Thursday, November 11, 2004

Famous Pigs

Because the world can not deny a pretty face, Max & Ashleigh, a.k.a The Wonder Pigs, have gotten their fuzzy faces a bit of fame at The Best Little Rabbit Rodent & Ferret House.

That's them in the middle, surveying their new digs from the safety of their newspaper tunnel, on day one home from the small animal rescue shelter.

Actually, Max is my only successful online love story. I fell in love with the photo of him posted by the other fantastic local guinea pig rescue, Cavy Companions, and meeting Max in person was just perfect. None of those letdowns you hear so much about in online love affairs, our love was mutual. The only thing left was to find a roommate for Max, which should be easy as guinea pigs are very social and most pairings, especially male-female pairings are A-OK with them (and yes, both are fixed, I just can't see creating piggie babies when so many fuzzy faces give me that takemehome look at the rescue).

The folks at the BLRRFH know their stuff. They have a neutral play pen all set up for the testing of possible cage-mates, to see how they get along. Makes me wish my college had done that before pairing me with one roommate worse than the last. Max was placed into the pen and we decided to try him with Hope. Hope was a sweet golden speckled girl from the same rescue situation as Max, so I am thinking, well maybe they know each other already. Max spied the cute girl piggie and started his rumble strut.

Purrr...purrr... he rumbled as he walked by her. Look at me, I'm so handsome!

Hope lifted her leg and peed right in his face. The rescue folks explained this indicates she doesn't like him. Really, I did not need a translation on that.

Max got a quick cleaning as I looked over the other little girl piggies and I spied... hold on... a gorgeous little silver agouti! I had a silver agouti once before and she was so smart and so opinionated and so snarky. I wanted to try the little silver girl.

"Oh, well..." the rescue lady said, "She may be unadoptable."

How's that?

It turns out Hope is her Mom, and coming from the bad situation they did (a guy had a bunch in his dark clammy basement, where he was trying to breed them to sell to petstores. They were half starved and all the girls had been pregnant without regard to genetics or age or health.), Hope had only been 3 months old when she got pregnant and she was so small she only had a litter of one, born at the rescuer's house. It seems that not having siblings does bad things to guinea pig psyches. They get all Mom's attention, get spoiled and nasty. Litters of one have trouble getting along with other pigs. But I like animals with attitude, always have. I worried I might have been underestimating the problem though, as the experts were looking dubious. We decided to try the silver girl with Max.

Max bucked himself up for another try. Purrrr... purrr.... look at me, I am one handsome pig!

The silver girl cocked her head and looked at Max.

Purrrrrrrrrrrrrr, he said, nearly nose to nose with her, purrrrrrrrrrrrrr...

Purrrrrrrrrrrr, she answered, and rubbed past him in a move I think of as "Two Pigs Pass in the Night."

The rescue folks couldn't believe it. I adopted them both and they are best friends to this day. Ashleigh tells Max what to do, with much detail and muttering, and he listens carefully. Max, timid from old memories of neglect, is sparked by Ashleigh's brave and curious nature. They explore and construct complex systems of paper tunnels. They drag their food dish into the tunnels when it rains outside. Max purrs like a motorboat. Ashleigh purrs for my husband more than anyone. Max has one rule - I am the Big Pig and I get the Best Spot in the cage. Ashleigh has spent the last three years competitively eating in order to become the Big Pig for this reason. If Max eats, Ashleigh runs over and also eats. If Max is eating a carrot, Ashleigh will also eat a carrot, otherwise she turns her nose up at carrots. It has worked, she weighs 0.3 pounds more than Max now, but apparently being Big Pig is based on more than mere science. In recent months, they have moved from the bedroom to the living room. It took less than 24 hours to figure out that Great God Refridgerator was right over there - woohoo! Or, as they put it, wheek! wheek! wheek!

The moral of the story?

You can't predict love. Or carrots.


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