Monday, December 17, 2007

Best Of Luck, Babies!

Yesterday afternoon, Logan and Xavier were taken back to the North Jersey Guinea Pig and Hamster Rescue; tomorrow they will be adopted by a loving family.

This morning I walked down the stairs and greeted them only to see the spot they occupied was empty and remember that they were matched with a family.

Chris and I are taking a break from fostering until the spring, when the weather will be more pleasant. Most of the house is chilly (we have to handle the insulation and other weatherproofing tasks), and worrying about two pigs being warm is enough. I look forward to returning to my fostering duties. I miss Lo-lo and Xavier but it's good to know that they're going to be happy and loved. They deserve it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Phin, Bobby, Logan, & Xavier - An Update

The boys are all doing wonderfully. Much to their delight, Chris accidentally ordered a 50 lbs bale of hay, and what a happy mistake that was! A seemingly never-ending supply of hay? Too good to be true. But Chris managed to top that by ordering a bunch of Critter Berries.

Finally, we purchased a second vet bedding from Palace Pet in blue, just to change things up.

Bobby is seven months old now, and huge! He's almost as big as Phin, and that's saying something. Here's a photo of the boys taken on November 20th.

Cross your fingers -- Logan and his friend Xavier may be headed to a new home soon! We received word from the shelter today that there's a possibility they may be adopted soon. As much as I will miss them, I hope that they will find a loving, affectionate family willing to offer a safe, permanent home.

Here's a photo of Xavier and Logan after Vitamin C time.

Fostering them has been a challenge. They've been with us for a while now, so it's been hard not to get attached. We have to maintain a certain amount of contact with them so that they remain social, so cuddling has become second nature.

Ever since Logan was paired with Xavier, he's been a different pig. He's much more affectionate and happy. I love how baby Xavier follows his Uncle Logan around. That always makes me smile.

Amora and Ursa are both doing well. It's been difficult to get photos of them, as they are hamster puffs by day, hamster track stars by night. Hopefully we'll have some to share eventually.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Photos: All Of The Boys

I took a bunch of new photos of our boys and our awesome little guests. Here's a photo of Phin in his new hoodie. I may have to alter the sleeves, but other than that it's a perfect fit.

I think sweaters (or something warm and comfy) are a good idea for floortime in a drafty house since guinea pigs since are so susceptible to chills and colds. Just be sure the fabrics aren't frayed, and that they can move around comfortably without getting limbs or nails caught.

In case you're curious, Phin is a XXS in dog sizes. You can go here to view some more great photos.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Britney Needs Love

Yesterday, Chris and I payed a visit to the North Jersey Guinea Pig and Hamster Rescue. We went to pick up Apollo, a four week old guinea pig who has been weaned from his mother and was living with his uncle. If all goes well, he will be Walter's new companion. They're currently housed separately, of course, until we know that all is well and we can closely watch them interact.

We also decided to take a hamster to foster. Her name is Britney (after the troubled mother/drama queen/pop tart), and she's adorable. She was pregnant when she was rescued with our little Ursa. I thought that little momma Britney deserved a break so we decided to watch after her until she is adopted.

She's pretty hand trained and very energetic. We're letting her settle in first; we want to be sure she gets used to being on her own after being buried in children. Once she's comfortable, we'll have her in the "moon racer" exploring the house with our two little fuzzy sweethearts, Amora and Ursa.

Photos of the boys will be coming very soon; they're overdue for a photo shoot. In the meantime, here are some more shots of Brit.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Endings & Beginnings (An Image-Heavy Update)

When we came home from the rescue on Sunday, we found our little old Pandora curled up as if asleep. Unfortunately, she would never wake up again. Our Pandy passed away sometime between late Saturday afternoon and early Sunday evening. Here's a photo of her from her first day home.

It broke our hearts, but I think Chris took it a bit harder as the girls are his babies. He decided he wanted to adopt the hamster we are fostering. So sorry to see you go so soon Pandy. We'll miss you, and were glad to finally give you a permanent home filled with love and care. Good night sweetie.

My good news is that I've decided to start fostering guinea pigs for the rescue. This weekend we picked up two boys to help Carla out. Their names are Walter and Logan. If you're interested in either of these two adorable boys, contact Carla of the North Jersey Guinea Pig and Hamster Rescue for an application.

Walter is friendly and affectionate 1.5 year old chocolate, beige, and white American. His family gave him up after deciding on getting a dog. They felt that there would be no room for their guinea pigs once they did. I have my opinions on that, but I'll just be polite for once and keep them to myself.

Anyway, our wonderful Walter has taken to begging for attention and treats, which is just too adorable. He's going to make such a great little friend for someone.

Logan is our resident tough guy. He's a black, gold, and white American Crested. At six months, he doesn't weigh much more than our little Bobby, but he's got a lot of courage. He's a curious boy and likes to sniff around for adventures.

Lo-lo and Bobby often call out to each other, while Walter and Phin seem to talk among themselves from their respective cages. It's funny to see the young bucks and older boys forming little piggy cliques. I've never heard of such a thing.

I woke up at 05:13 this morning with an idea for a name for the baby (I didn't want to wait on Chris anymore). So the baby is now called Ursa.
The idea hit me when I remembered the day we picked her up from the shelter; as I held her she began to roar at me. I thought of calling her Leona, but then thought better of it. I gave the task of naming her to Chris, but we were still calling her the baby.

Aside from her little roar, I thought about the ad Chris found in one of his old comics about hamsters which referred to them as "little bears." So Ursa seemed perfect when I thought about her little roar.

As for the boys and Amora, they're all doing well. I'll end the entry with photos of them taken earlier this week.

An amazed Amora poses for the camera.

A fattened Phin after a snack of strawberries, sitting in his favorite place in the world -- his pigloo.

A bigger Bobby, safe and snug in the back of his cozie.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Quick Update

Our apologies for being M.I.A. for so long. The Bear and I have been busy with work, home, and family issues. Things seem to be settling down, so hopefully this will mean regular posts in the near future.
The boys are doing well, as are their new "sisters" -- our hamsters Amora and Pandora. They are from Phin and Bobby's shelter.
Pandora (photographed on the left) was supposed to be a foster, but she was just too adorable to let go. She was surrendered by a student, and was named due to the fact she was trouble that came in a box labeled "Something Greek."

Both seemed to have suffered from a bit of neglect. Poor Amora (photographed below) had sores on her feet. Originally named Olympia, we renamed her Amora because of a heart-shaped pattern on her backside; amor in Spanish is love.

We'll be picking up a foster hammy this Saturday, and are still discussing whether or not to foster a piggy. Hopefully we'll be able to. In any case, there's plenty of pictures to come.

The shelter has been busy busy busy. Two of the three hamsters that recently came in gave birth and twelve guinea pigs arrived from Jersey City. So if you know anyone interested in adopting a hammy or guinea pig, drop a line or contact the North Jersey Guinea Pig and Hamster Rescue.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Motivational Pigtures: My Greens

Life's been hectic, so I have had a chance to post about the boys. I've been hard at work, and getting ready to foster a hamster (and possibly adopt one of my own). How exciting!

Anyway, the boys are great. Bobby has grown a bunch and has nearly doubled his weight. He's still pretty high strung; I'm hoping he'll start to calm down soon.

Phin is still Phin, but these days he's a bit more accepting of nose and chin scratches (though after a bit he gets tire of his dewlap waddling around and grabs my finger with his little paw). I think he just loves me for my Critter Berry treats.

I have no recent photos so I will just share a nice little macro with you today. OH! My guinea pig merch arrived a while ago. I will get photos of it up soon. That's all for now.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Vet Bedding, Weeks 1 & 2

When I cleaned the cage on June 15th, I couldn't wait to begin this "experiment." The bedding is much thicker than I thought it would be, and fluffier. I knew it wouldn't cover the length of the cage, but some newspaper took care of that and ended up working in our favor.

After setting it up, I placed them in. They walked around carefully. Bobby repeatedly sniffed and bumped his nose to it. I guess he was testing how plush his new floor was.

Phin, however, was more concerned with the new bathroom arrangements and immediately sought out a corner of the cage to make into a toilet. Of course it had to be by the hay rack, which has now been moved a few inches over to keep his huge behind from knocking it over.

Aside from a bit of debris left after maintenance (bits of Timothy grass that are easy to collect by hand or lint roller, or just plain shaken off), it was nice and clean. I did administer a blot test throughout the whole bed. Nothing. Not one damp spot. This thing is just amazing. Friday rolled around, and not a hint of odor was in the cage.

I left it in for another six days, constantly monitoring for odor and moisture. Nothing was wet or smelly (except for the newspapered area to the right). I couldn't believe it.
Now came the next part of the test -- washing the bedding. I was a bit afraid at how difficult this might be. It's a pretty large piece of thick material, so I wanted to be sure that it would fit in the washing machine.

After a bit of maneuvering, I managed to position it perfectly in the machine. I washed it on a regular cycle in warm water with the rest of the pig laundry (which included Bobby's lounge chair).
When I removed it from the washer, I noticed that the boys' brick colored towels left nice layer of red lint all over the bedding and lounge chair. Luckily, the dryer took care of some of the problem, while a sticky lint brush and a quick vacuuming took care of the rest. If it weren't for my own ignorance, cleaning would have required less steps.

And finally, to the right is the final product. It looks almost as good as new! The boys, of course, went to work getting their varying stinks back into their fresh cage.

After two weeks, here are my findings:
Cost: The size we purchased was about $35. This means that it will pay for itself before the month is over.

Odor: There was no smell even after thirteen days of use. The bedding literally pulled any urine beneath itself and away from the boys.

Maintenance: There is some maintenance required. The corner with the newspaper needs to be changed every 1-2 days depending on how active they boys were. We drag poops to the newspapered area, which made for a nice quick clean up. The bedding should to be washed and dried every week, but it is able to go about a good two weeks without causing any harm to them, or our noses. Bits of hay were the only real pain to be honest, but most of them shook off without an issue.

Convenience: It's a bit more maintenance than dumping litter in and out, but it's worth it. The cage is more hygienic, and there's no need to worry about soiled litter getting on the carpet. The boys seem to enjoy the soft, cushy feel beneath their little toes.

Verdict: I will be ordering a few more in different colors. As for the length issue, I'm not sure if I will order a bigger one and cut it to size, or order several smaller ones and cut them into sections to make it easier for cleaning. Whatever I decide, I'll be writing about. But one thing is for sure, so far I am happy with our bedding change and so are the boys.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pigtures: Floortime!

The boys enjoy floortime in the kitchen.

When he's in a new situation or place, Bobby still follows and imitates his Uncle Phin.

It wouldn't be a pigtastic photo shoot without Phin demanding a close-up.

Bobby trots about, looking for fun.

Phin's fluffy butt.

A very sneaky Bobby.

So big, yet so small.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pigtastic Summer Sushi

Partly inspired by Hamster Tracker's Cooking 4 Lucy series, I decided to "cook" up something special for my furbabies. Introducing my attempt at Pigtastic Summer "Sushi" consisting of some of the boys' favorites.

We start with a nice sized cucumber, washed and rinsed. Chop it into about half-inch slices.

Next, core the slices using a small knife or something that can fit the center of the slice. Set aside the cores for later.

When you're done coring the slices, you can set them in the dish or plate. The first attempt at this I tried using a bed of greens (kale shown here). While it looked very pretty, it proved to be chaotic in the end -- the boys ripped the kale from beneath the sushi and made a mess.

Take the leftover cucumber cores and chop them up, discarding the seeds. Usually, just chopping off the sides of the core will do. Next, chop up your piggy's favorites. The photo to the left shows a nice mix of kale and cucumber chopped into beautiful green stuffing.

You're almost done!

Stuff the mix into the cored cucumber slices.

This is generally what the finished product will look like. Photographed here is a mix of cucumber, golden delicious apple, with a bit of bell pepper for color.

Hint: with the right combo of fruits, this could be an excellent veggie treat for you, too. Try chopped cucumber, strawberry, and watermelon.

And now for my favorite part! Share with your your piggy pals and watch them enjoy. Also, some moist pellets mashed with cucumber or apple makes for a nice "wasabi" sauce. ¡Buen provecho!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Tales Of Bath Time

Fewer things in this world are cuter than a wet guinea pig, not to mention fussier. Though I have to admit, I am so proud of Bobby. For his first bath, he behaved much better than I expected. In fact, it was his adopted uncle that gave me trouble.

Of course, Bobby initially had a moment or two where he wanted to leap out of the bathroom sink. Fortunately, he's too small and could barely reach the area around the sink. He was doomed to clean, bubbly goodness. Here's a photo of him, growing used to his bubble bath. There were moments he had fun with the bubbles, which was cute to see. In case you're wondering, I used Pet Scentsations Small Animal Shampoo in Sun Ripened Raspberry. I love how this brand comes in several different aromatherapy scents, and is cruelty-free.

If I knew earlier that Pet Scentsations offered Honey Oatmeal, Tea Tree, or even Spearmint & Eucalyptus, I would've purchased it earlier for Phineas instead of using Aveeno as my vet suggested. I'm glad I know for next time though.

I carefully bathed Phin using Aveeno Oatmeal Soap, and then ran a warm colloidal oatmeal soak for him to sit in while I gave him a massage. The massage relaxed him until it was time to rinse him off again; then all hell broke loose.
To make a long story short, I had to rinse him off while holding him. My t-shirt was soaked through, as was some of my hair. I guess he figured if he had to get bathed that I was going down with him. Silly pig. Here's a photo of him a bit drier and much happier.

So despite pig protests and lots of splashing, the boys are both clean, and they won't have to worry about bath time for a while. For more photos, check out the First Bath photo album on Flickr.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

First Bath

More photos and details to come.

Happy Father's Day to the daddies of children and furbabies alike.

Friday, June 15, 2007

That'll Do Piggle

Yesterday evening, I trimmed Phin's nails without incident. He put up very little protest, and I was able to finally trim those horrid curly claws he had growing out. As this was his first nail trimming with me, I didn't take any pictures because I didn't want to spook him.

Before the trimming commenced, I spent some time with him. I don't know if other guinea pigs care for massage or not, but I can personally vouch for two that have responded well towards it. When he was calm, I lifted him up gently and got the clipper ready.

With his arms and feet in what I can only describe as a zombie position, I was able to cut his nails without him squirming. At first, he was annoyed about having been moved from his warm and cozy spot on my lap, but he was bought off with treats of course.

His reward for being so awesome: a couple of extra Critter Berries. It was a good evening.

I'm still waiting on the new bedding, as well as some cavy-related goodies I ordered for myself. Until then (or next update), I will leave you with a fun photo of Phin's awesome nose.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Things Done, Things To Do

It arrived sooner than I thought. The Cavy Health Record Books (one for each of the boys) we ordered were here in time for their follow-up visit with the vet. I was so pleased! It's an impressive resource.
The visit went well (of course I'm sure the boys would disagree). They received another shot of Ivomec, and that was that. She suggested an oatmeal bath for Phin's dry skin, so once their new bedding arrives, I'll give him a nice warm bath to ease his skin and wash off the dander. Bobby will get a bath as well. Having them both fresh and clean will be great so that I can start using their brushes to groom them.
Because they were such good sports, I made sure they were rewarded with lots of extra head scratches, snuggles, and treats. I bought alfalfa blocks for Bobby, and toys for them both -- a stuffed carrot, and a stuffed apple. Bobby took to them immediately, pushing them around with his nose (I wish I had my camera on me!) and popcorning around them, while Phin looked at them with suspicion.

Tonight we ordered a couple of toddler gates for floortime. This will eliminate the sad excuse for a play pen we have now, plus we won't have to sacrifice our carpets. I keep thinking of things to get for the boys, so I think it's time for something for myself. Perhaps a new bag? We shall see. That's about all for the moment. As you can see, things are absolutely pigtastic.

Photos from, and

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bedding Time

Since putting the boys into the new cage, I've been thinking that Care Fresh isn't going to cut it anymore (even if it is one of the better bedding products out there). So after doing a bit of research, I came across Palace Pet, which sells veterinary bedding. Chris and I just finished ordering one so we can give it a try.

Fleece and vet beddings get mixed reviews, but that can be said of everything else. If this bedding is good at keeping moisture and bacterial growth at bay, and is as sturdy and reusable as it claims, just buying a few will be more economical in the long run than buying large bags of Care Fresh every couple of weeks. A bag of Care Fresh is good for two cage cleanings, and whatever is replaced after daily maintenance. Because the cage is pretty big, and houses only two pigs reusable bedding make sense.
Aside from the features it discloses, the site also donates 5% of the purchase to any charity you choose from their list (which has nothing to do with anything, I just think that's cool).

Above is a photo of the color we chose. Once it arrives, I'll be sure to write my observations (and of course, my opinion). It if works out, I'll probably buy enough to last a month and cut them into strips in order to make the bottom of the cage paneled. The pigs already have their own laundry load, so it would work out perfectly. Until then, check out the site, or share your advice/opinions.

Photo Of The Wheek: 06/10/07

06/10/07: Bobby enjoys a fresh breakfast salad this past Saturday morning.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Pigtastic Project No. 1: Tepee, Attempt #1

Last week, I made a sorry excuse for a tepee. Well, it wasn't that bad, but it could look much better. The boys liked it alright, but aesthetically speaking it's an eyesore, and I'm reluctant to add it to the new cage.

I've decided to share the steps I took to make one, as well as the mistakes I made in making the pig tepee.

You'll Need:
Three wooden dowels, twine (or thick wire), scissors, measuring tape, chalk, fabric (not shown), needle and thread (not shown).

Step One: Fasten two of the dowels together with twine to form two sides of a triangle.

Step Two: Fasten the third dowel to form a tripod.

Step Three: This is where I made the mistake, so read on.

Measure out and cut the fabric. When you cut the hole DO NOT cut it the way I have (shown here). Leave a border and cut a hole an inch or two away from it. In other words, there should be a hold in the middle of Spidey's head, not a "bite mark."

Step Four: Drape the fabric around the tripod. If you cut the fabric properly, there will be no need to sew the top the way I did. You live and you learn.

Step Five: Let your dear little furbabies enjoy!

Of course, there are better methods of creating a tepee... simpler ways... like towels and clothes pins. I could just smack myself. Anyway, be sure to visit this link to view photos of cavy tepees.
And if I ever decide to do mine the right way, I'll be sure to post it.