Monday, January 13, 2014

Does Our Guinea Pig Need A Therapist?

Years ago when I lived in Northern California, a woman I knew took her dog to a therapist. Apparently, the dog had emotional “issues,” and she believed a dog therapist would help. (Let’s be clear, this was not an abused animal.) In any case, my thought was that her money would be better spent on a dog trainer. Years later, I understand what drove her to it.

This past summer, my son bought a guinea pig. Matthew has cared for pets for years. (He is the owner of the resurrection hamster.) And he’s a responsible, nurturing pet owner who is studying biology in college and wants to be a vet. In preparation for the GP, Matt read and memorized every book our library had on guinea pigs. So he is the ideal guinea pig owner. However, someone forgot to tell Charlie the Guinea Pig that.

Charlie is skittish. Months of patient guinea pig care, along with treats, proper exercise, guinea pig toys, and meticulous pen care haven’t phased Charlie. He still acts like we’re going to eat him for dinner.

When we come into the room where he resides, he scrambles for his igloo (the newest in small animal nesting places). Then, he plays dead in the igloo. Sometimes we can tempt him out with bits of carrot, his favorite food. But other times, he glares at us with beady eyes.

So I can understand why someone would take a pet to a therapist. Obviously, Charlie must have a personality disorder. After all, guinea pigs are supposed to be very social, loving creatures. And Charlie isn’t.

Of course, one other thought did occur to me. Maybe Charlie is just really, really dumb. Maybe he doesn’t realize that the hand that feeds and cares for him belongs to Matthew. Maybe he hasn’t figured out that greeting the “master” with chirps and squeaks would garner him more treats than hanging out in his igloo.

Or maybe, it’s the igloo… When Matt bought a GP igloo, the only color he could find was pink. And Charlie is a boy. So maybe he’s punishing Matt for buying him a pink igloo. Yeah, that’s probably it. I guess we’ll have to buy a blue one.

Wait, aren’t GPs color-blind? I guess we need to make a therapist appointment after all.

Charlie in one of his rare trips outside the pink igloo.

1 comment:

  1. That GP is insane. The hamster is something like a tenth of its size, with ten times its personality.