April 28, 2012


...Livia. That's her name, Uhlivia. NOT Olivia, no, there is no Oh sound. Just the Uh sound. Kind of like the sound I made when I came off of the positive Qi vibe Raegan immediately began putting off when we saw Uhlivia at the local pet shop. I've always said I'd never have a cage critter... and now I'm a big fat lier. We brought Cheeky home with the main intent of helping Raegan find some self confidence. That... was a dumb idea. Why would we think that a dominant animal would be a good pairing for a submissive girl learning dominance?? Good grief. Cheeky began biting at Raegan in aggression in response to Raegan's fear, which made Raegan more scared..... yah. Raegan absolutely loves the bird... from across the room. There is no holding, no interacting. Just totally not at all fulfilling her purpose in her home. Raegan is awkward with animals, always has been. It's almost funny in it's extreme fumbling. We went to the local pet shop to pick up a toy or treat for Cheeky to hopefully entertain her enough to cut back on the aggression, and in the back half of the store the animals are kept. It is a fantastic shop, very clean and the animals VERY well cared for and socialized. All the cage critters are not in cages or displays, but rather in low open-top "crates" on the floor. They encourage picking up and loving on the animals, encourage interaction, so of course careful slow hands reached down to pick up this tiny wiry ball of black fluff.. Rae cuddled her to her chest, actually leaned her face on to the back of this placid unresisting content little critter... and the critter purred at her. And that was it. The amazing glow Rae had at that positive feedback her cuddle created.. THAT is what I was looking for. Of COURSE. What we needed was not someone Rae could train and boss around, not some creature that would try to boss her right back.. no, what we needed was an insanely stupid little ball of fluff that just wants to be fed and cuddled with. Please welcome the newest addition to the Merritt zoo, Uhlivia.

She is a Teddy Guinea pig and true to her breed, feels just exactly like cuddling a fluffy stuffed teddy bear. LOVE it. If we ever get another one ( OH MY GOD did I just SAY THAT??) it'll be another Teddy. Things I didn't know about guinea pigs: they have a little noise that sounds almost exactly like a grunty newborn. They  have a.. purr...when they are super content that is just about the most positive animal sound I've ever heard. They are good first animals to introduce the wonders of 4-H ( next year!! squee!!) They sleep all night with no problems, and apparently LOVE a good carrot. Although they have absolutely no problem eating a hole right through your shirt if you're not paying attention.
And they make my daughter glow.

Cheeky. I'm not sure what to do about Cheeky. I brought her home and made a commitment to her... but she HATES the kids. She's decently fine with Matt and I, she plays and cuddles all over Matt but recently she's also finding tender places to chomp down on.. testing things, maybe? She makes happy bird sounds all day which are fun.. but she had a job to do. She had a job, and she's not doing it. She had a roll to fulfill, and she's not filling it. I really don't want another pet for me, if we have pets they need to be available for the whole FAMILY. Even Uhlivia, while Raegan's pig, spends time cuddling with the rest of us. Cheeky can't do that. When the kids get within striking distance she goes at them, every time. I'm not sure why this is because I've supervised them, they aren't inappropriate with her. She just doesn't like them.. the noise, maybe? But I brought her home, made a commitment to her. Made a commitment to my kids. Kael doesn't care either way but Raegan is just tore up about the idea of Cheeky finding a new home. She's terrified of her, but doesn't want her to go anywhere. GAH. I don't want to traumatize Rae over this. The other animals in our lives that haven't fit in and have found new homes were no problem when it came to the kids. They completely understood why they needed new homes, were in total agreement with the decision.. but not this one. Raegan tears up just thinking about it. But I don't WANT a zoo!!! GOOD GRIEF! I should have thought things through more thoroughly, I suppose. I was all sunshine and rainbows about this bird and while in theory it was perfect.. DUH. Rae is not bossy enough to boss around a bossy animal. That was a doomed idea from the beginning! So I'm not sure what will happen. I think the bird and our family would be best served with a new home.. one that dotes on her like she needs. As it is now, she only gets out of her cage when the kids are at school or otherwise occupied. They love her but she scares them. And honestly, we have too many animals. Two dogs, a cat, a wee little pig AND a bird. The animals outnumber us!!! That's just not right. But I brought the zoo home. So it's my call. GAH. Being the bossy pants in the house sucks, some times.
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Mandy said...

Guinea pigs are fun, cute, easy and rewarding... the boys' room still feels empty since our Penny Pig died in early March- have fun and enjoy!

and I can give SOME advice- had them growing up all my life!

rarejule said...

Adorable. So glad you found something that works for Rae.

BTW, I can access your blog again. {grin}