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Your toddler needs a pet

This time around, with my usual weekly chat session with my paediatrician aunt, who never spares a c...

Your toddler needs a pet

This time around, with my usual weekly chat session with my paediatrician aunt, who never spares a chance she can pick on, to correct my parenting ways, I had a surprise springing out of nowhere, a surprise in the form of a queer but innocent looking Guinea pig, which I faintly remembered to have seen in my high school textbooks.  Although my aunt looked hesitant to divulge further details, and almost killed me with the suspense, I pursued till she began, with a chuckle and a suppressed grin, to narrate the biography of that piglet which was actually eyeing us so far, with a mix of quaint curiosity, a little patience, an inherent fear and a bit of god knows what.  She told me she had recently purchased this guinea pig from some well-meaning friend who had convinced her that guinea pig is the next best thing to have as a pet.


At this point, in the middle of our conversation, a cup of tea with biscuits arrived on the table.  Distracted from the topic, we focused on mundane issues, for some time, watching the antics and cuteness of the piglet as it circled our legs. It was prancing around, blissfully oblivious of the goings-on.


At this point, I drew from memory, an inane conversation that I had with someone in my younger days, probably, a friendly neighborhood lady, who had explained, in detail, about few strange people who allowed their kids to breed guinea pigs. I was horrified initially, as any other person in my shoes would, but had regained composure when she told me that it is a really genuine quiet loving pet that could easily double up as a friend you run to when you are feeling low. Her son, she said, used to feel a calming impact, sitting beside this pig for hours.  All this guinea pig required for food, was a little lettuce, spinach, and carrots which are normally available in plenty at all times at home. Especially when she narrated tales about how helpful it would be to have a guinea pet around, and how it brings out the mother in you, and how that would complete your personality and help you to grow up healthy.


My aunt just cautioned me that it would only live up from four to eight years. Never mind, they are endearing, sweet and docile, and easy to take care of.  My aunt began her sermon, on pet rearing this time. Guinea pigs need to be specially cared for, with respect to upkeep, and gentle handling can really lengthen their lifespan by a few more years.  Take time to trim their nails occasionally as they would also need to look well groomed.


Quickly researching on the internet, about guinea pig breeds, here, I arrived at really useful information. The American guinea pig is the typical guinea pig which you normally see in movies and pictures on the web. This breed is kid-friendly, lovable, laid back and low maintenance. They are not exactly what you expect from your pet with regards to their looks and are far from being exotic or cute.  Guinea pigs are most inexpensive and available at some pet shops. Rarer breeds of Guinea are a bit more expensive, and they come in different sizes, and colors.  Some of them sport really long hair while others have relatively shorter hair.


It took me just a moment to decide to go ahead and buy a guinea pig. I plan to keep it a secret until my daughter’s upcoming birthday and then usher it in at the right time and watch with glee, the vicarious thrill on my daughter’s face. I have decided to get a mesh screened cage and a bundle of hay to spread on the bottom surface of the cage. However, my aunt cautioned me that it would only live up from four to eight years.


Pets are indeed, your good Samaritans who would be really there when you need them.  They teach you how to be meek and still survive while providing occasional stress relief. They help your kids grow up normally, and teach you the basic lessons in love, harmony, and more importantly instill a sense of responsibility.  Simple acts of kindness can have their own meaningful impact on your psyche and energy levels and bring out the best in you. Chemically speaking, petting an animal can bring down the cortisol levels, and improve dopamine, the feel-good hormone, which you can’t do without. They leave you emotionally healed as they actually soothe and envelop you in their love and cool comfort. Spending quality time with pets can really bolster your immune system, and reduce blood pressure and heart rate as well. More importantly, your pet instills a sense of purpose, by tying you up in a lifetime bond of trust and care. 


Photo by Daniela Rey on Unsplash

About Author


I have been an incorrigible muse and musings and music have governed my life. I believe in responding well and fully to life, as it comes. I am essentially a homemaker (and a poet with two published anthologies ) who has been trying to strike a balance between the world outside as well as the world within; I call myself a lonely soldier on an endless journey of life. I am a full-time mom, and an editor and a musician whenever time permits. I have some hard-headed views on parenting which I would like to share with readers here on, ParentPuddle.

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