Monday, March 18, 2013

This little piggy

As if our upstart bunny breeding business weren’t enough, yet another new animal is now inhabiting the Huffman house.
It seems that oldest daughter and her boyfriend were at the pet store and felt inspired to adopt a guinea pig.
The guinea pig, which looks a lot like an oversized hamster, officially belongs to the boyfriend, but apparently they have joint custody and our home seems to have become the primary residence of said guinea pig.
My husband, who grew up on a farm and raised his own animals, just shrugged at the news.
I was not as excited. With a dog, two turtles, a tankful of fish, one rabbit and likely more on the way, I’d rather get off the train to Dr. Doolittle-ville.
And then I saw the little creature.
Named Turner, and alternatively referred to as Nugget, he’s a brown, white and black little guy, with fur that’s softer than you’d think.
Until I met Turner, all the guinea pigs I had met had that long shaggy hair with crazy cowlicks that seemed to go every which way. But Turner has good guinea pig hair. It’s short and sleek. His black eyes are bright and shiny. His little whiskers are Disney-cartoon cute.
“Take a picture of how adorable I look as I nibble on this piece of apple and post it on,” he all but told me telepathically.
Naturally, the two younger Huffmans went gaga over Turner/Nugget.
Let’s play with him on the kitchen floor, they said.
No, said big sister. He might go under the refrigerator, she said knowingly. Apparently earlier that week Turner had scampered under the boyfriend’s bed at his house.
It took us forever to get him out, oldest daughter said.
Turner was so cute, he even had me forgetting about my normal aversion to pet poop. Turns out that Turner’s little “nuggets” are small and hard, like brown rice kernels. I like a pet with easily scooped poop. I imagine it will therefore be easier for the pet owner to keep a cage clean. And we moms like our pet cages kept clean.
The girls just about died after Turner started chirping like a bird and wiggling his little nose. His tweets, chirps and squeals made him sound like a cross between a mini R2-D2 and a Zhu Zhu Pet.
When one of the girls started petting him and he actually purred like a cat, it was enough to melt the heart of even this “not another pet” parent.
The youngest Huffman saw her own angle. A new pet means a new kind of animal to show at the fair and more ribbons to compete for.
Her hopes were somewhat dashed after she noticed one of Turner’s toes was crooked. He’d be disqualified in the breed category, she said resignedly. But I could still enter him in showmanship, she said, brightening up.
Teenage romances don’t always last forever, but the average guinea pig lives up to eight years. Welcome to the family, Turner, crooked toe and all.

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