In 2009, sadly, we lost 5 of our 6 guinea pigs, leaving only one piggy, Sheila. Sheila was only about a year old, and I didn't want her to have to live out the rest of her life alone. Since Sheila was a Texel, and I really liked her looks, I wanted to find two baby Texels to join our family. I found a breeder nearby (The Shire Caviary in Oswego, NY) who had two female Texels from different litters that she was willing to sell.
On October 10, 2009, we drove to Oswego to pick up the baby guinea pigs. Bitsy came from a litter of five; she had four brothers. Bitsy's parents were Brodie (boar) and Tess (sow). Click here to view a photo of Brodie and Tess. We saw a photo on the wall of Tess, who had won best of show somewhere, and she had lots of long, gorgeous white curls. However, when we saw Tess in person, she had very short fur, because her five little babies nibbled off all of her long beautiful fur! They were born on September 12, 2009, so Bitsy was about 4 weeks old when she came to live with us.
Bitsy was extremely shy when she came to us. She hid under some hay during the car ride from the breeder to our house. When we got home, she was still frozen in terror and refused to move a muscle. I thought she might die of fright, so even though we normally segregate new pigs, we brought Sheila out for introductions. Bitsy immediately showed some interest in Sheila. That was the beginning of a beautiful mother-daughter relationship that lasted until Sheila's death a year and a half later.
We've never had two or more pigs get along as well as Sheila, Addie (big "sister" who we adopted at the same time as Bitsy) and Bitsy. They were a close-knit family who rarely ever had an argument. Bitsy followed Sheila everywhere. In fact, for the first few months, if Bitsy suddenly found herself alone on the upper or lower level of the cage, she would sound the "Bitsy alarm," a shrill, loud squeal, which would normally bring Sheila running to her rescue!
After Sheila passed away on 3/22/2011, Addie became surrogate mom, as well as "big sister" to Bitsy. While the two of them would tease each other and growl from time to time, like any siblings, they really continue to get along very, very well.
After Addie passed away on 11/21/2012, Bitsy grieved for a while and chewed off some of her own fur, but gradually adjusted to being the only piggy. We gave her, and still do, lots of extra TLC and treats and her fave, a "blanket cave" for bedtime every night. She is now well adjusted to life as our only piggy, as well as our final piggy.
In May 2013, Bitsy developed an upper respiratory infection, a cold, which can be very dangerous for a guinea pig. As soon as I noticed the stuffy nose and lack of appetite, I contacted the vet. She was immediately treated with antibiotics, and she had to be given assisted feedings (force fed) for several days. She recovered after about ten days, but the experience left her taste buds forever changed. She no longer liked her favorite food, cucumber peels, and she developed a strong liking for her new favorite food, carrot bits and peels. She barely eats dandelion greens and parsley now too. Very strange!
In late 2014, Bitsy developed a urinary tract infection, which was treated several times over the next few months with antibiotics. Sadly, she passed away on May 3, 2015, at the age of 5 years and 7-1/2 months. Bitsy was the second longest lived guinea pig of ours (out of 10), second only to Pippi.