Anastasia_GPM.

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So, here's my story, and why I'm concerned. This is probably going to be long, so I totally understand if you stop reading here. haha
I got my first guinea pig November 10th 2018. Just a few months ago. It took a lot of convincing to get my parents to agree, so we agreed on just getting one. I know I'll probably get a lot of hate for this one, but I got her at Petsmart. I really just didn't know where else to find one. (I live in North Carolina). Also, it's really hard to find just one because usually people are trying to get rid of a bonded pair. (Next time I'll be more patient and find a rescue, even if I have to drive further). Another reason why I thought it might be okay to get just one is because I have an anxiety disorder (a few actually), so I literally only leave my house once or twice a month for doctor's appointments. (I'm 26 and still live with my parents). Embarassing, but true. So I spend every minute in my room right next to my piggy's cage. So I figured she wouldn't get the chance to get lonely. (even though I know I'm not a guinea pig, and it's a different kind of bond, I thought it might be okay.) (She actually has done sooo much for my depression. Even though she's not legally an emotional support animal, that's what she has done for me. I can't even express how much I love this little one.) So when we got to the store, there was one guinea pig in a separate cage than all of the other ones, and she was adorable. So I asked why she was separated, and the girl who worked there said that Katie (I ended up naming her that) had been sick when she was younger so she had been separated from the other piggies and then when she got better she wouldn't get along with the other guinea pigs. (Looking back now, they probably just didn't even care enough to try). So then she was also older than the other guinea pigs, so no one would adopt her because most people want babies. So I kinda felt like I was rescuing her. :P (I read online that the older ones that they can't adopt out just get moved around to different stores until they get adopted- which I'm sure was pretty stressful for her). So when we got home, she was SUPER skiddish and nervous and pretty much terrified of everything. I tried everything suggested online to make her feel relaxed and welcomed to the home. Eventually she started getting a little more brave day by day. However, she HATES being held. It takes forever to try and catch her without holding her wrong and I don't want to injure or hurt her while trying to pick her up. Also, it took a while and a lot of patience for her to start to trust me, so I don't want to ruin that by tricking her into getting on a towel or something and picking her up that way. So I decided to respect the fact that she doesn't want to be held, and only hold her when I absolutely have to (to trim her nails). She's an American short hair, so she doesn't need to be groomed or anything like that. I try to think about it from her perspective. If I were her, I would not want someone picking me up randomly whenever they want. So I can be respectful of that.
So right now we're at the point where she likes me and she lets me pet her cautiously (I think she's afraid I'm going to try to pick her up) and she HATES being touched anywhere behind her head. She doesn't like anyone besides me and my mom (My mom's not a big fan of pets, and just leaves them alone so of course all pets always love her... hahaha). I have a theory that she's so sensitive to being held because every time she was held before she got here, they were probably giving her shots or moving her from cage to cage and/or store to store instead of just holding her just to pet her.
Anyway, lately I've been thinking that it might help things to get her a friend to bond with, but I really cannot imagine her ever being able to even be around another guinea pig. She would probably hurt them. Plus, I have a feeling that she would be very over-protective of me. We've bonded a lot and I don't think she would like me bonding with another guinea pig. haha
Another problem is that, as I said before, it's really difficult to find a single female guinea pig up for adoption close to my area. And I really don't want to go to a petsmart or a petco. Plus, if I even COULD find a single female guinea pig, I would have to see if they would be able to bond before I could adopt her, and I'm afraid to ask someone to hold their guinea pig until I can come and see her, not even sure that I'll adopt her, and then what if they miss their chance to be adopted by someone else while she's being held for me!?!?! (Plus, I would still have to get the go ahead from my parents to get a second one).
So, my questions:
Does she just need more time to get used to being here? I've only had her for 5 months, so she has spent more time in stores than she has with me.
Would having another guinea pig help her feel more comfortable? (if I could even make that happen)
Should I stop worrying so much? haha
Thoughts? (and please be nice about the fact that I got her at petsmart).
(It took me so long to even join this site because I was so worried about people judging me for 1. only having one 2. getting her at petsmart.)
Also, major props for actually reading this far. haha
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Swissgreys

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Firstly she is a beautiful piggy and no one will judge you based on where you got her from.
Many of us have made silly mistakes (I can hardly start to list all of mine!) and it is always about learning from them and moving forward.
You are clearly a devoted owner, and are doing a great job with her.
For some piggies it can take a long time to settle, and some will never be cuddly, so it is great you are respecting that for now.

You are in a difficult position, but I really do think she would be more settled and happier with a friend.
Guinea pigs are hard wired to be part of a herd, and they do derive safety in numbers, so adding another pig will offer her a lot of reassurance.
Imagine if you had to live your entire life without ever having contact with another human - you could never have a proper conversation in your own language and share similar interests - there is more to a good life than just a clean cage and food for guinea pigs.

Your best bet will always be a rescue as they will offer full back up if things don't work out.
However they can also be few and far between.
Would you be able to let us know roughly where in the US you are based (State, nearest large city?).
Others may be able to help guide you towards something in your area.
 

Anastasia_GPM.

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Thanks! Yeah, I really think that would help. Would it be okay to have 2 in one Midwestern cage? (2X4) I'm on a tight budget right now, so it would be a while before I could afford another cage to connect to it and all that goes with it. I'm about half an hour from Charlotte, NC. I've been applying for disability since I can't work, and finally (after two years of dealing with all of it) I have my final hearing in August, and I've been told that I have a good chance of being approved, so I might wait til then when I have more money to get another one. Plus, I'm pretty sure my parents would be okay with it after that.
 

Merab's Slave

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Welcome to the forum.
No-one is going to judge you here - we’re all about supporting each other and helping all the forum piggies to have the best life.
I have a very skittish piggy who still hates being picked up and held. She lives with 2 companions and I’ve had her for about 9 months now. It took the best part of 6 months before she she stopped diving for cover at the slightest movement.
She’s very confident now unless there’s strangers around in which case the tends to run and hide.
I use a snuggle pouch if I need to pick her up for any reason.

Guinea pigs make wonderful therapy pets and I hope your little beauty really does help you.
I echo @Swissgreys comments about getting a companion when you can.
Hope all goes well for you in August
 

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Anastasia_GPM.

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Welcome to the forum.
No-one is going to judge you here - we’re all about supporting each other and helping all the forum piggies to have the best life.
I have a very skittish piggy who still hates being picked up and held. She lives with 2 companions and I’ve had her for about 9 months now. It took the best part of 6 months before she she stopped diving for cover at the slightest movement.
She’s very confident now unless there’s strangers around in which case the tends to run and hide.
I use a snuggle pouch if I need to pick her up for any reason.

Guinea pigs make wonderful therapy pets and I hope your little beauty really does help you.
I echo @Swissgreys comments about getting a companion when you can.
Hope all goes well for you in August
Thanks so much! I was just looking at a rescue website that I found that's a couple hours from me, and I'm really tempted to just get a bonded pair... haha they're just too cute! Would that be easier or harder for my Katie to bond with two? I feel like that would be over-whelming, but then again, I'm not a guinea pig.... haha
 

Merab's Slave

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It depends on personality with piggies.
If you were thinking of bonding Katie with them they will have to be sows.
Last year I bonded 2 pairs of sows successfully although there were some stressful moments while the 2 middle rankers sorted out their relationship.

The forum bonding threads saved my sanity and helped me to get it right.

Why not ask the rescue if they do dating then you can take Katie to let her choose her own companion.
If that is not possible and you go ahead with getting a bonded pair and bonding doesn’t work then you can have the pair living in an adjacent cage so Katie can still have piggy company even if they don’t want to live together.
Hope that all makes sense
 

Anastasia_GPM.

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yeah that sounds perfect! I'm just eager to get this hearing over-with.
I've been learning a lot from the LA Guinea Pig Rescue videos on youtube. (with Scotty and Saskia)
I did months and months of research about guinea pigs before I got Katie, and when I went to petsmart they were surprised that I had done any research... I'm like, um... pretty sure everyone you sell a guinea pig to should do their research...
 

Freela

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Welcome to the forum. I certainly won't judge you (my piggie are from Petsmart, for what it's worth. Minimal rescues in my area and as I have two pigs of different ages, I am also always searching for a lone piggie.) A lot of pigs are very skittish when you first bring them home... they are prey animals and take time to warm up. Not every pig likes being held (some are lap pigs and some are not.) Even those who like to be held often don't like the feeling of being 'caught' when they are first picked up. It sounds like you are doing fine in that regard.

As for having a friend for her... if possible, yes, have a friend. Having lived alone doesn't mean that she won't be thrilled to have company. As pigs are made for living in groups, this may make her feel safer and less skittish (an only pig is often a nervous pig- there is safety in numbers in the wild and they are still instinctively wired to feel better with other pigs.) So if it's at all possible, by all means I would go for it. She would appreciate it and I'll bet you would enjoy having two of them even more (two pigs display a lot more interesting behaviors than one.)

Best of luck with your disability application and I hope things fall into place for you!
 

Anastasia_GPM.

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Thanks! It means a lot to me that you've all cared enough to respond! And I definitely plan to get at least one more if/when I get on benefits. It's the wait that's gonna suck. As for now I'll just have to keep spoiling my little Katie until I can get her a friend (or two). :)
 
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