-seek" activities kept her content. Boxes arranged for exploring, treats hidden so she had to search for them. By the time she would go back to her cage she would popcorn and seem to appreciate some down time. Each pig is different, though. Maybe change the layout of her cage, or find her some new things to chew on or sleep in. Ultimately, you are still giving her a better life than many, many other pigs have. You have to do what's best for BOTH of you. Take care of yourself and spoil her for whatever time you are together.

    1. Thank you for your feedback. Oh, the joy of diva sows!

  4. I sympathize, and I hope the situation works out well for all concerned.

  5. I completely empathize with you - my herd was wonderful, and I was sad when they dwindled. I lost my last two pigs in a relatively short span (they were all elderpigs), but there were those times when I just wasn't sure whether I was doing the right thing.

    I do miss the Madness, though... I hope you're able to find a good solution to this. Maybe play-dates beyond Pignics? Like you, I prefer non-solo pigs. Difficult situation, indeed. :(


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