Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Fun With Guinea Pigs

By Joanne Colangelo
Joanne Colangelo volunteers for a number of animal rescue organizations. She shares her experiences in giving guinea pigs another chance at a forever home.

Click image to enlarge
three guinea pigs
Photo courtesy Joanne Colangelo
Baby Teddy, Mom Macie and Baby Baci (12 days old).
Bride and groom guinea pigs at altar
Photo courtesy Leah McNeil, Joanne Colangelo and Barb
Princess Snowflake and Teddy on their wedding day

We have all been enjoying Leah McNeil’s wonderful adventures with her guinea pig, Princess Snowflake. Since Leah needed to take a little break, who else would jump at the opportunity to fill in for her but me, Princess Snowflake’s mother-in-law.

Princess Snowflake and Teddy were united in “pigtrimony” on June 6, 2008, after falling head over paws for one another. They had so much in common from the start! Princess Snowflake and Teddy are both “rescue” pigs. Leah adopted Princess Snowflake from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Shelter in Charlotte, N.C. I found Macie, Teddy’s mom, on Macie had been found in an abandoned apartment with her parents and siblings, and The Critter Connection, Inc. of Durham, Conn., took them into its rescue. I adopted the expectant Macie, which soon delighted our family by presenting us with two big and healthy boys. We named them Teddy (that resembled a teddy bear at birth) and Baci (pronounced as BaChee, which means “kisses” in Italian).

We now have six guinea pigs. Five of them came from The Critter Connection, and one of them made me a foster parent failure. After introducing my foster pig, Sweetie, to my sow herd, my girls welcomed her with wheeks and whistles, and I couldn’t bear to separate them. Besides, my philosophy has always been “what’s one more?” It works for me (except when I’m eating chocolate chip cookies at midnight), and I have to admit that I fell in love with the new little girl.

Love. Why is it so difficult to believe that we guinea pig slaves love our piggies? I have been asked: “You love a guinea pig? Isn’t it a rodent? You kiss them?” Oh, yes, yes, yes! I love my guinea pigs as much as any pet I have ever had. They are affectionate and personable and so much fun.

In fact, most people don’t realize how delightful piggies really are. Just recently, I asked my daughter to please not eat in her bedroom late at night, and she agreed. I should have known that was too easy. That very same night at around midnight (it runs in the family), I heard a commotion of loud wheeking. My pigs squealed on her. How were they to know it was a bag of potato chips and not romaine lettuce for them?

While we have fun with our guinea pigs and love the little critters, they are a big responsibility. Just because they’re small, doesn’t mean that their care is simple. Guinea pig ownership should be taken seriously. That’s why Leah and I had a long talk with Princess Snowflake and Teddy before the wedding. We need to be prepared before they decide to add little piggies to our family. Of course, they will be wonderful parents, and I will keep you posted when the time comes. Both Leah and I will be so proud when they bring home their newborns … newly adopted from a rescue or shelter, of course.

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Fun With Guinea Pigs

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Reader Comments
It is so nice to know there are people who take such good care of their piggies I love guinea pigs have two of my own and have had many in the past and love hearing about your guineapigs
Buttercup(Bub)and Coco'sMOM, Plainfield, CT
Posted: 7/20/2008 4:54:35 PM
Many thanks to all of you who have left such sweet comments! I'll be reading them over and over and over!
Joanne, Mahopac, NY
Posted: 7/20/2008 8:51:51 AM
Joanne, What a GREAT start to your Blog! I am Happy that you are blogging now. You have a wonderful talent for writing and I can't wait to read more. Princess Snowflake is Excited too and she's running around in circles right now, wheeking with Delight! I'll be counting down the days on my fingers (and paws) 'til your next entry. :-)
Leah & Princess Snowflake, Charlotte, NC
Posted: 7/19/2008 9:16:34 PM
in your first blog you did not only entertain us, plus also reminded us on the importance of rescue work. You brought the two subjects together in a wonderful story. Your guinea pigs are so lucky to have you. Your work is admirable. I can't wait to read your next blog. From now on you are not only a great friend, but also "the voice of all rescue piggies."
A job well done,
Marion, Minneapolis, MN
Posted: 7/19/2008 8:39:04 AM
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