Companions for bereaved 6 year old pig?

rachel67

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Hi,

I have had my two bonded male piggies for 6 years now since they were only 8 weeks old or so. The dominant one of them has recently sadly been put down.
My other pig got to see the body and seemed to show no interest in it, continuing to graze. He has been eating alright since then and was at first more nervous around me but now seems to be as confident as normal with hand feeding etc. However, I am aware that guinea pigs should never really be by themselves no matter how old they are.

I have been looking for another 5 year old plus boar as a companion as I am not at the stage currently to take on a younger pig and it would be irresponsible to take anything younger. I don't think introducing them would be too much of an issue as my pig is quite submissive and would probably just let the other take charge. But I have not found another suitable old pig so far (it's been about 5 days) and there don't look to be many around.

That leaves 2 options really, of just trying to keep him company as best I can or having to adopt him to somebody who has a younger boar which I'm finding really hard to force myself to face if I'm honest. Especially considering his age and the fact he is only comfortable around me and not even any of the rest of my family, I wonder if the stress of a new place, people and routine would be too much? But then again even though he's showing no signs of being lonely, I don't want him to be living out the rest of his days lonely as I can obviously never take the place of another pig. Particularly since I decided not to really try and pick mine up and cuddle them- it seemed to either annoy or scare them, and the most attention he would want from me is hand feeding and just stroking his face etc.

I would really appreciate some advice on what everyone thinks the best option is/ if anyone has been in a similar experience.
Thankyou
 

Wiebke

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Hi,

I have had my two bonded male piggies for 6 years now since they were only 8 weeks old or so. The dominant one of them has recently sadly been put down.
My other pig got to see the body and seemed to show no interest in it, continuing to graze. He has been eating alright since then and was at first more nervous around me but now seems to be as confident as normal with hand feeding etc. However, I am aware that guinea pigs should never really be by themselves no matter how old they are.

I have been looking for another 5 year old plus boar as a companion as I am not at the stage currently to take on a younger pig and it would be irresponsible to take anything younger. I don't think introducing them would be too much of an issue as my pig is quite submissive and would probably just let the other take charge. But I have not found another suitable old pig so far (it's been about 5 days) and there don't look to be many around.

That leaves 2 options really, of just trying to keep him company as best I can or having to adopt him to somebody who has a younger boar which I'm finding really hard to force myself to face if I'm honest. Especially considering his age and the fact he is only comfortable around me and not even any of the rest of my family, I wonder if the stress of a new place, people and routine would be too much? But then again even though he's showing no signs of being lonely, I don't want him to be living out the rest of his days lonely as I can obviously never take the place of another pig. Particularly since I decided not to really try and pick mine up and cuddle them- it seemed to either annoy or scare them, and the most attention he would want from me is hand feeding and just stroking his face etc.

I would really appreciate some advice on what everyone thinks the best option is/ if anyone has been in a similar experience.
Thankyou
Hi and welcome

I am very sorry for your loss. 6 years is a good age, though, and right in the middle of average life span. But it is never any easier to lose a beloved pet, and you sound like a very caring owner!

The best option is to contact any of our recommended rescues; several now operate schemes in which an bereaved piggy's companion returns to the rescue if the owner doesn't want to continue with guinea pigs. There is a growing awareness of the need to find companionship solutions for bereaved older piggies whose owners don't want to continue. Rescue dating will allow your boy a say in who he wants to be with; mutual liking and personality compatibility are key to any happy piggy bond long before age or gender. Unfortunately larger operations like the RSPCA and the Blue Cross do not cater to this but a number of smaller rescues will do.

I have myself adopted the occasional older piggy that was stuck in rescue as a companion or for company in my thinning pensioner group but I have also adopted babies/youngsters that couldn't challenge a frailer older piggy in pairs where the companion was several years younger. The oldest piggy that arrived here was a friend's depressed 7 year old lady who took 10 months to until she was ready to move in with her similarly minded stroppy widowed neighbour of mine - but the companionship through the bars did eventually turn into a very loving friendship and was the reason why Calli lived to celebrate her 9th birthday and my own diva Tegan was willing to compromise and accept the company other bereaved childhood group mates again until she died not long before her 8th birthday.

Please take the time to read the links below with more detailed practical tips and information.
The singles guide looks at single guinea pigs in different situations (including bereavement), a range of possible companionshop options , how you can spot when he is unhappy on his own and interactive enrichment ideas to keep him entertained while you are searching for a friend.
Looking After A Bereaved Guinea Pig
Single Guinea Pigs - Challenges and Responsibilities
Enrichment Ideas for Guinea Pigs
Rescue Locator (these are the vetted good welfare standard rescues we can guarantee that you are in safe hands; we can't guarantee for any other rescues)

Death, Dying, Terminal Illness and Grieving: Information and Support for Owners and Their Children
 

rachel67

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Thank you very much. I'll make sure to contact my local rescue and read those links.
 

rachel67

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It was mentioned in one of the articles that some rescues are now offering a service where they will help you find a mate for your guinea pig which they can adopt out to you for the rest of your guinea pig's life and then take back. Do you currently know of any in particular in the UK that do this? Again, thank you for the advice.
 

Wiebke

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It was mentioned in one of the articles that some rescues are now offering a service where they will help you find a mate for your guinea pig which they can adopt out to you for the rest of your guinea pig's life and then take back. Do you currently know of any in particular in the UK that do this? Again, thank you for the advice.
Most rescues in our locator are offering this service (pretty much all except RSPCA and Blue Cross branches) but you have to enquire how and whether this is done right now in the middle of a pandemic as it varies from rescue to rescue.

East Peckham Guinea Pig Rescue used to offer residential bonding where your piggy would go and stay at the rescue for a week and return with a fully bonded new mate; this way allows for most of the bonding process to happen at the rescue and any resulting bond to be stress tested. Your boy would meet up to three potential candidates to see who he is vibing with.
 
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