Bereaved Bella

Pigoles

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I have a sadly bereaved piggie Bella (who lost her partner Melvin last week when I tragically trusted my local vet to operate and advise me :( ... a decision I will always regret). I have read and followed the bereavement advice, and so left towels/my jumper that I used to nurse Melvin in with Bella in her c&c. I noticed that Bella continually pushed my jumper out of the sleeping compartment over three nights running, and also was creeping around her c&c smelling the fleece continually.
She just seemed very confused and I wondered whether it was because she could smell Melvin but not find him? After three days of Bella being very wary moving around her c&c, I decided to clean it down and put all completely fresh fleeces down. Bella seemed much happier, immediately stopping her tentative creeping walk and the constant smelling of the fleece floor, and running around all areas as normal. Has anyone else found that the scent of lost companions seems to bother bereaved piggies?
 

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Bella is eating very well ... I'm very anxious so have been weighing her daily ... she's actually gained weight (and isn't a small sow at 1.3kg)! I'm just so anxious that having tried so hard to be a good 'piggie Mum' over the last 5 months when looking after the piggies ... that I made a tragic misjudgement. This scares me that I may make a mistake again ... yet I know I need to find her a new friend to ensure she is a happy piggie ...
 

Pigoles

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I have contacted rescues (would much prefer to use a rescue as Bella and Melvin are/were rescue piggies). But two rescues are not rehoming (due to risk of people contact with COVID), one only has young boars who need neutering so will not be ready for a while, and the other rescue insisted on a 6 ft x 2 ft cage with permanently attached run (which I realise is the recommendation for rabbits)?
I have a separate large outside run with attached shelter, plus an indoor 2x4 c&c. (plus double level outside hutch which they are only in overnight ... go into indoor c&c or outside run at 8.30am), but rescues wouldn't accept this ... stating piggies must have 24/7 access to their run? Just wondering if others have had similiar responses when approaching rescues?
 

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I have had a response from one of the rescues I contacted ... they have incoming sow who is a similiar age to Bella (we think Bella is about 3-4 years old).
I am missing Melvin hugely, but know Bella needs a friend to be a happy piggie long-term.
The questions I have are:
Does/should the new piggie be quarantined by the rescue to ensure they had no illness/infections that they could pass onto Bella (terrified of her becoming unwell after Melvin suddenlybecame unwell in my care)? I personally would greatly prefer this to ensure Bella's health ... and if quarantining a new piggie, for how long a period should this be?
Have other people asked rescues to do the initial bonding ... as the bonding process really worried me ... I'm scared sweet Bella may get hurt?!
Thank you!
 

Piggies&buns

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I have had a response from one of the rescues I contacted ... they have incoming sow who is a similiar age to Bella (we think Bella is about 3-4 years old).
I am missing Melvin hugely, but know Bella needs a friend to be a happy piggie long-term.
The questions I have are:
Does/should the new piggie be quarantined by the rescue to ensure they had no illness/infections that they could pass onto Bella (terrified of her becoming unwell after Melvin suddenlybecame unwell in my care)? I personally would greatly prefer this to ensure Bella's health ... and if quarantining a new piggie, for how long a period should this be?
Have other people asked rescues to do the initial bonding ... as the bonding process really worried me ... I'm scared sweet Bella may get hurt?!
Thank you!
Quarantine is important and it is for two weeks.

You can only ask if the rescue will do the bonding for you. Some will, some won’t. if you do need to do it yourself, then we can guide you
 

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I have a sadly bereaved piggie Bella (who lost her partner Melvin last week when I tragically trusted my local vet to operate and advise me :( ... a decision I will always regret). I have read and followed the bereavement advice, and so left towels/my jumper that I used to nurse Melvin in with Bella in her c&c. I noticed that Bella continually pushed my jumper out of the sleeping compartment over three nights running, and also was creeping around her c&c smelling the fleece continually.
She just seemed very confused and I wondered whether it was because she could smell Melvin but not find him? After three days of Bella being very wary moving around her c&c, I decided to clean it down and put all completely fresh fleeces down. Bella seemed much happier, immediately stopping her tentative creeping walk and the constant smelling of the fleece floor, and running around all areas as normal. Has anyone else found that the scent of lost companions seems to bother bereaved piggies?
Sorry for your loss of Melvin, its great that you are planning a new companion for Bella. Many rescues would be happy with a 2x4 C&C for a pair, with the option of extra exercise in an outdoor run or indoor playpen- my own married pair live in a 2x4 and have playpen floortime in a 4x4 space and that was fine for that particular rescue.
Most reputable rescues should have quarantined the new piggy and taken them to the vet for a full health check, and will give you their vet details so you can check this yourself and get the piggy's medical notes transferred to your own vet. And many will also do the bonding for you. But you will need to check this with the rescue, as sadly rescues are not really regulated in any way, and not all operate the same procedures.
Best of luck with your new piggy, as @Piggies&buns says we can support and advise you online through the bonding process if needed, but it would be much better if you can bond at the rescue and know you are coming home with a promising match!
 

Pigoles

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Quarantine is important and it is for two weeks.

You can only ask if the rescue will do the bonding for you. Some will, some won’t. if you do need to do it yourself, then we can guide you
Thank you for this info re. quarantine ... I was worried about the possibility of bringing infection to Bella. I will ask the rescue what their policy is and go from there.
 

Pigoles

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Sorry for your loss of Melvin, its great that you are planning a new companion for Bella. Many rescues would be happy with a 2x4 C&C for a pair, with the option of extra exercise in an outdoor run or indoor playpen- my own married pair live in a 2x4 and have playpen floortime in a 4x4 space and that was fine for that particular rescue.
Most reputable rescues should have quarantined the new piggy and taken them to the vet for a full health check, and will give you their vet details so you can check this yourself and get the piggy's medical notes transferred to your own vet. And many will also do the bonding for you. But you will need to check this with the rescue, as sadly rescues are not really regulated in any way, and not all operate the same procedures.
Best of luck with your new piggy, as @Piggies&buns says we can support and advise you online through the bonding process if needed, but it would be much better if you can bond at the rescue and know you are coming home with a promising match!
Thank you for your reassurance ... I have an indoor 4x2 c&c, plus a larger 5ft x 4ft outdoor run with attached hutch, plus a double 'Lazy Bones' hutch with cover (that is only used at night really, as either in outdoor run or c&c in the daytime).
I was a little thrown as two rescues (who also rehome rabbits) were insisting on a 6ft x 4ft hutch with a permanently attached run (24/7) ... which I have read are the requirements for rabiits. My run and c&c are not attached to the hutch, so I didn't meet the requirements.
I would be concerned tho about guinea pigs accessing a run overnight, as a fox tried to knaw into the guinea pigs hutch at both sides one night when guinea pigs were living with my SIL in a nearby city, even tho the hutch was within a fenced, secure garden right next to the house! The fox knawed through the hutch cover and also knawed the wood around the wire 'windows'. Luckily the wire windows are heavy-gauge wire, so the foxes couldn't get in, plus the guinea pigs tended to sleep on the upper level so would have been safe. That scared me however, and I would be worried that guinea pigs could be vulnerable to foxes if left to have access to outside runs 24/7? What do others think?
 

Piggies&buns

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Leaving them with 24/7 access out in a run is definitely not a good idea. Strange for a rescue to suggest that really
 

PigglePuggle

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My piggies are indoor only, but I dont think usually piggies should have access to their outside run at night or when the weather is wet. How big is your hutch without the run attached? Does it meet the 2x4 minimum? Are they outdoor piggies? I thought from you mentioning the C&C they would be indoor piggies with just some outside run time in summer, sorry I am confused... where does Bella live now?
 

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Leaving them with 24/7 access out in a run is definitely not a good idea. Strange for a rescue to suggest that really
That's what I thought ... I wondered if it was because they had those requirements for the rabbits they rehome, so just applied them to the piggies also?
 

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Maybe, but still wouldn’t leave a rabbit out 24/7. Mine bunny (and piggies) gets tucked into bed in the hutch by dark
 

Pigoles

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My piggies are indoor only, but I dont think usually piggies should have access to their outside run at night or when the weather is wet. How big is your hutch without the run attached? Does it meet the 2x4 minimum? Are they outdoor piggies? I thought from you mentioning the C&C they would be indoor piggies with just some outside run time in summer, sorry I am confused... where does Bella live now?
Sorry to confuse ... the piggies have three areas. An outside double hutch which is 4ft by 2ft, an outdoor run which is 5ft x 4ft (used April to Oct), and then a 4 x 2 grids C&C which is indoors in the utility room for winter use and rainy/hot days in the summer. I have been looking after them since February and they were indoor piggies in their C&C over winter, then gradually introduced to their outdoor hutch/outdoor run from early April onwards. They will be indoor piggies once again come autumn/winter.
I have had Bella in the C&C as I brought Melvin inside when he became so poorly to nurse him after his op, and have been wanting to keep a close eye on Bella now she has lost Melvin ... I'm a very anxious piggie Mum at present sadly. Bella does use her outdoor run in the day (when not too hot!). Hope that info helps!
 

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Ah yes that all makes sense, and sounds suitable for a pair of piggies- if your hutch is also 2ft by 4ft it should satisfy the minimum requirements too...
Anyway, great news you have a new piggy lined up now, let us know how you get on! :)
 

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Maybe, but still wouldn’t leave a rabbit out 24/7. Mine bunny (and piggies) gets tucked into bed in the hutch by dark
I don't profess to know anything about rabbits either, but thought guinea pigs and rabbits will naturally have differing needs being different animals, so I was surprised the rescue applied the same accommodation policy to both animals ... those I stringly feel all animals need to right sized accommodation for their needs. The rescue stated that rabbits are most active at dawn/dusk, hence the need for an attached run 24/7 and they applied that recommendation to guinea pigs also.
I'm glad it's not just me that would be worried about piggies being our at night! My piggies have had to get used to my frequent checks in the late evening that they were snug and comfy in their bedroom areas!
 

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To update ...
It seems that the female piggie that I possibly found at a local rescue is highly likely to need to go on pregnancy watch when she arrives into the rescue this week, as was living alongside two young boars (it's unclear whether the boars had any access to her).

I'm also wondering what is truly the best to do for Bella ... I want the best for her, and fear my heart is guiding me presently ...

The reality is that I am currently very unwell. I was a lot better when I took the piggies on at the start of the year (they were living with a family member). But sadly the anxiety, fear and stress of lockdown, the loss of routine of my part-time employment (I am still furloughed), coupled with a big reduction in my treatment since March (due to COVID), has meant a significant decline in my health. I am now facing a lengthy hospital stay of around 4 months, possibly longer ... but this again has been delayed, due to COVID. I do fully understand and appreciate why these changes/delays had to occur, but sadly the impact on myself has been very difficult to manage.

Back to my sweet Bella ... I just don't know what to do for the best. I've grown so fond of this lovely girl! I know she must have companionship (I tragically lost her cheeky partner Melvin in late July), and I want her to have a really good life. I care for her as best I can ... she is a pampered piggie! But I cannot care for her when I am hospitalised, and there lies the issue. My parents are older and cannot easily care for piggies, due to their physical flexibility in transferring/cleaning out etc, plus my parents are often out for long stretches of time. My only other family members were Bella's original owners who were struggling to look after her, due to a change of their circumstances, hence why I took Bella (and Melvin) on myself at the start of the year. I have no friends who could help care for piggies whilst I am in hospital.

Bella is around 3-4 years of age, and has limited sight. She is a very sweet, shy piggie, but can easily be tempted out by food! She bumbles around investigating as I sort her c&c, and I love the speed that her wiggly nose appears from a hidey when food arrives! I want the best for Bella, but it's becoming increasingly clear that my options are limited by my illness, and I'm devastated that this will impact on Bella. I fear that the only option is to give my sweet Bella up to find the piggie companionship she needs and new loving owners who can offer consistent care, without the complication of illness. But that choice will be awful ... caring for the piggies has got me out of bed and made me smile each day this year ... when there has been so little to smile about in my life :(

And I'm afraid Bella will not find what I wish for her ... that as an older piggie with poor sight, she would be overlooked in favour of young piggies. I also fear for her ... she is so timid and a noisy household would make her hide away constantly ... I fear that she may not have the happy life I so wanted to offer her myself :( . I also don't want her to live her remaining days in a rescue as one of many piggies, as she came from a rescue originally and now she is used to a lot of human chatter to her throughout the day, company and pampering!

I know there are good rescues, and I am considering contacting one in Neath to discuss Bella ... but my heart breaks thinking of this ... especially when still missing Melvin :( . But I know I need to make a decision sooner rather than later, as Bella really needs a new piggie friend to enjoy life alongside, and I think that I need to face the fact that in order to ensure that Bella has the life I want for her ... that she has to leave me :(

Life can be so full of sadness :(
 

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I’m so sorry to hear about everything you’re going through with your own health, your sad loss of Melvin and now your torment over Bella. All of these things are bound to take a toll. Other people with more expertise will I’m sure advise you about Bella but I just wanted to wish you well. And also to say that you absolutely weren’t to blame for what happened to Melvin at all, so even though it’s totally natural in these situations to blame ourselves and we all do it, please try to instead focus on what a caring and competent owner you are. The fact that you are going to such great lengths to think of Bella’s needs now also proves how caring you are. And all that when you clearly have a lot going on yourself. Don’t forget about your own needs in all of this too.

I hope for your sake you can find a way to keep Bella as it sounds like she brings you happiness, but if that’s just not possible or practical, I’m sure she can still have a happy future. You rescued her and put her back on her feet and that foundation is a gift from you that she will always carry with her. If there is a way you can keep her, I’m sure the clever people on this forum will help you work it out! Maybe some kind of temporary home somewhere until you’re ready to take her back?

Keep us posted and take care
 

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I'm so sorry you find yourself in this situation, you clearly love Bella so much. What happened to Melvin was not your fault you did absolutely everything you should have done for him, it was the vet that let him down if anyone did.
Suzy at Glynneath GPR is very approachable and helpful, she may be able to suggest a way forward for you.
 

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I'm sorry you are in a difficult place.maybe you could adopt a piggie for the duration of Bellas life ?allow you to hand the adopted /sponser piggie back to the rescue.so you do not need to keep a cycle of owning piggies.Suzie is very good.i adopted two piggies 24 months ago,and drove from leicesershire in one day.a very well run rescue,uses an exotic vet for there piggies which maybe useful for you.it is a lovely part of the uk.
 
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