We have family members who are special needs. We were told they would benefit from a service or therapy animal. Looking into it I was floored at how much it cost and the wait times. I asked the recommending physician on a follow up visit what the hoped for outcome would be with a service animal in our home. The basic thought was it would help with socialization and provide comfort. That would be just about any pet in my mind since we were not needing an animal to alert us to seizures or to help with visual issues.
Our home is pretty crowded with people and already has a seventeen year old cat in residence. That rules out getting a dog. It rules out another cat as well as our old lady is in no mood to put up with any young cat in her territory. We decided to go small. My sister knew of a guinea pig that needed to be rehomed. We took him. Flubbers has really come into his own personality. The boys love holding him. He has had a wonderful impact on the children.
The down side is he is a little older. He has arthritis in his back and there are days he just wants to rest in his cage. He needed a stand in, a fluffy relief critter who could be held when he needed a break. There were a pair of guinea pigs in the shelter. I ignored the ad for almost a month before talking it over with the spouse. Once we agreed, I contacted the shelter. The good news was they were both still there. The bad news was they were both unused to much human interaction. More discussion in the family followed. We decided this would benefit the boys as much as the animals to adopt them.
We brought home Milo and MooMoo. Every day the boys would hold the new additions and get them used to being around people. MooMoo has become as friendly and playful as Flubbers. They both love floor time (running around in a secure area outside of their cage) and both chirp when they hear the doors open and close hoping someone brought them something to eat from the yard. Since they are all males they are kept separate so they don’t fight.
Milo is another story. All he does is hide in his house in his cage. We hold him but not as long as the other two so he doesn’t get stressed. He doesn’t enjoy floor time as much either. He is a blessing in his own way as he reflects that even animals can be afraid of new things and need to take their own time.