If you can help Olivia and her sister Casey find a new home, please visit Olivia’s Petfinder page.
Keegan is Herman’s son and Sebastian’s littermate. And Koren is Keegan’s son. So they were already part of our extended family before they came to live here this summer.
Why have I been so slow to write about Keegan and Koren? Well, there’s been a lot of drama here over the past month and a half. First, Keegan developed an ear infection on his way from Kentucky to Twin Squeaks. He also has a couple of teeth that aren’t very healthy and had broken… causing his other teeth to become overgrown. So Keegan went to the vet his first day here. He was on antibiotics, ear drops, and eye drops for his ear/eye infection for several weeks.
In addition, he’s been having periodic tooth trimmings, because one of his broken teeth is not growing back in… causing one of the bottom teeth to get too long. (If you ever notice weight loss in one of your gerbils, one of the first things you should do is check their teeth! Make sure that the top and bottom teeth are even and that none are overgrown or broken. Also, healthy rodent teeth should be yellow; white teeth are more brittle and may be a sign of a health issue.)Because of his tooth trouble and ear infection, Keegan had lost quite a bit of weight by the time he moved here. I’m happy to report that over the course of 5 1/2 weeks, he has put on 18g! He’s very healthy now!
Shortly after we discovered Keegan’s tooth trouble, we inspected Ryan’s teeth and found that he had a broken tooth and an overgrown tooth. Keegan and Ryan are not related, but they both grew up in the same place around the same time… My vet suspects it was a nutritional deficiency in the water, but we will probably never know for sure why they have weak teeth. So then we were busy medicating/caring for two gerbils.
Ryan’s teeth are even now, and his latest vet check went well. He’s put on almost 10g since his upper incisor first broke, so he’s on the mend as well.
I kept wanting to write about Keegan and Koren, because I’ve been very anxious to tell everyone about them! But I was so busy with antibiotics and eardrops, giving soft/liquid foods, etc. that it was hard to find the time that I usually devote to the blog. During that time period, we also lost our senior gerbil Grace after a long battle with an abdominal cyst. I’ve also had some of my own non-gerbil issues I’ve been working through recently, so my time online has been limited. (To everyone who has emailed me and not received an answer, I apologize. I’m gradually working my way through my email, but I am quite behind at the moment.)
I’m going to be out of town for work for a few days this week, but Jason will be taking good care of the gerbils while I’m gone. I hope to have more time to keep up with the blog, fill everyone in on the latest gerbil news, make some much-needed (and much-delayed) site updates, and catch up on email.
I’m really looking forward to having more time to share photos and stories about Keegan and Koren, as well as the rest of the gerbils here at Twin Squeaks!
Today’s Featured Rescue Gerbil is Hazelnut, a handsome Burmese gerbil who is at Morris Animal Refuge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Hazelnut’s owners had to move and couldn’t take him with them.
A week and a half ago, Grace, beloved sister of Tori passed away after an extended battle with an abdominal cyst.
Despite her health problems in the last months of her life, Grace continued to have a zest for life.
She was always the first out of the nest at dinner time, and she continued to love digging, burrowing, chewing cardboard, and playing with timothy hay.
Although Grace was fiercely independent in her younger years, with little use for companionship from anyone other than her sister; as a senior, Grace was gentle and a pleasure for us to spend time with.
In her final months, Grace enjoyed time with both her sister and us.
Grace was laid to rest in a private ceremony on a beautiful day, last weekend.
Grace is survived by her sister Tori and her brother Ryan.
Ryan and Sheldon were with Jo of Black Wolf Clan. Jo took a new job and just moved from Kentucky to Colorado this week. Jo isn’t taking all of her gerbils with her, so Ryan and Sheldon moved in at Twin Squeaks on Tuesday night.
Ryan is Grace and Tori‘s brother. He’s one of the most mellow gerbils I’ve ever met. He will just sit in your hand forever. (He’s been like that his whole life!) Oh, Ryan is also a retired AGS Champion.
Ryan is no spring pup; he will turn three years old this summer. His buddy Sheldon, on the other hand, is much younger. He was just born this winter/spring. Just as Ryan has family here at Twin Squeaks, so does Sheldon. Sheldon is Herman’s great-grandson.
I’m anxious for the weekend so I can really spend a lot more time with Ryan and Sheldon and get to know both of them better!
How does a gerbil become a Grand Champion in the American Gerbil Society? First, a gerbil must be an AGS Champion, achieved by receiving at least eight show points under at least two certified AGS judges.
Second, the Champion must also have at least three children or grandchildren who are also Champions.
I received Herman’s Grand Champion ribbon last night, and while Jo was passing through town, we took photos of the ribbons with Keegan (who is staying here now) and Keaton (who lives with Jo). I wish we could have had photos of Herman and Kaden with their ribbons, but as you probably know, Herman passed away last October. He was nearly three and a half years old. Kaden left Black Wolf Clan (Jo’s kennel) to live at Double Star Kennels a year ago.
It’s bittersweet that Herman couldn’t be here when he became a Grand Champion, but it was very touching to have his son and grandson (both Champions) here to celebrate yesterday.
Happy birthday, Toby!!!
The Nashua Telegraph ran an article about the New England Gerbil Show that was in New Hampshire this weekend. (There are several photos that accompany the story. The last one is of my late gerbil Buster at the 2007 Midwest Show.)
This is the first time since 2006 that I’ve missed a New England Show! I’m anxiously awaiting results and will post when I know more.
Yesterday was a big day for split-cage introductions. It was two weeks since we started swapping Hallie & Cassie around again. (They had been living in a permanent split, because we’d had trouble introducing them when they were younger.) It was also two weeks since we’d split-caged Smurf and Bach.
At first, I thought Hallie and Cassie’s intro would be a success. Within the first five seconds, Cassie had her nose down on the ground, and Hallie was grooming her thoroughly. Neither one was fluffed up or seemed remotely threatened. The grooming lasted a good three or four minutes. A very good sign!
About fifteen minutes in, though, I moved my arm, they got spooked, and the next thing I knew, they were in the air, squabbling. I had my gloves on and separated them. No one got so much as a scratch, thank goodness. I gave them a break and tried again in a bit, but they were still wound up.
I’m very encouraged by how great things started. And how I’ve seen them grooming through the divider after splitting them back up again. So I do plan to try this pairing again.
In other news, we had to abandon plans to pair up Smurf and Bach. They never did settle down. Bach was still attacking the divider, and they’d both gotten so high-strung that I couldn’t even handle them anymore. Then during the week, Smurf got a scratch across his nose. So I split them up.
Since splitting them up, they’ve both gotten calmer and easier to handle. Yesterday, I put Smurf in a split-cage with Toby. This is going much better than the attempt to pair Smurf and Bach. No aggression at all. Smurf is scent-marking things, but that’s to be expected this early on. They’re both calm and easy to handle, and they hang out next to the divider, snacking on food.
My only concern is that Toby is quite old (3 years, 8 months this week), and I don’t want Smurf to be alone again soon. However, Toby’s in excellent health as far as I can tell, so hopefully he’ll continue to do well. :)
Wish us luck. The boys have two weeks of split-caging ahead!
We have a couple of unhappy gerbils here tonight. Bach and Smurf moved into a split tank together this evening, and as expected, they are less than thrilled with each others’ presence. :-D
At first, they were each happy to explore their new surroundings… Then they noticed each other…
They both met at the divider. Smurf started stomping his feet madly, and Bach puffed up to about three times his normal size. (I had no idea that little Bach could look so large!)
The boys have settled down some now. They’re both chewing on toilet paper tubes and mostly ignoring each other.
Wish us luck. It would be great if we could get these two boys together since they both lost their tankmates earlier this year. I think they’d make an adorable pair, too. Now we cross our fingers and hope that their personalities don’t clash and that we can have a successful split-cage introduction in a couple weeks!