The Gallery: Pets

Only a few months ago, I would have had to give The Gallery a miss this week. Because we didn’t have any pets. And I really didn’t have any plans to get them either. But one day I started thinking about guinea pigs. I’d never thought about them before, but suddenly people were telling me what good pets they make and, before we knew it, we were the proud owners of Eric and Daisy (who is also male).

I know people always say it and now I genuinely believe it. Having pets really does make your life better. Yes, they’re ‘only’ guinea pigs – they’re not a faithful dog (and I won’t ever be trading up for one of those, believe me), but I love these small, furry creatures more than I thought possible for someone who isn’t an animal lover.

When we got them, Daisy used to keep running out of the bedroom at the speed of lightning. We thought Eric was bullying him. Now it turns out that Eric is as soft and gentle as it’s possible to be, it’s Daisy who is the ‘naughty’ one. She nibbles clothes and has been known to actually bite.

Guinea pigs, Pets, The Gallery

At first, Eric was a bit fluffier than Daisy. We thought he was medium-haired. It turns out he was long-haired. His fur is an endless nightmare as it’s forever getting matted with sawdust. We brush him every day, but he still gets matted. We often cut the worst clumps off him and have even been known to give him a trim with my husband’s razor. He’s such a lovely guinea pig but, given the choice, I would probably have gone for a short-haired one. His fur stresses me out. This is because one of my beloved rabbits from when I was younger had very matted fur. He got poo stuck in it and we couldn’t clean him up. I always blamed him dying on getting poorly from the matted fur.

Now it’s cold and damp, we don’t get them out for a run, apart from a short run on the patio. Guinea pigs are not like rabbits, they’re used to warm weather and the damp disagrees with them. Eric’s long hair can get very wet on the grass and it’s not healthy for him to return to a cold hutch when he’s damp. I’ve invested in a thermal hutch cover because I’m terrified of anything happening to them in the cold. Despite our house being a good size, there is nowhere obvious to keep a pair of guinea pigs indoors.

Guinea pigs, Pets, The Gallery

Predictably, the kids are nowhere near as bothered about them as they were at the start. They do still feed and clean them (with relatively few complaints too), but they do need reminding. In the early days, my eldest was straight out to the garden to pick up the guinea pigs as soon as he got home. Now? Not so much. My daughter likes to hold them and stroke them, but sometimes needs help in catching them and always needs help locking the hutch. My younger son likes them, but prefers not to hold them. He is always worried he will hurt them, even though we’ve told him he won’t.

Now the evenings are dark, I am trying to instil some discipline in the kids – guinea pig care as soon as they get in from school. They need to feed and clean them and get them out to play with them before it gets dark. It’s helping them to learn about responsibility, even if they sometimes moan about it.

We’re not pet people at all, but I’m so glad we took the plunge and got our first family pets.

 

Author: Sarah Mummy

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15 Comments

  1. My sisters used to have long haired guinea pigs; what a nightmare. They were lovely but the hair! I would love a cat or a house rabbit but the husband says no. 🙁

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    • The hair really is hard work! Mean husband! It would be nice for you to have a pet since you spend so much time stuck indoors. x

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  2. I think this kind of disinterest occurs with every pet after a fairly short period of time. I love the colour of Daisy. We used to throw an old duvet over the hutch in the winter and therefore left them outside. They survived every winter but I did feel a bit guilty!

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    • It’s a shame they get fed up. It was the reason I refused to have pets for so long! Good to know the guinea pigs survived outside. I guess your old duvet was similar to our insulated hutch cover!

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  3. My kids have just started watching a show on CBBC in the mornings called Pet School. It teaches kids how to care for animals (and at the end their parents decide whether they’re responsible enough to have a pet). But I love how it shows the other side of owning pet – the work, the boring bits, the fact that you have to do it every. single. day.
    You’re totally right pets are so rewarding – gives kids a sense of responsibility. Although in my experience it ALWAYS comes back to bite mum in the bum!

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    • It most certainly does! Luckily I like looking after them, but I refuse to cave and do any more than I already am doing. That programme on CBBC sounds interesting. I will have to look out for that one!

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    • Thanks very much 🙂 x

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  4. Guinea pigs really are a pleasure! I never would have guessed it. I can imagine cats can be very demanding when they want!

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    • Thanks very much, they are! I had no idea before! x

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  5. Thanks very much! They make really good pets, but they are a little bit of work, as all pets are!

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  6. They are sweet-looking. I remember my cousins having a guinea pig when we were little and I thought I really ought to have a pet too, until the first time I picked it up for a cuddle and it weed all over me.

    Then I waited till I was old enough to get a dog! 🙂

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  7. I wonder how the long haired ones manage in the wild or is that a breeding thing for the pet breeds? I always think of guinea pigs as difficult because they aren’t as trainable as rabbits but they are squeeky cute.

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  8. I wonder how the long haired ones manage in the wild or is that a breeding thing for the pet breeds? I always think of guinea pigs as difficult because they aren’t as trainable as rabbits but they are squeeky cute.

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