LUCKY the guinea pig has taken a bigger battering than John McClane in Die Hard.
A cruel owner had abandoned the tiny cavy, suspending him from Shelley Bridge in a plastic bag and leaving him to suffocate and cook in the hot sun.
He’d tried to claw his way out but fell from the bridge, plunging into the water and ingesting nearly half the river before being rescued and taken to a vet in Riverton.
“He’s a little fighter, he’s such a sweetheart,” new owner Daniel Bagley says. “He’s obviously been through a lot.”
The panicky rodents have been known to turn up their toes if a cat even looks at them funny, but Lucky’s a plucky one.
Mr Bagley, who lives in Yokine, was volunteering at the Armadale Community Animal Rescue Group when he heard of the little fella’s plight.
“We went there on the bus and the train,” he says, despite strict ‘no animal’ rules on public transport.
“We don’t have a car, and had to go all the way back. The train guards were asking us what we were doing with the animal.”
At his new home, badly malnourished Lucky was fed and put on weight but then Mr Bagley noticed other injuries.
“We took him to the Unusual Pet Vet in Balcatta, Doctor James Haberfield,” he says.
“The guy is a genius. They specialise in anything that’s not a dog or a cat.”
Lucky had sustained broken ribs in the past, had worms, was pooping river water, and had elongated teeth (his poor previous diet meant he was unable to grind down his incisors). “Too-long teeth can cause entrapment of the tongue,” Mr Bagley says. “They can’t drink and they can’t eat and they eventually pass.”
An operation to fix the teeth would have cost $500, too steep for the hospitality student to afford.
The Perth Vet Bill Assistance charity agreed to take on his case and Dr Haberfield chipped in too, halving his fee.
A much cheerier Mr Bagley told the Voice Wednesday he hopes to one day join the PVBA as a donor so he can repay its kindness.
“When we get back on our feet we’ll be donating,” he says.
You can follow Lucky’s journey at the Facebook page Lucky Cavy.
by DAVID BELL