Pet of the Day

December 4, 1998

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Snowball, the Pet of the Day
Name: Snowball
Age: Ten months old
Gender: Female
Kind: Guinea Pig
Home: San Diego, California, USA
   I bought two female guinea pigs, Snowball and Chocolate, at a garage sale on June 27, 1998. The Guinea Pigs were pets of a four-year-old boy. He is the one who named them Snowball and Chocolate, which I think are great names. His sister told me that they were moving from the house to an apartment where pets are not allowed, so they had to sell the pets. It did not take me too long to make the decision because I fell in love with them at the first sight. I was amazed by their interesting sounds, too. The little boy came out with his Mom to say good-bye to the guinea pigs before I put them into my car; it was kind of a heartbreaking scene.

    They are both very cute. They like to eat fruit, alfalfa and newspapers (used at the bottom of bedding).

    Snowball is the kind of girl that always thinks other's stuff is better. Originally, they shared a small and lightweight plastic food bowl. But Snowball would use her front feet to bend the bowl toward her and occupied the whole bowl with her head. Then we bought a big heavyweight dog dish that has two parts so both of them can eat together. But then, she will force Chocolate to exchange positions after eating a while because she thinks the food is better in Chocolate's side. Usually Chocolate doesn't mind, but sometimes if she doesn't want to exchange, Snowball will nip her to force her to leave. Because of this, my husband Kevin is always stands by Chocolate's side.

    While going outside their cage freely, Snowball is the one to explore and Chocolate follows after her. We gave them a short plumbing pipe as toy. They like to run through or hide inside. I also made a playground for them out of cardboard boxes. When transporting them from cage to the playground, it's easier to handle Chocolate. But for Snowball, there's only one way - the pipe, because she refuses to be handled. I have trained her to get in pipe, which I call the bus, then I can move her safely from one place to another.

    After almost five months of effort, they are finally getting used to me and my Chinese. I talk to them mostly in Chinese. The only trick I have successfully taught them is "Kiss." Whenever giving them the treats, I say "Kiss" and kiss them, then I give them the treats. Now, they are no longer afraid of me. When it's time for the treats, they will rush to the cage door and ready to give me kisses in order to get the food. The other thing that makes me very happy is their sound. Usually they only say "wee, wee, wee..." when they are hungry. I am the only one who feeds them and amazingly, they could tell me from my husband after few months. My husband usually wakes up earlier and the guinea pigs do not make sounds. But as soon as I wake up and open the bedroom door, they start calling me loudly. It is a very satisfying thing to me! They are very sweet now, and I love both of them very much!


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