Underrated in America: Guinea pigs as pets

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The children's begging never seemed to end.The clamoring grew louder. Endless, passionate promises concerning responsible ownership dominated our family's dinner and bedtime conversations. Finally, it became clear to me as I weakened that some form of pet acquisition was on the horizon, and it was going to have to be something with fur.

A dog was just too much. Diaper-changing memories were still too close for me to embrace the poop and the scoop. Cats presented allergy issues for some family members. Rabbits could be trained to a litter box, but who do you think would be doing the training? My younger self had expended too much energy keeping rodents at bay, so welcoming a mouse or hamster seemed to be a defeat of a different kind.

Thus it was through such questionable methods of pet deduction that Sprinkle and Splash, two Abyssinian guinea pigs, came in to our lives.

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They don't have to be walked, but they are good to cuddle and enjoy the occasional ride in a doll carriage. Poop is scooped when the human sees fit. They are too big to escape through most holes.They chirp, squeak, purr and otherwise communicate so that the children can say they "know exactly" what they want and that the creatures "talk" to them as in: "They said they wanted the organic lettuce!" They set a very good example concerning the eating of vegetables.

They are sweet little critters, and damn cute for rodents.
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