It took us a few days to decide whether Wilfred the guinea pig needed a new friend after Eric died, but I think deep down we knew all along that he did. Four days after Eric died, I started to question whether Wilfred had lost a bit of weight himself. Certainly he didn’t seem to be eating much apart from hay. He was grieving for his lost friend and I didn’t want to lose him too.
We’d bought all of our guinea pigs from the local pet shop, but we knew we wanted a similar guinea pig to Eric, who was probably a Peruvian. My friend has a similar guinea pig, so I asked if she knew any breeders of long-haired ones. She did. And I was in bits when I saw the Facebook page. New baby guinea pigs born nearly every day, and all so cute!
So after a few days, I messaged the lady. Did she have any long-haired male guinea pigs? She sent me three photos of babies that were ready straightaway, two of them weren’t right, but one of them was gorgeous. He was two colours, rather than Eric’s three and a pale gold colour, but he was beautiful. Unfortunately he had a problem with his skin and we would have to wait a few more days. Then another email – Hang on, there’s another one! THREE COLOURS. No skin problem and ready immediately.
That was our guinea pig.
It was a bit of a drive away, but less than 48 hours after my initial email we had our new baby guinea pig.
He was five weeks old and kind of tiny and skinny, a little scrap of crazy fur. But he was surprisingly long, as in not much shorter than Wilfred. He was the only one in his litter, so was born on the big side. We saw his parents and they were MASSIVE. He’s three quarters lunkarya and a quarter Peruvian. His hair will be even crazier than Eric’s.
We couldn’t wait to get him home to meet Wilfred. I had been worried about this. Would it work out? But the breeder said that adults normally take to babies very quickly and form a strong bond with them. Of course that’s exactly what happened with Eric and Wilfred, but Eric was always a very calm guinea pig, whereas Wilfred is more active and dominant.
We decided the best thing to do would be to put Wilfred in the carry box with him for a few minutes, before taking them both out to the hutch. For a minute or two, Wilfred ignored him and the baby hid in the shredded paper. Then Wilfred started sniffing him gently. The baby responded. Wilfred chase him gently and the baby seemed to come to life. My husband put them both in the warm bed (so that the baby would know to use it outside at night) and Willfred tried to show him how to get out again. When he didn’t get out, Wilfred ran round and round the bed. He wasn’t willing to go anywhere else and leave his new friend.
When I went to feed them in the morning, Wilfred was running around excitedly, chasing the baby. I felt he was both keeping him safe from me and also enjoying the company. In turn, the baby couldn’t get enough of Wilfred, burrowing his head into his body for safety – once burying it so far that his little face popped out the other side. When my daughter held Wilfred and I held the baby, Wilfred jumped across to my arms to be with his new friend.
It was all just magical to watch. What other species of animal would take to a strange baby almost instantly and have the instinct to care for it?
We absolutely made the right decision in getting a new friend for Wilfred. In future, and sadly we know we will be in this position again (but, please, not too soon!), we will make sure we get a new baby even sooner. The new baby has brought Wilfred back to life after a tough few days for him and the two of them have put the smile back on our faces after a tough few days for us.
Ladies and gentleman, I give you Cedric…