The Three Types of Guinea Pig Owners

animated shortImage courtesy of Papua Piig & Friends

In this video, a woman is catching up with her friend and finds she has nothing to talk about other than her pets. She is a Humanist. Click on the photo to watch the video.

We see a lot of debates over the care of guinea pigs on forums and social media sites. Sometimes it’s really sad to see how passionate people can get over their pets and insisting their way is the only way. Often the issues come down to three types of cavy enthusiasts. This can apply to all animals but since guinea pigs have very passionate caretakers, due to so many unknown and debatable behavioral and health issues, it can be more apparent when discussing cavies over dogs or cats.

The Protector
You can think of this as the person who runs a rescue or shelter. They have an active part in taking care of animals and feel it is each person’s responsibility to save them, keep them happy, and make sure others do as well. They often try to keep the animal’s life as close to nature as possible. This person is a wealth of information and resources because they have intimately cared for so many animals. A protector wants everyone to know the consequences of abuse and neglect in an attempt to stop it from happening or to gain assistance with so many animals that need help. In an extreme situation, this person can become a hoarder with more pets than they can care for effectively.

The Humanist
This is the person who puts hats on their pet and takes lots of photos. They humanize their pet’s lifestyle and try to fill its needs based on what they know would make a person happy. They might enjoy manufactured vitamins in place of organic foods and expensive toys in place of simple items found around the home. They may give their pet a human name or refer to them as their “children” or “kids.” This person will spend large sums of money keeping their pet happy and healthy and may make large donations to rescue organizations. A humanist may not want to see photos of abused pets or ones that are suffering. In an extreme situation, this person can turn against human connections and neglect their friends and family.

The Utilitarian
This category includes farmers and breeders. They feel an animal exists to perform a function. They might eat an animal or use them as currency. To this person, the health of the animal only extends to how useful its life will benefit a human. They will treat the pet well during times of need. They recognize pets that are imperfect or unnecessary to their cause. The Utilitarian prioritizes the care of animals and may seem to a Protectionist or Humanists like someone who is emotionally removed. In an extreme situation, this person may leave large numbers of animals in a state of neglect or abuse because the animals are no longer useful or applicable.

Each of these personalities is an extreme. Most of us are somewhere between or maybe have features of all three. It’s important to keep things in check and not fall into one of the extremes which can be damaging to you, your pets, and those around you. Each one of these categories can not exist without the others and each one has their benefits and downfalls. Being able to recognize what types of pet owners you are speaking to can make topical conversations more focused and productive.

You can think of these as the pet political parties. I find these classifications to be helpful when debating a variety of topics. Everyone wants to be right but it’s important to realize we might have the same goals, just different approaches to them. By focusing on goals and arguing less about our approach, more can be accomplished.

The comedy in this video is made apparent when this woman’s friend realizes she’s a Humanist. What type of owner are you? Share this with your friends and see if conversations aren’t easier once you define what type of pet owner you are.

If you have a great idea for an article about guinea pigs, please let us know. Guinea Pig Today is a network of guinea pig lovers and we’re always looking for the next great story. View our submissions page for more information on how to submit your idea.

Angela, Editor-in-Chief, GPT

Angela founded Guinea Pig Today and guest writes for CavyMadness. She volunteers with Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue and supports the ROUS Foundation. Her guinea pig, Papua, is the star of WHEK-TV/DT.

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December 2011
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