Sunday, January 2, 2011

Little pig in from the cold

In November I wrote about a guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) that had been abandoned at Howarth Park. I continued to feed the pig each morning after I'd walked, learning what she liked (jicama, carrots, kale, apple) and didn't like (celery, peppers). As I continued my research about the little pigs, I added commercial pellets and hay. As each day went by, I began to feel less comfortable about leaving the pig in the wild. Her feet and fur were always wet. She began to depend on my visits and was very vocal when I arrived late or missed a day (which I only did once). Worst of all, on one sunny morning, she complained when I left and tried to follow me out of the park. I returned twice to spend more time with her before finally leaving that day. I realized that the guinea pig was putting up a brave front but was lonely and probably not enjoying her outdoor adventure as much as I'd wanted to believe.

Although I'd grown attached to her, I was fairly certain that adopting a guinea pig wasn't an option in our tiny house with a dog that saw the pig as a much more interesting toy than those in her toy box. I discovered that our local Humane Society would accept her and carefully screen any would-be adopters, so I began to devise a strategy to bring the pig in from the cold. We still have a cat carrier though the cat passed on long ago. I built a little cardboard pig house and put it inside the carrier, along with some of the pig's favorite foods and set it in her grotto, placing her usual meal just outside the door. I thought it might take a few days before she'd walk in and was pleasantly surprised when she sauntered into the carrier with very little outward trepidation, picked up a piece of apple, carried it into the pig house and started noshing.

At the shelter, I was told that, because she was officially a stray, they'd have to post notices about her for a week before she could be adopted. I'm happy to report that she found a home one day after her week was up.

I sure do miss seeing her every day but am hopeful that she's living in nice warm place, eating well, and getting lots of pig love in the New Year.

Best wishes to you for this new year!