Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Preparing pets for evacuation in emergency & RIP Radike Samo, guinea pig

Radike (right) meets his new cage-mate Randy: you know guinea pigs are hitting it off when they share bok choy leaves.
I cannot begin this post without acknowledging that so many people have lost beloved pets in the terrible fires over the last week. There are many animals affected - even those that survive the initial blaze are subjected smoke inhlation, terrible burns walking on the fireground, dehydration and other injuries. 

Many areas remain under threat. The Australian Veterinary Association has provided advice for pet owners close to affected areas which you can view here. The RSPCA NSW blog has info on preparing pets for evacuation here.

If you have not already, consider volunteering your time or making a donation to wildlife care groups, such as WIRES (click here), which will be inundated. 

On a personal and wholly unrelated note, this week I farewelled Radike Samo, a guinea pig named after my favourite Wallabies player (I had to qualify the title of the post lest Wallabies fans read it and think that the great man himself had died). Radike (the guinea pig) passed away in his sleep peacefully due to unknown causes. He had suffered from recurrent dermatitis, cause undetermined, but at the time of his death was in excellent condition. His co-habitant Randy is missing him terribly.

Randy and Radike tuck into two faves: Dutch carrots and celery tops.
Radike came into my live as part of the cavy-chain. Anyone who owns cavies will know what I am talking about: you start with one, for which you need a friend, so you find that second guinea pig. Years later, one dies. But because guinea pigs are herd animals, they need company. The remaining guinea pig needs a companion.

So you get another one...and the eternal cavy chain is established. In my case the cavy chain has involved not just owning guinea pigs, but learning and writing about their husbandry, attending guinea pig shows dressed as a giant fairy (sometimes I wonder how these things come to be) and attending guinea pig medical and surgical emergencies anywhere from Sydney to Darwin (one of my most painful work-related experiences was a guinea pig bite sustained when trying to break up a fight between two pet boars living in a backyard pen 300km Northwest of Alice Springs. They were fighting over a sow. I underestimated their passion. Excruciating). 

When I adopted Radike I had just seen the most exhilarating sporting footage of Wallabies player Radike Samo scoring a try against the All Blacks. I'm not a sports fanatic but this moment left me breathless (especially the bit where he "throws a dummy" and sprints across that field with two huge, determined, pretty scary looking blokes in hot pursuit).

This by way of explanation that Radike the guinea pig was named such because of his ability to sprint. Sans All Blacks in hot pursuit, but you get the picture.

Randy and Radike enjoy fennel tops together.
When Radike's co-habitant Popcorn died I found Randy.

Randy and Radike hit it off - so much so that unfortunately I don't feel it would be appropriate to post the video of their first thirty seconds together (let's just say there was a mutual attraction and leave it at that). 

I will remember Radike, but Randy will fret for him until he finds someone else to eat and hang out with. What I do know is that cavy-chain wasn't meant to be broken. So I'm making preparations for a new addition.

[If you want to read more about guinea pigs, check out the guinea pig salad here or read about guinea pig treats here].