The bond that exists between a person and their animal, regardless of size, age or species, is truly unique. Rover, a small guinea pig with fragile health, won the heart of his new guardian who devoted herself body and soul to provide him with the best end of life comfort and care.
“I adopted Rover because I was looking for a companion for my guinea pig, Mars, after his friend, my first guinea pig, passed away. I contacted the SPCA, and I was told that Rover was the only male guinea pig that was available, but that he was old and had some health problems. I went to visit him at the SPCA anyway, and I promised myself I wouldn’t impulsively take him home, but I fell in love with him right away, and that’s what I did. I knew his age meant his life wouldn’t be that long, because I was told he was already over 5 years old. However, I saw the state that he was in, and I knew I would be able to give him a good life.”
Rover thus entered his new home and was introduced to Mars, who acted very dominantly towards him at first. After many encounters on neutral ground, the two rodents finally became comfortable around each other, and once this happened, they became inseparable! This special connection with Mars kept Rover active and alert despite his health problems.
Lucky, in spite of his misfortune
“He was a very unlucky guinea pig when it came to his health towards the end of his life, as it seemed like everything that could go wrong did go wrong.” He required several visits to the veterinarian, for example, to treat the arthritis that had spread to his hind limbs, or to correct his misaligned teeth that prevented him from eating properly. Despite all this, he was fortunate to be surrounded by his new loving and patient family who took care of him every day.
“In the end, he developed a partial paralysis in his front legs, meaning he would push himself with his back legs while dragging his front legs. The veterinarians determined that with his medication, his quality of life was still fairly good as long as he was not injuring himself by dragging his head everywhere. They suggested I build a wheelchair to try to keep his upper body off the ground. “
Where there’s a will, there’s a way, but the task wasn’t easy! “It was a real challenge to do so, because most models for other animals are for their hind legs as opposed to their front legs. But after a lot of help brainstorming with my family, friends and coworkers, I found a solution that seemed to be pretty promising.“ His multi-level cage was also adapted for his safety, and thanks to his new custom set of wheels, Rover was able to get around easily enough, despite his handicap.
Unfortunately, the paralysis progressed rapidly, greatly diminishing his quality of life. With no remaining treatment options to help Rover recover, his family had to make the painful decision to say goodbye to him. “I loved him very much, and it was really hard to say goodbye, but at least I knew that the short 3 months he spent with us were probably the best 3 months of his life because of the amount of love, care and attention he received from me and my family (and Mars!).“
A happy ending
“People used to ask me all the time: “Why are you spending so much money on a guinea pig you got for free (seeing as the Montreal SPCA absorbed his adoption fees due to his medical needs)”. And the answer I always gave was that his life was infinitely more valuable to me than any price, and if it meant spending all of my money to give him a good life, I would have done so. Rover was my responsibility the moment I adopted him, and I was therefore responsible for giving him a good quality of life to the best of my ability.“
This adorable guinea pig was fortunate to live out his final months with a devoted family who cared about his well-being from day one. We wish this fate for all our boarders! By taking into consideration the history, needs and specificities of each animal as well as each adopting family, our team hopes the matches they make will turn into true love stories.