Unprepared mother of found piggie!

annapanda

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Hello Everyone!

I live in NYC and found a lil piglet in the park and because of the pandemic still keeping things closed here and the park staff/ 311 not having a lot of information to get her to a safe place - I decided to take her in as a foster and potential child.

I bought her a cage (that I now realize is way way too small, thanks PetCo) and started to get pretty excited about keeping her. I've put off having a pet for a long time because my room is very small and I have roommates with allergies- plus a deep fear of commitment/ being an actual adult that I believe follows all of us that grew up in the 90s! I have put feelers out to find her family (although I suspect that she was abandoned)... so I will say I'm hesitant to invest too too much too soon.

Upon bringing her home, solidifying she was a her (maybe... probably), brainstorming names and settling on Penelope I was starting to feel pretty joyous about my new roomie. But after a few hours of internet searching my joy of finding this kismet piggie soul mate transformed into full-on panicking that I am in way way over my head and chained to a pet more difficult to care for in an apartment than a dog- I should add that owning a dog is my greatest dream- see fear of commitment and roommates highlighted earlier as reasons for not yet achieving! I might as well get a great dane, right? (I've heard they make great apartment dogs because they just wanna sleep and chill.) Anyway I saw my nights spent sleeping in at my boyfriend's place slipping away! Any hope of vacationing vanishing and my bank account evaporating rapidly- not to mention my living space!

I'm obviously exaggerating... but only a little and I must say much of this fear comes from the fast and dirty rescue style circumstances surrounding Penelope and I's meeting.

It seems clear she needs a friend... that is non-negotiable correct- is there a timeline in which I need to get her a pal? A bigger cage is another must I realize I have to negotiate but my space is limited here in my room and as I mentioned I'm not sure if anyone's looking for her... so would it be alright to hold off on building her home?

Here are some other longer-term questions I've outlined below;

Can I successfully construct her cage in an L shape to give room to run but not dedicate my entire wall to the cage? Also wondering if I can build the cage under my bed... or will this disturb/ cause too much of an issue for her well being?
Could I set the cage up to have a few feet of "run" and a ramp leading to another shelf of cage space? Or does this change the square footage/ cheat it too much?
Will it do damage to keep her in the small cage ALONE as I collect the things she needs/ create a new habitat for her/ find her a suitable friend- should I just get her to a rescue if I'm offering her that kind of life?
Will allowing her to roam my room freely while I'm home/ her cage is still small help balancer out her space predicament or are the two not mutually exclusive- I've seen somewhat mixed reviews on this?

She's obviously pretty traumatized and I've already made many mistakes- like trying to hold her too soon! I have seen mixed messages about handling her. One caretaker said to hold pigs daily to build trust and another said to let them chill for the first few days...

A friend also jokingly put the idea in my head that she may be pregnant but as I research that doesn't seem too unlikely- I'm having trouble finding info on how to be sure she is or isn't and it's tough because I found her outside so I know very little about her past sexual history.

Long post, long, I'm monitoring her very closely. I've been sitting by her cage talking with her so she starts building trust with me and offering her lil treats.

Any advice on the best steps for me to take for this princess moving forward/ help talking me down from the terror that is realizing my assumed "good deed" is actually nothing but a selfish act of imprisonment would be much appreciated.

Thank you thank you thank you!

(Penelope is also a panda colored pig and Panda's are my absolute FAVORITE animal and I have them plastered about my room so finding her in the park felt extra serendipitous... and played somewhat of a role in deciding to bring her home.)
 

Bill & Ted

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an L shaped cage would be fine, if this will fit your room best. The minimum cage size for 1-2 piggies is 120 x 60 cm or 4ft x 2ft. Guinea pigs are ground roaming, if you where to build a cage make sure a ramp has sides and is not steep, they are not natural climbers. First of all take a deep breath! Well done you for rescuing her. You can let her free roam your room if you are in it, just make sure you don’t step on her, it’s easily done. For now I would just keep her in her cage with a sheet over it for a few days and let her settle after her ordeal. We would all love to see and hear how you get along x
 

Wiebke

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Hello Everyone!

I live in NYC and found a lil piglet in the park and because of the pandemic still keeping things closed here and the park staff/ 311 not having a lot of information to get her to a safe place - I decided to take her in as a foster and potential child.

I bought her a cage (that I now realize is way way too small, thanks PetCo) and started to get pretty excited about keeping her. I've put off having a pet for a long time because my room is very small and I have roommates with allergies- plus a deep fear of commitment/ being an actual adult that I believe follows all of us that grew up in the 90s! I have put feelers out to find her family (although I suspect that she was abandoned)... so I will say I'm hesitant to invest too too much too soon.

Upon bringing her home, solidifying she was a her (maybe... probably), brainstorming names and settling on Penelope I was starting to feel pretty joyous about my new roomie. But after a few hours of internet searching my joy of finding this kismet piggie soul mate transformed into full-on panicking that I am in way way over my head and chained to a pet more difficult to care for in an apartment than a dog- I should add that owning a dog is my greatest dream- see fear of commitment and roommates highlighted earlier as reasons for not yet achieving! I might as well get a great dane, right? (I've heard they make great apartment dogs because they just wanna sleep and chill.) Anyway I saw my nights spent sleeping in at my boyfriend's place slipping away! Any hope of vacationing vanishing and my bank account evaporating rapidly- not to mention my living space!

I'm obviously exaggerating... but only a little and I must say much of this fear comes from the fast and dirty rescue style circumstances surrounding Penelope and I's meeting.

It seems clear she needs a friend... that is non-negotiable correct- is there a timeline in which I need to get her a pal? A bigger cage is another must I realize I have to negotiate but my space is limited here in my room and as I mentioned I'm not sure if anyone's looking for her... so would it be alright to hold off on building her home?

Here are some other longer-term questions I've outlined below;

Can I successfully construct her cage in an L shape to give room to run but not dedicate my entire wall to the cage? Also wondering if I can build the cage under my bed... or will this disturb/ cause too much of an issue for her well being?
Could I set the cage up to have a few feet of "run" and a ramp leading to another shelf of cage space? Or does this change the square footage/ cheat it too much?
Will it do damage to keep her in the small cage ALONE as I collect the things she needs/ create a new habitat for her/ find her a suitable friend- should I just get her to a rescue if I'm offering her that kind of life?
Will allowing her to roam my room freely while I'm home/ her cage is still small help balancer out her space predicament or are the two not mutually exclusive- I've seen somewhat mixed reviews on this?

She's obviously pretty traumatized and I've already made many mistakes- like trying to hold her too soon! I have seen mixed messages about handling her. One caretaker said to hold pigs daily to build trust and another said to let them chill for the first few days...

A friend also jokingly put the idea in my head that she may be pregnant but as I research that doesn't seem too unlikely- I'm having trouble finding info on how to be sure she is or isn't and it's tough because I found her outside so I know very little about her past sexual history.

Long post, long, I'm monitoring her very closely. I've been sitting by her cage talking with her so she starts building trust with me and offering her lil treats.

Any advice on the best steps for me to take for this princess moving forward/ help talking me down from the terror that is realizing my assumed "good deed" is actually nothing but a selfish act of imprisonment would be much appreciated.

Thank you thank you thank you!

(Penelope is also a panda colored pig and Panda's are my absolute FAVORITE animal and I have them plastered about my room so finding her in the park felt extra serendipitous... and played somewhat of a role in deciding to bring her home.)
Hi!

Great for taking her in and committing to care for her on a good level! It is going to be a fairly steep learning curve but you will get there; you never get things perfect and it is not like you had time to research first! Welfare is an ongoing journey; it is not a static process. By setting the expectations on yourself too high (sadly something we seen in a rising number of especially younger members) you only set yourself up for an undeserved fail and spoil the pride you should feel for yourself.

Nearly 50 years ago when the first piggy came into my life, so little was known about guinea pigs and their proper care and species needs! it positively feels like the stone age when looking back! Our piggies were nevertheless much loved and lived happy and long piggy lives. At the time we were considered good owners even though today it would be well below standard.

As long as your heart is in the right place and your girl is feeling safe and loved, first and foremost, there is nothing wrong. The rest is research for the kind of improvements into which we have slowly stumbled along in the intervening decades, many of them learned the hard way by making mistakes. This process is still very much ongoing.

Please never put yourself down for what is essentially a learning process and not a university exam on your first day at school. You learn more by giving yourself leeway to get things wrong because it deepens your understanding. Getting things right means that you just skim along the surface of things without ever gaining any deeper knowledge of why they work in a certain way but not in another. You do not mature as a human being if you live with a zero tolerance attitude towards myself. Being an adult is not about being perfect, it is all about making mistakes and how you deal with them. Those life lessons are what make you a better and more understanding human, especially the painful ones as you cannot see and understand pain in others without your own experience. I am still learning now; and a lot of it still comes only the hard way. But then I am still growing as a human being as well as an owner, too. I don't aim at perfect, just doing things a bit better next time round.

Being loved and cared for in the first place is something that your little hasn't experienced so far, so things are already much better than where she was before and can only get better from now on! ;)

PS: An L-shaped cage is fine.

You may find our New Owners guide collection very helpful as it specifically addresses all the areas that we get the most questions, worries and cries for help on. We are aiming at providing exactly the kind of practical and precise detail that so often throws new owners (how much is 'a little' actually?) and don't gloss over the tricky bits. Several guides aim to help you understand behaviour, learn how you can communicate with piggies in their own language without having to wait until they have figured out humans and learning what is normal and what not.
The link is worth bookmarking and using as a helpful resource as you go along. Unlike a book, the guides format allows us to update and extend our information at need.
Here is the access link: Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides

You can find our even more extensive information on a very wide range of topics via the guides shortcut on the top bar but are always welcome to ask any questions you have in our various Care sections.

If you want to post pictures of your girl or chat about your experiences, you are welcome to join our friendly community in the Chat section.
 

Lorcan

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I just want to add, please don't mentally beat yourself up about not getting things right for Penelope first time. If she'd been left in that park she'd be dead, it's that simple. Whether she was abandoned or lost makes no difference there. You may not think you've got it right but you've saved her life, and you've done it as someone who may not have known anything about guinea pigs but didn't think twice about doing it. So thank you.
 

Freya1234

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Well done for taking her in, she’s a very lucky piggy to fall into the hands of someone as kind as you and I think your doing a great job looking after her as it obviously wasn’t something you had planned. Just remember all us piggy owners didn’t find out how to look after our piggies overnight and after having my pigs for three years i’m still learning stuff about them!
We’d love to see a photo of penolope❤
 

piggieminder

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Well done for doing your research and making sure you are doing right by Penelope. It's lovely of you to have taken her in, especially at this very strange and difficult time. Wishing you and Penelope good luck and much happiness.
 

annapanda

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Hi!

Great for taking her in and committing to care for her on a good level! It is going to be a fairly steep learning curve but you will get there; you never get things perfect and it is not like you had time to research first! Welfare is an ongoing journey; it is not a static process. By setting the expectations on yourself too high (sadly something we seen in a rising number of especially younger members) you only set yourself up for an undeserved fail and spoil the pride you should feel for yourself.

Nearly 50 years ago when the first piggy came into my life, so little was known about guinea pigs and their proper care and species needs! it positively feels like the stone age when looking back! Our piggies were nevertheless much loved and lived happy and long piggy lives. At the time we were considered good owners even though today it would be well below standard.

As long as your heart is in the right place and your girl is feeling safe and loved, first and foremost, there is nothing wrong. The rest is research for the kind of improvements into which we have slowly stumbled along in the intervening decades, many of them learned the hard way by making mistakes. This process is still very much ongoing.

Please never put yourself down for what is essentially a learning process and not a university exam on your first day at school. You learn more by giving yourself leeway to get things wrong because it deepens your understanding. Getting things right means that you just skim along the surface of things without ever gaining any deeper knowledge of why they work in a certain way but not in another. You do not mature as a human being if you live with a zero tolerance attitude towards myself. Being an adult is not about being perfect, it is all about making mistakes and how you deal with them. Those life lessons are what make you a better and more understanding human, especially the painful ones as you cannot see and understand pain in others without your own experience. I am still learning now; and a lot of it still comes only the hard way. But then I am still growing as a human being as well as an owner, too. I don't aim at perfect, just doing things a bit better next time round.

Being loved and cared for in the first place is something that your little hasn't experienced so far, so things are already much better than where she was before and can only get better from now on! ;)

PS: An L-shaped cage is fine.

You may find our New Owners guide collection very helpful as it specifically addresses all the areas that we get the most questions, worries and cries for help on. We are aiming at providing exactly the kind of practical and precise detail that so often throws new owners (how much is 'a little' actually?) and don't gloss over the tricky bits. Several guides aim to help you understand behaviour, learn how you can communicate with piggies in their own language without having to wait until they have figured out humans and learning what is normal and what not.
The link is worth bookmarking and using as a helpful resource as you go along. Unlike a book, the guides format allows us to update and extend our information at need.
Here is the access link: Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides

You can find our even more extensive information on a very wide range of topics via the guides shortcut on the top bar but are always welcome to ask any questions you have in our various Care sections.

If you want to post pictures of your girl or chat about your experiences, you are welcome to join our friendly community in the Chat section.

Wow wow wow. Thank you for this reply. You're an angel.

I thought about getting pigs (or a rabbit) a few years ago because I love animals and come from a big pet family but decided not to because the research was all like "A lot of people get these animals thinking they will be low maintenance easy pets... but they're not. All animals need love and care and attention you clod!"

So she should be okay with being upgraded as we go, even in terms of getting her a friend? After I give her another day or two of alone time I'm gonna start letting her roam the room while I'm home.
I want to be sure her owners aren't looking for her before I invest another 100 plus dollars/ get another piglet.

Anna MB
 

Wiebke

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Wow wow wow. Thank you for this reply. You're an angel.

I thought about getting pigs (or a rabbit) a few years ago because I love animals and come from a big pet family but decided not to because the research was all like "A lot of people get these animals thinking they will be low maintenance easy pets... but they're not. All animals need love and care and attention you clod!"

So she should be okay with being upgraded as we go, even in terms of getting her a friend? After I give her another day or two of alone time I'm gonna start letting her roam the room while I'm home.
I want to be sure her owners aren't looking for her before I invest another 100 plus dollars/ get another piglet.

Anna MB
Yes, she will be OK with being upgraded as you go along. Don't rush, think things through, read our guides and ask any questions you have on here. There are often more options than you would expect. It has to work for your personal situation and financial abilities, too. Welfare has to be compatible with practicality and real life first and foremost.
A good diet, clean housing and companionship for the longer term (which is not necessarily as straightforward as you may think) are the main things. The rest can come in its own time. Enrichment and interaction don't have to cost lots of money and they encompass so much more than just a large cage and lap time.

Have you put notices around the neighbourhood where you found her and enquired at local vets whether they had enquiries about a found piggy having brought to their attention?

Sadly in most cases the piggies are dumped and not lost, especially in the current situation. It has been a rising problem for years now. Several of my own adopted piggies were dumpees found in parks or other public spaces... Only one of them must have obviously been somebody's very much beloved pet (Beryn) before she was set down to wander the grounds of the local cricket club. I suspect a lot of heartbreak behind that act (domestic abuse?) The others clearly had problems (fallen-out fighting teenage boys, mis-sexed trio with two pregnant sows found in a hollow tree in a park. I have one of the mothers and her rescue born daughter, Hyfryd and Hireal - and from how skittish they were and how Hyfryd reacted to other boars and sows, they must have been kept in far too small a hutch or cage in sub-standard care. :(
 

Zanzan

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The most important thing is how much you obviously care. Researching so much will make you think you have to be superwoman, you really don't. Lots of hay, some nice veggies, a clean home with enough space to move around and of course a well matched friend are really all our pigs ask for. Don't get too hung up on the details, all that can come later 🙂
 

Swissgreys

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Welcome to the crazy world of guinea pig ownership.
Penelope is a lucky girl to have found (chosen?) someone so committed to her care.

Yes guinea pigs can be expensive and a lot of work, but please also try to balance this with the fact that very few people create posts saying;
"Today absolutely nothing happened. My guinea pigs are well, and ate some celery'.
 

annapanda

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Hey everybody! I wanted to update everyone on my piggie- Penelope! I was the one FREAKING OUT about my new and unexpected baby but now I simply CANNOT imagine my life without her.

She's been with me for a little over 2 months now!

She loves nose scratches, floor time, celery, cilantro, and carrots. She's very curious and brave! She parades all around and is very good at finding the weaknesses in the fortresses I build to contain her. She sneaks into any little spot she can and seems to really love being squished into a small dark space. She's not super keen on being held and doesn't like cucumber- which I know may disqualify her from guineapigdom. We're still looking for her perfect partner! Preferably a piggie who's a little shy, with a similar background so she can show them the way. I think she'll be a very good big pig sister.

I gave her a bath and it was probably in the top ten most traumatizing experiences of my life. She really really hated it and our relationship suffered afterward but we're rebuilding trust.

I brought her to the park with me for my 29th birthday picnic! She was one of two invited guests, the other being my Boyfriend, because despite what you may have deduced from this post I am in fact taken.

She's my muse, my princess of queens and queen of princesses. Thank you to everyone who calmed me down when I first brought her home! We've had some scares and my anxiety has convinced me she's dying once or twice but overall we've got a good thing going.

Here are some photos! Some from an at-home photo-session we had, one of her with a gigantic carrot I bought her, one of her using the make-shift stairs I put up for her for the first time and one of her posing with my childhood best friend, my stuffed panda bear Pandy who I've had since birth. I hope these posts convince you that if I can find love you can too.
 

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Swissgreys

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Thank you for coming back ot post an update.
It was so wonderful to hear your news.
Penelope has certainly fallen on her paws with you.
 

Zanzan

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Oh she looks lovely! And you seem to adore her. So glad you are enjoying piggie world 🙂
 

Amandanic

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Hello Everyone!

I live in NYC and found a lil piglet in the park and because of the pandemic still keeping things closed here and the park staff/ 311 not having a lot of information to get her to a safe place - I decided to take her in as a foster and potential child.

I bought her a cage (that I now realize is way way too small, thanks PetCo) and started to get pretty excited about keeping her. I've put off having a pet for a long time because my room is very small and I have roommates with allergies- plus a deep fear of commitment/ being an actual adult that I believe follows all of us that grew up in the 90s! I have put feelers out to find her family (although I suspect that she was abandoned)... so I will say I'm hesitant to invest too too much too soon.

Upon bringing her home, solidifying she was a her (maybe... probably), brainstorming names and settling on Penelope I was starting to feel pretty joyous about my new roomie. But after a few hours of internet searching my joy of finding this kismet piggie soul mate transformed into full-on panicking that I am in way way over my head and chained to a pet more difficult to care for in an apartment than a dog- I should add that owning a dog is my greatest dream- see fear of commitment and roommates highlighted earlier as reasons for not yet achieving! I might as well get a great dane, right? (I've heard they make great apartment dogs because they just wanna sleep and chill.) Anyway I saw my nights spent sleeping in at my boyfriend's place slipping away! Any hope of vacationing vanishing and my bank account evaporating rapidly- not to mention my living space!

I'm obviously exaggerating... but only a little and I must say much of this fear comes from the fast and dirty rescue style circumstances surrounding Penelope and I's meeting.

It seems clear she needs a friend... that is non-negotiable correct- is there a timeline in which I need to get her a pal? A bigger cage is another must I realize I have to negotiate but my space is limited here in my room and as I mentioned I'm not sure if anyone's looking for her... so would it be alright to hold off on building her home?

Here are some other longer-term questions I've outlined below;

Can I successfully construct her cage in an L shape to give room to run but not dedicate my entire wall to the cage? Also wondering if I can build the cage under my bed... or will this disturb/ cause too much of an issue for her well being?
Could I set the cage up to have a few feet of "run" and a ramp leading to another shelf of cage space? Or does this change the square footage/ cheat it too much?
Will it do damage to keep her in the small cage ALONE as I collect the things she needs/ create a new habitat for her/ find her a suitable friend- should I just get her to a rescue if I'm offering her that kind of life?
Will allowing her to roam my room freely while I'm home/ her cage is still small help balancer out her space predicament or are the two not mutually exclusive- I've seen somewhat mixed reviews on this?

She's obviously pretty traumatized and I've already made many mistakes- like trying to hold her too soon! I have seen mixed messages about handling her. One caretaker said to hold pigs daily to build trust and another said to let them chill for the first few days...

A friend also jokingly put the idea in my head that she may be pregnant but as I research that doesn't seem too unlikely- I'm having trouble finding info on how to be sure she is or isn't and it's tough because I found her outside so I know very little about her past sexual history.

Long post, long, I'm monitoring her very closely. I've been sitting by her cage talking with her so she starts building trust with me and offering her lil treats.

Any advice on the best steps for me to take for this princess moving forward/ help talking me down from the terror that is realizing my assumed "good deed" is actually nothing but a selfish act of imprisonment would be much appreciated.

Thank you thank you thank you!

(Penelope is also a panda colored pig and Panda's are my absolute FAVORITE animal and I have them plastered about my room so finding her in the park felt extra serendipitous... and played somewhat of a role in deciding to bring her home.)
I’m so happy u took her in! That’s more than most people would do, u really should pay yourself on the back for that!
Owning guinea pigs is something else, but it’s an overall great experience and you’ll see how much of a special bond you’re going to have with her, they just have a way of wiggling into your hearts
If it has past trauma, just give it time and slowly work with her. I had the same problem with my adopted guinea pig, I believe she was abused and it was very sad, but I found if you use treats, such as kale, chard, or whatever you find she likes, give it to her while you hold her. It will train her very fast and it’ll make her trust you in a way
I think the rest of a forum did a good job on explaining the cages, etc
I hope everything works out well!
 
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