Tribute to Loco


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…


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 –  guinea pigs go, possibly because of age but I suspect more due to a horrible freezing cold spell (nicknamed ‘The Beast from the East’).


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.


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’.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Meet the residents of Cosy Cottage

Here are the furry, feathered, finned and foliaged inhabitants of Cosy Cottage:


Guinea pigs Loco and Blaze, pictured during their first ‘boar date’ in 2018

Florence on top, Jemima, Dottie, Mabel and Ava on bottom

Chickens Florence, Jemima, Dottie, Mabel and Ava.


Zebra Danios, pictured hiding behind the plants.

Aloe veras
Palm-style plant
Peace lily, about 8 years old


Regular visitors jack russells Teddy and Molly.

Children and pets


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.


Guinea pigs, so polite in company!

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


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!

🙂 🐹🐔🐟

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. 

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. 🐈🐕🐹


A guinea pig bromance


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 ☺️