Alfalfa is by no means what you would call ‘well-behaved’. So, when he is good for me it is a reason for concern. The past three weeks he has been acting like a normal guinea pig. And all I’ve been asking is why? Why has my bad pig gone good?
It all started with Alfalfa lack of interest in my toes. I was sitting on my couch watching TV. My feet were on the floor…without socks. Alfalfa walked by, sniffed my toes, and kept on walking. ‘That’ odd,’ I thought. “Dude?” I asked when he was out of reach of my toes. He turned and looked back at me. “Don’t you want to bite my toes?” I picked up my right foot and extended it towards him while wiggling my toes. “Huh?” I asked again seductively wiggling my toes at him. Alfalfa turned and continued to walk on to the bed and went under it.
Another troubling sign was when Alfalfa was playing ‘flat pig’ too well and too often. Normally, when guinea pigs lay down and flatten out, it is a sign that they are happy and comfortable. Alfalfa does ‘go flat’ quite often. But, he will follow me around the house when I am up and working. When I’m in a spot he lies down and relaxes. If I move, he moves too. He’s like a small puppy following me around. But, Alfalfa stopped following me around. That alone wasn’t a big deal but when he stopped getting up when I walked over him…well, that was an issue. He hates it when I walk over him. So, when he started looking up at me and laying back down right away, I knew I had a problem.
After Alfalfa behaving himself for several weeks, I decided to sit him down and have another talk… well, it was an intervention. “Dude,” I said in a loving and soft tone, “I have some concerns…about your behavior…” I had to remember to make this conversation about Alfalfa’s behaviors. I didn’t want him to get defensive about what I was going to say and tune out. Alfalfa looked up at me and wheek as if to say, “Go ahead, I’m listening.” “You know I love you so much,” I said. “Why have you been…been…so well, behaved recently? It makes me worried when you act like that.” I added, “You might become a ‘normal’ guinea pig,” putting the word ‘normal’ in quotes with my fingers. Alfalfa let out a long wheek I took as, “NOOOOOOO…” He turned and started to walk away.
“Alfalfa,” I said sitting down on the floor, “Please don’t walk away from me… I love you and want to help you.” I begged. “Is there something going on? Are you in…well…uhm… trouble? You can tell me.” Alfalfa looked down at the floor. “Oh, dude,” I sighed. I laid down on my stomach and got face to face with my butt head. I began to whisper to him sweet words of comfort. He sat,starred back at me, and purred a bit. “You know what?” I finally said to him after about five minutes of laying on the floor, “It’s cold down here.” Alfalfa took a step towards me and casually bit my nose…hard. “OUCH!” I yelled as i popped up off the floor. Of course, Alfalfa bolted for the bed.
“Ouch,” I said again rubbing my nose. “So, this whole thing is about you being cold? Pig?!?” Alfalfa stuck his head from out of the bed skirt and huffed at me. “You could have told me that…” I remarked walking over the thermostat and turning on the heat. “I can’t believe that I have to turn on my heat for you…wimp.” I heard Alfalfa chattering his teeth at me. “Whatever,” I said dismissively and went back to the couch to watch TV. My nose was throbbing from the bite.
In my apartment, I have electric baseboard heat. It is close to the floor. So, after about an hour I saw Alfalfa lying under the baseboard heater. “Dude,” I laughed, “You’re a heat hog.” Alfalfa looked up at me annoyed. He sighed and snuggled in closer to the heat. I got up to check on him. I bent down and felt his back. His fur was hot but not overheated. My hand was cold compared to his fur and he shivered. “Ok,” I giggled, “I’ll leave you to your heat.”
Alfalfa spends a lot of time under the baseboard heater. So, I have ordered him a heating pad. Since I have turned on the heat, Alfalfa has been behaving more normally…more badly… It seems that the cold floor was a bit too much for him and he was uncomfortable. He left me a pile of beans in the middle of the floor as a thank you present. The bad is back and all it good!