Harry will always hold a very special place in my heart.

She came into my life on May 27, 1987 - just a pathetic hunched up bald little cavy. Harry was a Peruvian (a long-haired breed) but she actually had very little hair. Instead her scrawny body was covered with hard gray scales.

Living on a diet of birdseed and wilted lettuce had resulted in severe malnutrition and at 2 years old the little sow barely weighed a pound. Harry hobbled painfully due to the scurvy caused by lack of vitamin C. She also seizured constantly because of intense unbearable itching from the worst sarcoptic (mange) mite infestation I've ever seen.

Poor Harry had been in this awful condition for months. When her owners started talking about "blowing it away" or "taking a hammer to it" a friend of theirs finally mentioned Harry's plight to me. Naturally I said I'd take her. When I picked Harry up I was also presented with her cage and accessories, which I immediately threw out once I got home. Disgusting! Putridly filthy and smelly, with food rotting in the bedding!

Harry responded well to a proper diet and lots of supplemented vitamin C. Before long she was walking normally and putting on some weight, eventually reaching 2 pounds.

The mange was much more stubborn. Sarcoptic mites are difficult to kill as they burrow down into the skin, causing damage and intense irritation. Frequent bathing with a special conditioning shampoo was necessary to soften and gradually remove the scales.

A tiny 'sweater' made from a tube sock top helped protect Harry's soft bald skin from her incessant scratching. Repeated treatments with a very diluted cattle parasiticide finally killed off the mites, but it was months before the seizuring completely stopped.

With time and love Harry blossomed into a beautiful healthy cavy with long wavy red hair. She easily returned all of the love I gave her and brightened my world for another 2 years. Although she left me much too soon, Harry will live warmly in my memory forever.

It was quite a few years after Harry's death before I formally started Jack Pine Guinea Pig Rescue in 1993. Harry is always with me, her memory provides inspiration when dealing with cavies so debilitated it's hard to imagine they can survive.

This article, the photographs, and the JPGPR.com logo are © 1993-2002 Vicki Palmer Nielsen - Jack Pine Guinea Pig Rescue. If you would like to reproduce anything from the website, please first e-mail Vicki for permission at :

Articles & Links   ||   Care Info   ||   Adoptions   ||   Donations   ||   E-Mail