A Friend For Blind Teddy?

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MollyB

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Hi all,

I was looking for some advice on companionship for my mostly blind boar, Teddy.
He's about a year and a half old, and I was told by the RSPCA shelter I rescued him from that he didn't like living with other Guinea Pigs; he was alone because they stressed him out due to him being unable to see what was going on.

Should I resist getting him a friend? He's so lovely, but I wonder if he could do with a buddy on days when he seems to just be sitting quietly alone. He isn't neutered though, so that's what makes me worried about bonding.

Any advice would be hugely appreciated, thank you! <3
 

Jesse's pigs

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They do tend to pull your heartstrings when they're just sitting in the corner munching and wheeking to you and themselves. It seems rather unfortunate that he feels uncomfortable around other piggies though being blind and then mounted by boars can't be a nice experience! If you feel he would be ok perhaps you could look into neutering? A vet may advise as to whether it would be a good option for him and perhaps you could see how he reacts to female pigs. A rescue or a friend with a female piggy etc might allow them to sniff through the bars and talk. A teddy makes a great stand in bff too. Perhaps there is a piggy in the same position as him?
 

Critter

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It could be that he hasn't fund his special friend yet. I had a sow who didn't like living with the sow herd. She relaxed and was sociable with a neutered boar. It could be that your boar just needs a very laid back and gentle companion, or perhaps he will never find another piggy that he is comfortable with. I also have a boar who lived in another home with several piggies and herds. He was bought to go with another boar, but it didn't turn out well. In fact he rejected every boar that he was partnered with, so this lady had him neutered - turns out he loves his sows, but not other boars :) I wouldn't rule out getting a laid-back bar friend but it's entirely possible that he may feel more comfortable with a sow, especially one who isn't bossy! :)
I know yours came from a general rescue, but perhaps a rescue specialising in piggies may be able to help him find that special companion?
Do you know anything about his background or how he went blind?
 

MollyB

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Thank you @Jesse's pigs & @Critter!
Would he need to be neutered, it wouldn't be worth me looking into a neutered female? Any ideas on what that might cost if he were to be neutered?

I believe it was his super poor health that caused his near-blindness. He was covered in mites, skin and bone, and having seizures when they rescued him, so it was most likely caused by those. It doesn't slow him down though, just makes him more nervous when he's being touched :)
 

Jesse's pigs

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Awww poor guy I'm sure his glad to have found a wonderful home with you! I belive neutering costs between £20 to £30 but I'm not exactly sure. I know spayed sows are hard to come across because the operation for them is very risky and must be done by a specialist. :)
 

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Aw the poor little love. Sounds like he was on the brink when he was rescued, he's obviously been through a terrible time.
I wonder if he just needs time to get over the trauma of his ill-treatment before he can relax with another piggy. That's not to say you shouldn't explore his companion options yet. Sometimes though when they have been through a traumatic time a friend is the absolute best medicine in the world that a piggy can have. Unfortunately we can only guess at how his mind is working right now and what he truly wants in terms of companionship. He may have to go through quite a few options and attempted pairings.... who knows?
Yes a spayed sow is certainly worth looking into, but spays are usually performed for medical reasons as it's a more complex operation than a neuter is for a boar. They can be somewhat rare in rescues, but occasionally they do appear, so certainly if you do come across one it's worth an intro session to see.... :)
 

Freela

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Poor little guy! It sounds like he has been through a lot! I don't think the fact that he is blind precludes him having a companion... one of my pigs went blind later in life and actually was quite dependent on her companion and a lot more confident with a sighted pig to follow around. There were times when she got blindsided because she obviously didn't see what was around her (a few times she got plowed over by her sighted companion who startled at something and took off- poor Sundae didn't know when to get out of the way!) but otherwise she was fine. If there are rescues available I would ask their advice... they may have pigs with back, compatible personalities who might make a good match for him.
 

MollyB

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Thank you @Jesse's pigs, @Critter, and @Freela! Sorry for my late reply, life got in the way.
He's definitely got more confident now. He doesn't like to be handled but he's letting me stroke him more and he'll come out on my lap for food! :D

I just tried something, which I hope wasn't unfair; I played a couple of videos to him of guinea pigs talking to one another and he immediately started running around, wheeking and talking. Does that sound like a bad reaction? I was hoping it's excitement but I thought you'd all know better than me :)
 

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Thank you @Jesse's pigs, @Critter, and @Freela! Sorry for my late reply, life got in the way.
He's definitely got more confident now. He doesn't like to be handled but he's letting me stroke him more and he'll come out on my lap for food! :D

I just tried something, which I hope wasn't unfair; I played a couple of videos to him of guinea pigs talking to one another and he immediately started running around, wheeking and talking. Does that sound like a bad reaction? I was hoping it's excitement but I thought you'd all know better than me :)
Hi! Teddy is very excited about hearing other piggies and would love company!

Have you considered contacting East Peckham Guinea Pig Rescue? They offer full residential bonding where piggies are introduced to up to 3 suitable candidates over the course of a week, and any bond is stress-tested. The resulting boar bond is as stable as a sow bond, but you come home with a healthy/fully quarantined new friend only if there has been success. This means that you do not have to worry about ending up with an unsuitable companion, and you have the rescue to fall back on throughout the life of one of their adopted piggies.
East Peckham usually have a waiting list, which may take longer if you need a special piggy as a suitable companion, but it is the safest way forward for you.
East Peckham Guinea Pig Rescue

I myself have had a dedicated cataract group at some point with several sows that lost their companions and struggled to bond with new piggies. Once they realised that there new friends had the same problem, they fitted in really well and they were a very closely bonded formidable bunch living with a very gentle neutered boar.
I know of a number of 'carer companions' to blind/deaf and otherwise disabled piggles. TEAS sanctuary, which looks after guinea pigs with chronic dental problems has a number of lethal (blind/deaf) piggies because they also have dental issues and need that regularly looked after.

A little children's story about my blind Mischief, my first cataract piggy.
In fact, Mischief learned to come to me over a distance of several yards while I was giving her a constant update whether she was going right or wrong. If I stood next to the flap into their run, she could turn herself in after a spell of (supervised) free roaming in the garden. After the loss of her eyesight she was even able to completely rebuild her mental map with markers supplied from her other senses, which had become much stronger.
Missy even figured out how to topple a hay bag leaning against a wall, sniff out the opening and crawl into it for a nap. Her seeing companion Minx, despite being the more intelligent overall, never twigged how Mischief did it!
Turning a blind eye on mischief - another piggy story

The Excellent Adventure Sanctuary (for guinea pigs with extra needs) (they have lots of videos of their blind piggies)
 

MollyB

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Oh wow, thank you @Wiebke! I'll look it them and maybe start getting a back and forth going with them too.

Honestly, I'd never seen him so active; he did seem to hide a little but I really thought it was excitement because he just kept talking and running around.
 

Wiebke

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This is a video of my old cataract lady Mali doing arthritic waddle-zoomies following her scent spoor. In fact, she passed away just two days after creating a new zoomies loop, aged 8 years, and by then even more arthritic. But she retained a zest for life right to the end!

The more you challenge Teddy, the more he will able to do. A companion can not only provide company, but he can get Teddy to do things that he may otherwise not attempt. ;)
 

Freela

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I'm sure he was excited to hear other guinea pigs. They truly are social animals, being blind doesn't alter that in the slightest. You'll end up being amazed at how much he can do in spite of having no eyesight (I had a pig who went blind around age 5 or so... she went through a transition period when I think she was losing her eyesight but still trying to depend on it, but afterwards she lived another two years and it was difficult to tell that she was not sighted. She was able to navigate her own familiar environment by following her companion or by following scent trails... the only times you suspected she couldn't see was when the other pig would startle and run into her, as she didn't know when to get out of the way!
 

Skittypigs

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Hi all,

I was looking for some advice on companionship for my mostly blind boar, Teddy.
He's about a year and a half old, and I was told by the RSPCA shelter I rescued him from that he didn't like living with other Guinea Pigs; he was alone because they stressed him out due to him being unable to see what was going on.

Should I resist getting him a friend? He's so lovely, but I wonder if he could do with a buddy on days when he seems to just be sitting quietly alone. He isn't neutered though, so that's what makes me worried about bonding.

Any advice would be hugely appreciated, thank you! <3
Go for it. Worth a try for the little fella. Xx
 
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