As I noted before, one goal for this year is to increase Lucy's responsibilities around the house. And what better way than a pet! Well, there might be better ways, but certainly not cuter ways. A few months ago I read these posts on Afterthoughts and realized that Lucy really needed a pet.
We went with guinea pigs. I've always been a fan of the small animal pet, my first post on this blog, all the way back in 2007, was about our last small animal, a hamster named Gus-gus. But guinea pigs are a little sturdier than hamsters if you have an Elmyra in your house. Our is a 4 year old boy but the video isn't too far off. He gets it from me I know. They are also lively during the day and pretty darn cute.
We decided to get them back in November and I was checking out Craigslist quite frequently in hopes of finding just the right ones when I saw a Guinea Pig sitting job pop up. It ended up working out for us so Snow and Coco came to spend a month at our house and gave us a nice chance to see what the responsibilities - and benefits - of Guinea Pig ownership would be before we took the plunge ourselves. And the money we earned was just what we needed to buy their own (and I can say we because both kids are helping with the care of these gals).
They are used to living in a much quieter house than ours and are pretty shy but have slowly come around to us although I think they'll probably be happy to return home next week. But all three kids seemed to be fans so Christmas came and a few Guinea Pig necessities showed up under the tree.
And on New Years Day the right guinea pigs came along. They were a set of young ones, well socialized and living in a lively house and one week later they are starting to settle in quiet nicely. We went and each kid got to pick which one they wanted. They were several really pretty ones, with different colors and an Abyssinian with crazy hair that I was routing for. Lucy picked this reddish, 4 month old Teddy Guinea Pig which she named Betsy.
She's already pretty friendly and will gladly eat from Lucy's hand while being held, or snuggle in front of her on the ground. I didn't know much about Teddy's before this but she definitely fits the stereotype of having a friendly and warm personality. Lucy's in love. Betsy is definitely her piggie.
Jonah waved between a tri colored one that I liked but they decided on a baby white one. The whites were my least favorite but I let his choice stand. She was only 7 weeks old so pretty small and being all white, she kinda looked like a rat. But she's growing on me.
He, being four years old, has been quite indecisive about her name. I'm a fan of the literary names so Lucy and I were really hoping for a Tacy to match Betsy but he wasn't impressed with that idea. After being Snowco (keep in mind the names of the two we are babysitting), Snowcone, Boo-Boo Butt, back to Snowcone and now, what seems be sticking and my personal favorite of his choices - Coconut. I'm just glad it's not Boo-Boo Butt. I couldn't complain too much about that choice because it was also a literary reference but I think Coconut fits well for a all white piggie and didn't hesitate to praise that idea.
She's not as calm yet as Betsy but from what I've read about taming a guinea pig, she's still doing really well. She likes to be held in the cuddle cups I made. Despite Jonah's many attempts, she won't eat from his hand then but will take long things like carrots sticks, celery or lettuce from my hand when she's in her cage. And no shaking or signs of distress when we hold her. And it's only been a week. Jonah doesn't have the patience that Lucy does for sitting with her so I've secretly snuck in a few times to give her some socializing sessions. And while Lucy would say Betsy is her piggie, Jonah says Coconut is his and mine to share. I don't mind that and it is what I expected. But in the next few years, I think that will change. Norah thinks they both belong to her and tries to hug, kiss and pet them all the time. But she does it all without actually touching them which is probably for the best at this point.
She really doesn't want that carrot. But she'll accept a nose rub.
Snow and Coco are here for a few more days and I'm waiting on a few parts to finish up Betsy and Coconuts C & C cage so its a bit crazy. I've got piggies upstairs and downstairs and boxes of hay everywhere you turn and I'm still figuring out what style of cage liner I like best before sewing several of those so I'm doing more of the work than I hope to eventually but once that is done and our system is in place, I'll start handing more of the work to Lucy and I think she's excited about that too. That will just leave me with three kids, a husband, 5 chickens and a cat to take care of, easy peasy right?