Posted by: kerryannekay | July 22, 2021

Good Morning, Sunshine?

People and their fall into a routine as time passes.  Many pets seem to have an internal alarm that goes off when it’s meal time.  Based on my past experience, I believe that guinea pigs have the strongest and most accurate “Meal Alert System” (MAS) of all of the domesticated animals.  If you shake a bag, open a container, or open the refrigerator it sets off a false alarm of the MAS for almost all guinea pigs.  I fully expected Turtle Fitzgerald and Clapton to come with a pretty strong MAS that would grow stronger and more accurate as we fell into our routine with each other…

As many of you know, I am a high school teacher and my wake-up time ten months of the year is six am.  Even during the summer, I am usually up at six am, feed the boys, eat breakfast, and then go back to sleep if I’m tired still or don’t need to be up that early.  Since the Monday they have arrived, Turtle Fitzgerald have been fed at that early hour.  So, by now, I’d expect them to be in sync with my routine.  *Insert expectation versus reality paradox here*

The other morning was pretty typical… I got done making the boys breakfast by 6:15 am and went upstairs to feed them.  As I entered the bedroom, I turned on the overhead light to illuminate the dark.  Turtle Fitzgerald and Clapton did not stir from their hiding places in their huts.  “You two did a good eating all your dinner last night,” I told the quiet as I removed the old plate.  “Okay, here’s breakfast…” I informed my guinea pig boys as I put the plate down. 


“Not a creature was stirring, not even a guinea pig?” I rephased the famous quote in the form of a question to the huts on the far side of the cage and giggled to myself.


“Fine, fine, fine,” I sighed as I grabbed the treat bag from under the table where their cage sits.  “Here you go,” I declared as I shook the bag, “You win, you can have your treat before breakfast.”


“Boys?” I called to huts.


“Boys, come on…” I said with growing tension  in my voice.  “This is breakfast.” I added, “Boys?” at a higher and more nervous pitch than my previous tone.


I had a lightning bolt of anxiety strike through my entire body.

Now, I’m going to stop here to explain myself a bit.  I believe that I am a typical pet owner… The moment I don’t hear my pets respond or they are too quiet, I just assume the worst.  Doesn’t everyone do that?  So, thoughts of ‘the boys are dead,’ ‘the boys are sick,’ and ‘the boys have run away’ all flooded my mind at once when I did not receive an immediate response to my calls from Turtle Fitzgerald or Clapton.

Now back to the story… Needless to say, I was concerned about the boys.  So, I went over to the huts on the other side of the cage.  I carefully tilted up the first hut and saw Turtle Fitzgerald sleeping on his side like a fuzzy bean.  “Awwww…” came out of my mouth at the sight.  TF started out of his sleep and jumped up into a standing position ready to run.  He looked around in a panic saw that I was the source of the disturbance.  He made a big production of stretching and added in a large tooth revealing yawn. 

“Nice,” I told him.  Turtle Fitzgerald didn’t care about my presence.  He turned towards the neighboring hut and let a bunch of bean fly in my general direction.  “Okay, not so nice then,” I laughed.  He walked into the other hut and laid down.  A small pink foot popped out of the other hut as he stretched out and got comfortable again.  “Fine,” I told the foot, “I’ll let you sleep in.  Where’s your brother?”

Silence again.

“Turtle Fitzgerald?” I asked the foot.


I put the first hut back down being carful that it did not rest on TF’s foot.  I grabbed the second hut and slowly tilted it on to its front legs.  Clapton was facing back side of the hut on his side looking like the most perfect bean there ever did exist.  Turtle Fitzgerald was laying right up against Clapton in the exact same position.  They were two perfect beans sleeping away.

I really struggled to stop myself from saying or doing anything that would wake them.  I put the hut back down carefully and quietly backed away from the cage.

As I left the room, I looked back and saw the still cage and silence. ‘What sweet boys,’ I thought to myself.  I went downstairs and laid down on the couch, turned on the television, and quickly drifted off to sleep. 

I was rudely awoken at ten am by a text from work. “Augh,” I moaned.  Forgetting where I was, I rolled over to grab my phone and fell off of the couch flat on to my back.  “Ouch,” was all I could wheeze out. Apparently, the thud from my fall managed to set off Turtle Fitzgerald and Clapton’s Meal Alert Sytem (MAS).  (Yeah, remember, that’s what this blog was supposed to be about.)  I listened intently and confirmed that the boys were wheeking for food.  “Really?” I asked the empty living room.  “My voice, your food plate being put in the cage, and a shaking bag didn’t set you off.  I fall off the couch and THAT sets you off?” I asked still staring up at the ceiling.

The wheeking continued.  The boys were clearly wheeking out their little hearts to the song of their people. “How did you even hear that?” I asked sitting up and then felt the brunt of the fall in my back as it cracked. “Oof.” I grunted, “That must have been loud.”

I got up and went upstairs.  As I opened the door, Turtle Fitzgerald and Clapton fell silent and bolted for their huts.  They left a trail of beans in their wake.  “Uh, huh,” was all I could say as I grabbed the treat bag.  I shook it.  Turtle Fitzgerald and Clapton both stuck their heads out from their huts but refused to leave the shelter.

“Oh, so we’re demanding room service this morning?” I asked the boys as I gave them a treat and they ducked back into their huts to eat it.  “You two may want to have your Meal Alert Systems looked at the next time you’re at the vet,” I giggled, “It may need a bit of a recalibration.  Much love. – KA

Author’s note:  I joke about Turtle Fitzgerald and Clapton not getting up right away to eat their breakfast.  This isn’t odd or worrisome behavior.  They are eating all of the fresh items I offer (except bell peppers), eating hay like it’s going out of style, drink plenty of water, and graze on their pellets.  They just like to sleep in…

See? I’d run towards this if I were Turtle Fitzgerald and Clapton! – KA

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