19 by claycameras


Twitch has had a hard life.

Our old roommate spent two months talking about buying a guinea pig, how fun they are and how much he missed his childhood pig. How his parents still had the old cage at their house and a brand new thing of bedding. Everyone was on board with the idea and on August 3rd, he just did it. There was only one guinea pig in our city (we checked every pet store) and he came home with us.

Almost immediately, things seemed off. I just didn't know enough about guinea pigs to dispute it. Plus I didn't want to piss him off and end up kicked out, which was a very real possibility.

A glass tank, a broken water bottle, no toys, no handling, almost never cleaning his cage... eventually our roommate stopped filling his water or giving him food as a "punishment" for knocking over his bowl. He even threw away the toys that my boyfriend and I bought for Twitch.

Towards the end of September, we had begun learning more about guinea pigs and were horrified at how wrongly Twitch was treated. We had a very limited budget but began making a plan for how we would take over Twitch's care and fix everything that was wrong - the abysmal cage, not having a friend, his diet, the lack of toys, and the absence of socialization. It would be hard because this wasn't a pet we had planned for, but we loved him and wouldn't let him be treated this way any longer.

And then our roommate dropped a bomb on us. The lease was up at the end of October and he was moving to Salt Lake City.

With the divorce, double rent for most of the year, getting all the basics I didn't have, buying a bed, and Ray's series of medical problems we were low on money. We had no way to afford a move. Our roommate specifically chose not to tell us so that we would be trapped in the same apartment, forced to renew the lease, so he could use us as a back-up plan in case his Salt Lake adventure failed miserably.

We knew that if he took Twitch, he would kill the poor innocent guinea pig so we made it our mission not to let that happen. On October 16th, we bought Snickerdoodle to be Twitch's friend and cagemate. We bought hay, healthy pellets, toys, and a working water bottle. We got some advice before ordering a cage and introducing fresh fruits and veggies.

Luckily for us, the lease was up in November, not October, so we could breathe just a little bit easier. On November 12th, the boys' new cage arrived and things were looking up. Just a few days later, on the 16th, we were moving into a new place with the help of all our friends. It was a nightmare of disorganization, as we only had two days to pack, but we all made it through.

Once the boys adjusted, they were doing okay. Until Christmas jealousy reared its ugly head.

On January 9th the boys were fighting over their Christmas gift - a wood hide full of dangling toys - before we left for work. We took away the toy, separated the boys, and distributed treats to distract them. Ray must have watched them for at least half an hour. They seemed totally fine, like they'd gotten over their tussle like always.

When we got home we noticed that Doodle had a scratch on his ear, meaning that their friendship was over and they would have to be permanently separated.

Without a second cage or a sturdy divider, all we could do was set up a temporary cage in a large plastic bin and swap the boys each night. Twitch seems to prefer being alone, but it's hard for Doodle. The new cage is supposed to arrive on Tuesday.

After that, Twitch will get to stay alone. We might try a new friend for Doodle later, since he cries if he can't hear Twitch, but we don't know yet.

It's heartbreaking knowing that poor Twitch has had such a hard start to his life. Hopefully things will be easier for him now.
How sad. Animals are such a part of us it's hard to see them hurting. Telling photo.
January 20th, 2020  
@jackies365 He's doing much better now, at least. They both are. Once Doodle's new cage arrives tomorrow and we can set it up I think both boys will be back to normal.
January 20th, 2020  
My daughter raised guinea pigs ( many years ago ) & they are sweet animals...They will respond to your care.
January 21st, 2020  
Life is not easy for any of us - guinea-pigs included! You seem to be moving forward Carissa... remember to believe in your own self-worth
January 21st, 2020  
I am hoping twitch will have many happy days ahead in your care.
January 27th, 2020  
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