Sunday, November 26, 2006

Meet the wheekers

Pet stores are evil places that prey upon soft-hearted fools like me. I kid myself into thinking it's safe to go in for supplies when I know full well that I'll be tempted just the same. I'm a responsible person who knows better than to buy an animal from a pet store. I know that it's important not to breed or buy animals when there are so many dying in shelters. All of the animals that share my home are rescues of one sort or another. The wheekers are pet store refugees.

I never wanted a guinea pig, still don't in fact, but these furry guys have been here for about two years now. They had been bought from and then returned to the pet store where I buy bunny stuff. They were there in a corner week after week with an *Adopt Us* sign on their cage. Who wants rejected guinea pigs? Certainly not the silly people who come along and plop down $200 on a cage set-up and supplies for their kid's throw-away pet. If they're going to spend all that money, you can bet they want a brand-new animal, not some used version! So finally I got tired of looking at them there and brought them home thinking they wouldn't be much more trouble than a bunny. And they're not any more trouble, but they're not bunnies, obviously. I prefer bunnies. Bunnies who can learn to use a litter box. Bunnies who don't have to live in a cage. Bunnies who don't squeal bloody murder anytime I think of touching them. Bunnies who smell sweet.

Lately, the pet store has one whole section devoted to *adoptions* of the animals that have been returned or who were never sold before they got over being young and cute. I stay away from that section. Bunnies are usually too well-represented. I've talked to the owner about the twisted logic of her for sale/for adoption scheme, but she figures that she's doing a good thing by taking the animals back in after she's sold them. After all, people could just turn them loose or neglect them to death. She's got a point there, but I would suggest she educate her customers better or make them stop and think before buying. I don't guess educating people about responsible pet ownership would help her business any, would it?

Anyway, I think the wheekers prefer my husband. They don't squeal nearly as much when he pets them. They don't run in circles to avoid his hands, kicking up their back legs like miniature bucking horses, when he lifts them out to clean their cage. Plus, he gives them a mountain of hay to burrow into each day. If you look closely at the pic at left, you might just see the tail end of one of them hiding under all that hay. They disappear under there for an hour or more each evening after he gives it to them, coming out just in time for their nightly carrots. A love of carrots is something they share with the bunnies. I just wish they smelled as sweet as they look.

16 comments:

Mary said...

Laura, you are so much like me and my daughter, Gina, (my husband Michael, too) who need to stay away from pet stores - we are fools - totally into pets of any kind. I love the wheekers! I once babysitted, or should I say "piggy-sitted" a guinea pig for two weeks. He was a loveable one named "Piggie Pockets" and we'd wrap him in a large towel in the evening, place him on our laps and feed him baby carrotts while we watched TV. For a few years, I bred gerbils...loads of them, but that's another story. I agree that pet store personnel aren't trained to advise on pet ownership. They are only trained to sell, sell, sell. Bless you!

Susan Gets Native said...

Well, well, well, girlfriend. You have been holding out on us.
You have a good heart. And regardless of how they came to be with you, at least they are taken care of and are not sitting in an 8 year-old's room being bored and neglected to death.

TDharma said...

kinda like searching for a needle in a hay stack! Sorry, I couldn't resist. But even a click did not assist me in finding a g.p.

I have had them before and found them wholly unsatisfying. Oh well. I had a little hamster when my older daughter was little, and we had a great time carrying him around in a shirt pocket. What a little love he was.

Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. It's been a good couple of days, actually! Yay! Hugs.

LauraHinNJ said...

Mary: Yes, I'm an utter fool. The GP's are cute, but I get P'd on any time they're out with me for more than a few minutes!

Did you breed all those gerbils on purpose? ;-)

I was in the pet store yesterday and a man was buying a kitten. Another customer was trying to recommend a good vet to him, saying that Dr. So-and-so only sees felines. The guy was like, "Cool, but what's a feline vet?" Hellllloo??

Susan: I think they are bored. How do you enrich a guinea pig's daily life? They're not interested in chew toys. Mostly they want to eat. Any ideas?

LauraHinNJ said...

Tara: Sorry - I don't see any GP's hiding in there either - but they're under there somewhere!

I've never had any of the little ones like hamsters or gerbils, but could not really recommend a GP either. Too smelly for my sensitive nose! I could clean their cage every day (and sometimes do) but still they're smelly.

Glad to hear that you're having good days. Store them up to savor when things are hard.

bunnygirl said...

They sure are cute! Maybe they'll relax and become friendlier over time. I've read that they get along great with bunnies, so maybe they'll make some friends.

I get weak and sentimental at the pet store, too. It's so hard to see all those sweet critters and know that not all of them will go to a home where they'll be cared for properly. :-(

Susan Gets Native said...

Guinea pigs like to burrow, so a hidey house sized for them would be good. A toy store would have something good for them, as long as the plastic is strong. Bricks, paper rolls, that sort of thing would give them something to do. At least you have two...I have read that in the wild, they live in "herds". Doesn't that sound cute?

Rurality said...

I've never seen a friendly one, but I've been assured that they exist. Yours look cute, anyway!

silverlight said...

Oh, my.
Maybe they prefer your husband's scent. sometimes cologne upsets them.Your bunnies are used to it. My dog used to sneeze a lot.

jemkagily said...

With the holidays bearing down upon us, you may find yourself with empty gift wrap tubes...the wheekers might like playing with those. We had one when my older daughter was little and I was disappointed in how little interaction we had...eat pellets, make pellets was about the extent of his day. Exercise balls they could run around the house in? (Away from your dog, of course!) An x-pen in the garden in the springtime? (Well-watched so that you're not enriching the neighborhood raptors!)
I'm totaly with you on the pet store problems...am currently researching hedgehog care because I fell in love with one in a local shop on my birthday this weekend. The girl who got it out to show me didn't even know how to sex them. Haven't made the purchase yet but it's only a matter of time.
Wendi

Mary said...

Laura - Michael and Gina were the weak ones and bought two gerbils at the pet shop one day (one of each sex, of course). All gerbils do: saw at empty kleenex boxes, paper towel and toilet paper rolls, etc. and MULTIPLY - Frequently! Within a few months I had gone from owning 2 gerbils to 28 - added aquariums - on two occasions packed up a few dozen and donated them to the pet store. "The old lady who lived in a shoe..." Gina had funeral services and burials for at least a dozen of them. The last gerbil died of old age about three years later. That was the end of gerbil ownership. It was a long haul..

Lynne said...

Why you old softie!! I've heard they enjoy kleenex boxes and shoe boxes too. I don't understand wheekers. It's a new word for me! What's it mean?

LauraHinNJ said...

Bunnygirl: Some people do keep them with bunnies, but not sure how to manage that or if I'd want to.

Susan: Thanks. Think I'll see if I can find a big enough cardboard roll for them. They're good friends to each other usually - sometimes they fight.

Rurality: Other people say mine are friendly compared to others they've met, but they don't seem to like being petted much.

Silverlight: Hmmm... maybe just a male bonding thing.

Wendi: Those ball things seem kind of mean - I'd let them run in the house, but they won't! I think maybe the big bunnies scare them! I have extra x-pens - maybe I'll try that when the weather is nice.

Happy birthday to you and good luck deciding on the hedgehog. My DH's nephew used to have one - very cute, but I'm not sure how much attention he paid it. It seemed to spend a lot of time eating also!

Mary: I figured it was something like that! You'd think the store would try to sex them so that wouldn't happen! Must have been a fun time for you - not!

Lynne: LOL - sorry! *Wheek* is the sound guinea pigs make when they're begging for food.

DKM said...

Get sick for a week and look what happens...

vicki said...

You know I'm a sucker for wheekers. One of the more simple minded benign creatures. You're right about pet stores. I have Australian grass finches and they LOVE to lay eggs and do the family thing- but I won't let them unless I have a home in advance for the little ones.

LauraHinNJ said...

Diva Kitty: lol! No they've been here for a while, but the bunnies tend to steal the show. Hope you're feeling better now.

Vicki: I wondered how you took such a nice pic of your pig - I took dozens for just one nice one. I like the way you describe them as simple minded benign animals - they are! They are very easy to please - mostly with food and hay.