Sniff sniff. You look around. You are surrounded by metal bars. The urge to run creeps up in your legs and you sprint to the other side of the cage, but you’ve misjudged. The metal bars are closer than you calculated. A burst of energy compels you to run to the other side. It’s not enough space to let loose your stockpiled energy. Wheek? No response. You are alone. Suddenly, something large comes into the room. Wheek! Can I have a friend? I’m bored! Wheek! The human just makes sounds that you don’t understand. Worst of all, they don’t understand you either.
So you wait. Waiting for something interesting to do, maybe at dinnertime? Finally, the human enters and refills your small hay rack and pours something that has colorful chunks in it. You sniff it, it smells like something you shouldn’t eat. Hay it is, then.
But the hay runs out quickly, and you don’t receive any more. Starving, your only choice is to try the colorful pellet mix. It tastes alright, but something doesn’t seem to satisfy.
You slow down.
The human notices a difference in you now that you are lethargic and uninterested. They stop by their local pet store, you know it well–it’s all you knew when you were born, and buy a salt lick, sugary drops, and vitamin c drops.
Wheek! Vitamin C, just what I need! You climb on the wires, excited to feel better, but instead of feeding it to you, they drop it in your water bottle. Tentatively tasting it, it tastes funny. Now you can’t find regular water.
You stop drinking.
The treats they give you are tasty, but unsatisfying. If you had more hay and fresh veggies, you wouldn’t need all the extra things the pet store recommends to your human. You are trying your best to tell them, but the human just doesn’t understand you!
You get lonely.
Your floor becomes dirty. Any day you wait for them to clean your cage. Sometimes they do, but other times it is weeks before bedding is changed.
Your feet start to hurt from developing sores.
Is this all life has to offer? The human doesn’t seem interested in you anymore. You feel forgotten.
Sadly, there are tons of stories just like this. Unlike other favorite pet animals, guinea pig education and care is often overlooked and dismissed as being “easy, starter pets” or “just rodents”. Again and again, unwanted guinea pigs are surrendered to shelters not equipped for keeping small animals, let loose on the side of the road, or posted on craigslist where snake owners are looking for cheap, live food.
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