It’s not every day that I bump noses with a guinea pig, but this encounter was special. Her name is Pumpkin and we crossed paths roaming the community garden. She offered me a carrot before I could bark, then shared her story while I took a few bites.
In Her Words:
It’s hard to be the life of the party when trapped in a cage on the doorstep of a local garden shop. Lucky for me, a beautiful human picked up on my super-sweet vibe and took me home. Who wouldn’t fall for my fun, loving personality? It certainly makes up for the mess I caused when she brought me home. She didn’t even mind that my skin was crusty or that I was itchy from the mites matted in my fur.
She taught me the meaning of compassion, and I taught her that guinea pigs have 14 toes—four on each front foot, and three on each back foot—though only my front toes are working at the moment. I have a kind of hind leg paralysis that can occur in guinea pigs, which is a great puzzle. No worries, though, my front feet are lightning-fast and can drag me to my breakfast bowl in two seconds flat, even faster if I smell fresh kale!
Spending time outdoors with my human is the best part of my day. She paints while I play in my cavy cabana. It’s screened, so I can stay safe while enjoying the breeze and warm sun.
When I grow up, I think I’d like to be a teacher. Some say I should be the lead singer of a heavy metal band because of the squeaks and squeals I make when I’m hungry, but I think I’d make a better teacher. I’m already teaching young people about pet care and am slated to appear at local outreach events once I receive a clean bill of health.
Meanwhile, I’m still trying to learn the pecking order of our household. I share a living space with my feline friend, Mousy. We have an interesting relationship, sort of like a game of hide-and-seek—he hides and I seek. It’s a constant battle. The real treat is finding him and chasing his tail until Mom puts me back in my cardboard mansion. Then, it’s time to hit the hay, literally, and drift off to dreamland.
March is National Adopt-a-Rescued-Guinea-Pig Month, a time to raise awareness about homeless guinea pigs and pet cavies in general. Many people may not realize that hundreds of guinea pigs are surrendered to shelters each year when their owners decide they no longer want them or cannot care for them. Guinea pigs are small, gentle, sociable creatures with personalities that pack a punch. But as with all pets, these animals rely wholly on humans for food, shelter, protection and companionship. Before adopting a guinea pig, make sure you’re up for the commitment.
Thanks for the great story, Pumpkin!
Davi doesn’t have a guinea pig to pal around with at home, but he’s putting his best tail wag to the cause.