Oct 10

Our very first guinea pig that we shared our home with was named Pookie.

My daughter had a mouse named Peek-a-Boo that a boy at school had given her but she was not a very friendly mouse. She was looking for another pet that wouldn’t bite her every time she tried to touch it. I found out that guinea pigs are cuddly, mild-mannered and are not likely to bite. When my daughter asked for a guinea pig, not being very responsible about cleaning Peek-a-Boo’s cage, we told her if she would clean the mouse’s cage for a month and showed us how responsible she was, then we would go looking for a guinea pig to share our home with. Well, she faithfully cleaned the cage for a month and that is how we came to adopt Pookie into our home.

Pookie was a cute little guy, with a pretty chestnut color and white streak down the center of his head. Our friends had a guinea pig cage that they were no longer using so we used that for Pookie’s home. It was the standard pet store cage 15 by 24 inches. We purchased a new wooden nest box, water bottle, hay rack and food dish. After we put all of the necessary things that guinea pigs need in the cage there was hardly any room for Pookie. There was definitely no room for running and playing and barely enough space to turn around in outside of his nest box. We would hold him in our laps and cuddle him and sometimes he get time to run around on the floor. Life is very busy though and it seemed that we did not have the time to let him out of his cage that often.

After Pookie was a year old we noticed that his left eye was closing and did not appear to be normal. We took him to the vets and she thought it might be an infection. He was given eye drops and antibiotics by syringe but the eye continued to look worse. While we were on vacation, my neighbor who was taking care of him had to rush Pookie to my vet because he had a stroke. He was just over a year old and had developed a brain tumor. It was very rare for guinea pigs to develop a tumor at such a young age. Although, we do not know for sure if the tumor was cancerous it did end up being the reason he passed away at a very early age. Guinea pigs are known to be resistant to cancer. The scientists think that the Kurloff cells – which are unique to cavies – and asparaginase found in their blood may be the reason for protecting them against cancer.

We will never know exactly what caused the brain tumor in Pookie. Genetics? Perhaps. What we do know, now that Pookie is gone, is that we have always regretted making him live out his entire short life in that tiny, cramped cage. And as caring and responsible pet owners, we have sworn that it will never happen again. Pookie has made us realize that our pets deserve better.

To Happy and Healthy Pigs!
Nancy from BluestoneCommerce Cages

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Categories: Pig Stories

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