New Piggie Pal! Questions and Behavior!

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Requesting some info here, please!
Hi! New Piggie Pal here. This is very important to me so please read... I just got two male guinea pigs that have lived together pretty much their whole life. There was a previous owner and that's who I got them from. They are 2 years old, I am told. They seem to be fully grown. They don't have names yet but one is mostly white and the other is black so I'm just going to call them Black and White for now. I got them yesterday and they seemed fine. Now, I just moved them into their new cage, which is plenty enough room for them, and Black is bullying White. Black will chase White around and actually make an effort to attack him when he gets near ANYTHING in the cage. Food, water, igloo, other hidey hole, etc. Black will try and get on top of White, almost like mounting. I've seen him go after White's neck. That's why I'm thinking about dominance. Black has also bit me. Not hard, but just a nibble. I looked online but wanted to see what others say. I am new to this. However, White is skittish. Very skittish. Very scared. I don't know if Black's bullying has screwed him up. Or he's just antsy. But something has scared him. I don't know what. He just wants to hide in his igloo, like he's scared to do anything..Once I hold him, he seems to calm down but I don't know if it's complete calmness. I just hold him and make sure he's nice and comfortable. As one should! White squeaks panicking when Black approaches him or attempts to...I noticed that the previous owner never cut their nails, so I'm working on those a little at a time so they can get back to normal. I have a rabbit so I'm not *completely* oblivious to small animal care. Black hogs everything. food and water and the biggest hidey hole. White is scared to get out of his igloo and it's making me kinda mad. White shows no advances in wanting to be dominant. he scurries to a corner, where Black will try to climb on him or bite near the neck. No bites have occurred to the point of blood, to my knowledge.
On to medical things.
  • White has an injury, a scab, near his eye, kind of on his nose, about the size of the top of the small eraser on the end of a pencil. It's scabbing over but I have no idea where he got it from. I don't want to apply any ointment until I get more information. Other than that, I don't see any other issues on him so far, besides his nails, which I am working on. Should I apply salve?
  • White has normal looking genitals but Black has a swollen area around his privates, I'm not sure if it's his testicles, I don't know...Maybe it's an 'in heat and ready to mate' thing? Maybe that's why he's acting like this? Like, enlarged. I think he also hurt his nipple on something, as when I go near it or try and see what it is he will pretty much scream and bite. It's not infected or anything, It's a black nipple, but his fur is black so...I don't know. At least, it's in the place of and looks like a nipple. Does anyone know what all this is about? Black has no other medical issues from what I can see or to my knowledge. They poo fine.
  • Does anyone know an easier way to cut nails, to get your guinea pig to calm and relax, to bathe them, they need a bath. How do I bathe and what's the best products/materials? Some help with that would really be appreciated. They were never really properly taken care of.
  • Also, I hope this isn't me choosing favorites, but I have taken a shine to White. He's a scurry little fella, but once you pick him up he just chills there. If it comes to it, I will adopt out Black because of his aggression and I haven't had a complete bond with him. So, it won't really be a big deal to me. That sounded cold, but, he messed with my little guy and that's an instant nope. What I'm scared of is White being alone. Lonely. Will me handling him more often fix that? Will I need another piggie? I don't want him to be sad. Or lonely. I want what's best. I want him to be happy. He's my little guy. Both of them are my little dudes. Later on down the road, I'd like another. A female. Is there a way they can live together, can I have White "snipped"?

Those are just a few questions. Right now, White is squeaking whenever Black approaches him. Black is exploring the cage. Drinking and eating. White is trying to slowly emerge from his igloo. What are your thoughts and suggestions? Thank you so much for reading and I hope I can get some help.

P.S. I also posted this on reddit but here seems to be a good place as well. Just want to get as much info as possible.
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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Welcome to the forum!

It’s just dominance so I wouldn’t worry, there is always a dominant and submissive pig as that’s the way it goes. How big is their cage? Have they got 2+ of everything?

As for the wound, if it looks okay then I’d leave it but if you’re concerned have it vet checked. I wouldn’t treat at home.

If his genitals are swollen that’s not normal, it could be impaction or an abscess. This needs to be seen by a vet asap!

It’s hard to cut nails with new scared pigs but I think there are some good videos on here somewhere but I can’t remember where they are. You can search it :)

Please don’t abandon Black for normal guinea pig behaviour. He’s not being a jerk or anything he’s just being a pig. There is always a bossy one and a submissive one. The loud “cries” are just the submissive saying “okay you got it boss” and they’re absolutely normal. I really wouldn’t separate them but it would be worth thinking about a bigger cage.

You can’t add a female to two males as they’d fight over her and it would be unbearable for all parties. You could have them neutered so you could split them if they fell out but I wouldn’t split them for no good reason.

I would recommend covering half the cage with a towel of blanket to give White more security. He’ll likely be more scared than Black and won’t want anyone to see him (we’re basically predators to them) so that will help him gain confidence. Just make sure he’s getting enough food eg: hay is 85% of their diet and he’ll be fine :)
 

Siikibam

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please Also give them time to settle into their new home before you start handling them. You can try hand feeding but if they don’t take it, just leave it there for them. Covering some of the cage is a good idea. Talk to them as you approach the cage, while you’re in their vicinity and when you come to do anything - feeding, cleaning etc.

Why do you think they need baths, are their bottoms/stomachs urine stained or anything like that?

With nails, you could wrap them in a towel and only leave free the foot whose nails you’re cutting. Rinse and repeat. Also give them a treat during/after you’re done and praise them a lot. But as I said, please give them time to settle. If they’re really bad you could always take them to the vet to have them cut.

As @Cavy Kung-Fu said make sure you have two of everything - hay pile/tray, bowls, bottles, hides and anything else you have in the cage. Place the bowls and hay far apart enough so Black can’t hog it all at the same time.

Like us, piggies have different personalities. Black is obviously the braver one but give White time, he’ll come into his own when he’s more used to his new home and feeling braver.

Here are some threads you may find useful.
Understanding Prey Animal Instincts, Guinea Pig Whispering And Cuddling Tips

How Do I Settle Shy New Guinea Pigs?

Anything in this section really.
New and Wannabe Guinea Pig Owners Corner
 

Caris

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Please, please, please just give them time! They’re in a new environment, with new sights, smells, and noises, and a new scary predator, who wants to eat them (they don’t know that you aren’t a predator, or that you only want the best for them). That’s very frightening! I’d give them time to get used to things and not handle them at all for a bit. White might seem relaxed when you pick him up, but that may just be the prey instinct kicking in. “If I don’t move and act dead, the predator will lose interest in me!” Just talk to them and let them get used to your voice, and then offer them food from your hand after a few days. With my two, I used a blanket for the first week, completely covering them so they were basically in a massive hide, and then pulling up a bit more day by day until they were happy with it being completely removed. It gives them a chance to explore without the stress of being out in the “open”.

What you’re seeing is probably dominance. They’re in a new place that doesn’t have any of their smells, so they’ve got to reassert who is boss. The high pitch squeaking isn’t White panicking, but just him letting Black know that he is the more submissive pig and he isn’t a threat. Merlin, the more submissive of my two, constantly makes these noises around Arthur, even when he’s stealing the slice of lettuce Arthur is happily tucking into (they both follow the motto of “I only want what the other has got”)!

Also make sure there is two of everything so there is the option for them to be apart if they want it. Perhaps even scatter the food across the cage so Black can’t guard everything.

If you have any medical concerns, I would take them to a vet to get them checked out. Even if there is nothing wrong, it’s always good just to give them a health check to reassure yourself.

Remember, it’s still early days! Sometimes it can take weeks or months for your new piggies to settle.
 

Seven7

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Welcome

Please check to see if Black is causing injuries drawing blood to come out. This is not a good sign. You mentioned their space is big enough then Black shouldn't do that.

With regard to nail cutting, I use a towel to gently hold my Finn and Lara covering any parts they are moving around. This makes nail cutting super fast and easy. I can cut Lara's nails in about a minute. Finn does complain more but I can still cut all his nails with giving him breaks in between in about 5 minutes.

Some members do take them to the vet to get nails cut, @Merab's Slave, so maybe I will page them for you.
Good luck, :tu:
 

Bill & Ted

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Your two boys have had upheaval for a couple of days, please give them time to settle into their new surroundings. I don’t think Black is doing anything out of the normal, he is just having to reassert his dominance over White. please get these two boys health checked at the vets. Do place a blanket over half the cage so they both feel more secure and be patient with them both. please don’t separate, let them work through their hierarchy phase, I’m sure they will be fine once they have settled x
 

Wiebke

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Requesting some info here, please!
Hi! New Piggie Pal here. This is very important to me so please read... I just got two male guinea pigs that have lived together pretty much their whole life. There was a previous owner and that's who I got them from. They are 2 years old, I am told. They seem to be fully grown. They don't have names yet but one is mostly white and the other is black so I'm just going to call them Black and White for now. I got them yesterday and they seemed fine. Now, I just moved them into their new cage, which is plenty enough room for them, and Black is bullying White. Black will chase White around and actually make an effort to attack him when he gets near ANYTHING in the cage. Food, water, igloo, other hidey hole, etc. Black will try and get on top of White, almost like mounting. I've seen him go after White's neck. That's why I'm thinking about dominance. Black has also bit me. Not hard, but just a nibble. I looked online but wanted to see what others say. I am new to this. However, White is skittish. Very skittish. Very scared. I don't know if Black's bullying has screwed him up. Or he's just antsy. But something has scared him. I don't know what. He just wants to hide in his igloo, like he's scared to do anything..Once I hold him, he seems to calm down but I don't know if it's complete calmness. I just hold him and make sure he's nice and comfortable. As one should! White squeaks panicking when Black approaches him or attempts to...I noticed that the previous owner never cut their nails, so I'm working on those a little at a time so they can get back to normal. I have a rabbit so I'm not *completely* oblivious to small animal care. Black hogs everything. food and water and the biggest hidey hole. White is scared to get out of his igloo and it's making me kinda mad. White shows no advances in wanting to be dominant. he scurries to a corner, where Black will try to climb on him or bite near the neck. No bites have occurred to the point of blood, to my knowledge.
On to medical things.
  • White has an injury, a scab, near his eye, kind of on his nose, about the size of the top of the small eraser on the end of a pencil. It's scabbing over but I have no idea where he got it from. I don't want to apply any ointment until I get more information. Other than that, I don't see any other issues on him so far, besides his nails, which I am working on. Should I apply salve?
  • White has normal looking genitals but Black has a swollen area around his privates, I'm not sure if it's his testicles, I don't know...Maybe it's an 'in heat and ready to mate' thing? Maybe that's why he's acting like this? Like, enlarged. I think he also hurt his nipple on something, as when I go near it or try and see what it is he will pretty much scream and bite. It's not infected or anything, It's a black nipple, but his fur is black so...I don't know. At least, it's in the place of and looks like a nipple. Does anyone know what all this is about? Black has no other medical issues from what I can see or to my knowledge. They poo fine.
  • Does anyone know an easier way to cut nails, to get your guinea pig to calm and relax, to bathe them, they need a bath. How do I bathe and what's the best products/materials? Some help with that would really be appreciated. They were never really properly taken care of.
  • Also, I hope this isn't me choosing favorites, but I have taken a shine to White. He's a scurry little fella, but once you pick him up he just chills there. If it comes to it, I will adopt out Black because of his aggression and I haven't had a complete bond with him. So, it won't really be a big deal to me. That sounded cold, but, he messed with my little guy and that's an instant nope. What I'm scared of is White being alone. Lonely. Will me handling him more often fix that? Will I need another piggie? I don't want him to be sad. Or lonely. I want what's best. I want him to be happy. He's my little guy. Both of them are my little dudes. Later on down the road, I'd like another. A female. Is there a way they can live together, can I have White "snipped"?
Those are just a few questions. Right now, White is squeaking whenever Black approaches him. Black is exploring the cage. Drinking and eating. White is trying to slowly emerge from his igloo. What are your thoughts and suggestions? Thank you so much for reading and I hope I can get some help.

P.S. I also posted this on reddit but here seems to be a good place as well. Just want to get as much info as possible.
Hi and welcome

Please take the time to read our new owners guides. You will find them very helpful as they should also answer your other questions, especially the boar care guide and also our settling in tips!
Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides

Black is simply a teenage boar; nothing less and nothing more!
Tips on how you can stabilise a teenage bond, how to evaluate whether a bond is still functional and what you can do if your boys are not getting on: Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
More about interactive behaviours: Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Minimal space recommendations: Cage Size Guide

Please do not fail any pets you have taken responsibility for by giving them away if they are not to your liking simply by growing up! It is always very easy to fall in love with a 'nice' one, but you show your true mettle as an owner only how you deal with any challenges. Please don't join the far too large crowd of humans who fail boars at all levels repeatedly and condemn them undeservedly to a single life or even death! Rehoming piggies 'free to a good home' mean putting them at risk of snake owners, dog baiters or simply neglect. They are highly unlikely to find an understanding home that provides plenty of space (at least 2x5 ft for boars), character compatible companionship and good care that way unless they are VERY, VERY lucky and win the lottery!


Keep in mind that White is going to hit his own teenage months in the not too far future, too, and will stop being a cute baby.
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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@Wiebke they’re two years old so they’re not babies, I’d imagine they’re just settling in :)

Hopefully they’ll calm down soon!
 

Wiebke

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@Wiebke they’re two years old so they’re not babies, I’d imagine they’re just settling in :)

Hopefully they’ll calm down soon!
Sorry, I missed that part; I reacted to the sentence about the swelling between the legs, which is generally descended testicles.

All piggies need to re-establish their group hierarchy in any new territory, and that means a renewal of dominance. In this case, the dominance is still at the lower end. Nipping is a carefully judged painless gesture of power and teeth chattering is an expression of dislike, but not one that is immediately followed by a fight.
The tips in the teenage guide still hold as to what you can do to remove as many potential flashpoints as possible during that phase and how you can evaluate a potentially dysfunctional bond.

Because of how we humans work as a society we see dominance behaviour as something 'mean', whereas for guinea pigs it is right at the very core of their strictly hierarchical society. For guinea pigs, dominance is not mean but simply the way they establish or re-establish a working group. It does not impact on whether they actually like each other or not; just which shape their bond takes.
 

Merab's Slave

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I always take mine to the vet for nail clipping. I'm too much of a wimp to do it myself
We see the nurse every 2 months and she trims the nails, weighs the piggies and gives them a quick check.
All this for £5 per piggy
 

retro

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Thank you for all of your information. They have stopped fighting for the most part, I think Black has stated his dominance. Its good White is squeaking in response and not because he’s in pain. I plan on building a piggie play house, like the big areas where they have fleece and such. Custom wood housing and everything. A palace for my babies!

I think white’s testicles haven’t dropped, I checked for Black, to see if he was using the bathroom, and to see what was going on downstairs. I think White hasn’t dropped so I could be wrong about the age, the owner may not know.

I apologize if I upset anyone, but know that I would never do anything before checking with folks like you. Owners that know more than I, and I’m happy to have posted here. Again, I'm new at this and you all have been so kind and helpful. My gratitude is more than measurable.
Hi and welcome

Please take the time to read our new owners guides. You will find them very helpful as they should also answer your other questions, especially the boar care guide and also our settling in tips!
Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides

Black is simply a teenage boar; nothing less and nothing more!
Tips on how you can stabilise a teenage bond, how to evaluate whether a bond is still functional and what you can do if your boys are not getting on: Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
More about interactive behaviours: Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
Minimal space recommendations: Cage Size Guide

Please do not fail any pets you have taken responsibility for by giving them away if they are not to your liking simply by growing up! It is always very easy to fall in love with a 'nice' one, but you show your true mettle as an owner only how you deal with any challenges. Please don't join the far too large crowd of humans who fail boars at all levels repeatedly and condemn them undeservedly to a single life or even death! Rehoming piggies 'free to a good home' mean putting them at risk of snake owners, dog baiters or simply neglect. They are highly unlikely to find an understanding home that provides plenty of space (at least 2x5 ft for boars), character compatible companionship and good care that way unless they are VERY, VERY lucky and win the lottery!


Keep in mind that White is going to hit his own teenage months in the not too far future, too, and will stop being a cute baby.
Okay, gonna just say this now, because I don’t want anyone worrying. They’re not babies or teenagers from what I know. I would never give any of my pets away to a stranger that just wanted them for bait or something. Me and Black have actually started to bond! We’re kinda buddies now! It just takes some time. Last night I was in a frenzy, scared I would wake up to White or Black being dead...scared of what the bullying would do. They seem to be normal boys now. After seeing this I just fall in love with them more each minute and I actually don’t want to get rid of Black. I love both of them. I never want to leave a piggie alone by itself, which is why I immediately posted to forums for help before doing any drastic measures. Fear not, I am not an abandoner and I pour my heart and soul into making my animals happy. I have a dog, a cat, a rabbit and now two guineas. And no, they aren’t in the same room or around each other. I make sure of it! I’m just glad I rescued my boys just in time for them to not suffer because they were a kids play things. So yeah! :) thank you for your concern but really, you don’t have to worry!
 

retro

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I always take mine to the vet for nail clipping. I'm too much of a wimp to do it myself
We see the nurse every 2 months and she trims the nails, weighs the piggies and gives them a quick check.
All this for £5 per piggy
We don’t have a vet for piggies here. Which is very annoying. I cut all my animals nails and they’re just fine. I have a rabbit and have to sing when I cut. A lullaby and some words along “and now we’re gonna snip” or something right as I snip the nail. Or a count. He’s calmer that way. It may sound silly but it works!
 

retro

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please Also give them time to settle into their new home before you start handling them. You can try hand feeding but if they don’t take it, just leave it there for them. Covering some of the cage is a good idea. Talk to them as you approach the cage, while you’re in their vicinity and when you come to do anything - feeding, cleaning etc.

Why do you think they need baths, are their bottoms/stomachs urine stained or anything like that?

With nails, you could wrap them in a towel and only leave free the foot whose nails you’re cutting. Rinse and repeat. Also give them a treat during/after you’re done and praise them a lot. But as I said, please give them time to settle. If they’re really bad you could always take them to the vet to have them cut.

As @Cavy Kung-Fu said make sure you have two of everything - hay pile/tray, bowls, bottles, hides and anything else you have in the cage. Place the bowls and hay far apart enough so Black can’t hog it all at the same time.

Like us, piggies have different personalities. Black is obviously the braver one but give White time, he’ll come into his own when he’s more used to his new home and feeling braver.

Here are some threads you may find useful.
Understanding Prey Animal Instincts, Guinea Pig Whispering And Cuddling Tips

How Do I Settle Shy New Guinea Pigs?

Anything in this section really.
New and Wannabe Guinea Pig Owners Corner
Bath because they do have some undercarriage dirtiness :) also, yes, I will get two of everything. Thank you! Even though they have stopped fighting and are polite to each other when it comes to food, Black will go first and then White will go next. It’s interesting to watch.
 

Wiebke

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Thank you for all of your information. They have stopped fighting for the most part, I think Black has stated his dominance. Its good White is squeaking in response and not because he’s in pain. I plan on building a piggie play house, like the big areas where they have fleece and such. Custom wood housing and everything. A palace for my babies!

I think white’s testicles haven’t dropped, I checked for Black, to see if he was using the bathroom, and to see what was going on downstairs. I think White hasn’t dropped so I could be wrong about the age, the owner may not know.

I apologize if I upset anyone, but know that I would never do anything before checking with folks like you. Owners that know more than I, and I’m happy to have posted here. Again, I'm new at this and you all have been so kind and helpful. My gratitude is more than measurable.

Okay, gonna just say this now, because I don’t want anyone worrying. They’re not babies or teenagers from what I know. I would never give any of my pets away to a stranger that just wanted them for bait or something. Me and Black have actually started to bond! We’re kinda buddies now! It just takes some time. Last night I was in a frenzy, scared I would wake up to White or Black being dead...scared of what the bullying would do. They seem to be normal boys now. After seeing this I just fall in love with them more each minute and I actually don’t want to get rid of Black. I love both of them. I never want to leave a piggie alone by itself, which is why I immediately posted to forums for help before doing any drastic measures. Fear not, I am not an abandoner and I pour my heart and soul into making my animals happy. I have a dog, a cat, a rabbit and now two guineas. And no, they aren’t in the same room or around each other. I make sure of it! I’m just glad I rescued my boys just in time for them to not suffer because they were a kids play things. So yeah! :) thank you for your concern but really, you don’t have to worry!
That is great to hear! Piggies are all different personalities, and it is worth getting to know them. :tu:

Sorry if I have come over a bit strong but we sadly see occasionally new members that will pop piggies back into a shop or hand them on before we can help them work out a solution that includes the welfare of all piggies involved as well. :(
 

Nassala

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I'm glad your piggies are settling in! We all have panics at some point over behaviour or health :) It's good to hear you are committed to making your boys as happy as possible! Even if you don't have an exotic vet near you a general vet will still be able to check your piggies out, let you know if the swelling is just the testicles, etc. If Black is still not letting you near a certain area then that should be checked.
The rest sounds like normal behaviour, including the nibbling. I found the guide here about guinea behaviour brilliant for one of my nibbles - an ear fondle and chin raise later and the nibbling stopped.
I hope your boys continue to be awesome and pics to put fuzzy faces to names are always much appreciated!
 

retro

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That is great to hear! Piggies are all different personalities, and it is worth getting to know them. :tu:

Sorry if I have come over a bit strong but we sadly see occasionally new members that will pop piggies back into a shop or hand them on because we can help them work out a solution that includes the welfare of all piggies involved as well. :(
It’s ok. I rescued all my animals from some situation. My dog I picked up from the actual landfill. My cats are a long story, not as bad. My bunny I rescued from a meat farm. So yes, I am aware of people getting pets and throwing them away. It’s Easter and I know bunnies are gonna be adopted out and forgotten, without proper care. It honestly ticks me off.
 

retro

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I'm glad your piggies are settling in! We all have panics at some point over behaviour or health :) It's good to hear you are committed to making your boys as happy as possible! Even if you don't have an exotic vet near you a general vet will still be able to check your piggies out, let you know if the swelling is just the testicles, etc. If Black is still not letting you near a certain area then that should be checked.
The rest sounds like normal behaviour, including the nibbling. I found the guide here about guinea behaviour brilliant for one of my nibbles - an ear fondle and chin raise later and the nibbling stopped.
I hope your boys continue to be awesome and pics to put fuzzy faces to names are always much appreciated!
Of course. Right now I’m just letting them settle in. The pictures will come! I think we have names as well. I shall post in the introduction form, so keep an eye out!
 

retro

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North Carolina, USA
You clearly have a big heart
If I’m honest, I’m not very happy in life. I have depression and anxiety. I’m 23. I mean, I’m happy but very limited in what I can do. So these animals, even though I cannot be completely happy right now, I want them to be happy. Which in turn gives me happiness and to see life grow and improve...it really warms my heart. It’s hard work but It makes me feel like I’m doing something right. We just had a malnourished kitten, who was our neighbors that neglected their animals AND children, pop into our yard around November. She didn’t come back after we fed her but on Christmas Eve, she came back. We held and fed her and today she’s a fluffy princess that gets lots and lots of love and care. I see her and smile, and I go “we all did this. Me and my family did this. She’s happy. She’s healthy. She’s sassy.” And her name is Fluffy. :)

I wish I could open my own animal sanctuary and rescue center here but the lack of funds is an issue. There’s no piggie rescue here! It’s a shame!
 
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