Bud and Sedona have been with us for awhile, each challenging Cindy and the vets at Pieper Olson in Middletown with long lists of ailments and woes.
Sedona, who came to us young and pregnant from horrible circumstances in Pennsylvania, has always been a bit of a brat. She is very cute...and she knows how to work it. Anyone who picks her up quickly finds a guinea pig wedged under their chin, conning them into carrying her all over Cindy's house. She's spent much of her time in her own cage, not because she doesn't get along with anyone but because of her chronic teeth problems (her lower front tooth is a mere sliver, and her upper front teeth require regular trimming). It took her all day to eat what other pigs devoured in 15 minutes, even with Cindy chopping her lettuce, carrots, and peppers into very small pieces. Living with other pigs, she never had a fair chance at her veggies.
Bud is an older neutered male who was mishandled before coming to the rescue, and has been plagued with more than his fair share of medical problems, including one of the worst abscesses we've dealt with. As a result of the prior mishandling, and all the poking and proding (albeit gentle) that came with his medical treatments, he is -- quite frankly -- a cranky middle-aged male. In the giant sanctuary cage, he didn't fit in with the herd, and had problems with Shane (an even older male) in particular. He didn't like being held by anyone but Cindy, who may be the only one who truly understands him.
To combat their loneliness, Cindy put Sedona and Bud in side-by-side cages. She'd pull out the divider grids so they could play together for a few hours after they'd both eaten. Early in the fall, she decided to leave Sedona and Bud together all the time, figuring that if Sedona started losing weight, she'd separate them again. A couple of nights later, during evening feeding time, Sedona snatched an entire lettuce leaf away from Bud and proceeded to munch quite happily. The next day, she swiped Bud's carrot and red pepper.
We have no idea what changed, whether some healthy competition between Sedona and Bud sparked her eating or something else happened that you'd have to be able to "speak guinea pig" to understand. All those months spent chopping and dicing veggies because she couldn't eat them whole and then things change as if someone flipped a switch. Bud's disposition has improved greatly, and he no longer expresses objections about being held by someone other than Cindy.
What we do know is that neither pig has ever looked happier. At any time of the day, you can walk up to their cage and find them munching contently together or curled up in a cozy cup.
Just goes to show you that the right roommate can change everything...