Regular readers will remember the two guinea pig residents of Cosy Cottage, Bugsy and Loco, and how, sadly, Bugsy left this earthly realm. Loco lived a solitary life for the following month, still eating and drinking, but somehow seeming to age in that time. I didn’t remember him looking so old or so blind. And when he was given the option of venturing further afield from his cage home, he often stayed put or, at least, moving only to a spot nearby.
And yet when I thought of adopting a new companion, my mind reflected on all the info I had gathered over the years about boars (male pigs). How they had to be introduced slowly, oh so slowly because, if not, they could end up fighting and biting… And Loco was getting on now and the last thing either of us would want is aggro.
So I dithered. Looked at the RSPCA website for suitable ‘bachelors’. And thought, maybe. Maybe not. It was akin to entering the world of internet dating and lonely hearts columns. Should I place an advert in my local newspaper?
Elderly black, red and white boar, recently widowed, looking for easy-going male for platonic friendship. Hobbies are food and food, particularly dandelions and parsley.
And then Blaze, small, dark and handsome, arrived on the scene.
My Book Club friend Liz also had two guinea pigs and Fury had sadly passed on. Now she was looking for someone with a lone guinea pig who could be a companion for Blaze. And if it didn’t work, she would take Blaze back.
This was Loco’s second chance of a ‘bromance’ (friendship between two males).
Liz, her husband and I tentatively introduced the two elderly widowers one evening, holding the two up close to each other so they could smell the other’s scent. Then she left Blaze in his cage, alongside Loco’s, so they would get used to each other’s company nearby. Blaze hid mostly the first couple of days, while Loco peered in, looking for him. Loco tended to show this interest after feeding time. Perhaps it was Blaze’s food he was more curious about.
Is he getting more than me? I could imagine Loco wondering…
A few days later, it was time for their first date, a breakfast date at an improvised cafe (otherwise known as eating lettuce together in a cordoned off area of my hallway). They could have been entrants for First Dates on the telly!
This was their first time together and it looked like, at worst, they tolerated the other, at best, was this the start of a blossoming friendship?
There was a little sniffing but lettuce was the priority of course!
After this, they were let out together more often. They followed each other, smelled each other, and took turns to mount each other. I was curious to see Loco doing that as Bugsy was always the dominant pig in that friendship. This apparently sexual behaviour is perfectly normal with two boars as it’s a way to figure out who will be top pig. The experts say that, as long as the newly introduced boars aren’t fighting, it’s best to leave them to it.
Eventually co-habitation day arrived. Up to now, they had been either apart from each other or in a large area, closely supervised. Now they were going to move in together.
First, I placed Blaze in Loco’s cage and vice versa, so there would be less of a territorial feel. Then back again.
Keeping Blaze’s cage and Loco’s ‘bed’ (a wooden house he is doing his best to demolish with his teeth), taking the plunge, I moved Loco in.
It was going to be for an hour or so at first, but they seemed to get on so well, so the hour became permanent and Loco’s cage was dismantled and the base turned into a seed/plant tray.
One evening seemed a cause of concern when, after being fed parsley, Blaze started following Loco around and trying to mount him to the extent that it started looking like harassment. This worried me, especially after they had been getting on so well. Would I have to separate them again and give Blaze back to Liz? I had got rather fond of the silky dark featured one, normally so placid and laid-back, and I didn’t want this scenario to happen.
Phew, the following day they were back to normal. Since then, they live together quite happily albeit with rare minor disagreements that, let’s face it, we all have with those we live with. Loco seems to have got younger and more inquisitive as well. Who needs a face-lift when you have a Blaze in your life?
I imagine the below scenario may have happened at the beginning:
Loco tells Blaze his number one rule: What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is also mine. Blaze responds: Amazing! That’s my rule too!
So Loco will try to take food off Blaze and Blaze will do the same to Loco. Their favourite game appears to be tug of war with dandelion.
It’s a perfect match (second time around) for these two elderly widowers. Thank you Liz for bringing Blaze into Loco’s life ☺️