ADOPTING GUINEA PIGS IN PORTUGAL
I have a crazy pipe dream of rescuing a couple of donkey’s. We don’t currently have a suitable plot of land to fulfil my lifelong dream so I lowered my expectations significantly and adopted 2 gorgeous baby Guinea Pigs. I have always wanted Guinea Pigs as pets but have never owned any in my lifetime. Guinea pigs also called Cavies make great pets. They live for several years, so you can enjoy them longer than most other rodents like hamsters and gerbils. They have different personalities and individual identities making you fall in love with them instantly. The best part is they are very vocal, fun and entertaining – a lot like me (ha ha). Guinea Pigs are social animals and enjoy human interaction, including petting, stroking and playing. Hubby owned 2 as pets when he was a teenager and he named them Bubble and Squeak. We often stumble across Guinea Pigs at local markets and I get a bit sad because they are always crammed into such small cages and I get the instant urge to buy and save them all. Hubby has to distract me with food, usually Portuguese cake which works a treat. I was so elated when I mentioned to hubby that a local couple were looking to re-home 2 baby piggies. He took zero convincing as he is an animal person and loves them just as much as I do.
Our Adoption Story
I am a member of a few local community Facebook groups and I saw an ad pop up for a Guinea Pig adoption so I messaged the lady and arranged a viewing. The couple own 2 adult Guinea Pigs and they were led to believe that they had 2 females so named them Gertie and Flossy. It quickly became evident that Gertie was actually a male so Gertie became Bertie. This discovery arose when Flossie’s tummy expanded significantly and unlike me, she hadn’t eaten too many Portuguese cakes so wasn’t getting a chunky monkey, she was in fact pregnant. I on the other hand cannot blame pregnancy as my ship has sailed so to speak, my middle age spread is all down to excess cake and wine (ha ha). A few weeks later Dave and Shelly were born on Friday 13th January 2023. Friday the 13th is unlucky for some but we got lucky and struck gold adopting these 2 little fur babies. History repeated itself and Shelly turned out to be a male also so quickly became Sheldon. I had to change their names because my dads name is Dave and my son’s old school friend is called Sheldon so I just couldn’t do it.
Meet & Greet
We visited our piggies and got to see mum and dad too. They were only 3 ½ weeks old and very tiny but just perfect. When they were born they were apparently the size of a cotton wool ball and weighed only 50 grams which is just precious. Both piggies were very affectionate and we had cute cuddles and snuggles. I almost lost one up my jumper sleeve at one point (ha ha).
Welcome: Rick & Negan
Today I introduce you to our new fur babies: Rick and Negan. I really wanted to call my rescue Donkeys Rick & Negan but I’m not sure if I will ever obtain my random donkey dream and they might not be 2 males so I decided to use these names for our Guinea Pigs instead. I have a back up plan name of Leroy & Merlin if I ever get 2 Donkeys. We are huge TWD fans and named all our chickens after TWD characters: Carol, Michonne, Maggie and Judith. I really wanted to name my Guinea Pigs Daryl & Merle as Daryl is my absolute favourite TWD character and they were brothers like my Guinea Pigs but I hate saying the name Merle. Maybe it’s just my Bristolian accent but I just couldn’t abide the pronunciation or how it sounds being said out loud and hubby agrees with me.
Home is Where the Heart Is & the Hilarious Hammer
Animals love routine and consistency when being moved from one home to another so we purchased a similar modular pen to house our piggies from an online store called Pawhut. It’s huge and the panels can be detached so the run can be designed into different shapes and sizes. We purchased some lino to go underneath to protect our floor tiles and also recycled a large fleece blanket/rug. We then placed some puppy pad liners in the corner to hopefully catch the poops and urine. The pen took a while to be delivered as we ordered it from an online pet company. We did laugh when it arrived as it came with a little wooden mallet. I’m not sure what the purpose of the hammer is as it wasn’t needed. Maybe it’s for bashing your other half over the head with frustration when they piss you off during the assembly process. I did say to hubby at one point “Do you think you could kill someone with this hammer?” He replied “Probably but you would have to use some force” (ha ha).
The Hammer Song – Sing Along With Me
If I had a hammer
I’d hammer in the morning
I’d hammer in the evening
All over this land
I’d hammer out danger
I’d hammer out a warning
I’d hammer out love between
My brother and my sisters
All over this land
Helena Hammer Time
I could do with a hard hit to my head with a hammer. It might knock some sense into my crazy ass and make me act “Normal” for once. Being Normal is vastly overrated and boring, weird is wonderful and I find it a compliment if someone calls me weird. You don’t have to fit in and you don’t have to stand out. You can just be you. Some will understand, some will accept, some will not. There is no normal, there is only you. Once you meet your crazy soulmate who shares your weird ass sense of humour, your life will be complete and you will smile a lot more like me.
Hubby Verses Son
Flat pack furniture assemble is a breeze with hubby as he has the patience of a saint and it’s really hard to engage him in an argument. I am still traumatised from trying to assemble an Ikea Billy bookcase with my 15 year old son and this event took place nearly 15 years ago as he is 30 this year! Josh did not want to read the instruction manual and discovered half way through that part of it was back to front! Momma Helena wanted to not only read the instructions in all the different languages but she also wanted to count each nut, screw and bolt and take it step by step because she has OCD. It was a bloody disaster and I nearly put him up for adoption if I thought anyone would take him. I couldn’t even threaten to flat pack his ass and send him to his dads house for a breather as his father lives in Australia which is a very long way from Bristol, UK (ha ha). Working as a dynamic duo with hubby is a dream come true. He is a truly mellow fella.
One Man’s Trash is another Man’s Treasure
This statement clearly works for animals too. Milo did not like his pet house that we purchased as a Christmas gift but our piggies love it. They like to hide and sleep under the house but haven’t ventured up to the main part of the house just yet. Hubby placed Negan inside the house and he tried to escape out of the window. It didn’t cross my mind that they would be so small and fit through the tiny window gap. Milo prefers a cardboard box, typical! Rick & Negan also love cardboard boxes as hideaways and they have settled into their new habitat within no time. I really thought they would take much longer to settle in but they are so friendly and not shy at all.
Diet & Supplies
A healthy guinea pig diet is about 80% hay, 10% pellets, 5% vegetables and 5% fruit. We purchase Timothy Hay which is always a firm favourite.
When Bunnies are happy they “Binky” which is when they zoom around the house, go crazy and jump in the air like a bucking bronco. Guinea Pigs do a similar thing to display joy and happiness. It is a behaviour often associated with younger animals but can be seen in guinea pigs of all ages. When content and running around you may occasionally see your guinea pig jump, twist and jerk, making a purring noise as they go. It’s called “Popcorning” which I find absolutely adorable.
Wheeking is the sound a guinea pig makes when it is hungry and is something that’s exclusively directed towards humans. It is just too darn cute to hear. It’s a novalty for us because we are used to the silence of bunny boy Milo who only ever occasionally grunts if he is super full blown scale mad, a bit like hubby (ha ha).
BFF or Furry Frenemies
Bunny Milo is sitting on the fence about our new arrivals and I think he’s pretty pissed off with their cute ass squeaking. His fuck off face says it all (ha ha). We are currently keeping them in separate rooms and will hopefully bond them both with Milo in time. I have to keep whispering to Milo “You are still our Number 1 favourite boy” because he is very sad about no longer being the only inside pet (ha ha). My stepdaughter mentioned to hubby that you need to be careful when introducing bunnies to Guinea Pigs because apparently bunnies can carry and transmit a nasty bacteria which can be harmful. Guinea Pigs are very susceptible to this bacteria and fatal infections in the Guinea Pig can occur. They can be in the same room and location but not housed in the same pen. Gosh, I didn’t know that, thank goodness for knowledgeable and intelligent children.
Gorgeous Guinea Gallery
It’s not easy trying to photograph pets with an old iPhone, crappy tiny tripod and a self timer but we tried our best because we wanted some photos of our Guinea Pigs as tiny babies with Mama and Papa for the memories as they will soon grow and we will forget just how tiny they once were.
Netflix & Guinea Pig
Most folk Netflix and Chill. We Netflix and Guinea Pig (ha ha). This night time routine of snuggles on our bed is the highlight of my day! Negan is under hubby’s thumb (literally) in the photo below. The truth is hubby is actually under Negan’s thumb as Negan has him right where he wants him. All he has to do is make his cute “Wheeking” noises and hubby gives him carrot top treats. I think we are officially loosing the plot because today we had a 30 minute conversation about whose piggie would win in a fight. I think my badass Rick could take Negan down no problem, I have 100% confidence in his little furry ass. Luckily they are brothers and their family bond is tight so they are best of buddies for now. Hubby and I have a bet on who is going to piss the bed first. I hope it’s not me (ha ha). My moneys on Rick!
More Bed Time Snuggles
I am so happy that we adopted our 2 fur balls. They are happy and healthy and weigh around 310 grams now. We have already asserted ownership of them. Rick is mine (the one with more white fur) and Negan is hubby’s (the one with more patches of brown shades). I love chilling out with my piggies on our bed each evening. I’m also dedicated in trying to teach them to be potty trained and use the litter tray eventually. Apparently it can be done for pee pee but they leave a trail of poop droppings wherever they go (ha ha). It’s also harder than training bunnies but I’m up for the challenge. I might be mad but I think our babies already recognise my voice. I like to think it’s because they know I give them a heap of love but I think in reality it’s because I give them food (ha ha). They seem to feel happy and safe around us and now eat from our hand which is a positive. They love to tunnel underneath objects which is fun to watch. Hubby received an Amazon Spain voucher for taking part in some research so we put the money to good use and bought our babies some toilet training reusable washable potty pads and a fleecy lined play tunnel of love, which they adore. Their favourite veggie is carrot tops. If you are thinking about adopting a Guinea Pig, remember they are best off in pairs. Let the crazy times commence. I sense a whole lot of chaos and FUN is about to unfold in the Casa Valhal household. We both already adore Rick and Negan. They are so happy and content with life, they take after me only I don’t leave a poop trail wherever I wander – Thank the Lord (ha ha). The best therapists come with fur and 4 legs (and they don’t have to be a dog).
Update – Garden Guinea’s
First trip to the garden for Rick and Negan. They loved the nature but love me more (ha ha). I’m going to miss these cute babies when I visit the UK. I wonder if I can sneak them into my suitcase (ha ha).
The Weigh-In (17th March 2023)
We decided to weigh out babies as they are getting so big now. Rick weighs 435 grams and Negan weighs 436 grams. This is great news as they have gained around 100 grams since we adopted them and it shows that they are equally gaining weight at the same speed so one piggie isn’t being a greedy piggie and hogging all the food (ha ha).
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
I recently visited the UK for my birthday week and hubby made sure Rick & Negan FaceTimed me most nights so they could chat and hear my voice, this screenshot is adorable. I missed our evening regular routine of snuggles and cuddles on our bed.
More Netflix & Guinea Piggies
I adore the last photo with Negan hiding and peeking out from under the blanket (ha ha).