Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Huntington Beach, California, United States
Posted Mar 06, 2018
Our first guinea pig made it's way into our home while two of my children were still of elementary school age. I was at our local Pet mart and a woman was dropping off her son's pet guinea pig because he had just left for college a few weeks before and she felt unable to care for him. A phone call to the store had provided the information she was looking for. Yes, this store took in unwanted small pets for re-homing and foster care. Fortunately for this older, male guinea pig (and my family), she explained this to a staff member right in front of me and surrendered him immediately!
I volunteered my family as the solution to this little guys dilemma and we were all thrilled. Within hours we were back home with a proper habitat, water bottle, feed dish, food and bedding and embarked upon a wonderful journey of love with "Peanut," our American Guinea Pig.
Guinea pigs are fabulous pets and Peanut was no exception. He was a delight in both character and personality. The girls often fought over the right to have "holding" time with him because of his sweet and funny disposition. We had several dogs at the time and our female husky, along with our three smaller dogs were ushered out for "romp time" each day after school so that Peanut could explore a room of the house without interruption from a curious canine. Had they been raised together we might have let them share space, but our experience with dogs was that our terriers were bred to go after small prey and with the husky we would never take a chance on an accidental nip. I would really consider this type of pet on it's own or with same sized, similar pets if they are to share space.
He ate his food eagerly each day and small treats consisting of the tops and ends of the various vegetables (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini) I would cook each night for dinner. Cleaning his cage was never a hardship and the girls took turns with the chore without complaint and because he would watch over the process from his place in the other girl's arms.
Dawn and dusk found him active and curious and we supplies several engaging activities for him, including places to explore and lightweight containers for him to play hide and seek. He loved affection and being petted and never seemed to want for another pig to play with but that is something I would recommend you consider if you are thinking of having a new pet. Guinea pigs are very social and can become bored easily. They do well with the knowledge that they are not "alone." Peanut was a bit older and my three daughters were quite active with him on a daily basis. Had our situation been different or without constant human contact, he may well have been lonely and needed a playmate.
Since that time, we have had several friends who have chosen this pet for their family. In every case, the story is the same. They are delightful and engaging creatures who entertain on a regular basis with their daily antics. Children under the age of 13 are particularly blessed by these little guys as their care is a wonderful way to learn responsibility and care for a pet. I highly recommend guinea pigs for families who have discussed their new pet's care and have the time to devote to bedding changes and/or who may be unable to have larger or outdoor pets because of their lifestyle or living circumstances.