Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Sharing Sweet Guinea Pig Stories
By Joanne Colangelo
Joanne Colangelo volunteers for a number of animal rescue organizations. She shares her experiences and stories of guinea pig interaction.
Photo Courtesy Lisa Stanley-Folly
Heidi the terrier mix is fiercely protective of her guinea pig friends like Genevyeve.
I have a lot of stories to tell about my guinea pigs, but I thought it might be fun for my guinea pig-loving friends to share some of theirs.
Wendy from Katie’s Critters Small Animal Rescue of Center Moriches, New York, shared a special little story with me. She took in a female rabbit named Lucy that was supposed to be spayed. It turned out that Lucy was pregnant, however, and the babies were due just one week later. Because Lucy was litter trained, she ran about the house. Meanwhile, Wendy’s shelter guinea pigs lived in a large exercise pen. When it was time for Lucy to have her babies, she jumped into the piggie pen and her seven little rabbits were born with all of the female guinea pigs present. When Lucy decided that she needed some time alone, she hopped out of the pen and left the babies behind. During such times, one guinea pig took on the “mothering” responsibility of the babies and watched over them. The baby bunnies grew up along with the guinea pigs — they hung out together and got along great. While it’s best that guinea pigs and rabbits live in separate quarters, Lucy chose to live among the pigs and was very gentle with them all.
My friend Lisa from California adopted a terrier mix dog named Heidi, and Heidi just loves guinea pigs! Heidi lets them walk across her front legs, just watching them, and they even exchange little kisses. When Lisa lets the pigs outside in the back yard to munch grass, Heidi won't let anyone near the pen. In fact, when the pigs are outside, they won't come out of their igloo until they see that Heidi is out there with them. It’s as if they know that Heidi will protect them. Lisa doesn’t know why Heidi loves the guinea pigs so much, but perhaps it is because Heidi had been a homeless street dog in Tijuana, Mexico. She was starving, 9 months old, missing most of her hair, and had recently had a litter of pups when she was rescued. Sadly, her pups were never found. Perhaps it was the loss of her own babies that makes her love little critters so deeply. “I just know that she's a really special dog with a big heart and an even bigger soft spot (like me) for guinea pigs,” Lisa said.
A Guinea Pig Vacation
Marion, my friend in Minnesota, likes to remember the days when her neighbors went on vacation and let her look after their guinea pig, Lollipop, which allowed him to have a vacation of his own. Marion’s piggie girls had daily floor time, but Lollipop lived alone in a small cage. While he had everything else that he needed, he really enjoyed his visits with Marion’s little girls, PolyPig and Sweetie. The three of them had great fun together and played “train” where one pig followed directly behind the other. Lollipop was always the caboose, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Henry David Thoreau has said, “The language of friendship is not words, but meanings.” I think guinea pigs have known this all along.
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Sharing Sweet Guinea Pig Stories