Avery Hopkins has had her guinea pigs, Cooks and Pork, for less than a year, but she’s learned a lot about them since the adoption. Both guinea pigs are males, and are American Guinea Pigs. Hopkins nominated Pork for the Discovering Bulloch I Love My Pet feature because she says he’s been such a great friend to her and Cooks in the past year.
Hopkins adopted the pair because she had no idea what guinea pigs were, and she wanted to learn more. Also, her parents didn’t want her to get a dog or a cat. She still wanted something “furry,” so she asked for a guinea pig.
“Also, I really wanted a pet,” she said. “I adopted my pets from the Milledgeville Rescue Center.”
When Hopkins arrived at the center, she was very excited, but says that the guinea pigs were hiding and were afraid.
“I saw one at the back of the cage, and I knew that that was Cooks and I loved him,” she said. “But I still did not know what to name the other one.”
On the ride home, she saw Pork come to the wall of the cage and lift his head up, and it was then, she said, that she decided his name would be Pork because he was the first one to perk up in the cage.
“They are the best pets because they are the first pets I ever got to have. It was cool to finally have a pet for once. Believe it or not guinea pigs are very good company for an only child in virtual school! I even made one of my 4-H projects about them. They also helped me win the best trunk at the Pittman Park Trunk or Travel contest at Halloween,” she said. “They give me a reason to go to Petco and buy food and toys for them.”
She has worked with both guinea pigs to train them, and they have learned to open their cage from the outside. She says Pork has a bad habit of squeaking when you are talking, and that he gets scared when someone reaches into or rushes his cage. Other animals scare him as well, she added.
“My guinea pigs are also very, very cute. They have no tail, they come in all sorts of cool colors, and they have a weird way of running that is very funny! They are small, but not as big as a rabbit but bigger than a hamster. Plus, they are fun to watch, and they chirp and week. Not only do they talk to me, they listen to me when I talk back to them,” Hopkins said.
Pork’s favorite treat is watermelon drops, and his favorite food is apples, she said, adding that it’s important to make sure that you feed both guinea pigs correctly.
“Even though my guinea pigs are just like all guinea pigs, they have their differences too. For example, Pork sneezes a lot and has an upset stomach. I have to be careful what I feed him. I mean he’s a pig. He eats anything even when it is not even food! He also learned how to open the cage door and got back in. I nicknamed him Weirdo because he does odd things like turn over his house,” she said.
Hopkins knows that her guinea pigs love her, because they come to her in their cage when she comes near. She says she loves watching television with them, and taking them outside, an activity that Pork especially enjoys.
The guineas are not allowed near other animals, because Hopkins says, “They are prey and might look yummy.”
Both Cooks and Pork sleep in their cage, but they are included in family activities, and Hopkins helps them to celebrate their birthdays. She says she loves talking to her pets, and she even invented a secret language for them to talk with her.
“I love my pets because they are the first pets I ever had, except for a fish I got from the fair, and only lasted a week when I was 3,” she said. “I wanted a pet for a long time, and finally got one (technically two). They have been good company for me in virtual school at home.”