Two Tuesday’s ago I was in a car accident. Unfortunately, I am still recovering from my injuries. (Don’t worry, they were mostly minor.) After my accident I realized how truly fortunate I am to have wonderful friends that are willing to help me out in many ways. One way in which help was given was through this guest blog. This is the wonderful story of Char. She is affectionately known to all as “THE Eyeless Wonder”. Char was the unfortunate victim of an animal hording situation. This is her amazing story of survival and her wonderful mom’s dedication to her. – KA
Char the Eyeless Wonder
by Jade Brown (Special thanks to Dawn Cavaleri for help editing.)
Char was born the day of a big rescue from a hoarder in Louisiana in May 2010. Her mama lived in nasty cage conditions: layer upon layer of clean bedding had been thrown onto old, dirty, pee-filled bedding. The smell of ammonia was so strong that it nauseated the rescuers. Ammonia build-up like that can cause something similar to fetal alcohol syndrome in guinea pigs. Many of Char’s siblings and cousins have small eyes or no eyes. They are all marvels in their ability to live with no eyesight.
It is not as hard as you may think for blind guinea pigs to get around. All guinea pigs use their sensitive whiskers as built in canes to help feel their way; for blind ones, this method is all they know. Char has no idea that she is supposed to have eyes. She walks around almost as well as a sighted pig, occasionally bumping into another pig.
Char can sniff out her veggie treats and hear all that goes on around her. She can find her brother no matter where he hides and easily determine where he has moved the pigloo. She has favorite spots in the cage, and she knows that her pellets, hay, and water will always be in the same location.
At a very young age, she developed her own form of entertainment: chirping songs of her own creation, with different tones and rhythms. In her early days, she lived with her her mom, Kajmir, who was pregnant again before the rescues could be divided by sex. She helped her mother raise her little brothers, and her brothers taught her to jump into the hay rack. Now four years old, she doesn’t chirp as much as she used to.
After her mother and one of the brothers passed due to different illness caused by inbreeding and those horrid conditions, her brother Bailey was neutered so he could reunite with his sister. They get along very well, better than Char and Kajmir did, and look out for each other. When I take one out of the cage for cuddles, the other frets until I return the sibling. They do have squabbles. She chases and mounts him as much as he does her. I think he knows she is the boss.
As you can see, it’s easy to accommodate a blind pig. Keep the hay, pellets, and water in the same spots. Don’t worry if houses get moved around; the pigs will adapt. When picking up blind pigs, always let them know you are coming: move slowly, pet them if they are tame enough to allow it, and talk to them. You can also rub your fingers together as you approach. It’s a soft sound, but they can hear it.
Although she has never seen the light of day, I can tell by her manners and actions that she sees the world as a beautiful place, much more so than all of my sighted pigs. I cannot say all pigs born blind are endowed with this view, but Char is one of the most trusting and content piggies I have known. The sweetness and love she gives us is a very special thing, and I am so glad I was allowed to be in her life.
All that is left is to love and enjoy them. I hope this has been informative. Thanks for reading this, and thanks to Kerry Anne for giving me the opportunity to share Char’s story.
Author’s note: for more info on Char and her piggy friends contact me on my facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jade.br549