We currently have very few pets here at Tiny Paws HQ, all the more poignant given the recent consecutive losses of two of our most elderly and beloved guinea pigs, Archie (age 7) and Felicity (age 6+). Loss, bereavement and grief is far from a new experience, though, and I know the importance of attending to the remaining pets’ needs whilst processing the loss of others.
Throughout my 30 years I have grown up with and kept:
- 33 guinea pigs
- 5 dogs
- 1 hamster
- 2 aquariums
At present, we do still have 3 guinea pigs to love and cherish, and as novice tropical aquarists we have a lot of learning and practice going on regularly with our freshwater aquarium.
Black and tan Abyssinian-cross boar (intact)
Estimated DoB: 29 May 2016
Wilbur came to us as a friend for Archie in summer 2016. Archie had just lost his cagemate Gabriel, and we really felt that he was a good candidate for re-pairing with a young boar. Enter Wilbur! He was around 4 months old when we acquired him. He was in quarantine for around 2 months whilst I could monitor him, whilst Archie was treated for skin problems, and while we waited for the legal processes on our house purchase to complete. When we introduced the pair, all went well and the two lived very happily together until Archie’s death on 10 April 2018. We attempted to introduce another boar, Oliver, shortly after but Oliver bullied Wilbur badly, so we ended up having to rehome Ollie. Wilbur eventually ended up with George, although that relationship too lasted less than a year, again with Wilbur being the victim of unnecessary harassment. (Even though he did more than his share of harassing George for many months prior…he’s a victim but he is not innocent!)
Wilbur has a very unique sparkle that is rarely dimmed or put off by anything, and everyone who crosses his path adores him. He has, as he’s grown older, turned into a very loving pig, he does know loyalty, he knows his humans, and he loves spending times with us. His favourite thing to do is to eat pellets – so much so we had to give them to him via treat ball, which he rapidly made his own – and to lick people. He’s incredibly photogenic, which is a real challenge considering he is 90% black haired, but we get by!
Slate, tan and white boar (intact)
Estimated DoB: 11 September 2018
George joined Wilbur in October 2018, having tried (and failed) for 6 months to pair Wilbur up following the death of Archie. George lived with Wilbur for 10 months before I had to separate them after George gave Wilbur a few very nasty injuries. George is not what I would call a gentle pig…he’s a bit “bull in a china shop”, no sentiment or sensitivity whatsoever, and he is not afraid to nip rather sharply when he’s not getting his own way. I’m hopeful he will settle down as he gets a bit older. He’s another stunningly photogenic piggy though and he knows how to work the camera. He enjoys digging up fleece and cosies, and climbing the stairs (he went viral on social media for the latter!).
Hugo Cedric James
Lilac and gold boar (intact)
Known DoB: 1 August 2019
Hugo magically appeared in the cage of his mum and aunt overnight, along with his sister, Luna. Surprise babies, his mum Ginny had obviously been given to the pet store after she’d been impregnated, as her cagemate Hermione was definitely another female (and luckily not also pregnant as well!). This happened just one day before Ginny and Hermione were due to come to me for holiday boarding – which they still did, but not before I had swiftly babyproofed the cage! In the time they boarded with me I was able to establish the sex of the two babies and as it happened, the one I had utterly fallen for was a boy. The owner asked if I could help with rehoming and jokingly asked if I wanted him…well, the joke ended there as I said I would have him. Ginny and Hermione were booked in for another holiday and this happened to fall right on the week the babies would be 3 weeks old – the age that any boys must be separated from all females, including mum. So Hugo switched seamlessly from being a boarder to a resident, and became part of our family.
He’s a vocal young chap, and divine to boot. He’s lilac and gold in colour and he’s definitely long-haired – you have no idea how long I’ve wanted a long-haired pig of my own again…! He’s a charming young man, very snuggly, and he gets on particularly well with George, who I swear could just be distantly but very possibly related to him…
In March 2018 we were able to fill our 90 litre (18 gallon) glass tank with hard and soft aquascaping and begin fishless cycling, to develop the bacteria in the filter that would be necessary for keeping healthy water and healthy fish. Not only did fishless cycling allow us to develop the right bacteria, but it gave us a feel for water changes, water management, and the basic routine we would need for keeping tropical fish.
Our Siamese Fighting Fish – or betta splendens – is named after F1 Ferrari driver, Charles LeClerc. Not because we’re Ferrari fans, but more because his colouring just made sense, and Sebastian didn’t work! (For reference, in 2019 the Ferrari drivers were Sebastian Vettel and Charles LeClerc.)
We may have named the shrimp (below) but I gave up a long time ago on trying to name the Corys! They are huge characters and they love to dance around and play with their reflections.
Dave, Davey and Daveed the Amano Shrimp
All the shrimp were initally called Dave, until we discovered one was berried (pregnant) – she became Davina. She passed earlier in 2019 and we now just have the 3 males – all variations on Dave.