Guinea pig addiction: Adopting Hugo
Hugo was one of the most gorgeous guinea pigs ever known, both in nature and looks. In his short lifetime this adorable lemon and cream rex boy had a real journey as far as companions are concerned, in fact he tried and tested just about every type of boar pairing we advocate. He was a very special rescue piggy and we went through a real journey together, enjoying happy times and helping each other through sad ones. Below I will describe our journey as best I can.
We adopted Hugo from Squeaky Pigs Rescue back in 2004. He had arrived as Young pig (3 months old) who had been bred for showing & breeding but when the people who were supposed to be having him did not collect him his owner wanted to find a nice pet home for him so off he went to Squeaky pigs Rescue (now closed). There Louise, who ran Squeaky pigs knew he would be the perfect pig for me. The perfect breed, my favorite (Rex) and also my favorite colours of pig cream & white! So he was destined to end up here. With a little light persuasion Hugo did come to live with us bringing us up to a total of 3 at the time. Top: Hugo poses for the adoption page pic at squeaky pigs. But he never went on the pages he was adopted so quickly!
Hugo was a friendly, cuddly pig but was always very cheeky as a youngster! Especially when he was going through his 'teenage' stage as in this photo (Left)! While in rescue Hugo was tried in with an adult boar but he was extremely cheeky to him & threatening. He also threatened a lovely boar in the cage next to him... cheeky little man (Poor Doughnut!). However Hugo definitely craved company, very active out of his quarters but once in he was very quiet & hid away allot.
It was decided the best way to pair Hugo up was to introduce him to a baby pig. After a long wait Hugo got his baby friend and this was very successful. It made a new pig of Hugo, he was happily popping & playing with little Elmo and much more relaxed in the cage. Sadly, after just one week with us, tragedy struck. We lost the baby pig who bought us so much joy to a digestive tract problem aged just 5 weeks. Both myself & Hugo were heart broken. Elmo made such a Huge impact in just one week, and he was sadly missed. Elmo's Page has his sad little story & lots of gorgeous pigtures in remembrance of a precious little sweet piglet.
A Rainbow appeared in our lives...
Hugo took this very badly and when he stopped eating properly over the weekend we decided not to waste any time finding a new baby for Hugo. I also needed a lift myself after such a sad event. Elmo was the first guinea pig we lost and being a tiny baby who seemed so full of life made it hard to deal with... Hugo's new friend came in the shape of little Rainbow pig. Rainbow pig was 'chosen' by Hugo himself and the two of them were very happy. His arrival is a very touching and happy tale and if you would like to find out more about it and how Rainbow got his name click the blue text to visit Rainbows page.
Above: My Favorite ever pigture is the one above of Hugo and a piglet Rainbow posing in a cabbage leaf.
Then more disaster!
On rare occasions boar pairings, especially those involving young pigs, don't work out. Sometimes a baby pig grows up, wants to be boss and he and his companion can not peacefully settle to pecking order. If fighting or bullying occurs and especially if blood is drawn such guinea pigs have to be permanently separated. Unfortunately this was the case for Hugo and Rainbow. Hugo became a separate pig again after he and young Rainbow had a nasty fight out of the blue, having got on so well until that moment (see Rainbows page). They were still able to interact after we built them a special Cubes & Correx pen with a common wall made of just mesh cubes. They could talk, touch, even lay nearby but each pig was safe from the teeth and claws of the other. They lived happily this way for years.
As the years passed Hugo began to mature (left). As he entered adulthood Hugo became a friendly, stunningly handsome fellow and was perfectly happy living next to, but not with his pal Rainbow. They even enjoyed this set up and could often be seen at the bars with each other. Initially, with it being soon after their split, there was a lot of showing off behavior! Both boys would rattle, rumble and even teeth chatter at one another. We even moved them into cages away from each other, thinking they disliked each other so much. However as soon as this happened both boys were inconsolable, wheeking for each other. It seems they enjoyed each others company, even if only to threaten each other; knowing they are safe from each other. As time passed the pair of them stopped threatening each other and just interacted through the bars, proving perseverance pays off with such a situation.
As Hugo grew into a huge and very gorgeous Rex boy his nature also changed. He became very mellow and laid back. He could often be found waiting, paws up on the bars to be fed or coming out of his hidey hole for cuddles or floor time. I think he would have loved to be reunited with Rainbow, but Rainbow had not mellowed as he had and would be aggressive if we even tried to cuddle the two together, so we had to give up our hopes of a reintroduction.
A new friendship
In January 2006- After one of our other piggys, Spam sadly died something good came out of it for Hugo. Spam's cage mate Bubba was alone. This meant Hugo, who was now laid back and friendly and likely to accept company had the chance to be paired up with Bubba. Hugo seemed to get on very well with Bubba in floor time. They had cuddles together and lived side by side in the C&C pens for a while.
When we introduced them in the same cage it still worked. Hugo and Bubba soon became firm friends... keeping each other company, sharing their cage nicely. Both boys were very happy and healthy. Hugo had found at last the companionship he seemed to have wanted since his arrival. His new friend too was pleased with the pairing... Bubba put on an amazing 7oz since moving in with Hugo.
Hugo's happiness was never at the expense of his side-by-side pal Rainbow's though. The cages were extended so that Hugo and Bubba's pen could still be next door to Rainbows. This meant that Rainbow could still interact through the bars with both boys. In truth Rainbow seemed to hide in his cage and be very inactive if he was ever moved to a pen where he was not next door to his old pal Hugo. Hugo and Rainbow remained neighbors and he and Bubba remained cage mates for the rest of Hugo's life.
Bubba and Hugo had one of the happiest relationships I have seen boars have. They would sleep in the same hidey hole and eat from the same dish.
Goodbye Hugo 'Huggie'
On Tuesday the 13th of Februay we had a sad shock. At evening feeding time I went into the guinea pig room to feed the boys and say good night. I noticed Hugo's absence straight away as he was never one to hide away when there were people about. He loved attention and would come to the bars hoping for a chin stroke, a cuddle or a food treat. I lifted up his Rainbow coloured fiddlestix and there he was, in a sleep he could not be woke from- he had gone to Rainbow Bridge to join his friend Elmo. We are not sure why Hugo passed... Although he was a rex and was slowing down and showing signs of aging such as mild impaction and fatty eye he seemed perfectly healthy and his usual self. Whatever the reason, Hugo will always be missed and remembered here as one of the most special piggys you could hope to meet. Friendly, handsome and huggable he was loved by everyone who knew of him.
Goodnight Hugo run free at Rainbow Bridge with Elmo my lovely cuddly boy.