This is Nanaimo, who also likes to be called Mo. She is the newest member of our family, coming to our home a little over a week ago as Furry's newest companion.
Nanaimo has settled in quite nicely, after being quarantined for a week, just in case she was carrying scurvy or tuberculosis or something just as awful. She was not happy being by herself, and would hide under her hay pile, not eating or drinking. We were a bit concerned, so we were hand-feeding and offering her lots of drinks, to make sure she didn't die.
We then decided we might as well introduce her to Furry, our five-year-old guinea pig, who's been alone since Cuddles' demise Nov. 30. We were a bit concerned, since Furry is a more assertive piggy, and has been around for five years, hence as far as she's concerned, she's the boss and ain't no one gonna tell her otherwise. We had read that guinea pigs are often very territorial and can be quite vicious, so we were a tad hesitant to leave the two together for any length of time. We decided to introduce them to one another in the living room, aka neutral territory, and see what happened.
By the time they noticed the other's existence, they were literally nose-to-nose. I know these little guys apparently have bad eyesight, but come on! NOSE TO NOSE?! No wonder these animals are prey.
Anyway, as soon as Nanaimo realized there was actually another guinea being in her environment, she went crazy, as in, "Oh my god, I can't believe I'm not alone in this cruel world! My saviour has arrived!" and she nuzzled right into Furry's neck of cuddly furriness. It was very sweet. I almost cried. Instead, I just whimpered a bit. Furry was not as affectionate. She sniffed baby Mo, gave her the once-over, and then started searching for food since as everyone well knows, guinea pigs are always starving.
After a while on the living room floor, we put the piggies back, Mo in her temporary quarantined quarters, and Furry in the cage that is more like an acreage. Mo immediately began planning her escape, screeching as only a guinea pig can screech, trying to climb up the walls of the box that held her bedding and water and food. She even tried to squeeze through a handle hole in the box in an attempt to get out and be reunited with her newfound friend, Furry. So, we decided we'd try and leave them together in the permanent cage and see how Furry reacted.
I'm happy to report that all seems well. Furry ignores Mo for the most part, but puts her in her place whenever needed, which seems to be quite often. Mo seems to think it's quite all right to climb over Furry's head in order to get to the other side, or to stick her nose halfway up Furry's butt. Quite undignified, but very piglike. Mo obviously has not yet learned Pig Protocol. There is no violence, which is the main thing. Just little reminders here and there that Furry is the boss, the mature pig, and please don't climb over my head or run circles around me just because you are five years younger than I am. And do NOT climb on my HEAD.
Yes, Furry speaks like this. I'm not making it up. You know those cartoons with the cows that are in a field, and when no one's around, they discuss profound topics? And then, when humans appear, they starting mooing? Well, that is what our guinea pigs do. No, I'm not crazy, or trying to be funny even. Fine. Don't believe me.
Furry seems to understand that Mo is but a baby, just learning, and so she is being gentle and patient with her, much more so than any of us thought she would be. We're not sure she's so happy to have this new companion, seeing as she is obviously going to be given a run for her money. We've apologized profusely to Furry already for this. And Mo is just so extremely happy to have a companion, to be in the company of a much larger, but gentle, guinea pig. She gets agitated if she's removed from the cage without her Furry friend. Music to my ears.
I never really thought I could become so attached to guinea pigs. I never thought they would have little personalities, little mannerisms that would be so appealing to me. I never thought I'd find their tiny little lips and bucked teeth so amusing. I thought that I'd maybe get as attached to them as I would to a tank of goldfish. Not that there's anything wrong with goldfish. They're great. I wouldn't even flush one down the toilet if it passed away. I'd give it a proper burial. That's how much I respect goldfish. But guinea pigs...well, you know...they're just plain adorable, and that's all I'm going to say on the topic.
And yes, in case you're wondering, the pigs get their own stockings for Christmas. Obviously Santa Claus loves them too.