A pair of guinea pigs at the wheel of a pink convertible. Not something you come across every day on PetRescue.com.au. But once these punk rockers caught Ellen’s eye, there was no going back!
PetRescue staffer, Laura, caught up with Ellen to learn about her life with two famous piggies, and how they’ve settled into their new home since winning the adoption jackpot.
Laura: Tell us a bit about yourself, Ellen.
Ellen: I live in a cozy, peaceful apartment with my partner and my beautiful guinea pigs. You’ll usually find me relaxing on the couch, reading my Kindle or a magazine (with Iggie eating salad on my lap!). I also enjoy filling the house with plants, candles and spending time outdoors.
Laura: What made you decide to adopt guinea pigs?
Ellen: Being a busy student, living in small apartment, I didn’t have the time or space to care for a dog. One day, I went to the Collingwood Children’s Farm and held the guinea pigs. I felt a little bit silly because I was an adult amongst young children, but I really enjoyed the experience. The guinea pigs were adorable! After this, I watched a few YouTube videos to see what it was like to own guinea pigs.
Laura: How did your search for piggies lead you to the PetRescue website?
Ellen: A friend introduced me to PetRescue and it was fun searching for a pet to adopt.
Laura: When you first spotted Ginger & Iggie online, what drew you to them?
Ellen: That image of two beautiful guinea pigs chilling in their car, showing off their mohawks. It didn’t take much more to win me over!
Laura: Can you recall your first face-to-face meeting with Ginger & Iggie and their foster carer?
Ellen: Ginger and Iggie came from a very welcoming and caring foster family with Homeless Hounds Animal Rescue. They brought Ginger and Iggie to the lawn so my partner and I could cuddle them and take photos. It was a very memorable and enjoyable experience meeting them for the first time. They also taught us what to feed the guinea pigs and how to care for them.
Laura: How did you feel when you bought Ginger & Iggie home? What do you remember doing?
Ellen: On the first day, we left Ginger and Iggie in their new home, in a quiet space. We gave them some time to adjust to the new environment and noise. I was worried that Ginger and Iggie might always be afraid of me! I remember spending a lot of time on Google, reading about other people’s experiences with adopted guinea pigs.
Laura: Have there been any challenges getting to know Ginger & Iggie?
Ellen: As Ginger is a long-haired guinea pig, she requires more care to ensure her hair doesn’t get tangled. There was one time that I noticed she had matted hair on her bottom that was tangled with hay. It was very difficult to remove and I ended up cutting it off – I felt sorry for her because it looked like a very bad haircut! We now ask for help from the vet when this happens.
Laura: Can you recall a particularly satisfying moment in getting to know Ginger & Iggie?
Ellen: I’ve had many satisfying moments with Ginger and Iggie because I learn more about their personalities each day. We discovered that Iggie is very easy to teach tricks – we were amazed when she learnt her first trick, ‘turn around’, and she now runs around in circles on command when we have treats. A very satisfying moment was the first time that Iggie and Ginger came running to the kitchen when I opened the fridge, thinking they were going to get vegetables.
Laura: When did you sense that Ginger & Iggie had really made themselves at home?
Ellen: It took a few months for Ginger & Iggie to be less afraid of us and feel truly comfortable. It makes me happy that we can now pet and cuddle our guinea pigs and that they come to us to say ‘hello’. My favourite moments are when I come home and Ginger & Iggie start wheeking for vegetables.
Laura: How have Ginger & Iggie’s characters changed since you brought them home? Do they have any funny or unusual character traits?
Ellen: Our piggies definitely have developed their own unique characters and it is a lot of fun to watch. Ginger is quieter, easier to pat and likes the company of other guinea pigs (we now have a third female guinea pig too!) She spends a lot of time resting in the comfort of their main home. Iggie has a more outgoing personality and will explore the house to look for food. She’s intelligent and learns new tricks very easily. Iggie is a more independent guinea pig and will spend time in more unusual hideouts, like in a recycled box.
Laura: How has your daily life has changed for the better now that you have Ginger & Iggie?
Ellen: Since adopting Ginger & Iggie, I feel more relaxed and closer to nature. They light up my day when I spend time with them or watch them interact with each other. I have developed more of a routine at home, as they require daily feeding and cleaning. I think it’s important for more people to realise that guinea pigs take a lot of responsibility and expenses to care for them properly. Owning guinea pigs has been very rewarding and I think, overall, I’m a happier person having Ginger & Iggie in my life.