How to tell if you've found the pet for you

10 signs you're a bona fide pet parent

Hobbies and Interests
By VoiceBox ·

Jac

Jac is a 22 year old Anthropology student with a minor in Spanish. He lives in Toledo, Ohio with his skinny pig, Mochie and hopes to work in the museum or the nonprofit sectors after graduation

10 signs that you’ve found your fur (or skin) baby:

When I was a freshman at college, I was very much a small town bumpkin in a big college city. Because I went to a public arts school, the change was not a total 180 however, I did (and still do) miss being at home in southern Ohio on what my parents dubbed, our small hobby farm, with dozens of animal friends to keep me company. I missed taking care of whatever animal came our way, a stray cat, a wounded pigeon, a pet rabbit gone feral. Animals are all so unique, and in my opinion, the weirder, the better. So when I saw an internet ad for a baby skinny pig (a hairless type of guinea pig), it was love at first sight. I still have the first picture I saw of Mochie, a wrinkly little nugget with patches of pink and black colored skin. A few weeks (and a very scary drive into Amish country at night) later, I had adopted her, named her, and gotten her certified to live on campus with me.

(A disclaimer here: the way that I went about this was all wrong. If you are looking to find an animal companion, please adopt, don’t shop like I did. I’ve learned a lot since then, and while I don’t regret any of it because it gave me my “skin baby”, if I were going to do it again, I would look up a reputable guinea pig rescue instead.)

So here we are 3 years later, I’m all set to graduate in the spring, Mochie and I are thriving in our own apartment off campus, and we have a bond like no other. In celebration of this, I wanted to make a list of ways that you tell you’ve found your fur (or skin) baby:

#1) You can’t (and will never) stop talking about them.

Seriously, ask anyone. If there is a way that I can fit her into a conversation, I will.

#2) You share your life with them.

Look, I can’t pretend that it has been sunshine and rainbows all of the time. But through all of my ups and downs, Mochie has been there for me (though not without the occasional look of judgement)

#3) You take (or want to take) them everywhere.

I joke a lot that Mochie is a very well traveled pig. She’s been on trips to the east coast with me, up north, and down south (she hasn’t been out west with me yet, but that’ll be the next thing). If you are someone who travels and you plan on taking your baby with you, I recommend investing in some sort of traveling gear (Mochie has a special cage just for travel and a portable pen as well).

#4) You spoil them.

I’m not saying that Mochie is the most spoiled pig in the universe, but her stuff does take up a whole corner in my bedroom, and I make her a new box house for every season.

#5) They are your creative muse.

Currently, I’m working on a series of small vignettes of Mochie and I can honestly say, I’ve never enjoyed working on art so much. After this I plan on making one of those caricature Renaissance portraits with her head on a royal’s body.

#6: You have your own brand of affection.

Whether your pet is extremely cuddly, hates physical attention, or is somewhere in the middle, odds are you have your own unspoken language with them. Maybe they’ll look up or make certain noises when you enter the room. Maybe they like to curl up on or near you. Sometimes they’ll ask for your attention. And sometimes, as in guinea pigs, their greatest way to display their affection is to show you they trust you enough to be calm and relaxed around you. None of these forms of affection are better than any of the others. It all depends on you and your pet.


#7) You have at least ten different nicknames for them.

Little pig, smol pig, Pepa Pig, Pigini, Piglet, Pigalicious Piggington, Mochmellow, “my queen, my goddess, my source of inspiration”, lil’ dough ball, and of course her full name, Mochie Lou Melon.

#8) You’ve grown accustomed to (and may even like) the way they smell.

Ode de skinny pig is pretty iconic actually. I’ve compared the way that Mochie smells to a very mild Brie. It could be the type of hay she eats, it could just be her skin’s natural odor. Not everyone is a fan, for sure, but there’s something very comforting to me about holding my pet and smelling her unique scent.

#9) You make up songs about them.

Sometimes reaffirming them with cute nicknames just isn’t enough and you have to express your love through songs and song parodies. I usually just sing whatever song is in my head and just insert the word “piggy” somewhere in it and she gets the message. I’ve actually done this for so long, I don’t even realize I’m doing it until someone else points it out.

#10) You worry about them.

This is a natural part of being a pet parent, especially if it’s your first time. You may or may not be stricken with worry every time you leave them and they are always on your mind. You want what’s best for them and this might mean testing several brands of hay or treats till you find what they like, or obsessively reading the ingredients of food to make sure they’re getting the nutrition they need, or buying them their own personal space heater (speaking from experience here). It might also mean that you don’t leave the house for too long or feel guilty when you do. Just remember that kind of like how there’s no perfect way to be a parent, there’s also no perfect way to be a pet parent. As long as you’re trying your best and loving them with an open heart and an open mind, they will appreciate you in their own little ways.

I hope you enjoyed this list as much as I enjoyed making it and may you and your fur baby live long happy lives together!

Special thanks to my own sweet piggy for inspiring me in so many ways and continuing to give me more happiness than I probably deserve!

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