How is babby formed?

You’d think at my age — and with two children — I’d know how babies are made. And yet despite pet-owning for some 15 years or more without incident we’ve had an oopsy-daisy surprise pet pregnancy here at Chez Jem.

My famous guinea pig, Spot, managed to impregnate Sprite (who I alluded to rescuing in the linked post but never got round to writing about… worst pet blogger ever!) and she gave birth literally as I was leaving for Las Vegas on Thursday 13th. Because everyone needs something to worry about when they’re leaving the country for a week!


Despite my pet experience I’ve never handled (or indeed seen) a piggie birth before so it was all a bit of a shock. Luckily mum-pig just got on with it, cleaned up the four fully formed babies and carried on as normal. Even luckier, my pre-arranged pet sitter had experience with baby guinea pigs so knew what to do with them in my absence, phew.

As someone who frequently gets on my high horse to lecture about pet castration I’m eating a massive dose of humble pie at the minute. Although, in my defence, I was advised by a vet that he was too old to be neutered (because castrating guinea pigs is riskier than e.g. rabbits and cats, of which ALL of mine are done.) I’ve since found out that one of the vets at my usual small animal place will do it providing a pre-op check for “age related issues” comes back fine. Given his activity level, appetite and apparent virility I don’t think that’s going to be an issue.

On the plus side, if I can get him fixed I can attempt an introduction with Sprite and her already-neutered buddy Tango, so that he won’t be on his own (which he has been since his brother died). And if that doesn’t work he can be introduced to the (two suspected) male babies when they’re old enough to leave mum to make an all male trio. Either way, I’ve just got to suck it up and deal with it. It’ll teach me to be more vigilant in future.

In which I complete a half marathon & my guinea pig makes the news

What a weekend.

I’ve been panicking over the past few weeks about my half marathon, which I half-arsedly agreed to and failed to train for completing roughly 4 runs in the run up (the longest of which was 12km; a half marathon is over 21km!)

Anyway, by some wondrous magical miracle I managed to complete the half AND in a reasonable time. I secretly hoped that I’d somehow find a previously unknown half marathon skill and fly round in 2:30 or less, but I did not. Despite not having secret ninja running skills I still managed it in 2:37 (official time): 2:34 if you discount the 3 minutes I spent on the loo.

(Turns out half marathons make me poop, who knew?)

Anyway, home from the half and gently recovering I let the guinea pigs out for their regular grass-grazing session on Sunday afternoon and got on with the washing. A little bit later I went to call them in (shout “piggies” and jiggle the food bag and they come running, wheek-wheeking at the top of their tiny voices) and only one guinea pig appeared. Piggies, piggies: shouting to no avail. I went out with my torch and found poor little Spot —

spot guinea pig

— had managed to squeeze his head through the run panels which surround the animal shed (currently housing 3 recent piggie adoptions, more on them another day). I’ve been using these run panels for years and never had any issues so it was a bit of a shock to say the least! Unfortunately they’re designed for use in dog kennels etc (so ideal for keeping unwanted foxes, cats etc out) and therefore not easily pliable.

Anyway, attempts to get his head back out weren’t working and he was getting more distressed. I tried to use some sharp garden shears which were the best thing I could find and they didn’t do much (except wreck the shears no doubt) so I called the fire & rescue folks for some advice. They asked some questions and then said they’d send someone out. Turns out they meant the whole kit and caboodle, and the next thing I knew there was a fire engine outside complete with crew and a bloody big pair of boltcutters.

After a bit of wiggling and jiggling to get the bolt cutters around the metal without pinching piggie parts, the firefighters managed to cut a section free which meant we could maneouvre poor Spot out safely. He’s got a small tear on his ear which I cleaned up but was eating and drinking fine when I popped him back in his hutch safely last night. He’s back on the grass (now that I’ve fixed up and reinforced the run panels!)

It was all a bit of a drama but over and done with fairly quickly, and after a stiff drink I went to bed and thought nothing of it: until this morning when, despite telling the local paper I wasn’t interested in expanding on such a non-story, they published a bunch of assumptions firing the tempers of locals who thought that they knew enough to judge the situation both on the 61-word “story” and the accompanying tweet:

But hey, why let the actual facts of the matter come between a good rant, eh?

Spot’s none the worse for his adventure, and I can’t thank the Fire (& Rescue!) Service enough for fitting me in during what I recognise as a busy time of year.