Guest Post: Top Ten Essentials for Guinea Pigs

Your pet guinea pig deserves all the best that you can provide for him or her. If you’re a new guinea pig parent, this top ten list may be beneficial for you and lead you to the path of guinea pig parenting greatness!

  1. Education: No worries, a PhD is not required take care of a guinea pig. Still, before you purchase your guinea pig, study up on what they need and the amount of dedication it takes on your part to care for a guinea pig. I can’t encourage you enough to look at care guides and internet resources and to ask questions before you purchase a guinea pig.
  2. rocco_hayFood: Please remember to feed your guinea pig. Your guinea pig needs food specially formulated for them, along with fruits and vegetables. We gave our boys fruits and vegetables in the morning and at night. I encourage you to keep the food dish full and replace with fresh food daily.
  3. Adequate Housing: Every guinea pig deserves a nice cage that he or she can call home. Your guinea pig needs toys, a place to be alone (pigloo or similar structure), chewing apparatuses and comfortable bedding. Please make sure that your guinea pig’s flooring on the bottom of its cage is a flat, solid surface.
  4. rocco_cageClean and Sanitary Cage: Please clean your guinea pig’s cage on a regular basis! Daily, you must clean the bedding, check the food for poop and other nasties, provide fresh water by emptying out the water bottle and cleaning it out with a bottle brush, and replacing hay that’s gotten gross when on the cage floor. Bottom line, keep that guinea pig cage clean!
  5. Attention: Okay, human servants, your guinea pig(s) needs attention from you. Yes, you! Guinea pigs as pets rely on their human servants not only for food, but also for companionship and love. Please, scoop your guinea pig(s) out of its cage regularly and hug them. Once or twice a day we would take our guinea pigs out of their cage to run around our apartment while playing with them. Giving your guinea pig(s) attention will let them know they’re part of the family.
  6. rocco_toyToys: Every guinea pig should have toys, but a guinea pig should never have an exercise ball as toy. Please DO NOT put your guinea pig in an exercise ball, they are made for rats, mice and smaller rodents! The exercise ball can damage a guinea pig’s spine and guinea pigs are not made for those balls. Head to your local pet store for chewing toys. Our boys liked to play and chew toilet and paper towel tubes; apparently, they’re good for guinea pig jousting.
  7. Playtime Out of Cage: Like any other pet, guinea pigs need time to run and play. Scoop up your guinea pig(s) and let them run around in an enclosed room. With this freedom comes great responsibility. Please make sure there are no hazards such as cords, wires, open doors, open windows, etc. While your pig(s) are out, please watch them carefully. You may purchase a playpen if you wish, but do what works for you.
  8. Social Skills: Guinea pigs need social interaction as they are naturally social animals. Guinea pigs live together in their natural habitats in large groups in which they thrive on the company of their group. A non-social guinea pig is an unhappy guinea pig. I recommend having two guinea pigs, but if you can’t, please interact with your guinea pig as much as possible. Treat your guinea pig(s) like a human; after all, they’re part of the family. Guinea pigs enjoy their caretakers talking with them, cuddling them and just letting them know they’re loved. Remember, a social guinea pig is a well-rounded guinea pig.
  9. Pet Carrier: To transport your guinea pig(s) outside of the home, your guinea pig(s) require a pet carrier. We bought our boys a carrier for trips to the vet and travels to the beach to visit family. We fit our two boys in there, but I would go with no more than two guinea pigs per carrier. Be sure to put a towel or blanket in there for a comfy travelling experience for your guinea pig(s).
  10. Vet Care: Like a dog or cat, guinea pigs need vet care. Guinea pigs have different veterinary needs from a cat or dog and should be taken to an exotic vet if possible. An exotic vet is more equipped to care for your guinea pig(s), more so than a regular vet. I’m not trying to say that a regular vet will not try to help your guinea pig(s); it may just be more difficult. We took our boys to a regular vet for nail trims but, when Rocco got sick, he was taken to an exotic vet. With treatment, he lived a year longer.

eclipseWritten by Nikki Harbeston, Creative Stuff, for LAA Pet Talk. She resides in South Carolina with her husband and dog. Her blog features Diary of a Chubby Piggie and Into the Journey of Dog. Copyright August 2013-March 2014.

If you are a pet owner with writing skills, Lincoln Animal Ambassadors would love to hear from you! We’re especially looking for content about birds, exotic animals, and horses. Content may take the form of an advice column or how-to articles. You may even simply wish to act as an expert consultant. If you are interested, please post in the comments and we’ll be in touch.

 

Guest Post: Building the Best Castle in Guinea Pig Kingdom

Guinea pigs love open space to run around in. They just want to be free piggies. As a guinea pig mom or dad, you have the power to see that your guinea pig has the best castle in the guinea pig kingdom.

nikki_guineapigcage

For one guinea pig a cage size of 30” x 36” is recommended and for two guinea pigs 30” x 50” is recommended. Keep in mind, these sizes are the bare minimum. From personal experience, I strongly suggest a larger cage. My husband and I built a cage out of three materials:

  • Coroplast: This material was used for the flooring in the cage. It’s corrugated plastic sheets that can be found at Amazon, Home Depot, or Lowe’s. I want to stress that guinea pigs need a smooth solid flooring. Flooring that’s not smooth and solid will hurt their feet, causing blisters and messed up toes.
  • Wire shelving: These were used to form the structure of the cage. We found these at Target a long time ago. My suggestion is to use google to find these.
  • Zip ties: These can be found at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, etc. The zip ties help bind the cage together.

The size of the cage we built was 13 feet long and 3 feet wide. It took up one side of our whole kitchen wall! At the time we built this cage, we had a very long table that we used as our kitchen table and decided for our boys, we would use the table for their cage. When the cage was first built we used bedding from the store, that proved too expensive, so we switched to lining the cage with towels. Towels were able to be swapped out as needed and the boys were happier. (They sneezed a lot from the bedding previously.) To make your own guinea pig castle, here’s a video to get you started:

Now that the guinea pig fortress is complete, let us move on to decorating and renovating fortress guinea pig. Your guinea pig(s), like humans, need to customize their dwelling. May I suggest starting with a hay buffet, food dish, water bottle, and a shelter that they can carry out their plans for world domination in?

Our guinea pigs had us wrapped around their little paws, so their cage was filled with the basics, but also with two cuddly cups, two pigloos, two water bottles and tons of toys. I do suggest that you get some toys for your pig(s), especially something for them to chew on. Our boys had plenty of luxuries. Rocco (my spunky boy) would take his head and flip the pigloo out of the cage for attention purposes. Please remember that toys cannot take the place of the human servant for your pig(s).

Let us talk about renovations! Our boys loved when we would change things around in their cage, popcorning and wheeking ensued. We would move their pigloos around for them and without fail every time they would move them to where they wanted them. In my opinion, cleaning out their cage would count as renovations. Our boys loved a fresh and clean cage, but also liked to stink it up as fast as possible. Before stinking up their clean cage, they would run around, knock over the pigloos and then potty on the bedding. Some guinea pigs may not like renovations in their home, so move the belongings carefully!

Written by Nikki Harbeston, Creative Stuff, for LAA Pet Talk. She resides in South Carolina with her husband and dog. Her blog features Diary of a Chubby Piggie and Into the Journey of Dog. Copyright August 2013-March 2014.

eclipseIf you are a pet owner with writing skills, Lincoln Animal Ambassadors would love to hear from you! We’re especially looking for content about birds, exotic animals, and horses. Content may take the form of an advice column or how-to articles. You may even simply wish to act as an expert consultant. If you are interested, please post in the comments and we’ll be in touch.

Guest Post: Essential Foods for Your Guinea Pig

You’ve just purchased your guinea pig and when you bring he or she home, it starts to “wheek” and “chirp”. It’s hungry!  You go through your cabinets and offer it a Pop­Tart, popcorn, even chips, but it refuses to eat, a problem is brewing. Guinea pigs need essential foods for their survival and some foods just don’t cut it. Please put your guinea pig in its cage and go to the store, right away!

max_rocco Once you’re at the store, head to the produce area and get some leafy green veggies for your guinea pig. Guinea pigs thrive on leafy greens. Some leafy green veggies are high in Vitamin C, which your guinea pig needs on a daily basis in order for its survival. Lettuce is a great option. Do not buy iceberg though, because it lacks nutrients. I also recommend parsley and green peppers. Make sure to not let them have the seeds from green peppers as they can choke on them. Always, wash your veggies before you give them to your guinea pig.

Next head over to the fruit section! Guinea pigs need a daily dose of vitamin C. Without it, they’ll develop scurvy. So pick up some apples and oranges. These are a significant Vitamin C boost! Please use sparingly though because excess fruit consumption can possibly cause diabetes. You might also consider a vitamin C supplement.

Once you are done at the grocery store, head to the pet store. The pet store has your Timothy Hay and chow that your little guinea pig demands. Timothy Hay provides the fiber that’s essential to your guinea pig’s digestion and helps keep their teeth from growing too much. Guinea pigs love to eat, play, poop, and nest in Timothy Hay. Provide tons of this hay on an unlimited basis. When we had our guinea pigs, we purchased a hay buffet than was attached to their cage, so they could stretch and move around to get it. They would tear all of the hay out and do whatever they wanted with it.

For the chow, I recommend Kaytee brand guinea pig chow. However, there are conflicting ideas on guinea pig chow. Some people say that the guinea pig chow should contain no seeds or colorful cereals and some people say that it’s okay. Our guinea pigs did quite well with the Kaytee brand guinea pig chow, but you may choose what works for your guinea pig the best. I do recommend that when selecting a guinea pig chow, make sure it has a good Vitamin C content and store in a cool, dark, and dry place.

Are you home with all of your supplies? Get to the kitchen and chop some green peppers. Remember to wash them! While you distract your guinea pig with the green peppers, pour some guinea pig chow into a small animal sized pet dish, and place it in its cage.

Did you notice that I forgot a crucial piece of information in this article? Please make sure your guinea pig has an unlimited supply of water, day and night! Now that your guinea pig is all settled in, kick back and watch your little guinea pig adjust to its new home.

eclipseWritten by Nikki Harbeston, Creative Stuff, for LAA Pet Talk. She resides in South Carolina with her husband and dog. Her blog features Diary of a Chubby Piggie and Into the Journey of Dog. Copyright August 2013-March 2014.

If you are a pet owner with writing skills, Lincoln Animal Ambassadors would love to hear from you! We’re especially looking for content about birds, exotic animals, and horses. Content may take the form of an advice column or how-to articles. You may even simply wish to act as an expert consultant. If you are interested, please post in the comments and we’ll be in touch.

Introducing Rocco, the Pig Behind the Diary

If you’ve been following Lincoln Animal Ambassadors this week, yesterday we finished featuring Diary of a Chubby Piggie. These imaginative diary entries of a guinea pig were written by Nikki Harbeston, back when she owned guinea pigs. Nikki based them on her guinea pig, Rocco, whom she and her husband bought so they could have a small pet and lost around the age of five due to eating issues. She wrote these diaries to express her creative side.

rocco_bedA chocolate/dark chocolate American Guinea Pig breed, Rocco came from a PetSmart in Greensboro, North Carolina. Neither Nikki or her husband ever knew his age, but he was young when they bought him. They purchased him along with his cage mate, Max.

Rocco was a spunky guinea pig and, as his diary entries illustrate, often ran around his cage “popcorning” and bucking like a bronco.  A mischievous pig too, Rocco often would flip his igloo house out of the cage and onto the kitchen floor.  At meal times, Rocco would fling poo onto their table.

Nikki and her husband first noticed the first signs of bonding happened when  Rocco “wheeked” at them for attention.  He’d want to be petted, fed some veggies or fruits, and exercise time around the apartment.  He bonded with them within about a month after their getting him.

“My husband claims Rocco’s like me; it took him a little time to warm up to people.  Rocco loved to cuddle for a few minutes at a time; then he wanted to be his own pig. Rocco would sometimes poop or pee on us when holding him; he’d promptly be put back in his cage.

Top Ten Reasons Guinea Pig butts are Awesome … According to Rocco

  1. Our butts are a source of warmth
  2. They can be used as floatation device
  3. The smell acts a deterrent to human hand-pick ups
  4. Our butts can put out a large forest fire
  5. When motor boating, our buts create a breeze, so the cooling bill is much cheaper
  6. It as acts stinky invisible wall to keep robbers out of the house
  7. You can paint a big smiley face on it
  8. It can be used a beacon to signal the coast guard
  9. You can use it as projection screen for movie night
  10. It has its own orbit

Nikki noted that the challenging part about having a guinea pig is their upkeep. “They require Timothy Hay, fruits, veggies, Vitamin C, and a constantly clean cage. Another issue is finding an exotic vet that specializes in guinea pigs and knows how to take care of them.” Because of the maintenance involved, she believes that people need to understand that guinea pigs can require a lot of time and money. “ I wish that pet stores would better educate potential customers looking for to purchase a guinea pig on the responsibilities involved with these animals.”

Despite the challenges, Nikki enjoyed having guinea pigs. She believes that they are a fun and loving pet. “What I like most about guinea pigs is that they are so fascinating and adorable, with many interesting things to learn about them along the way.”

Thanks to Nikki Harbeston for allowing LAA  to feature Diary of a Chubby Piggie. Nikki will return once a month with a how-to column about the care of guinea pigs.

If you are a pet owner with writing skills, Lincoln Animal Ambassadors would love to hear from you! We’re especially looking for content about birds, exotic animals, and horses. Content may take the form of an advice column or how-to articles. You may even simply wish to act as an expert consultant. If you are interested, please post in the comments and we’ll be in touch.

Diary of a Chubby Piggie: The Later Years

Interested in animals other than cats and dogs? Lincoln Animal Ambassadors is proud to feature Diary of a Chubby Piggie. These imaginative diary entries of a guinea pig were written by Nikki Harbeston, back when she owned guinea pigs. Follow the exploits of Rocco throughout this week, at the end of which you’ll hear Nikki’s story about her special bond with Rocco. Nikki will also return once a month with a how-to column about the care of guinea pigs.

August 2013

The family went on an adventure this past month to the Western United States.  The family dog, a black lab that’s almost two, volunteered to let me travel the West on her back, complete with a saddle.

First, we had to cross the mountains of North Carolina. To a guinea pig, mountains are big!  Eclipse had no problem with this. She’s a born mountain goat at heart.

After several days, we make it to Kansas. There’s so much corn in Kansas that I decided to use some of the corn ears to go jousting!  It turns out that in Kansas guinea pig jousting is the number one sport.  After several rounds, Eclipse was tired, so we took a nap in the cornfield.

The next day, we reached our destination, Montana.  Once a year, all of the guinea pigs from the United States take part in a family reunion, we are all part of the same timothy hay tree, you know.  All of the piggies were scared of Eclipse at first because when they saw her teeth, all of the guinea pigs thought that there were going to be eaten.  Eclipse is a kind, gentle dog; she’d never eat a piggie!  We stayed about a week at the reunion, then sat off for California.

We chose to make our way to California because Eclipse wanted to get an acting role in The Bold and The Puppy, just for fun.  The casting call was no longer open, so we just toured L.A. and see what it had to offer.  I never knew there were so many cats in L.A.  Upon seeing so many cats, I jumped on my doggie and we rushed out of L.A.

On our way home, we stopped in Texas and eat at the world’s largest chili bowl.  You park your noble steed and start chowin down.  At the gift shop, I got a little sombrero and Eclipse got a bone hair clip. After such a long trip full of fun, we decided that it’s time to head home.

We made one last stop, Graceland.  All I found out about Graceland that some dude singer lived there and was famous.  I thought it would be a shrine to all guinea pigs because we are so graceful. What a disappointment!

We arrived back in North Carolina last night. We’re tired, but we had a great trip.  If I wrote everything in this diary entry that we did, you’d be reading for days and days!

September 2013

rocco_toyWith my piggie bucks that I earned from mowing lawns, I was able to purchase a castle.  Of course, since I can’t drive on the human highway, I sent my owners to the pet store to buy this castle.  The castle is made of cardboard, which makes it easy for chewing, which then leads to an easy remodel of the castle.

The castle is stationed right in the center of my piggie cage because that’s the center of piggietopia in my cage.  Around the castle, I planted some chew toys and timothy hay.  Now the inside of the cage is decorated with plenty of poop, because a pig should poo in his castle.

I’m thinking since I’ve got a castle, I can put my piggieloos near by and just have my own kingdom, but every piggie is invited to visit my kingdom.  My owners are jealous of my kingdom and they try to reposition my kingdom when they clean out my cage.  I put up a fight and eventually I’ll have them trained to put my kingdom back in the right spot after a cage cleaning.

October 2013

The dog is so fun to play with!  My humans like to get me out of my cage more than they used to and I am not complaining.  I’m an older piggie and I no longer pee on the carpet, so I’ve earned my stripes.

eclipse_pupOne evening the dog is playing with her crunchy cashews, these cashews make this awesome sound.  It’s hard to describe, but it’s sweet music to my ears.  Mom put me down on the floor and before I get to the floor, my little piggie legs are spinning so I can bolt as soon as my feet hit the floor.  I make a straight plow towards those cashews big butt and all.  Dog sees me coming and tries for those cashews, but I am dressed like a cowboy pig, so my lasso will snatch those cashews from the dog.  The dog is quicker than I thought, so I try to rope the dog, but the dog escapes my lasso of piggie power.  I chase dog around the living room for about an hour, jumping over the couch, winding thru the perilous wheeled office chairs and avoiding getting tangled in electrical wires.  Dog tires out a lot easier than I do, I’m a piggie machine.  I reach the cashews and claim them by putting my big ole piggie butt on them, but the dog flipped me off of those cashews and ran away with them.  Earlier, my dad put my piggie castle on the floor, you know incase I get those cashews and I’m able to drag them into the castle.  Dog needs to go outside and poop, so I know that this is my one chance to get those cashews, I waddle my way over to them, snatch them and make a mad dash to my castle.  Finally, the cashews are mine, for now!

December 2013

It’s that time of year when all the humans are putting trees in their homes and wrapping everyday items in paper.  My humans have a tree that’s short enough for me to hide under!  I use the tree as a base for my hideout during the month of December because the dog can never find me!  At night I like to climb up the tree to get a better view of the living room and swing from the star atop the tree.  When my humans are not home, I like to arrange the gifts around the tree and hide from the dog to plan my sneak attacks.  The dog likes to launch dog biscuits from the patio area and I like to deflect them with my guinea pig butt.

During the day when I’m not sleeping, I volunteer at a local guinea pig rescue.  I’m in charge of getting the other pigs to make their beds and clean their hay buffets.  I was tired of chillin in my pigloo all the time and I wanted to do more with my furry life.  Last Sunday my humans took me to my friend Bobby Kitten’s house.  We played with his catnip tower, but I had the most fun poking in and out of the holes!  Bobby Kitten and I haven’t seen each other in a while and it was good to see him.

On Christmas day I’m traveling with the dog and my humans to open gifts and partake in feasting of a beast that goes gobble, gobble. I am strictly vegetarian so I will be bringing my hay that’s in the shape of a turkey, I call it hayturkey.  The dog gets some turkey because she likes to eat meat, but yet she’s never tried to eat me!  While the humans open these things called gifts, the dog and I like to run around and cause trouble, it gets the humans attention.

As for ringing in the new year, I’m ringing it by sleeping in my comfy pigloo!

January 2014

rocco_pooltableHappy new year, dear readers!  It’s now a new year for this old piggie. I’ll be 9 years old in September.  To ring in 2014, the dog (my noble steed), Bobby Kitten, and I went to New York City.  All I see are shoes and tires! It’s a scary place! Luckily, we had the dog guide Bobby Kitten and me on her back throughout the city for some nice sightseeing.

When we arrived at Times Square with our party hats and noise makers, it was full of people!  Way before midnight confetti was flying around the city and we looked like we’d rolled in glitter. Hallmark could have used us on their greeting cards.  Bobby Kitten thought it would be a better idea if we found an apartment on the 12th floor to gain a better view of the ball drop.  We politely knocked on the door of 1201-B and asked to borrow their balcony.  The humans said yes. probably because we’re so cute.  The humans got us some towels and a space heater so we could keep warm until the ball dropped.  We were offered some cheeseburgers, pizza, and potato chips.  As animals, we are not supposed to eat this stuff, but you only live once, right?  About 10 PM us animals started to get sleepy, but we kept ourselves awake by playing some board games the nice humans let us borrow.  I was more interested in chewing on the board games, so I was promptly put in the lap of the human child while being petting and squeezed. Finally, midnight arrived and we were able to watch that glowing ball drop to ring in 2014.  I don’t quite understand the significance of the ball dropping, but apparently it means that the new year begins.  I suppose if the ball did not drop it would mean that we were stuck in the previous year?

March 2014

Being a guinea pig, I don’t understand why the lights and the heat suddenly went away.  My humans told me that an ice storm came and knocked all of the trees and these things called power lines down.  It was already cold outside and, when the power went out, it was much colder.  Mom and dad had to put their food in coolers with ice, but not my vegetables or fruits.  Mom told me that they would freeze and they’d become gross.  I didn’t like hearing this and responded by wheeks of epic proportions.

The temperature continued to drop in the apartment and mom and dad bundled up with coats, hats, gloves and at least 20 layers of clothes.  At first I laughed because I’ve got fur that keeps me warm, but that did not last very long.  As I became colder, I wheeked for mom to come and warm me up.  Mom and dad put a bunch of blankets in my cage, and frequently would try to catch me so they could warm me up, but I kept escaping.  No self respecting piggie would ever submit to the clutches of the human sausage like fingers….. unless the piggie was hungry.  Dad offered to put me in his coat pocket, but I declined by peeing on his pants.  Mom and dad got tired of trying to please me, so they put cedar shavings in my cage along with those blankets and left me alone.

For about two days, all three of us spent time in the cold and darkness.  I passed the time by, writing a new constitution for the United States, playing video games on my handheld device and texting other piggies to see what their veggies and fruits tasted like.  It was a long weekend and I’m pretty sure that I endured better than my human parents, hehe.

May, 2014

This weekend Bobby Kitten and I went to the beach.  The beach we went to was friendly for animals.  We arrived at the beach early that morning and it was already crowded, but we found a spot to park the scooter, and off we went to catch some waves.  I’m sauntering towards the shore and all I see are guinea pigs with Speedos and thin bikini’s.  Bobby Kitten and I dressed in semi long swimming trunks and t-shirts.  We looked around for a spot to pitch our giant umbrella, sat down and burned our butts on the hot sand!  Bobby Kitten hissed at the sand uncontrollably and I wheeked like a bucking bronco.

Once we finished acting like crazy animals, we put on our sunscreen and hopped into the water.  Things were going fine, until my swimming trunks fell off when I caught a wave.  Bobby Kitten was rolling around on the ground laughing, but I was not amused!  Bobby Kitten is a cat and cats hate water, right?  Well, since he thought it was so funny that my trunks fell off, I decided to get a buck of water and pour it on him.  You want to talk about funny?  That cat was running around meowing and hissing, it was great!  I’m glad that Bobby Kitten is a good sport about jokes being played on him, that’s why he’s my best buddy.

The rest of the day, we just decided to chill out on the beach and watch all the other animals surf and build sand castles.  It was a great weekend overall and I hope that we can go again soon!

Reprinted with permission from Nikki Harbeston, Creative Stuff. She resides in South Carolina with her husband and dog. Her blog features Diary of a Chubby Piggie and Into the Journey of Dog. Copyright August 2013-March 2014.

If you are a pet owner with writing skills, Lincoln Animal Ambassadors would love to hear from you! We’re especially looking for content about birds, exotic animals, and horses. Content may take the form of an advice column or how-to articles. You may even simply wish to act as an expert consultant. If you are interested, please post in the comments and we’ll be in touch.

Diary of a Chubby Piggie: War with Kitty

Interested in animals other than cats and dogs? Lincoln Animal Ambassadors is proud to feature Diary of a Chubby Piggie. These imaginative diary entries of a guinea pig were written by Nikki Harbeston, back when she owned guinea pigs. Follow the exploits of Rocco throughout this week, at the end of which you’ll hear Nikki’s story about her special bond with Rocco. Nikki will also return once a month with a how-to column about the care of guinea pigs.

July 21, 2013, Chubby’s War

War, war, the war is on!  It’s the Summer of 2013, but feels like 1944!  I’m fighting a war against a kitty, a kitty that’s sold on eating me for his lunch.  This cat moved in next door and decided that I’m his next meal.

Recruits are on standby for this war that’s about to erupt.  The wheeeek heard around the world is coming; there’s a disturbance in the force!  We’ve gathered intelligence that kitty has an ammo stock pile full of cabbages, tomatoes, timothy hay, etc.

At 08:15 pm, last evening, kitty launched a surprise barrage of cabbages at the patio window! I responded to the barrage by flinging massive amounts of poo.  Kitty thinks that I’ll be in his tummy, but kitty will learn that’s not the case.  Mom and Dad have noticed this kitty and have attempted to shoo it away, but nothing seems to work.  Kitty has an army of other kitties, but I’ve got something better, a glass patio door.  That dumb kitty doesn’t notice when the glass door is closed.  Kitty can’t get to me, but he tries, by crashing face first into the door.  However, when the door is open, it’s war.  The war cry of the kitty consists of coughing up a fur ball; we are on alert for that cry 24/7.  There’s something about to happen, it’s going to be scary!

July 25, 2013, 09:30 am Chubby’s War Part II

Red cabbages in the air, poo bombs bursting in the air, and hairballs sticking to patio chairs.  The kitty has a massive assault team outside the patio between the plant and chairs.  This morning the patio window was opened and kitty’s war cry was loud.  Mom has taken kitty back to where he lives, but he keeps coming back.

The past few days were quiet.  I’d actually let my guard down. That was a bad decision!  Right after breakfast this morning, kitty launched his assault. In response to this assault my team rappelled down ropes and buzz clipped some of kitty’s fur; kitty looks funny, hehehe!

Day after day, my team and I read over maps drawn out on lettuce leafs and cardboard.  My pigloo has gone from a nice place to relax to a war center aimed against kitty’s attacks.  For now, I need to retreat to mom’s lap. Fighting a war takes its toll…… zzzzz….. zzzz

July 30, 2013, 4:48 pm Chubby’s War Part III

The war came to a shocking ending today!  The patio door wasn’t open this morning and kitty was sending a war cry of a different nature.  It didn’t sound like his normal cry. I was intrigued as to what it was about.  Kitty’s cry was sad and heartbreaking, the cry of the wounded.  I’d heard that cry once when my mom had her tonsils removed.  Mom and dad opened the patio door to see kitty just laying there.  Mom especially is a sucker for animals. We go on a walk and any poor kitty is automatically scooped up and being patted like pizza dough. So naturally Mom picked up this kitty.

It turns out that all that fighting was kitty trying to get attention for help.  I feel so bad about launching cabbages and flinging poo at him.  I’m still confused about why kitty just went to war instead of telling us he was hurt, but he was in so much pain that he couldn’t talk.  Mom took kitty to the vet to get his broken leg looked at; it’s broken in two places.  As a piggie, I don’t think my leg is big enough to break in two places, there’s not even any meat really on it!  While kitty was in his new cat bed, I talked with kitty and he told me that he has nothing against guinea pigs, he loves them!  He actually had a guinea pig buddy when he was younger. Anyway, the short of it is, kitty’s former owners are in trouble for animal neglect/abuse. Mom and dad adopted Kitty.

Reprinted with permission from Nikki Harbeston, Creative Stuff. She resides in South Carolina with her husband and dog. Her blog features Diary of a Chubby Piggie and Into the Journey of Dog. Copyright July 2013

If you are a pet owner with writing skills, Lincoln Animal Ambassadors would love to hear from you! We’re especially looking for content about birds, exotic animals, and horses. Content may take the form of an advice column or how-to articles. You may even simply wish to act as an expert consultant. If you are interested, please post in the comments and we’ll be in touch.

Diary of a Chubby Piggie: The Early Years

Interested in animals other than cats and dogs? Lincoln Animal Ambassadors is proud to feature Diary of a Chubby Piggie. These imaginative diary entries of a guinea pig were written by Nikki Harbeston, back when she owned guinea pigs. Follow the exploits of Rocco throughout this week, at the end of which you’ll hear Nikki’s story about her special bond with Rocco. Nikki will also return once a month with a how-to column about the care of guinea pigs.

01-01-2011, 6:00 am

rocco_hayTimothy hay is my favorite guinea pig treat. Timothy hay makes the world go round, no doubt.  When my owner gets up, I demand hay.  For breakfast, lunch and dinner, I eat hay.  Growing a hay garden is my next project, so that I can have all the hay that I can eat.

01-01-2011, 7:00 am

As a low rider in the animal world I am the last to know when it rains. I can’t step in puddles and I can’t drive big cars cause I can’t see over the dashboard!  I am running late for work, I should have left 5 minutes ago, but I am writing this diary entry instead.  I work at Cavy Computers, designing microchips that help us guinea pigs talk. We are from the South American region, so we need to have a Latin accent.  My owner is preparing my travel cage so I can go to work and earn those pig bucks.  My owner loves taking me to work.

1-12-11, 1:08 pm

After 2 days of snow, I can finally step outside!  For a guinea, snow and ice are dangerous.  I just finished my lunch that consisted of Timothy Hay and watermelon.  I just noticed that my fur is very thin in one spot.  I will buy some Pigrogaine when I go PigMart.  Being out of work has given me time to play my CavyBox 720 with my shootem ups.  I like my Cavy Ops the best!!  Well, it is nap time, so I will write some more later.

1-13-11, 8:16 pm

Ah, after a long day at work there is nothing better than soaking in my SPA!  MY owner washed and dried all of my blankets and cuddly cups, too.  After my spa adventure, I rest in my RED cuddly cup and relax.  I’ve been thinking of my childhood days lately …  Being 3 years old in piggie years is like 30 in people years, maybe more, I dunno.  I miss the days of my youth!  I have another long day ahead of me tomorrow, so I am hitting the bed.

2/3/11, 12:10 pm

Wheek!! ! My owner was in and out of the hospital this week and I was busy driving her back and forth. Do you know how hard it is to fit a piggie into a Dodge Caliber and be able to see over the steering wheel?  Many days were spent worrying about her, but she is all better now.  She takes care of me, so I take care of her!

2-14-11, 7:50 pm

Happy Valentine’s Day!  My owner gets my favorite fruit as my present!  Watermelon!  I was so happy that I started popcorning and bucking like a bronco!  On another note, I quit my job!  My owners want me to stay home and enjoy my piggie life!!  I plan to do whatever I want!  I caught up with my friend, Bobby Kitten over lunch at the Guinea Garden last Friday.  We talked about the old days in daycare, playing catch, etc.

Flashback, 7/16/2007….

Daycare is fun!  Only a little over a few months old and I am with many guinea pigs, cats, dogs and ferrets.  That warm July day I met Bobby Kitten!  Bobby Kitten was an awesome tabby, with black strips and a solid black stripe down his back.  Being a guinea pig, I was very scared of cats. My mom piggie mom warned me of them before I was adopted by my humans.  However, I sat down on my kindermat and hoped he would not see me.  Bobby Kitten came over my way and I began to panic.  Just when I thought he was going to eat me, he said hi and started sharing his gummy tuna fishies with me!  That day I made a new best friend and learned all cats are not bad!

2-25-11, 9:09 pm

Friday is the best day of the week!  My owners have two full days to pet me, call me cute, and worship me!  Being the cute pig I am, it must be stated.  Since I do not work anymore I thought that I would have more time to write in my journal, but I am so busy having fun!

This morning after the rain stopped I went to play at the park with a squirrel that lives in the woods behind our home.  That squirrel won all three rounds of tennis!  The coolest part of the day is when my owners took me to Mellow Mushpig.  It serves human pizza and timothy hay pizza.

I am very fortunate to have people who care about me so much.  As a guinea pig, I have to rely on my owners.  I have been thinking a lot about my brother Max. He died when he was 1 1/2 years old.  He had a heart complication and had to be put to sleep by the vet.  He was cremated and buried in the back yard.  I do miss him and I wish he was here with me and enjoying these times.  Rest in peace brother, I love you!

03-09-2011 8:00 PM

Ah, that banana was so yummy!  Mom cut me a banana into slices and put it into my little dish. She is the best mom!

So, today has been busy.  I did laundry, vacuumed, etc.  The weather has been kinda of crummy so I’ve been readinrocco_cageg and my selection is extensive.  Today I read Cavy Potter, the Guinea Pig’s Apprentice.  I’ve tried to make more time to write in my journal, but I’m too busy.  Once a week is a good idea for now, but hopefully I can start writing more soon.

I’ve been thinking more about my daycare days!  Those were the days……Bobby Kitten made those days away from my owners fun and helped me not miss them as much.  One day we had Ice Cream day. I had no money. (Money was tight back then because my parents were working shorter hours at work due to the boss.) Bobby Kitten bought me some Ice Cream: cookies and cream popsicle.  Only a true friend would buy ice cream for someone!  To this day, cookies and cream is my favorite flavor of ice cream.  I’d love to write more, but I am very tired and I want to make time to read a Tale of Two Piggies!  Night, all!

03-15-2011 9:23 PM

Nothing is better than a day at the beach!  Mom and Dad surprised me with a trip to Ocean Isle Beach, NC.  Today I played with our neighbors, the Yorkies, Kitty and Xena.  We made sand castles and enjoyed hearing the ocean.  Everyone thought that my red trunks were just awesome and few doggie girls whistled at me.  Mom and Dad also brought Hue, the Betta fish on vacation.  He likes to swim in his little cage and sleep on top of the flowers.

Remember how I was reading A Tale of Two Piggies?  I finished that book last night, now on to Pig and the Carrot.  I love to read, it puts me in another world where I can drift away into complete serenity.

With our vacation not ending until Sunday, we’re just trying to enjoy our leisure time!  Being a guinea pig is great, especially with great parents like mine!

Reprinted with permission from Nikki Harbeston, Creative Stuff. She resides in South Carolina with her husband and dog. Her blog features Diary of a Chubby Piggie and Into the Journey of Dog. Copyright January to March 2011.

If you are a pet owner with writing skills, Lincoln Animal Ambassadors would love to hear from you! We’re especially looking for content about birds, exotic animals, and horses. Content may take the form of an advice column or how-to articles. You may even simply wish to act as an expert consultant. If you are interested, please post in the comments and we’ll be in touch.