Join us as we revisit a rescue story from Issue 71, shedding light on the challenges of boars in rescue. Lady Edith’s fun storytelling has left a lasting impression on us, and we’re really excited to be sharing her story with you here on the blog today for the last day of GPAW2023 (Rescue & Rehome). We just know you’ll enjoy the read and let’s hear it for the boars!
Article by: Lady Edith of Gertie’s Guinea Pig Rescue (Issue 71, 2022)
When Gertie’s Lonely Guinea Pig Rescue featured a rescue story a year ago, it was by my cousin, Miss Edith, who ran the rescue with a paw of steel. Alas, she passed, leaving a gaping leadership role here at the rescue. As it happens, I was born in rescue at that very same time and bore an uncanny resemblance to Miss Edith. So, I was plucked from being a tiny homeless whippersnapper and thrust straight into the role of an instant Pup Star… Pin-up… Global Icon… Well known for her originality, my mum named me after Miss Edith; but to avoid confusion (or create it?), she called me Lady Edith. The title is fitting (although I am not quite sure she has the authority to be giving titles to guinea pigs—a point I will take up with our new King).
Since the pandemic took off, things here at Gertie’s Guinea Pig Rescue have gone a little crazy. With over 90 piggies in rescue, mum and Karen (my humans) wondered if life would ever get back to normal. We had cages stacked everywhere, and I was getting more than fed up; the daily marathon workout with my refreshment trolley, keeping everyone entertained, and the continual revving up of the paw-held vacuum cleaner… poops just get everywhere, don’t they? I can fire mine across the room with precision. Not the nutritious ones, obviously; I save those to snack on.
Fast forward to surviving the pandemic, and then we are hit with 2022, where things have gotten a whole lot worse. The financial squeeze has meant adoptions have just dropped away, like a full cava glass shattering on the floor. We still have a waiting list for sows – but now we have one for BOARS too.
There used to be a few new home offers among the daily emails; I’d gaze at the setups and imagine if I could see myself living there – carefree with a bottomless salad bar, being hand-fed grapes… We now get very few new home offers. It is these that every rescue needs to keep things moving. There is only so much space in any one rescue, after all. Without adoptions, we cannot rescue. So, I work through all the emails (tagging all the boars that need a rescue space (in order of my own preference – I add little notes to help my PA Karen to sort them correctly – you know, things like, “Hot to Trot” or, “Kissable Lips”, or “Love the cut of his jib”). Obviously, my hints have no sway. We keep squeezing in those at most risk… How boring is that for an eligible sow of title?
The saddest thing is that boars are an issue for all guinea pig rescues. The truth is that they are a lot harder to find new homes for.
The problem runs through both sides of the rescue, the sanctuary pigs and the adoptable pigs. We have the sanctuary pens where we give a retirement home to those who are too old or have long-term medical problems that render them unable for adoption. Gossip Central for the rescue, and my Wisdom Corner for life skills when I had to grow into Miss Edith’s size nine Crocs. Obviously, adding an older female to a herd is not usually a major issue; it all fits into one large pen. But taking in an older single boar is much more of an issue – as you can only have one neutered male in each herd of sows. And not many boars that arrive here are neutered. This then means we can only try and pair them up with another older boar. But to get matches, you need to have two separate spaces to allow this to happen and are not guaranteed to get a successful match every time. The sheer logistics of the constant shuffle for space gives me a headache just thinking about it all. Anyway, that’s what I have the human staff for!
New owners usually ask us whether sows or boars are better. I look all serious and pretend I’m mulling it over in my mind when I’m actually thinking: Are you BONKERS – who wouldn’t want a pair of handsome, loving boars in their life? (I once overdid my mulling impression, and mum thought I looked in pain and almost took me to the vet.)
Obviously, the politically correct answer to new owners is that it is your choice. We are all unique and enchanting, after all, with some of us – like me – a bit more perhaps! But I’d still rather adopt a well-matched pair of boars. Unlike us sows, they are not stressing around with three agendas on the go, and they have the leisure to give you their full attention!
So, I thought for my first article, I would finish with The Lady Edith’s Hard-Hitting Facts on Boars in Rescue.
Fact 1: Boys are always stuck in rescue for far longer and can become so desperate that they are climbing the cage bars because they’d rather climb up a human owner for a treat or a cuddle. Personally, I am all for equal adoption quotas for boars!
Fact 2: It’s always the boys and not the girl babies who end up in rescue or elsewhere (from the sale of mis-sexed or already pregnant piggies). Girls are usually allowed to stay with their mummy. That is not quite fair…
Fact 3: Who wants to adopt all those fallen-out boars, from unmatched bought pairs or groups, that nobody has the room or the nerves for?
Fact 4: The most natural way of living for us girls is with a neutered boar. We do it instinctively (tingles all over my body). And we don’t fall out with them even though it can be tough to keep up the illusion that they are Sexpots in Charge, pin-up King Pins, you know what I mean!
Fact 5: A good rescue will carefully match up their adoptable boar pairs or cross-gender groups. You can avoid sleepless nights neatly by not emailing me or any other rescue once you are already in deep poops. Think rescue and recycling first before you get any guinea pigs!
In short, good rescues know their stuff… You should see the paw-scratched and nibbled job manual I have been left by Miss Edith! Adoption is not quite as quick as buying, but it offers greater support. And no headaches and a clear conscience are well worth it! Plus, you’ll allow rescues to be able to rescue again. Anyway, I must dash. All this writing is eating into my social media time.
Nothing is better than my evenings spent swiping through the posts in Gertie’s Lonely Guinea Pigs friendly and fun Facebook group, catching up with those adopted and associated boars (girlie giggle) and the latest sow fashions in fleece couture and portrait accessories.
As a prominent influencer, I take giving unsolicited advice and comedy quips very seriously indeed. (wink) And, If anyone is a personal friend of the King of England, can you please put in a word about getting my Lady Edith title confirmed as soon as possible?
*Popping the head back through the door* Just forgot – if you can’t adopt, please help with my slashed ‘cava allowance’ by ordering our new rescue calendar. All those boars stuck in rescue EAT LOADS!
A huge thanks you to Lady Edith and Gertie’s Lonely Guinea Pig Rescue for sharing this story with our readers!