Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Two-Guinea Christmas for Charlie and Cashmere

Tonight, I am doing something crazy: I am adopting two guinea pigs. They used to be lab animals, and they are both albino. (I hope I can tell them apart!) Two females, their names are currently Amiee (I had nothing to do with that spelling) and Allie, but I'll find out tonight if they even know that. Allie is rumored to be very playful, while Amiee is shy, and they are both around two years old. (During a good deal of my childhood, we had a guinea pig we called Jennapig who lived to the incredible age of almost seven. When she died, she was very thin and shaky with lots of gray hairs peppering her black sections.)

I remembered Jennapig fondly and had guinea pigs during most of my college and graduate school career after a roommate and her boyfriend bought two "female" guinea pigs and one of them bore twin boys. I named them Ulysses and Aeneas, but Ulysses died of a sudden, mysterious illness when he was only 10 months old, so I got Aeneas a girlfriend named Phoebe. She died tragically in pigbirth, so I got him another girlfriend named Veronica, and they were very happy together, having several litters of piglets until I got Aeneas fixed. Eventually they died, and I got a guinea pig named Sebastian, but I found myself in a situation that was not guinea-pig friendly so my parents had him for the rest of his life. (They were jonesin' for a guinea pig anyway, and he was spoiled by the grandkids.) Then last year I helped a choirmate take care of a guinea pig who went by the ridiculous moniker of Sir Fat Louie (he was named by a class of preschoolers), and then I was jonesin' for a guinea pig! While the rabbits are superior in almost every way, they are not cuddly like guinea pigs are.

I looked on the Humane Society website and found Amiee and Allie, but their owner said she had decided to keep them, after all. When I told Hardingfele this story, she said a friend of a friend was trying to unload four tame rats down in Chicago, and why didn't I adopt those instead? I wasn't super excited at the prospect of pet rats, but I'd heard they are actually quite friendly and intelligent, so I emailed the friend, who said her friend was still deciding what to do about the quartet of rats. When I never heard anything back, I went on with my life, already quite crowded with seventy-some plants, two rabbits, one real hedgehog, and one virtual porcupine.

Then this weekend Amiee and Allie's owner sent me an email: Was I still interested in the guinea pigs? I said sure, and she says she will bring them over tonight. So Charlie and Cashmere will be getting pet guinea pigs for Christmas! How will they react?

I predict Charlie will be ecstatic. He loves all females, certainly human ones, so he will probably just see the piggies as two more hot chicks. Whenever my girlfriends come over, he comes running over making his little happy sound; I'm sure in his mind he sounds like Barry White as he coos, "Hey baby, haven't I seen you here before? What's your sign? I'm a Gemini!" But of course my friends just see a floppy-eared ball of fluff running up to them, so they fuss over him and say, "He's so CUTE!" and he still thinks he is the Studmuffin to end all studmuffins. When my male friends come over, he is more standoffish.

Cashmere may be more of a problem. She fell madly in love with my father when I took them to my parents' house, so she would probably prefer male guinea pigs, although it is possible that she would consider any extra animal an intrusion on her territory. However, she is also very curious. I cannot judge what she will do based on her interactions with Sylvia, since she was scared of the hedgehog for months after she arrived. The guinea pigs will not be nearly as scary, and they are a little smaller than the rabbits, so maybe Cashmere will appreciate the fact that she can push them around. Maybe they will all become great friends. It's hard to say.

I predict that Sylvia will be indifferent to the arrival of Amiee and Allie.

Hopefully Hardingfele will be able to film this auspicious and probably adorable meeting. If so, I will post it here.

Famous Hat


Hardingfele and Tailor said...

Albino pets can be very easily distinguished by a small painless metal eartag. Just pick a number and you can have 007 or 999 or whatever other lucky number you want the piggies to have.

I think you should dump your carpet, haul in dirt and plant grass seed on one half for the bunnies and pigs, stick in mealwords in the grass for Sylvia and plant plantworld in the other half. You may have to be cautious about watering in light of the downstairs neighbors.

Famous Hat said...

As a kid I always dreamed of having grass instead of carpet in my living room. Then again, my plan was to live in a tree house in the Amazon jungle!