Posted in Pets

Tom and Tim come home to Cosy Cottage

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Tom had a quiff in his black hair and strutted around as a teddy boy. Tim was an out and out punk, with streaks of red, white and black.

And they had attitude.

Yes, they may have been small but they had mountains of attitude.

‘Make my day, punk’, Tim would growl at Tom, as he rumblestrutted around.

Showing off like a John Wayne-style cowboy.

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Since Loco’s death, back in February, I had been pondering whether my guinea pig Blaze needed – or wanted – another companion. He seemed happy enough, eating and drinking. But everyone I spoke to and everything I read gave the same message – guinea pigs are social animals.

I posted a lonely hearts advert on social media, a friend replied with a link to a guinea pig rescue centre.

There was no luck there so I went back to where I adopted Loco and Bugsy (pictured below).

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I found those two at the Pets at Home adoption section, where the ‘preloved’ small animals stayed, looking for a second chance of a good new home.

This time, there were four pigs in two cages – Poppy and Pepper and Tom and Tim.

Now, if Blaze was there, he would have requested the girls, I have no doubt.

And although he was getting on in years (six to be precise), how would I know if he was still capable of being a father? I have heard of the multiplication of guinea pigs, you start off with two and end up with… Hundreds!

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Blaze

No. I did not have the room to keep hundreds of guinea pigs.

That was on a Thursday. On the Sunday, Tom and Tim came home, and for the next few weeks lived in a spare cage, next door to Blaze.

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I was told they were under a year old and were given away for rehoming for ‘change of circumstance’ reasons.

There were meet and greet sessions. Blaze studiously ignored them. Tim made his ‘motorboat’ sound and wagged his bottom (my previous pig Bugsy used to do the same). Worryingly, Tom tried to mount Blaze every time he saw him.

I knew this was standard boar behaviour in meeting new males but I was aware of Blaze’s grand age. He didn’t want this sort of aggro at his time of life.

Had I made a mistake? Would he be better off on his own after all?

I opted for two in the end as I didn’t want to be in the situation of having to look for a new partner for the bereaved male when their friend passed on.

But now I was fretting….

In the meantime I had bought a c&c cage. It seemed a good idea at the time, especially as I now had three pigs rather than the two, but when I put it together, at first it seemed cumbersome for my little living room.

Then I couldn’t figure out how to sort the roof out. I think most people who have these go roofless, but with the family jack russells Molly and Teddy visiting on a regular basis, it would be highly dangerous.

But I figured it out. I think.

And then it was moving in day. The trio packed their bags (well, food bowls, water bottles and ‘dens’ /beds/houses) and into their new home they went.

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Blaze made a beeline for the cosy soft bed, not budging when the youngsters wanted to get in.

Tom had an unhealthy obsession with trying to climb onto Blaze while Tim ‘brrr-ed’ around the new vicinity.

But they settled down…

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… Or so I thought.

Tim and Blaze got on but Tom kept coming over, making a nuisance of himself with Blaze. Tim would then chase him away, as if to say, ‘stop bothering my friend’.

Maybe Tom was jealous of their friendship?

Then Tim was in a real mood one day and was starting to take it out on his new friend Blaze by trying to mount him.

I realised that although Tim seemed to like Blaze, he also had a temperamental personality. One that, in my eyes, was incompatible with elderly boars (male guinea pigs).

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So Blaze moved out, back to his bachelor pad, where he lived for another month before he sadly passed on due to old age.

Oddly, the two youngsters seemed to miss old Blaze when he left, looking for him and even whistling at one point.

They now quarrelled a lot. So much that I thought they had scars from fighting.

Or was it ringworm?

When Blaze went to the vet for his bumblefoot, the boys went too. The vet gave them an injection for ringworm and the scabs eventually healed.

I’m still not sure if it was ringworm or fighting scars but it got to the point that Tom seemed scared of Tim, hiding in the ‘attic’ of their abode.

Were they fighting over Blaze? Blaming each other for his absence or was it something else? More importantly, will I need to separate them as well?!

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But eventually, they settled down, and now they get on better, except for the odd tiff when one thinks the other has something past him.

Tom has become nearly as cheeky as Loco, demanding tasties when he hears rustling. He’s getting rather chubby as well. The more reserved Tim has started to join in the begging.

Their home now looks a little frayed along the edges – or more obviously, up in the attic – apparently the walls taste good!

Whoever says Guinea pigs don’t have personalities have never met the residents of Cosy Cottage! ๐Ÿน

 

 

Posted in Pets

Tribute to Gentleman Blaze

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Recently Cosy Cottage suffered another bereavement when well-loved Blaze passed away. He was the eldest of the residents here, between six and seven years of age, and had been feeling various ailments of old age – stiff legs (arthritis probably), blindness in one eye and general slowness.

Blaze previously lived at my Book Club friend Liz’s house. He arrived at Cosy Cottage as an elderly widower a year ago, after losing his friend Fury.

At the same time, Cosy Cottage’s Loco had lost his partner Bugsy.

My book club friend Liz and I decided to try and matchmake these two lonely old men so they would have companionship in their old age.

It worked a treat and, for a year, Loco and Blaze got on very well. Blaze nibbled on his hay contentedly while Loco continued his lucrative career as a professional beggar. Blaze happily helping himself to the profits of Loco’s begging schemes.

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When Loco died, I started to search for a pal for Blaze. He seemed to be happy enough, eating and drinking, but still… They do say Guinea pigs prefer to be with others.

So that was when Tom and Tim, pictured below, arrived. Again, like Loco and Bugsy, they came from the adoption section from Pets at Home. Three pigs meant a bigger cage was needed – so I bought a c&c cage with an attic. I went through the same routine as last time, when introducing Loco to Blaze. This included separate cages next to each other and quick, fleeting ‘getting to know you’ sessions.

And then D-day arrived and the the three moved into the large c&c cage – a palace for Blaze, who had been living in a cottage by comparison. But this was when I found that, even though most experts say male guinea pigs need company, it does have to be the right companion, especially for someone of Blaze’s age.

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Tim and Blaze got on well until one day Tim started trying to mount Blaze. This is actually natural in the boar world, and is a way of asserting dominance.

But I was concerned about Blaze and any potential stress this may cause at his elder years, so Blaze moved out of the palace and back into his little cottage. The new boys were too young and too boisterous.Blaze really needed an older companion like himself.

I moved him next to my settee so he was closer to human company, if not pig, although he may well have heard the bickering of his quarrelling neighbours from across the room!

Blaze was a quiet, well-mannered boar of simple tastes. As long as he had his hay and his muesli, he did not ask for much. Never complaining and always polite, he was a little gem among pigs.

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He was very popular with my godchildren, especially two-year-old Wilfred. I think Wilfred would have loved to have taken Blaze back home with him in his pocket.

Blaze came across as a wise old boar. Rather than demanding treats, he seemed to be meditating on the meaning of life. Saying that, he never turned down anything tasty that came his way.

But he had his health issues. About to cut his nails one day, I noticed there was something wrong with his foot. Was it dried mud? No, it was bumble foot. This is a horrible condition where pigs’ feet get scabs. It can spread to the bones so a visit to the vet was essential.ย 

After a visit to the vet, he was given antibiotic, foot wash and painkiller for this, but sadly, a few days on, he passed on.

I like to think of him going to Dandelion Heaven, where Loco, Fury and all his other pals will have waited for him… And where there will be many fields of dandelion and hay to munch on.ย 

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R.I.P Blaze, you were a lovely little gentleman.

 

Posted in Pets

Tribute to Loco

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Cosy Cottage was saddened by a bereavement recently when Loco, a popular boar, passed away, probably because of old age. How old was he? I do not know except to say I adopted him more than three years ago and I have no idea what age he was then.

He first came to Cosy Cottage with his companion Bugsy, from a Pet Adoption section at the pet shop, Pets at Home. The boys already had their names and were apparently looking for a new home because there were two other boars at their last residence and they didn’t get on together. Personally, I think the easy-going Loco would have got on with everyone but Bugsy – well, that was a different story entirely…

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Loco and Bugsy had a rather argumentative relationship, Bugsy doing most of the quarrelling. I thought at first that maybe contrary Bugsy didn’t like his partner but if they were separated for short periods of time, Bugsy would look around and whistle for Loco.

He missed him.

On the other hand, Loco didn’t seem to mind being away from his temperamental friend!

Last year, around this time, Bugsy passed on to the Dandelion Paradise where all good – and mischievous – ย guinea pigs go, possibly because of age but I suspect more due to a horrible freezing cold spell (nicknamed ‘The Beast from the East’).

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It was then I realised how much the companionship meant to Loco when he slowly deteriorated. Yes, he was still eating, still drinking, but his energy levels had dipped. I would leave his door open and he wouldn’t go out and explore. He acted as if he was deaf. As if he was blind. Or maybe it was simply that he was not as interested in life as before.

It looked like he was grieving and missing his friend.

He might get over Bugsy in time, I mused. Otherwise I would have to go through the ‘boar bonding’ ritual, where introducing one boar to another takes time and patience otherwise fights could break out.

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But one day, I came across an internet appeal from my book club friend Liz. She was looking for a new friend for her recently bereaved male pig Blaze. I got in touch and agreed that if it didn’t work out – that is, if they didn’t take to each other – Blaze would go back to his original ‘pet parent’.

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Blaze was small, dark and handsome – he was also calm, relaxed and tolerant. Following a week of careful introduction, they moved in together and, apart from a mad parsley-related moment from Blaze, all went well. Although there were a couple of ‘disagreements’ over who was to get that last slice of apple.

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They would play Follow My Leader in the living room, Loco usually being the leader while mild-tempered Blaze would follow.

Food was Loco’s greatest love. A talented beggar, he would demand parsley and lettuce from what he viewed as his human servants. Simon was Dandelion Man, who would bring up tasty dandelions (although he also insisted on cutting the pigs’ nails so Loco had mixed feelings about Dandelion Man). The sound of chopping meant carrots and, once again, Loco would loudly insist on being given a choice morsel.

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Another of Loco’s friends was Teddy, the Jack Russell, who would go and say hello. Loco would always go to the bars to see him. Loco may have trusted our Ted but I certainly didn’t and would always take Teddy away from Loco’s surroundings.

Loco was a big lad, after all, he loved his grub. But towards the end, he became thinner and became fussier about what he ate. He would beg and then leave the once tasty morsel behind, looking for something else. But somehow that wasn’t quite what he had in mind either.

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I truly believe that, without Blaze, Loco would have gone months ago. Blaze was a real comfort to him and gave him a reason to live after his first companion died.

But one day, as will happen to us all, his time came to say goodbye to his loved ones. I like to think that there is a little part of heaven reserved for guinea pigs and it is full of dandelions and parsley and old friends.

Posted in Chickens, Pets

Children and pets

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My godchildren came to visit recently, aged two, four and eight years old. The first thing they wanted to see at Cosy Cottage? The residents of course!

The zebra danios were nonchalant as always, swimming in their water world, only paying attention when Honey, Noah and Wilfred fed them.

Although the guinea pigs and hens were a little startled at first, hearing the sound of loud young voices and the pattering of little feet, they became fond of them over the weekend.

Especially when it meant more treats!

Loco and Blaze met the youngsters and enjoyed being stroked, even Loco who sometimes makes a big fuss about being handled (we don’t eat guinea pigs here, Loco, you’re quite safe!). He is always happy to beg for parsley though!

There was much hilarity when Blaze pooed on Noah (big sister Honey couldn’t stop laughing!)

Loco then decided to do the same to Honey.

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Guinea pigs, so polite in company!

Noah helped me clean out the chicken coop, doing a much thorough job than I usually do!

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They helped with giving the chickens corn. Unfortunately the hens then thought it amusing to lead me – and the children – a merry dance and not head into the coop when it was time to go in.

I was expecting the hens to follow me in (bribed by corn, no less) straight into the coop, but no. They thought it would be a laugh to run around while me and the youngsters tried to herd them in.

Have you heard the phrase, ‘it was like herding cats’? I’m not saying it was as bad as that, but not far off either.

Never work with children or animals as they say in showbusiness!

It was a fun weekend for us all but I remain convinced the chickens were deliberately trying to show me up in front of the children and the five of them had a great laugh about it afterwards, especially Jemima!

๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿน๐Ÿ”๐ŸŸ

Children and pets – top tips

1. Teach your child to be gentle around pets and other animals.

2. Pets are good for teaching responsibility. But don’t get a pet and assume your child will always look after it. They may get distracted with other interests as they get older. Make sure you want the pet too and are happy to look after it, if your child loses interest.ย 

3. Be logical when choosing a pet. It’s better to research and consider how much time, space, attention etc you can give a pet than get one on a whim and give it away the next month. As they say, a pet is for life, not just for Christmas. ๐Ÿˆ๐Ÿ•๐Ÿน

 

K9 Interviews 58 โ€“ Teddy &ย Molly

Family dogs Teddy and Molly are regular visitors to Cosy Cottage and always have a lot to talk about. They were recently interviewed by excellent K9 interviewer and blogger Doodlepip and here’s what they had to say for themselves! ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ Doodlepip is also looking for other dog interviewees so if you know of any who would like to take part, here’s the link…

via K9 Interviews 58 โ€“ Teddy & Molly โ€” A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip!

K9 Interviews 58 โ€“ Teddy & Molly โ€” A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip!