Kori Nelson Midlands Humane Society
Your child has hinted that he wants a small animal. The options are endless: gerbil, bird, hamster, rat, guinea pig, reptile, fish, rabbit or something else. They land on getting a guinea pig, which is great, but where to start? Where do you find a guinea pig? What type of enclosure and bedding do they need? What does their diet consist of? Is it better to have two instead of one?
The body dimensions of these little guys are unique, and some might say a bit ridiculous. Guinea pigs have strong, stocky bodies with small legs, large heads, large eyes and short ears. Their fur varies in texture and color, sometimes being curly, wavy, or short and straight. Not to mention they make the cutest little “meep, meep, meep” sounds and are easily excited by food, dare I say treats!
Let’s dive a little deeper into the history of this cunning little creature. According to nationaltoday.com, a guinea pig is neither native to Guinea nor related to pigs. The name is a mystery, but the creature itself is certainly cute. It is a domesticated rodent from South America, where it was raised as household livestock. They are related to a wild species called “cavy”, which still roams the grasslands of the Andes.
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The uses of guinea pigs over the centuries have been many. The tribes of the Andean region use them as customary gifts, medicines and even as a divine medium. They are depicted in the art of ancient Peruvian tribes. They were introduced to North America and Europe by Spanish, Dutch, and English traders in the 16th century. They became pets in wealthy households that could afford the exotic trade. Even Queen Elizabeth would have had one! Guinea pigs have also been featured in popular culture, starring in children’s stories and Hollywood movies like “Dr. Dolittle.
Before heading to the pet store to buy a guinea pig, consider adopting a rescued one instead. At any one time, there are hundreds of guinea pigs available from rescues, and often shelters, across the United States. It is true that many small animals are turned over to shelters and rescues, or simply abandoned for various reasons. In fact, the Midlands Humane Society received hundreds of small animals in 2021, including dozens of rats. It may seem surprising that so many small animals need to be rescued. Surely that’s just one thing for larger, unwanted pets like dogs and cats running amok, right? Wrong.
Keep in mind that many small pets are acquired by children as first-time pets or given as gifts by well-meaning friends or family members. Remember that all pets require time, care, attention and money. It is always the responsibility of parents or caregivers to help manage pets that are meant to be their children’s pets. It is crucial to ensure that they play with them, receive medical attention, food, drinking water and bedding material. Children easily get bored or weary of pets, especially if they don’t think anyone else is helping to care for them.
Pay attention to the lessons we teach our children when we abandon pets out of boredom, they say they don’t love them anymore or they don’t have time to take care of them. Pets should be lifetime commitments. While there are valid reasons to return a pet, be sure to speak with family before returning them, giving them away or worse yet, abandoning them or simply forgetting them in your home and not giving them away. provide food, water and care.
It is important to note that no animal is free, even those advertised as such. Bedding, food, toys, veterinary visits (office visits, vaccinations, medications, tests, and possibly even surgeries), boarding, and grooming (if required) should all be considered before bringing an animal home. House. Small animals can be wonderful additions to any home, but be sure to research their breed, habitat needs, life expectancy, habitat requirements, and activity levels . If you decide to get a small pet, please check online for shelters or shelters near you to adopt before shopping around and help the young ones in your life understand the work involved, as well as the benefits of adopting. unconditional love they receive from pets in return.
MHS animals of the week: We currently have three guinea pigs available for adoption. There are two females Kentucky Wildcat and Blue Devil Duke and a male, North Carolina Tar Heel. These names were given in honor of our beloved March Madness basketball teams. MHS also often has guinea pigs available for adoption at Council Bluffs’ PetSmart store. Stop by to see all we have to offer in the world of pets. We are open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.