Just over a week ago my daughter lost her parrot. She was devistated and we spent days cuddling on the couch recalling all of the wonderful moments we had spent with him. My daughter wrote a letter which we placed in a box with him. I didn’t read the letter, that is her own private goodbye and I thought it should remain that way. We had a small service and spread bird seed over the box. She cried and held me tight and I cried and held her tight too. Z said goodbye, kissed us both and said don’t cry it’s ok. (I am pretty sure he isn’t actually 2.)
After that we settled into our routine again. The house was quiet, really quiet and it seemed empty even though the dog was barking and there was still not a moment to sit. I began to ask A if she would like a new pet. And for the first time in days her eyes lit up. So we began to look at different options.
A new sun conure was out of the question. First of all the price, I am just not in a place to drop $1,600 on a pet. Secondly, I wasn’t trying to replace our bird, he was a one of a kind bird and a new bird would not be able to live up to Theo in my daughter’s eyes. Third, a parrot is a lot of work an commitment once it is trained, training one is 3x the commitment and I just don’t have time.
So now what. I googled the best pets for kids like any good mom in the age of internet would do. The number one recommended animal was a cat and my daughter squealed at the thought but I reminded her of the 1 year old hyper lab she currently owns and we agreed that a cat was a bad idea. Number 2 was a rabbit and I lllooovvvee rabbits but my older kids had rabbits and my oldest daughter is still traumatized that it ate something in the salad I prepared the night before and passed away over night. Not wanting to bring that story to light again we moved on. Guinea pig….Guinea pigs are good pets for kids? My older children had a hamster and I chased that thing all over the place. It bit when it was unhappy and made a mess everywhere! Wasn’t a guinea pig just a big hamster?
In fact they are not. We decided to look into why these pets were so highly recommended. They are larger, surprisingly larger, they are gentle, calm, sociable animals. They are relatively easy to care for and best of all for me they live in a cage! As I read, watched videos on the subject, I began to see that this might be a great new pet for A.
A was excited, beyond excited, she wanted to go and get one immediately. I wanted to wait and find out more, guess who won? As we began to look we realized that there were plenty of these pets available for adoption from humane societies and on buy and sell sites. So I read through the adds. A lot of people were selling Guinea pigs because their kids were neglecting them. I have learned from rehoming animals before that these animals usually require a lot more attention and are more suitable for older kids or adults. Some were being rehomed because people were moving provinces or countries but these were older and as the life spand is only 5-8 years I wasn’t really thrilled about adopting a 3 year old Guinea Pig.
The add that caught my eye was for a long haired guinea pig. A few of the family members had devolved allergies and although they tried to find a way to keep him, they just couldn’t. They had made the difficult decision to rehome him but wanted a loving home. I showed the add to my daughter and it was love. I knew a long haired Guinea Pig was more work but he was so cute. I replied to the add.
The people rehoming the Guinea Pig had questions, which was a good sign that they loved him and he was well cared for. As we spoke my sun conure was brought up and when she replied that she had parrots too I knew that this was the perfect match. We arranged to meet.
My son in law offered to take us to get it and I am thankful he did. I can’t imagine how I would have managed a clingy 2 year old a 6 year old, a Guinea Pig in a carrier, it’s food and the cage. We were greeted at the door by a very nice woman, her dog and her parrots. As we headed upstairs, we saw the cage in the middle of the living room, he was cute. We spoke for a few minutes and as I asked about her birds, she told me that they had snakes and hamsters as well. These people loved animals. I reached into the cage with caution but the woman assured me that he didn’t bite and he didn’t.
Now that my daughter, my son and I were all in love, I put him in a carrier I had brought and we left. As we left I noticed Spikes had crawled into the winter snuggly I had made him and gone to sleep. I looked behind me and Z had gone to sleep as well. A was sitting with a big smile on her face, she was happy and I knew this was the right thing to do.