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8-18 Media: Lost and found

EDITOR’S NOTE: This column refers to events that took place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing closure of nonessential businesses.

A few months ago, I lost a pet, a guinea pig. Her name was Shy and I got her and Lady three years ago. I had just finished my homework and I went to go give them their apple to eat. Shy did not come out racing to get the apple. I was puzzled by this because she usually races out of her shelf or castle to get her treat.

Only Lady was there to receive her treat. I stuck my hand under her shelf and felt something fuzzy. Sometimes they will just plant themselves in one place and will not move. I unclipped the top of their cage and looked. Shy was laying there, but three times her actual size. Instantly I thought she was sleeping or in a comma. I quickly recoiled back from where I was standing. I yelled for my mother loudly, not caring if my sisters were asleep, because let’s face it, they weren’t. She came slowly, as if she were an old grandma. She took one look at Shy and came over to embrace me. “These things happen,” she told me. She then told me to clean out their cage while she took the body and placed in a box using rubber gloves. After I was done I sat there with my mother as she called my dad. He talked to me as the tears still rolled down my cheeks. After we looked at the adoption files, it turns out that Lady was the mother of Shy. Lady was still alive as I looked over to the cage. She was stress eating like crazy.

On the Friday after the death, we went to Pet Smart to find another baby guinea pig to bond with Lady, since the humane society did not have any when we went there. My mom does not like to buy pets, she likes to adopt them, but we were desperate to find Lady another partner. The reason you get pairs of guinea pigs is that they live longer. I looked through the glass of a small fish tank to see a two-month baby guinea pig looking at me. She is all white except for around her eyes and on her behind. We bought her and hoped she would survive the trip home. She did. I had already set up a spare cage earlier that day so all we had to do was put her into it. She did not come out that day but she did the following days. She loves apples but refuses to eat lettuce or carrots. I named her Skippy since I skipped school to get her. We are hoping to bond them soon.

I am going to go over the basic care for guinea pigs for you: First, you will need a cage, hay, plain guinea pig pellets, water bottle, and the guinea pigs themselves. Make sure your cage is big enough. First, you line the cage with fleece liners or newspaper. I use newspaper. Then you put in bedding. Do not use wood chips for bedding. Next, put the cage top on. Put in at least one hideaway for each guinea pig. Then fill it with some guinea pig safe chewable toys. Fill the hay rack with hay and the water bottle with water. Next, put some pellets into a small glass bowl and put it in there. Guinea pigs need to be held at least three times a week. They also need their nails clipped every month. I also give mine a bath with 1-2 inches of room temperature water. I have read that guinea pigs are natural born swimmers. This is all for today. Stay tuned to read more.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Hunter Vedder is 12 years old and in sixth grade. He loves to read, fish and hunt.

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