Two years ago I blogged about the new additions to our family in our new furry friends.  My youngest son wanted a dog so badly and I kept saying no to a dog because we are way too busy to be dog owners.  I  Grew up with dogs and I know how much work is involved.   A couple of years ago we were invited to a dinner party and this friend had chickens in his backyard.  They were friendly chickens and Matthew spent the whole evening chasing  bloody chickens around, holding  and petting his new feathered friends.  On the way home he kept saying he wanted a chicken as a pet.  Of course I said no to the chicken but I felt so guilty and in an emotional state I blurted out he could have a guinea pig.

The next day when I got home from work, Matthew was waiting at the front door – “mom let’s go get my guinea pig.”  Off we went to the pet shop (first mistake), went into the little cubbie hole where the guinea pigs were  kept with the boys(second mistake), listened to the sales girl tell me that we needed two guinea pigs because they are social animals and they need company while we are not home(third mistake), and then the girl continued to tell me that guinea pigs are not much work and they just eat lettuce, hay and pellets (fourth mistake).

I get to the truck to my awaiting husband, who by the way wanted nothing to do with the purchase of a guinea pig,  and as  I climb into the cab he is holding his fingers in the shape of an L and calling me a loser because I bought two guinea pigs .  He was right because when  we arrived home, set up our new furry friends  in their cage, the excitement lasted maybe  a few weeks and then my husband and I seemed to be on our own taking care of two guinea pigs.  Guinea pigs are interesting animals as they are very smart – smarter than I realized.

The one guinea pig, I’ll call the white one, wanted his hay on  a particular  side of the cage only and then he would take all of the hay out of the container and  spread all over his cage, consequently spilling out of the cage onto the rug.   Every day I would move his hay to the other side and fix the hay back neatly into the container.    The white one or, the great one, would then go and move the container back to the other side of the cage and then spread the hay all over again.    I would then come along and fix the container and  hay back in the original position.    After the third or fourth time of fighting with the great one over his hay,  he stopped looked at me (I swear he narrowed his eyes) and moved the hay container again,  only this time he backed all the way to the back of the cage and the made a mad dash and  buried himself under the hay only to come out the other side effectively exploding the  hay  all over the cage, literally exploded in my face.   He succeeded in having hay all over his cage and at the same time telling me to pound sand.  He looked at me with a look that said  “come on whatcha  gonna do about it now.”

Yep – I have two kids who can have attitude, I have a husband with attitude and for $24.99 you too can buy a guinea pig with a bad attitude.  I found myself talking to my bad ass guinea pig that day and I  said  “you keep up that attitude buddy, I’m gonna open the front door and give you your freedom, that’s right your freedom to run outside with the dogs, cats, raccoons, eagles and owls  – just keep it up and you’re a free guinea pig.”   Unfortunately,  my son heard me and went running to his father and said “dad we can’t leave mom alone with the guinea pigs, she’ll kill them!’

As time went on the dark guinea pig became ill, he somehow managed to catch an inner ear infection (very common with rodents), then he got scurvy and then mites.  My husband and I  were constantly looking after a sick guinea pig as he went from one illness to another.     So much work and not to mention the money that went out on medication to take care of a $24.99 guinea pig.  After some time and a lot of TLC, our sick guinea pig got better, not perfect but better,  and all seemed to be well with the little guys, I have to admit I was warming up to them, and then all of a sudden the great one fell ill.

Back to the vet, more medication and  more money except he didn’t survive.  The night he died his breathing became very shallow and we knew he wasn’t going to make it – my husband held that little guy on his chest and talked to him all night.    After calling me a loser for buying two guinea pigs and wanted nothing to do with them,  he loves our guinea pigs and felt so bad for the great one.

We buried him in our backyard and not even an hour after the burial the boys (all three of them) starting bugging me to buy another guinea pig.  I put my foot down, no bloody way was I buying another guinea pig – one was enough – no way.  Our surviving guinea pig went into a depression – he wouldn’t come out of his house, showed us only his butt for days, the boys and Drew were worried he was going to die and they kept pressuring me to buy him a friend.  No way, ” he’s pretty lucky, he could live in South America, I hear they eat guinea pigs there.”

Eventually with lots of love and attention he got over his depression and the little sickly guinea pig is still going strong today.  Still way too much work and not enough help from the boys and every now and then when I ask my son to clean the guinea pig’s cage and he doesn’t, I threaten Matthew and tell him he’s going to find his guinea pig sleeping with the fishies,  sends my son  running to find his dad  every time  “dad, mom is threatening to kill the guinea pig again!”

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Just taking one step at a time and writing about the simple pleasures that make me smile.

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