My aversion to pets

Someone asked me the other day why I don't have any pets. Will I let Aubrey have one when she gets older?  I hesitated.  I got the "what?  you don't love animals?" look.  But then I told them my story.  It's one of life lessons I will never forget. 

It has to do with guinea pigs. And why I will never ever own one again.

Back in 2007, I read this article that said people who have pets live longer and are less lonely. I was living on my own at the time, so I decided to get a pet. I didn't want to jump into the commitment of having a cat or dog, so I chose a guinea pig. I had hamsters when I was younger and a guinea pig in law school so I figured I could handle it. So I went to Pet Smart and picked a black and white guinea pig. The teenager who helped me checked the boy/girl area and determined she was a she. So I named her Ruby. I brought her home in hopes that she would make my apartment just a little less lonely. Well, she didn't really do much. She just sat there, was never really active. So at the suggestion of a friend, I got Ruby a roommate. I went to Pet Smart again, and a different teenager helped me and gave me another female guinea pig. I named her Pearl. I happily took her home, and I quickly introduced her to her new BFF Ruby. And as soon as I put Pearl in the cage, Ruby chased her down and immediately got on top of her. I, of course, freaked out so I called my brother, who had guinea pigs of his own. "Is this normal? It seems weird." I told him. But he reassured me that it was totally normal. Ruby was just establishing her dominance. So I took that advice for what it was worth and life went on as normal.

Pearl began to grow and got a little chunky, but she was so young when I bought her so I thought nothing of it. That is...until....

Easter evening, when I came home from my parent's house, I entered my apartment and took a quick glance at the cage. And I saw them. Three little balls of fur. Sitting there all huddled together in the cage in a corner. What. The. Hell. I ran over to the cage, and sure enough, baby guinea pigs. How in the hell did this happen? I frantically called my brother, and as soon as he answered the phone, I let him have it. "You said that Ruby was establishing dominance!" He told me to calm down and asked what was going on. "Babies! There are babies! You said that Ruby was just establishing dominance. But they were doing it! They were doing the nasty in my living room. Right in front of me. God!" He started laughing, and I told him that this was no laughing situation. "Balls of fur! Balls of fur every where!" He continued laughing and said "well, it's an Easter miracle!" "This is an Easter disaster!" I yelled. I kind of freaked out not remembering what species of animal ate their young shortly after birth. Did guinea pigs do that? How much longer did I have? So he asked, well, which one is the male? You need to get him out of there. Which one was showing maternal instinct?  "I don't know which one is a he. They're ignoring them.  Britney and Kevin are just sitting over there in a corner away from their children. No one is being maternal!" "Well pick them up and look." "Hell, no, I'm not digging around their junk!  That's disgusting!" "Well, put your hand in there, and the mother should go to her children." I reached in there, and instinctively, Pearl moved my direction towards the kids. So it was Ruby. Ruby was a he. Ruby was a Rudy. Or a Ruby was sexually confused. I didn't know.  And I didn't have a cage to put him in. So I quickly ran and got a trash can from my bedroom, threw out the trash and put him in it. "Dammit, I have to go. I have to get something to put him in." So I hung up on my brother and rushed out the door to buy supplies. Food, an extra cage or something to put Ruby/Rudy in and food. I'd figure out the details later. I found a plastic Rubbermaid thing I used to keep Ruby/Rudy in. I put him next to the other cage so he and Pearl could share prison visits but no conjugal ones. The next day I called a vet's office to ask what I could do. Apparently, you have six weeks to keep the kiddos with their mom because they still nurse off of her, but you best be getting rid of them at six weeks because then the boy kids will start having some Oedipus complex and will start procreating with the mother. Gross. So I took the entire cage to the vet, as well as a picture of them to see if the vet staff could help find homes for them. I can't recall which ones were boys or girls. I didn't really care so I named them Marsha, Jan and Cindy. One of them had a bit off ear, probably when the mother was "giving birth" or whatever guinea pigs do. So I figured that one was Jan. "Poor Jan." I managed to find homes for the babies. Thank the Lord.

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