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Snowball (December 2005 to Sept 2009)

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Snowball
New and fluffy
Snowball
Meeting Pippi
Snowball
With Pepper
Snowball
Meeting Patches
Snowball
With Pebbles
Snowball
Cage Partition
Snowball
Snowball
Snowball
Snowball
Snowball
Snowball
Snowball
Snowball
Snowball
Snowball
Handsome guy
Snowball
Don't quite fit
Snowball
Out in the yard
Snowball
All tuckered out
 

Okay, I have to admit that Snowball was totally an impulse buy. I mean, who could possibly resist this little ball of fur? Snowball was the only one of 7 in the litter to be so fuzzy. On January 18, 2006, I went to the pet store to get some hay and I came home with this adorable little bundle. Snowball is s about six weeks old, so I will assume an early December birthday.

Snowball was very cooperative for our first photo session. I had to pick up the house Snowball was hiding under, but then Snowball stayed perfectly still, posing ever so sweetly as I took several snapshots (they are all identical photos!)

All evening, Snowball never touched a bite of food, which had me worried. However, the next morning, several edibles were missing: a critter berry, the entire hay pile and some small dandelions. And I think the pellet count went down, too. That little stinker was eating after all!

The next day was a big day for Snowball - the first trip to the vet! That's when we discovered that Snowball was not a little girl, but a BOY!! Well, that was totally unexpected after the pet store clerk showed me for sure that HE was a girl. Oops!! Dr. Hach explained all about neutering, so we picked that option (in 3 weeks) instead of trying to return Snowball to the pet store (no way, never!!) or having him live alone in a smaller cage, while the four girls live in their luxurious Cubes & Coroplast Cage.

In the meantime, each pig in turn was introduced to Snowball. First, it was Pippi's turn. As soon as Pippi was put in the cage with Snowball, he ran out of the house into a far corner and squealed in fear. Pippi totally ignored him and spent several minutes sniffing all of Snowball's toilet areas. For some reason, she found this highly interesting. Then, finally, Pippi noticed the actual pig! She started sniffing him, and he sniffed her back. Later, Pippi ate his untouched apple and one of his untouched dandelion greens. As Pippi chewed the dandelion, Snowball excitedly sniffed her mouth. Perhaps he was a bit over-enthusiastic, because he earned a few "nose-pokes" from Pippi. All in all, they did great together.

Next came Pebble's turn. Pebbles has just been replaced as the baby of the family. She didn't mind though, because sniffing the new baby was extremely fascinating to her. Pebbles didn't move around as much and only feigned interest in her favorite treat, a guinea pig biscuit. By now, Snowball was loving it - all these friendly big pigs were cool! And he sniffed a guinea pig biscuit with great interest. Uh-oh, Pebbles may have some competition for her favorite food!

More butt sniffing, nose sniffing and bathroom sniffing occurred during Pepper's visit. Pepper's favorite treat is a pumpkin seed, so she received several during her visit (to make it a positive one). She was also great with the new baby. She was actually a saint, because she barely reacted when Snowball practically put his mouth in hers to sniff the pumpkin seed Pepper was chewing.

Last, but not least, came Patches. She was also wonderful with the baby. Snowball by now was so happy he was popcorning and nibbling on his hay. He even allowed me to pet him from time to time. He was so engrossed in the sniffing of yet another female. Wow, piggy heaven for our new little boy.

Our next step was to subdivide the big cage temporarily until Snowball was able to live with the girls (after his neutering). We had some extra grids and a few we could steal back (from the food cube area), so we were able to partition off a section for Snowball. That way, he and the girls were able to stay acquainted and comfortable around each other.

April 9, 2006 update: Snowball's neutering in early February went very well and he's been living with the girls since about a week after the surgery. Most of the time, everyone gets along pretty well. There used to be nightly disagreements, but things have gone more smoothly since I added onto the C&C cage. I increased the square footage by another 9 square feet, by adding to the second level, so now they have almost 40 square feet of space. That is plenty of room for each one to have enough "personal space," and everyone seems more content.

Snowball is a very friendly little guy. He comes right over and lets us pet him, after which he is rewarded with a treat (no wonder he is so friendly!) He still hates being picked up, which almost always results in a loud squeal. He struggles violently when getting his toenails clipped, so sometimes only the back feet or even just one foot gets done. So in addition to the squealing, we have to be prepared for scratchy toenails when picking him up. Once in our lap, Snowball is either very squirmy or else relaxes contentedly in a fleece blanket that we have just for snuggling with our pigs.

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Sept 10, 2009 - Snowball passed away today. I thought he'd been sleepy a lot in the past couple of days, but dismissed it, because piggies are often sleepy and take naps all day long. He seemed to be eating and moving up and down the ramps okay. However, last night, I thought he seemed extra sleepy, and I also thought he looked smaller than usual. So I watched him closely while he ate. He started to take a bite of dandelion greens, but stopped. He did this 3 or 4 times, and then quit trying. I picked him up and noticed right away that he seemed much lighter than usual. So I weighed him and found that he'd lost 11 ounces since the end of July when he weighed 42 ounces. That is about 1/4 of his weight! Wow, I had not realized he was in such serious trouble! I checked his mouth and thought a tooth looked chipped, so I figured maybe that was the problem. I called the vet and made an appointment for today.

The vet discovered that the problem was not the tooth, but that Snowball had 4 bladder stones and showed signs of mineralization in at least one of his kidneys, maybe both. Her prognosis was not encouraging. He was dehydrated and not eating. It was likely that his kidneys had begun to fail, so instead of opting for more tests and possibly surgery, we decided that the best thing would be to have him euthanized.

Snowball was only 3-1/2 years old. This was very surprising, because he'd always appeared to be in excellent health. His life was shorter than most, but he lived it to the fullest. He was our only male piggy and he was a big teddy bear. Such a sweet personality towards both people and other pigs. He never argued with his cagemates, but got along with all 5 of them. He was happy to have his head scratched and appeared to enjoy it. He allowed us to approach him without running away. He was such a sweetie and one of our favorite piggies. We will miss him a lot!.
 

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