Monday, November 28, 2011

Welcome Home to Our Fur Kids

Just a little over 24 hours of having our two Sugar Glider joeys home and things seem to be moving right along. Mr. K, Tenie, myself and the dogs met with the Sugar Glider breeder at the train station and went to a nearby Tesco (grocery store) and sat and had a drink to discuss the fur babies. The breeder was incredibly knowledgeable and more than willing to lend us any assistance if needed. She handed Gus and Fiona over in a small carrier covered in a cloth bag to block out light and wind. We were also given a pedigree, which she said most breeders are not in the habit of giving, but that she wanted to track her babies' lineages. We learned that Gus and Fiona's Dad's name is Mongo and their Mama is Dixie. We had a good chat and her two young children came over to check Glacier and Roscoe out and then the family were on their way, minus two Sugar Glider joeys that were safely cradled in their Auntie Tenie's arms.
After our meeting, we found a restaurant and went in for some much needed lunch. Fiona and Gus slept peacefully in their carrier, never stirring. Glacier and Roscoe were well behaved, but both dogs knew something was amiss. Glacier kept trying to vigorously sniff the carrier, while Roscoe minded his own business and expressed his anxiety through other means. He walked quickly and today he's been practically up Mr. K's butt: we both think he just needs assurance.
The train ride back to Edinburgh was completely uneventful. Glacier and Roscoe slept under the table that was between our seats and Gus and Fiona slept on top of it, tucked safely in a pink and floral polar fleece pouch in their carrier. We opted to take a cab from the train station as we were experiencing the tail end winds from gales and it was bitterly cold. We wanted the joeys to be warm and we weren't exactly excited to go back out in the wind, having fought with it all day.
Upon arriving home, Mr. K, with the help of Tenie, gently lifted the sleeping pouch from the carrier and carefully attached it to the wall of the cage; all without Fiona or Gus waking up. We put their food out-a blended mixture of fruits and vegetables over three cat food kibble-and waited. The breeder had told us that they were probably emerge around nine, but the first movement occurred around eight.
Both joeys slowly emerged, carefully exploring their surroundings. Tenie had left by this point, so all Mr. K and I could do was guess what they were doing  by the noise that they made moving around. Surprisingly, Fiona and Gus are pretty quiet and it was hard to figure out what they were doing. They rarely make noise, but we think it's because they are still getting comfortable.
Sugar Gliders actually make a lot of different kind of noises, including barking, crabbing-which is their mad noise-and a few others. We have been trying to let them settle in with as little stress as possible, but there has been some crabbing. The first happened last night when one of the joeys must have startled the other as they were sleeping. The crabbing wasn't very loud and they had not emerged from the sleeping pouch yet.
The second one happened when Mr. K was talking to one of the joeys. It was very curious and kept coming close to the side of the cage where Mr. K was. At some point, Mr. K got distracted and stopped talking. The joey must have lost interest because it hopped back in the pouch and scared the other joey who crabbed.
There was a lot of crabbing today when Tenie, Mr. K and I returned from being out. We got back right around the time when the joeys would have just started coming out and we may have startled them. One crabbed at Tenie the instant she walked into the living room and more crabbing ensued when Mr. K got too close. They have since calmed down and have been quiet.
One of the joeys, we are assuming Gus because apparently the males are a bit bolder at first, is quite active. He/she keeps coming out and running in the Wodent Wheel and eating some of its food. They both were big fans of the polar fleece ladders that Mr. K made and the sticks collected from the park across the street have been big hits. As I type this, both Gliders came out of the pouch and were running about. One little fuzz butt loves the wheel and the other came up to the edge of the cage and licked Mr. K's finger.
It's so hard not being able to touch them. I am so used to puppies where the instant they are handed over, they are squirming in your arms and licking your face. These little guys need a bit of patience and space. It's also difficult not being able to hold them because I can't see them and have no idea what they actually look like or how they feel. It's all very exciting.
Tomorrow we may try transferring them from their sleeping pouch into a bonding pouch while they are fast asleep  so that I can wear them around my neck. The bonding pouch has a zipper and keeps the joeys safe, while also allowing them to be close to your body. This way, they can learn your scent and associate it with warmth and safety. They don't seem to mind us moving around as much, so we'll see where we stand tomorrow.
Glacier is particularly interested in Gus and Fiona. He keeps going close to the cage and watching them. I always knew when they were awake last night because Glacier was on his paws, peering in at the joeys. They don't seem to mind him. I take it as a good sign that they have not crabbed at him yet. Apparently, Sugar Gliders can bond to other animals in the household. There have been incidences of Sugar Gliders curling up with a sleeping dog or sharing a snack out of the same dish as a cat.
It's been a great 24 plus hours and we haven't even touched Gus or Fiona yet. I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring. Maybe I will actually get to feel their little furriness finally?

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