My guinea pig, Teddy, has a 2 x 4 C&C cage with a 1 x 2 upper lair. He comes out to run in our guinea-pig-proofed second bedroom every day.
He gets a variety of vegetables and fruits. He has fleece to lay on. He has a plush couch. He has tubes, boxes, and other toys.
He also gets to go outside in a carefully-supervised, guinea-pig-fence-and-coverage arrangement on days favorable to guinea pig constitutions.
In short, he has more accessories than I do.
Perhaps inevitably, strangers and friends have said to me, “What a spoiled piggie!”
And that’s so not what it is.
Imagine a 6’x6′ office cube is ALL you have to live, eat, work, and do your other business in for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s it; that’s your space.
Then imagine you are entirely dependent on someone else to provide you with everything you needed to survive. Not just for some things, everything, including getting out once in awhile. Not just for a few formative years of your life or a few end years of your life, but your whole life.
Would you consider yourself spoiled if you got let out of your cube sometimes, got it cleaned, or got served something other than the exact same meal every day? Would you want to be considered spoiled?
I’d be pretty happy about it, if it were me!
I understand the phrase I hear is often laced more with an expression of disbelief than outright negativity, depending on who says it, of course. Yet the very word “spoiled” is negative in both definition and connotation, and I object to the overt nuances (and often outright spoken-nesses) of “Why are you wasting your time?” and “It’s JUST a guinea pig”-isms.
That’s why I don’t see what I do as spoiling. I see it more as treating someone as a being of consequence. There’s no “just” when someone is in your care. This is both simple and natural to me.
How do you deal when someone says you’re spoiling your pet?
And now he’s taking up an instrument: Teddy inspecting my ukulele.