Saturday, August 01, 2009

Disney Force

Combining the themes of my last two posts, there have been several reports in the news this week that people who run guinea pig rescues (and there are a LOT of them) fear that the hit movie G-Force will result in a lot of people buying guinea pigs just because their kids are enthralled by the animated characters, with the end result that the guinea pigs will be dumped in a couple of months when they don't live up to expectations.

I find that a little hard to believe, but I have never really been aware of the influence the media has on people in general. It is a truism that "101 Dalmatians" resulted in mass purchasing of such dogs, which led to mass disappointment when everyone discovered that their temperament is not the same as the hand-drawn puppies on the screen. Now with computer graphics, the on-screen animals can look even more like the real thing, so if line drawings can create such a fad, I suppose animation that looks almost real can, too.

I would hope that parents can have a little bit of sense and buy something like this or this to satisfy a kid's craving for his own furry secret agent. A live animal is not a toy. A toy is a toy. A live animal is a thinking, feeling, loving being.

How about this, parents who must give in to their kids' whims: Guinea pigs pee and poop all the time, they eat their own poop, and your house will smell like a barn unless you constantly clean the cage.

But I suppose the ones who need to be warned won't be reading a column like this.

Guinea pigs do make good pets, for people who have the right temperament. They are social animals and enjoy companionship. They are also fragile and can easily break their backs, which is why I cringe when I think of hordes of kids trying to emulate the movie action with a "disposable" real live animal.

For the thinking person who is considering getting a guinea pig, this page at Seagull's Guinea Pig Compendium looks like a good place to start getting some information.

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