We had a guinea pig named Brownie for about six months last year. We got the little creature against my better judgement, but Grace (my ten-year old) really earned it. Her school work was great and helped out around the house enough to save up enough money for the creature and cage. I performed the standard speech about the monumental responsibility of being caring for a pet. Now, I knew at the time that she couldn’t really appreciate that, but, like I said, she earned it. We get the little fur ball and set him up in her room. He transitioned to the back patio soon thereafter because of the odor and my annoyance at having to nag Grace over the weekly cleaning. Needless to say, neglect set it and just petting the little guy became a chore. I think I played with him more than the kids because I felt so bad for him…. and I really liked him to. To my surprise, they are very loving little rodents. Also, they don’t have the tail so they aren’t as creepy as hamsters or gerbils. After a few months of this, she wasn’t eating like she shood and stayed under her platform most of the time. I genuinely think she got depressed without any interaction. Then she got a common cold and, within a month, she died. Grace found her one morning before school…. pretty sad stuff, but what a heck of a lesson. It is so hard to watch your kids go through those moments, but I know they need it. After school, she told me that she felt like it was her fault for not taking better care of Brownie. I had to suppress the urge to say BINGO!!!!!! We had a service and lots of hugs and kisses, but I’m glad I let that one play out.
My seven-year old was saving up for a chameleon. He told me a week later that he didn’t think he wanted to go through that…. he was getting a mini-fridge for his room instead (to keep candy in of course).