November 21st, 2011
Let me be VERY CLEAR on this…we MIGHT. I said MIGHT.
The kids want a pet. I want a dog and so do the kids, but I’m also very aware of the fact that taking care of that dog is going to fall mainly on my shoulders, and that’s pretty much adding another kid to the fold, even though it will sleep on the floor and (hopefully) bite the shit out of anyone who comes in here unannounced.
So for now, we have compromised on guinea pigs.
At first, Punksin wanted a tarantula.
You may find this hard to believe, but I was actually all down with the tarantula idea. But they’re not the most cuddly playful animals and they can also release the hairs on their legs when they’re scared, which can cause problems to their handlers. When I read that a guy in Great Britain had to have surgery for tarantula hairs that had embedded in his cornea from his tarantula’s defense mechanism, that was the end of me and any goddamn tarantulas, at least until the kids get older.
So, we moved on and I thought, maybe guinea pigs.
Hamsters are too small and look too damn close to mice. It would be one endless round of me shrieking and screaming and really, I can’t take any more of that right now.
Gerbils, pretty much same thing.
Guinea pigs? I can do guinea pigs, I thought, and presented Punksin with this as a POSSIBLE option…
WHICH SHE HAS WHOLEHEARTEDLY EMBRACED.
Now, as you can tell by the tarantula anecdote, I like to do my homework before going and grabbing up some animal, especially a species I’ve never had before. And I encouraged Punksin to do the same, which has been pretty annoying because she has read the one guinea pig book I got her over and over and over and persists in following me around the house reading excerpts from it despite the fact that I READ THE SAME FUCKING BOOK.
I have warned Punksin that the main concern that might put the kibosh on this right now is allergies: Pudding and I, with our respiratory issues, might not react so kindly to guinea pigs, and even she and The Tech Guru could have allergic reactions. Of course Punksin, who is clearly the strongest of all of us in the respiratory area and only seems to be allergic to things like making her bed and taking showers, just glosses that shit over and continues to quote me passages from the guinea pig book like some sort of Guinea Pig Evangelist.
The book has been very helpful, however. We have learned a lot about how we should go about the process of becoming “parents” to guinea pigs, should we decide to go ahead with it. Very interesting factoids!
For instance, you should never get just ONE guinea pig. They are very social herd animals and one guinea pig by itself will get very lonely and stressed out, which could result in its watching QVC all day long and ordering jewelry, workout equipment, and golf clubs that it will NEVER USE.
But its not just about going and throwing two guinea pigs in a cage either.
They need lots of room. They need shit to play with because they like challenges. They CAN actually get really used to you and respond to you with affection once you handle them a lot and ply them with treats, especially in the beginning.
But my favorite and most enlightening guinea pig factoids by far, were these:
You CANNOT get two males.
Why? They will fight, scuffle, scrabble, and generally BEAT THE SHIT out of each other in a constant and never-ending battle for dominance.
You CANNOT get a male and a female.
Why? They will constantly be fornicating, to the extent that not only will you be able to open a guinea pig farm within a year, but you will also have your own live-and-in-person lesson on the birds and the bees for your kids – over and over. And over. And over.
So what remains, is the recommended guinea pig equation for those who would actually like their guinea pigs to be happy and cheerful.
Why? Because the two girls will get along GREAT. They will become BFFs and do each other’s hair and talk about boys and give each other makeovers. But! DO NOT BE FOOLED! They WILL squabble! They will get pissed off and have arguments about shit like “why did you borrow my sweater without asking” and “when you bring guys home can you please make sure they KNOCK before they come in the bathroom in the morning because I was in there changing my tampon” and “why do you always leave your dishes in the sink instead of just washing them.” Yes, they WILL argue! They will have TIFFS! But they WILL become friends again and love each other to pieces – until the next time one fucks up and sleeps with the other one’s boyfriend and that causes a little tension until they both decide that he was a douche anyhow and not worth breaking up their sisterhood over.
If all goes well and we do go ahead and get guinea pigs, I think it’s gonna work out just fine. Because apparently, they are just little people who eat hay.