Happy Tail: Two autistic boys find guinea pigs are perfect pets
When Sue Walters of Aurora, Ont., was looking for suitable pets for her
two autistic sons, Devin and Michael, she decided guinea pigs might be
“Our lives are too hectic for a dog, and a cat would not be a
great fit either,” she says.
To begin her search, she visited Petfinder. “Knowing how many
pets are put up for adoption, we were glad to find Piggles
Guinea Pig Rescue close to our area,” she says. “We fell in love
with Morris and Victor when we saw their pictures on the site.”
the piggies had a new home and were introduced to “pats” parties, which
they enjoy. “We put the
piggies into the boys’ laps with a special treat (carrots and flat-leaf
parsley are favorites); while they snack, the boys pat them,” Sue says.
happy to be snuggled; Victor will put up with it as long as there is
some snack on hand, and then he’s off to explore. My older son, Devin,
especially loves doing this, and worries if the piggies try to go to far
afield. He’s really good at shepherding them out from under the
table.” Once the pats party is over, it’s back into their cage and Morris and Victor’s very own pigloo.
Sue’s younger son, Michael, can’t wait to run downstairs in the
morning to give the guinea pigs their breakfast. “Victor especially has
gotten used to this routine and waits expectantly by the side of the
cage each morning,” Sue says.
She adds that guinea pigs are the easiest pet she has ever had. “We
use the expensive pet bedding which is made of recycled cellulose, and
it really pays for itself. There is no odor and the bedding lasts a
long time before needing to be changed.” When the time comes to change
it, she just scoops it into a disposable bag and puts it in the trash
From time to time, Morris and Victor go to the vet for a “once-over”
and professional nail clipping. “We’ve been able to clip Morris’s
nails, but Victor isn’t having it, so we bring in a pro,” Sue says.
The bonus in all this is that the family feels good about having
given “previously loved” pets a new home. The bonus for Morris and
Victor? A loving home with plenty of pats.
March is Adopt-A-Rescued-Guinea-Pig Month, a perfect time to learn
more about these friendly pets. Join our free Ask the Experts Forum on guinea pig adoption and care this week only.
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