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Thursday, 27 August 2020

Covid has apparently caused pet inflation

I'd read about a surge in interest in having a pet due to Covid-19 impacts on human behaviour (lots of lockdowns, and increased WFH (work from home) even where lockdowns were not in place) creating more 'at home' time and boredom - which combined to make the thought of having a pet more appealing, and prices to start to increase for dogs and other pets.

So I wasn't surprised to find that when I searched online for a free female guinea pig there were none available, with prices now in the range of A$30-$50+.

Last time I had looked at guinea pig prices several years ago there were lots being given away (some even came with a free hutch). We had picked up a couple of female guinea pigs (a 'middle aged' one aged around 4 years old and her daughter aged 4-6 months old) for free, and we had slowly transitioned from keeping them in a hutch (with daily outings to an enclosed grass area) to letting them go 'free range' around our grassed play area and front garden. They had plenty of hedge plants to hide amongst when they weren't grazing on the front garden lawn.

The 'mother' guinea pig had been enjoying her 'golden years' in our front garden, having long naps in the winter sunshine while sheltered under some succulents this year. She had gotten a lot slower moving than her daughter but would still come out for a piece of carrot or celery 'treat' on most days. Then she stopped appearing for the morning feed for the past two days and we couldn't find her despite looking in all the usual hiding places. This morning DW found her peacefully 'at rest' in the front rockery, where I'd looked yesterday. So she must have passed away last night or perhaps this morning while having a final sun bake.

It was a bit of a relief to find the remains, as DW was worried that the guinea pig might had been snatched by a cat and met a grisly end. The 'piggy' is now buried in the front rockery with a pebble marking the resting place (and to hopefully avoid it being dug up by a passing scavenger). I'll keep an eye out for a young free female guinea pig to keep the 'daughter' company - there are still a few free male ones available, but its best not to keep a mixed pair (unless you want to end up with lots of surplus guinea pigs to give away).

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