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Classroom Guinea Pig

Res Judicata

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Well, what I hoped would not occur has. My son came home from his first day back at school after the holidays and said "We have a guinea pig now. Another classroom teacher didn't want her anymore, so Mrs. Strong took her." I tried questioning him a bit about it, but all I got was the pig's name is Callie, she lives in a white cage, eats colored food, and has no hay. I put some timothy hay in a plastic bag and packed it in my son's backpack to take to school. I pick him up after school, so I'm going in a little early to take a look at this pig, offer help and useful websites. Donate a bag of good food and hay if needs be. The least I can do is make sure this guinea pig gets a good diet even if I can't change anything else. Maybe offer a home if it comes to that, whether now or in the summer. First I take on Gracie to keep her from going to a petshop, now I'm setting myself up as a guardian angel for a classroom pet. Suddenly in the last few months I'm attracting needy guinea pigs. :eek:ptimist:
 

MsGizziBingly

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So... I just typed this nice long post about how I can relate and such and BAM computer shuts off by itself -_- stupid piece of crap.

Anyway, to shorten it. I'm a nanny.. and one of the kids has classroom pets. I feel bad for them. [Turtles, Gerbil, Guinea pig, and I think one other thing, but I can't ever get a good look at it] I tell sean good things to do for them [talk to them softly, dont dart at them, etc].. and what not to do [yelling at them, tapping their glass, or poking at the cavy through the cage, etc]

Also. I talking about something not related to real guinea pigs.. but the show "Wonder Pets" on Nick Jr. has a guinea pig, turtle, and a baby chick that save other baby animals.. and the Cavy has a WHEEL in his cage.. and it just bothers me because it makes me think.. do people see this and think "Oh that would be a fun toy for a guinea pig", you know? :(
 

this_lil_piggy

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I watch Wonder Pets with my 3 yr old every day. I have never paid enough attention to notice a wheel though.... I am going to have to take notice tomorrow.
 

this_lil_piggy

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That rots, Jes. I hope the teacher will willingly take in all the advice. Maybe she will be a good recipient of the information since she has basically gotten stuck with another teachers poor choice vs this being something she ran out and did.
 

standuprookie

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Good luck with the classroom pig.

There are no good kid shows with guinea pigs, Pinky Dinky Doo keeps hers in an aquarium, Wonder Pets has the Wheel ( I have never seen it but I will keep an eye out tomorrow ) The episode of Wonder Pets thats makes me the most made was the one with the classroom rabbit, its cage looked like one of those circular bird cages.
 

MsGizziBingly

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The episode of Wonder Pets thats makes me the most made was the one with the classroom rabbit, its cage looked like one of those circular bird cages.

That one was on yesterday. I was like ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Poor Ollie or whatever his name was.
 

Amber23

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Res - maybe you could offer to build a C&C Cage for the pig? Im sure its in a store bought cage. If you could even build a 2x3, that would be an improvement. I would also take some care pamphlets. Maybe you could make enough for all the kids? Im sure that seeing a pig at school will make them want to get one for home.
 

Res Judicata

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My son gave the hay to his teacher, but said the guinea pig didn't get any. I had a doctor's appointment this afternoon that would have allowed me to get to school on time to pick Ilan up, but the office was way behind, so my dad picked up the kids. Ilan's all disappointed that the pig didn't get hay. He wants to write a letter to his teacher this weekend about why hay is important. He's six, so we'll see how far he can get. I'll probably write it all down and he'll copy it. I'm happy he wants to do it. He really cares about animals and wants them to be happy. He's the one who helps me out with our pigs at home and is so gentle with them. His sisters are too young to have anything beyond a shallow interest in all things fuzzy, and his brother likes the guinea pigs the way grandparents like grandchildren. They're fun to play with, but he doesn't want to raise them.
 

xDanix

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It´s so sweet that your son cares about the pig and want to explain the teacher about the hay!
Most of the kids I know wouldn´t even care.
I don´t agree with these animals at school. Teachers don´t know anything about taking care properly and kids just want to touch the animals, and they get stressed and sad.
 

xDanix

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Wonder Pets´Cavy has a wheel? I´ve never noticed that either.

The most famous comics magazine for kids here in Brazil has a story on the November issue that also showed a cavy with wheel. That´s so sad. Why people just don´t get some information first? And cavies are not popular pets here, so the kids would really believe that, because of the lack of information.
 

MsGizziBingly

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Teachers don´t know anything about taking care properly and kids just want to touch the animals, and they get stressed and sad.

I agree and disagree. My little niece has a guinea pig as a class pet. However she is in a private school and her class has about 10 people in it. The teacher I believe is the one that supplied the cavy. [she takes her home on weekends and holidays] She is also cavy savvy too. [I know most arent but there are a few] She teaches the children about guinea pigs and they have a once a week lesson about her and everything. She isnt in a commercial cage either :) That makes me REALLY happy. I've seen her a few times when I used to visit. I think its okay to have selective classroom pets, as long as the teach is knowledgable of the pet and is willing to teach the children how to act around and care for the pet as well. Also I think most classroom pets should only be for small sized classes, it just makes more sense.
 

xDanix

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That is very good. If all teachers were like this one...
When I was at school, we just had fish. A student of my classroom looked after them and he loved to do that.
 

Percy's Mom

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Personally, I don't think there should ever be a pet in a classroom. There are just too many variables. If it's a small class, and the teacher takes the animal home, that's better, but still not that great. What happens if a student doesn't know that he or she is allergic to an animal and has an attack in the middle of the school day? Does the teacher who brought the animal into the class pay the medical bills or the school? The parents certainly shouldn't. Who is responsible for supplying food, hay, veggies, bedding? Who pays the vet bills for a classroom pet IF it gets to a vet when something is wrong? Except for being held, is it even a good idea for a classroom pet to be out of it's cage?

Two of my girls were classroom pets that a parent just dumped on the teacher. To her credit, she said if it had been her choice, she never would have had any animals in her classroom, but the parent said if she didn't take them, she was going to let them loose. After almost a year of the poor things going from house to house on weekends, she posted an ad to find them a permanent home out of her class.

However, your son should be congratulated for wanting to try and help that poor animal live the best life it can in that situation Res Judicata. It's wonderful that he's learning to be so compassionate at such a young age.
 

MsGizziBingly

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What happens if a student doesn't know that he or she is allergic to an animal and has an attack in the middle of the school day? Does the teacher who brought the animal into the class pay the medical bills or the school? The parents certainly shouldn't. Who is responsible for supplying food, hay, veggies, bedding? Who pays the vet bills for a classroom pet IF it gets to a vet when something is wrong? Except for being held, is it even a good idea for a classroom pet to be out of it's cage?

The Pig belongs to the teacher. She she supplies all the piggy medical and housing and food needs, sometimes to students bring in fresh veggies and give them to the teacher, she checks them, and makes sure they are good for the cavy too.

Papers were sent home with the parents at the beginning of the year [when the teacher thought about bringing one of her 3 piggies] asking for approval due to allergies and such. All of the parents signed saying that it was okay and that if anything happened it wasnt the schools fault.

I don't know EVERYTHING about the situation just what I've seen and talked to the teacher about. She told me that after christmas vacation that she takes the piggy home to be with her buddies.

So I think with all the right planning and something that is good for the piggy and the students is okay. However I WOULDNT recommend that every teacher have one. But something that infreqent [sp?] should be okay.
 

MsGizziBingly

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However, your son should be congratulated for wanting to try and help that poor animal live the best life it can in that situation Res Judicata. It's wonderful that he's learning to be so compassionate at such a young age.


I agree with PM. Baylie [my niece] is crazy about her classroom guinea pig, but she told me that she didn't want one until she was and I quote "27 because thats when I'll have a great job with millions of dollars to spend on 'lola'.. thats what I'll call her!!!!!" haha
 

hydrohoki

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"27 because thats when I'll have a great job with millions of dollars to spend on 'lola'.. thats what I'll call her!!!!!" haha

Tell her it only took me till 24 and while I don't have a million dollars I have plenty to spoil them with and some leftover for me.
 

Percy's Mom

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Sadly, that teacher is the exception and not the rule with classroom pets. It's still too much of a risk in my opinion though. Things can happen overnight that are controlable if an animal is at home, but not if he is left in the classroom overnight.
Papers were sent home with the parents at the beginning of the year [when the teacher thought about bringing one of her 3 piggies] asking for approval due to allergies and such. All of the parents signed saying that it was okay and that if anything happened it wasnt the schools fault.
These signatures are nice and all, but if they don't know their child is allergic to a certain animal, I doubt a parent is going to NOT blame the school or the teacher if their child goes into anaphylactic shock and ends up in the hospital.
 

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I also ran into this same problem that you are currently facing. Last year my daughter found out that one of the second grade teachers aquired a guinea pig (Kailyn was 8 at the time), and she begged her teacher to go and visit Mrs. Beth's new pig.

When I picked her up from school later that afternoon Kailyn was all upset and explained to me that the pig was in a very tiny cage, barely able to hop forward twice and turn around. She said he has no house and no hay. After she was done ranting for a good five minutes she than said she told the teacher that the pig's food was going to make him choke or possibly die and that he needed hay so his teeth stay short.

The teacher smiled at Kailyn and put her arm around her and asked when she became a guinea pig expert. Kailyn said she has always had piggies and she helps all the time with her's at home. Kailyn than said she told the teacher that she needs to go to "CavyCages.com" so she can learn how to take care of her new piggie too.

I was so proud of her, my eyes were filling with tears as I drove home from the school. Kailyn not only knew what was wrong, but she spoke up on the behalf of the pig and did it wonderfully, at least from the sounds of things.

The next day, I called the office and scheduled an appointment to talk with the teacher (who was not either one of my child's teachers :) ). When I got there, she had the pig in a very small cage, in the back of the room, no house, no hay, no quality food and a 8oz water bottle. Kailyn nailed it with her discription.

I had come prepared, but did not want to "battle" the teacher about the classroom pet. I just wanted to try to make the best out of the bad situation and for her to listen and not put a wall up thinking I was "upset". I brought her the printed care sheets from GL, a Ziplock bag of Oxbow pellets and another one of bluegrass. I slowly took them out of my purse and explained the importance of a good diet and that this information she should find useful and if she had any questions to please feel free to contact me and I had my name and number on the bottom of the info pages.

I waited a week, heard nothing. I went back---this time I offered to donate the pig a new cage. She looked puzzled, but said as long as it fit on the shelf that was fine. I came back two days later with a 1 x 3, not perfect but sooo much better than what the pig had. I doubled the grids to keep the pig more protected and put up six inch coroplast walls. I made him a small hayrack to keep his cage cleaner and the teacher looked happy, but also confused.

She called me the next afternoon, so happy, and thanked me so much. She said that buddy was so much happier and was talking up a storm. I asked her if it would be ok if I came in within the next few days to trim his nails, she said that would be great.

I went, cut the nails, brought Buddy a leaf of lettuce so he would not be angry at me and dropped her off more hay.

Every once in a while thereafter I would have the kids take turn bringing Buddy food and hay and "informing" me of how he looked. That went on a for a little while---now here it is a year later and I still go to the school and trim Buddy's nails, along with two other school pigs. The teacher that I taught, has now taught the other two and they now purchase their own food and split it between all of them.

Truly, the situation is not ideal, and no I do not believe in classroom pets, but I do believe in trying to make a difference and make the biggest positive difference I can make. I truly with all my heart don't believe the teacher would have gotten rid of Buddy even if I would have begged, but it would have upset her and made her not even want to listen or be around me. Instead, she is now a great cavy caregiver and educator, and truly I believe Buddy could be in a much worse situation that being the classroom pig.

I am also a firm believer that if the teachers are responsible, loving, and a real educator, pets in a classroom "can" be a positive. So many kids do not have the opportunity to learn about proper care of animals, the love they can share, or the joy and smile they can bring. I have seen those kids with Buddy, and I know Buddy is an angel for several of those kids, especially the ones who are not lucky enough to have a pet of their own. They have all learned a lot from Buddy, and when you think about it, really think about it, our children are the key to bettering the lives of animals and hopefully ending animal cruelity forever. They are the future . . .the ones who if given the knowledge at a early age, will be able to make the real difference and maybe someday be able to end this vicious cycle.
 

fourbwabbys

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While I don't agree with the 'traditional' idea of a classroom pet, it can be done right. Spaz had 5 babies when I bought her pregnant and two of them went to a friend's Aunt. When she found out she could no longer care for them, her son's teacher took them in. I have heard nothing but great things about them. They get semi-annual well vet visits as well as if they're sick, the kids (it's a pretty small class) bring in veggies for them every day, and she takes them home every night and break (the kids are not allowed to take them home). She is very responsible with them and I completely trust her with my babies.

I however do not agree with the 'traditional' classroom pet. The tiny cage, pass back and forth each weekend, etc. If it can be done right, then I have no problem with it.
 

Res Judicata

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Ilan wrote his letter and took it in, but won't give me any details on what his teacher said. Still haven't seen the pig. I'm having some kidney issues and had to have an MRI today. Drank some awful stuff, had an IV that was supposed to help make my organs more easily seen, and spent about forty-five minutes on a hard table moving in and out of what is essentially a large metal doughnut. Anyway, enough on my medical drama and on to Callie the guinea pig. Tomorrow is Ilan's share day at school, so I convinced him that in addition to taking that plush taranula that is his pride and joy, he should take pictures of his guinea pigs. So we put together a little album of what digital pictures I have of the girls. Roxie relaxing on her pillow, Cloudy eating a nice piece of green lettuce, the pigs enjoying a snack of hay and running around their spacious cage. I also got the school's address and mailed one of those care pamphlets from GL to his teacher saying it was nice of her to take on this guinea pig from the other teacher, I wanted to make sure for the kids' sake and the guinea pig's that she was taken care of well, and here's a little information about guinea pigs. I threw in a bit about how caring for pets correctly is a good way to teach children to respect animals and be responsible pet owners themselves, blah, blah, blah just to make it sound good. I was going to take it in, but Ilan didn't want me to, so I did this anonymously just to help support him.
 

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