A Tale of Two Guineas

I have always been a rodent person. Animals like cats and dogs tend not to interest me at all, perhaps because of their nuisance factor. Plus, unlike most people, I don’t find either of them very cute, even puppies or kittens. I hate the use of those to sell stuff – think of the Andrex puppy. It appeals to such a base instinct that I consider it an extremely underhand selling tactic. Besides, I wouldn’t even say Andrex was that good…

Anyway, I prefer rodents. This comes as a great annoyance to my mum, who despises them. She has learned to live with our guinea pigs and the few hamsters we used to have, mainly because they don’t have tails or only have short stubby ones. But I could live with gerbils, mice, even rats, quite happily. And one of my more bizarre goals when I’m older is to own a chinchilla.

But back at home, there is trouble a’ brewin’. My sister got a guinea pig for her birthday about four years ago. Then a year later, she got another one, a baby one this time. They lived together quite happily for ages, but it was always clear that the older guinea pig, a slightly miserable duffer, was going to be a little aggrieved when the younger guinea pig finally became bigger than he was, because he liked to boss the baby around.

Unfortunately, it’s now gone too far. The younger guinea pig is now a big, fat thing, clearly bigger than the older one. And also not very pleased with its place in the hierarchy. So, after them living together for a couple of years, they have had to be separated. There is clearly a battle for status going on, as at first there was a fight, which we managed to break up when my dad stuck his hand into the ball of fur that was rolling around viciously.

It’s sad really; they used to be best friends. Now it is very amusing when you pick one up, hold it to the wire fence on the cage and listen to its teeth rattling and chattering as it issues the challenge to the other guinea to come out and fight. Of course, they can’t do anything to each other through the fence, but they give each other a good sniffing as if to say, “You stink”.

The daft thing now is that my sister barely looks after her guinea pigs, and it falls to the rest of us to do the cleaning up and swapping from between the hutch and the garden run. My sister also doesn’t look after her dog, the one she begged for by putting my parents on a guilt trip. Now the dog is a lunatic, barking like mad at anything it finds out of the ordinary, including people, who tend to wear terrified expressions as the dog runs at them, barking, on the couple of times it has escaped out the front door. It would never bite, but you wouldn’t know that. I would be terrified if a dog came at me like it did to a young couple walking past the other day. It hasn’t been trained properly, and it is never likely to be because of the way it has been tormented since we got it.

Personally, I don’t understand why any parent ever gets a pet for any child below, say, the age of 12. The stories of them getting bored with their pets are endless, and all the time the parents end up looking after them. Sigh.

Meanwhile, this godawful August weather continues…