Ginger Snap: the transgender guinea pig

18 Mar Ginger Snap: the transgender guinea pig

I resisted. For nearly two years, I resisted:
I know so-and-so has a hamster, but we’re not getting one. 
Yes, I see how cute that ferret is. It’s really adorable. But, no.
I do think guinea pigs are awesome, but not today.
You need to be older.
You need to show us you know how to care for something so small.
I’m not ready for another pet. 

She bargained:
I will save my money. 
I will feed it and clean its cage.
I will pick up its poop.
It can sleep in my room with me.
I will love it every minute every single day forever!

Hard to argue with that last one. This is a girl who falls asleep reading encyclopedias of sea animals, who pores over my college field guides to North American mammals. She frequently asks me questions about animal diets and behavior that I can’t answer, and my undergraduate degree is in wildlife biology. Her favorite section of the library is Young Nonfiction, because that’s where they house all the zoology and marine biology books. After a lot of research, she fixated on guinea pigs, because they like to be held.

I just didn’t want to take on another pet, another being to care for…because I know how these things go. No matter how enthusiastic the child, the parents do the bulk of the caretaking.

Still, it felt unfair to say we’d NEVER get a guinea pig. So Kris and I developed a goal sheet for B. She had to save up half the adoption fee, and she had to take over feeding Ollie (our dog) and Fishie for a few weeks without missing a single day. If she forgot once, the clock reset.

She didn’t forget. Not once. Not even almost once.

Meet Ginger Snap.

We attended an adoption event at our local Petco where we got to hold several guinea pigs. B insisted on a female, so they directed us to several. B and I fell in love with this one, because she was less skittish, she is healthy and young (about 4-5 months old). She responded well to being held. So we filled out the paperwork and took her home.
About an hour later, the adoption representative called to tell us that he made a mistake and Ginger is actually a male. He offered to let us exchange her him.
“It’s not the kind of thing where you can pretend he’s a girl,” the rep said, as if reading my mind. “His, uh, boy parts will definitely show when he’s mature.”
B was disappointed when I told her the news, but I reminded her the reasons we fell in love with this one over all the others. You love Ollie and he’s a boy, I said.
“I guess I love Miles too,” she reasoned, “I just wanted more girls in the house.” She snuggled Ginger Snap closer and made her decision: “I love him anyway, Mommy. But I still want to call him Ginger Snap.”


  • Brandy in Charlotte
    Posted at 17:46h, 18 March Reply

    I love it, “I guess I love Miles too”. Too funny! Congrats on the new pet.

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