Our family has some new members.
They are squeakers.
They are fluffy, furry, four-footed girls who love to munch, munch, munch.
They are guinea pigs.
My guinea pigs.
I got them for myself for my birthday. Long story, but the short version is that Boyo hates guinea pigs but I kept hoping he might change his mind. After nearly nine years, I finally figured out that this wasn't going to happen. I decided I needed them anyway. Having another three years of study before me, I needed something that was 'just for me,' a sanity helper, something to stroke. I nearly got rabbits. I'm so glad I didn't. I don't actually like them. I'm scared of big rabbit feet. Guinea pigs have little legs, soft bodies, and cuddly dispositions. Okay, so not all of them are cuddly, but when well cared for, most are. I love that they talk to me. Sometimes it does get a bit much, I admit, but mostly I love the squeaking.
Munchkin thinks they are great. He likes to have cuddles. He reads books to them, tries to force feed them, and helped me bath them. He is learning that it is never appropriate to poke an animal's eyes. Never, Munchkin, never. He is learning that having pets does require work. We have to move their cage every day, pat them every day, and every week I clean their straw out (onto the garden, yay, more mulch!) and refill their waterbottle. As you can see, he has been very interested in the makings of the cage even before the guinea pigs came to live in it.
I built the cage myself. And wondered why. It is not quite square as I forgot to check some measurements of the pre-cut stuff and one was a bit longer (or was it shorter?) than the others and I didn't realise in time. But it is sturdy and easy to move. It needs a paint to help keep it dry. I have just confirmed that this week after a week of mostly wet weather. The girls were not wet, but they were slightly damp in there!
Squeak and Licorice came to us with their names. They were breeding stock, and have both had litters before.
Squeak is the whirly white one. She is slightly indolent. Okay, quite indolent (read: lazy). She likes to eat all day long, even while lying down. She is easy to pick up and hold because she is such a relaxed personality. If you ever get the chance to meet her, you will understand why she is so named. When eating she is quiet. Otherwise, she keeps up a steady stream of quiet, or not-so-quiet squeaking.
Licorice is not relaxed. She's a bit more savy than that. She has short hair, mostly chocolate. She is middle aged already so is very used to people and their ways. She knows all about how fast you have to move to beat the person to your outside door before they can pick you up. She has attitude. Licorice likes to be on the move, watching all the goings on. She is quiet. You hardly ever hear her squeak, though she does make a gorgeous little 'brrrr' when rubbed in just the right spot. She too likes to eat. I think all guinea pigs like to eat. Apparently very loudly (according to my husband).
They have settled in really well and I'm glad I chose to get piggies that are already used to people. It makes negotations with the toddler so much easier, and interactions less fraught with pee on clothing (nary a pee in sight thus far!). We have a little plastic container lined with shredded paper that the girls come inside in on occassion. Otherwise they are usually wrapped in a piece of overlocked towel. Guinea pigs like to burrow and I'm happy to accommodate if it means they like me more. Grin.
I am a very happy piggy owner.
My husband is tolerant. He knows it is not worth him being nasty to the cavies. I know not to expect anything more. It has been a peaceful transition.
ps - I built the cage, my parents bought the equipment, and Boyo actually ended up giving me the money to buy the girls!!! I have a most wonderful husband! Mwwwwh. (that is a kissing sound, by the way!).