My Life With Piggies

FloopyImage courtesy of Karine Jans

This was our beloved Rex piggie, Floopy. It broke my husband's heart when she died. She was so smart and huge.

When I was 4 years old my dad brought home guinea pigs left behind at his job and looking for a new owner. Since then I have been in love. Mom wasn’t a pet person and didn’t know we had any until 40 years later when an aunt spilled the beans!

In the eighties I decided to bring a piggy indoors. There was no internet back then, only stupid books telling me what a bad owner I was to let piggies live together. That’s not true, of course, but I did have a single pig then because of those books. People were really nasty because I brought a pig indoors. I would attract vermin, get ill, you name it. Nobody had pigs indoors back then but I couldn’t care less about everyone’s nasty remarks. I named my piggy Wheeter.

I soon realized what I had been missing out on by having pigs outdoors. I discovered pigs were smart, charming, inventive and creative beings. I supervised my four cats with him but they loved Wheeter to bits. In my home, he was a free range guinea pig and went to sleep among the cats. They folded a leg around him for comfort. The cats were much better than my ex who hated him and banged his cage. I had to defend Wheeter so it wouldn’t happen again.

Unfortunately Wheeter was killed at the age of eight when a pet sitter brought a dog over. Nobody understood why I cried for the little guy. My pet sitter and my vet recommended I get another guinea pig. My ex threatened me because I was crying. I never went back to that vet, never again let that pet sitter watch my pets, and left my ex soon after that incident. His behavior said enough about him. Even more than words can say.

I got remarried and my current husband never had guinea pigs before. He told me to get one but I suggested two would be better. He only wanted one but I knew that would not last long. He chose her name, Floopy, after my favorite dog as a kid. He was instantly smitten with this little fuzzy creature. A week later, he was in tears because “The poor pig has no friend,” and of course we got more.

It used to be very hard in Belgium to get quality hay, pellets, and toys for the guinea pigs. It has changed slowly. The difficulty in finding appropriate supplies resulted in an endless quest for safe objects to turned into something useful for the pigs. It became an addiction for my husband and me. We enjoy seeing the pigs entertained with a new cage settings accompanied by popcorns and zoomies. We are overloaded with piggy stuff. We had eight cabinets full of piggy supplies at one point. More than our own supplies in this small house. Still, I have been able to inspire many people with ideas for their pigs.

The pigs inspired me to make a comics series, called “Cavy Comic”. Also the “Guinea Pig Adventures” booklets and “How to entertain your Guinea Pigs”, a book about our toy ideas.

But most of all, the pigs keep me company. I have Multiple Sclerosis and am disabled since 2006 so I am very glad the pigs are with me all day.

Many people have no clue how remarkably intelligent piggies are, how well they learn to communicate with us in a nonverbal way, or how sweet their nature is. They have made our lives so much better and we are grateful to have them around.


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Karine Jans

KJ was born in 1964, being female and Dutch. She’s a chemist, IT specialist and a teacher. She did all of those jobs, combined those interest fields as a manager, until 2006, when she became disabled due to having MS. Having that much free time, she devoted most of it to her guinea pigs, making comics about them and writing books.

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