Delayed Grieving?

Vicvac28

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I lost one of my beautiful boys to GDV on Monday, having to make the heartbreaking decision to have him put to sleep to end his pain. Now I have one piggie, Rex, all on his own suddenly. He got on really well with Houdini, was bossy but they rarely fought and I’d frequently see him grooming his little brother.

Obviously it has only been a couple of days since Houdini’s passing but Rex seems to be getting on well. He is eating and drinking normally and still screams for veggies when he hears noise in the kitchen. Possibly a bit more lethargic but it’s hard to tell as he loves a lie down! In your experiences, is he likely to miss Houdini more as time goes on or as he’s doing so well in the first few days is it likely he will cope fine? I will enquire about rescuing a piggie of a similar age but can’t face it right now after the sudden loss of my dear boy. Thanks all 😊
 

Merab's Slave

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How lovely that you are thinking of Rex's needs while you are still grieving.
Having been left with a single bereaved piggy I can say from my experience that piggies grieve differently to us and unless the grief is really profound they soon get on with the business of surviving.
Mine just became quieter and more withdrawn until I was able to get companions for them.

Then when they were no longer alone it was like a new lease of life. Guinea pigs do need piggy companionship.
I do understand how it feels to get new piggies while you personally don't feel ready. Don't worry - it's surprising how quickly a new piggy will create it's own space in your heart.
Give yourself a couple of weeks for your initial grief to work out then start contacting rescues.
 

Wiebke

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I lost one of my beautiful boys to GDV on Monday, having to make the heartbreaking decision to have him put to sleep to end his pain. Now I have one piggie, Rex, all on his own suddenly. He got on really well with Houdini, was bossy but they rarely fought and I’d frequently see him grooming his little brother.

Obviously it has only been a couple of days since Houdini’s passing but Rex seems to be getting on well. He is eating and drinking normally and still screams for veggies when he hears noise in the kitchen. Possibly a bit more lethargic but it’s hard to tell as he loves a lie down! In your experiences, is he likely to miss Houdini more as time goes on or as he’s doing so well in the first few days is it likely he will cope fine? I will enquire about rescuing a piggie of a similar age but can’t face it right now after the sudden loss of my dear boy. Thanks all 😊

Hi!

I am very sorry for your loss!

Guinea pigs grieve differently to humans, but they have also different social needs; the human and cavy needs are never more at loggerheads than after a death, unfortunately.

Guinea pigs grieve no less deeply than us but like with humans it can come out in different ways. The deep mourning phase lasts on average about 4 days. If Rex is still eating and drinking, then you have around ideally 1-4 weeks to do your research (depending on how well or badly Rex is coping with being on his own) and ideally set up a dating session at a good rescue to allow Rex to have that crucial say in who he wants to live with that underlies all successful piggy bonds; in the current situation it may take a little longer. After this time you may find that lack of social stimulation and interaction with his own kind can take its gradual toll on Rex.

Please keep in mind that what you are looking for is NOT another piggy for yourself to love instantly or a replacement for Houdini but somepig to keep Rex's social needs taken care of while you do your own grieving in your own human time. You do NOT have to love straight away or have to have any kind of relationship with any new arrival and you do not have to have any feelings toward them whatsoever; that will happen on its very own in a very different way without you even noticing and will not resemble anything you have shared with Houdini. It won't eventually be any less valid a bond than the one you have lost but there is no pressure on you other than letting that happen on its own without any active input of yours; it will never take anything away from Houdine but like a blocked river, it will trickle and gradually carve its own way in new untrodden ground.
See any new arrival as Rex's comfort buddy and not as yours - because that is what it is until your heart is ready for more and has the energy and space to let it grow into more. You are doing this for Rex and not for yourself.

Please take the time to read the links below; they discuss these issues in more detail and contain practical advice as well as further links to help yourself. You should find them very helpful as you go through your own grieving process so you do not feel so bad about the current (and very common) clash in needs! It is always a harrowing time for any loving and responsible owner when you feel you can't give what you know you should - but there are ways to do what you need to without putting any more emotional pressure on yourself. Time will sort this issue out; but instead of putting Rex through your own time out, change the parameters of what you expect from yourself.

Rex will hold long enough to allow you to get through the initial jumble of emotions and pain. He doesn't need a new friend tomorrow although you may find that being able to do something constructive for him like looking around in the next two weeks will help you, especially when you hit the adrenaline blues some days down the line.
Looking After a Bereaved Guinea Pig
Human Bereavement: Grieving, Coping and Support Links for Guinea Pig Owners and Their Children
Single Guinea Pigs - Challenges and Responsibilities (includes a chapter on bereaved guinea pigs, how to look for companionship and how the social needs of single piggies can manifest in their interaction with humans)
 

VickiA

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Great advice given above, and links to all the useful threads. Just wanted to say sorry for your loss and that I hope you can find a companion for Rex.
 
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