When I first got Alfalfa, he had not eaten any hay…ever. He had a very poor diet. It included pre-peeled carrots and cheap pellets. The only reason he did not wind up with scurvy was because of the vitamin-C in the carrots. When I rescued Alfalfa, my first goal was to get him healthy. His diet was a big part of that plan.
I thought all guinea pigs would just take to hay like a duck takes to water. Boy was I wrong…
“Here you go dude, enjoy…” I said as I placed the hay hanger in front of my guinea pig. Alfalfa sniffed the hay and then sneezed. “No,” I corrected, “you eat it…” Alfalfa turned and looked at me like I was from mars.
“Look,” I said picking up the hay, “you eat it…” I placed the hay in my mouth. Alfalfa was still not impressed. So, I began to chew. “Youfff, seefff?” I said through the chews. Again Alfalfa tilted his head curiously. The taste hit me.
“YUCK!” I said standing up and bolting for the sink. I got to the sink and began to furiously spit out the hay. “YUCK!” I said again turning on the water and using my hands as a cup to drink. I swished the water around in my mouth and spit it out. No good. My mouth tasted like the lawn.
I heard Alfalfa gently wheeking behind me. I turned, “No wonder you don’t like this stuff… It tastes really bad…” Again I used my hands as a cup, took water into my mouth, swished it out, and spit it in the sink. Then I felt the piece of hay between two molars. “Oh, no…” I lamented walking over to the bathroom.
I flossed and flossed and flossed the area. The stupid piece of hay would not come out. As I walked out of the bathroom I saw Alfalfa back at his hay. There was a whole lot of sniffing going on but no chewing. “Oooohhhhh,” I pleaded, “Just eat the hay…” He stuck his nose up in the air and walked away. “Wonderful,” was my only response. I picked up my phone and called the dentist.
Luckily, my dentist said to come over and he would see me between appointments. The hay between those two teeth was driving me crazy and I left right away. The entire way over I debated with myself on what I would tell the dentist. I wavered from the truth to ‘I have no idea.’ I didn’t want to look like an idiot.
When I got the office I was escorted to a room. It took the dentist about 15 minutes to get to me. He started to poke and prod at the material stuck between my teeth. Then the question came, “So, what were you eating that got stuck like this?” Of course he expected me to be able to answer with his hand and a tool fully inserted into my mouth.
“Uhmmmmm….” was my response. “Youuuu dotn wannn knesss…”
“What?” he asked removing his hand and the tool.
“You don’t want to know…” I said.
“I don’t want to know?” he asked. “Well, it looks like some sort of wood back there…”
“Oh,” I said, “Ok, but you have to promise me you won’t laugh…”
“Ok,” he said half-heartedly, “I won’t laugh…”
“It’s hay…” I said bowing my head.
“Hay?” he asked, “As if you were chewing on a blade of hay?”
“No, I was trying to teach my guinea pig to eat his hay…by showing him how…” I mumbled.
“WHAT?” he exclaimed, “You were teaching a guinea pig to eat hay by eating it yourself?” He tried really hard to hold his laugher back. He turned bright red and busted out laughing… at me…
I sighed and said, “Thanks for your support…” The dentist stopped laughing for minute and then busted out laughing again. I sat in complete misery and humiliation.
“Wow,” he said calming down, “You are a dedicated pet owner.”
“Thanks,” I said. “My teeth hurt, can we get this painful experience over with?”
“Sure,” he giggled and went back to digging the hay out between my molars. After several more picks the hay was out.
“So, what do I owe you?” I asked on the way out with the dentist.
“Oh, don’t worry…” he said patting me on the back, “This one is on the house…that story will make me laugh for years!”