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Tactfully Confessing That You Don't Trust Someone


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Feb 25, 2012
Hello there.

Well, there is a certain person in my family who just doesn't see eye-to-eye with me about pigs. They are a previous owner, and many of their methods do not agree with what I've learned here. Now, I don't pretend to be an expert; I'm far from it. However, the basic information that I do believe to be true seems to be nearly a polar opposite to this person's beliefs.

For example, this person doesn't believe that pigs need vegetables, much hay, and should have unlimited pellets with seeds, yogurt drops, and the like. Whenever I object (politely) to a piece of their rather blunt advice and give them my reasoning, they simply say, "My pigs where fine with it." Then they act very offended and become rather unbearable.

Today, they held my sow. After I noticed that Toni had some crusties around her eyes, I asked the person to wash their hands. Their reply was, "I don't need to wash my hands because I won't be coming back to hold them any time soon." Then they left and didn't talk to me for hours.

It is just a case of this person thinking that they know everything, and not always being right. They also don't believe that pigs need floor time, vet visits, or any medical attention period.

This person had pigs years and years ago. Their first mistake was getting their pigs from a pet store; however, most people don't realize that this is a big mistake in the first place. From there, their pigs went downhill. One lived for just under 30 days, one lived for a year, and the other for about 2. They were believed to be fairly young pigs when they were 'purchased', so this person has no idea why they didn't live 5-7 years. (I think that I might).

I don't want to be rude, but sometimes I just feel like saying, "In this case, I think that I'm right. Please respect my decision and realize that these are not your pigs." However, when I said something along these lines I got nowhere fast.

Any suggestions are much appreciated. If anyone else is in the same situation, is there anything that you did? Is there anything to do but ignore what seems to be wrong? At this point, I'm having trouble discerning when to believe this person's advice and when to decide that this wouldn't be the best advice to follow.

Thank you very much. Not trying to be snide or anything like that; I just don't know how to put this.
I wouldn't trust anything this person told me to do with animals. What we did with animals years ago is not what we do with them now. We didn't know any better years ago, all we had was what someone else told us. Then came books, then the internet. Times have changed, and so has the standard of care for our pets. If you can't avoid this person, just try to avoid the topic. If you get cornered, just say something along the lines of "We'll have to agree to disagree on this subject." Or "These are my pigs, not yours, and I'll care for them as I see fit." I've actually said the latter to my mother. BTW, I don't let anyone handle my pigs or bunnies without washing their hands first. I have no idea where they've been, and pigs and buns are too fragile to take a chance with. The disgusting fact is, most people don't wash their hands after using the bathroom, either. Gross. This forum and Guinea Lynx is awesome because of the info provided. I have no problem listening to the advice offered, and Lynx has carefully provided sound medical and science research to support the info provided. If someone is unwilling to learn, then there isn't much you can do. His track record with pigs speaks for itself. I'm sorry you're having such a hard time with this person, but good luck.
They're your pigs, not theirs. I think you should make it clear that the way you conduct your piggie parenting in none of their business, and don't talk about with them. If you've politely brought up research priovously with the person, telling them again won't change their minds. Continually having the subject brought up will just rub both parties the wrong way.

Sometimes you have to be firm with people. Being firm does not equal rudeness. If they take offense to it, that's their problem.
I don't want to be rude, but sometimes I just feel like saying, "In this case, I think that I'm right. Please respect my decision and realize that these are not your pigs." However, when I said something along these lines I got nowhere fast.

Actually I think this is a great response. Even if the person doesn't think of pigs as "worthy" animals, but just some kind of property, the fact remains that they are your "property" and the person needs to either respect your wishes or stop trying to interact with the pigs.

Personally, I wouldn't let this person touch my pigs or have any role in their care if they are insistent that they are right and you are wrong. It's disrespectful to you and dangerous for the pigs.

At a minimum, they should respect you. Maybe you can even frame it as "look, I know we don't see eye to eye on cavy care, but this is how I am raising my animals, and out of respect for me, I'd be grateful for you to honor my wishes."

I don't know how close you are to this person, but I'd keep my interactions brief if they keep disrespecting you.

Sorry you are having to deal with this!
From what you told me I would not trust ANY advice this person had about guinea pigs. All you have to say is -" I have done my research and from what I learned disagrees with "that", but thank you for your advice". Or if the discussion is about a topic you know little to nothing about say "Thank you for your advice, I will have to look into it." If they continue to be argumentative refer them to this site or guinea-lynx, or just say we agree to disagree. Obviously you two greatly disagree on proper care for guinea pigs, and this person seems to think they are somewhat of an expert; I doubt no matter what you say you will make any head way with them. The only thing you can control is the care of YOUR pig(s), and pretty much lay down the law that what you say goes for your cavy. I know it's hard but do not be rude just be firm when it comes to your animals, it is all you can do.

Toni is your pig? The eye crust bothers me. Have you looked into it? https://www.guinealynx.info/eyes.html Eye crust can be a sign something is wrong.

Good luck with trying to "teach" someone who thinks they know it all, usually you are wasting your breath. Like I said just be firm when it comes to the care of your pig(s).
Just say thank you and move on. There is no reason to waste your time and energy dwelling on this person and their obviously wrong advice. There are always going to be people like this. If it isn't guinea pigs it will be your kids, or your car, or your lawn, or etc, etc, etc. You know what you are doing is right and if you have any questions you know the right sources to get the correct information. That is what matters, that you are doing the right things and you know it. If this person continues to believe false information after being presented with facts than the subject of guinea pigs is not one to talk about with them. Simple as that.
Toni is your pig? The eye crust bothers me. Have you looked into it? https://www.guinealynx.info/eyes.html Eye crust can be a sign something is wrong.

Yes, I have looked into it. I check over my pigs every day for the basic signs of illness, and when I took them to the vet last (a few weeks ago) I told the vet that I had noticed some minimal crust around Toni's eyes and nose. It turned out that she had a mild URI, and she was put on antibiotics. Since then, she has had no crust, and I realized after I made my original post that this was just a little piece of hay (right before I had picked her up she had been snuffling around in a pile of hay, and I thought that it might not be crust). Regardless, I'm still keeping a close eye on her, and her cagemate. Thanks for the concern; this is something that the person found completely insignificant and dumb. Another reason why we don't always see eye-to-eye.

As this member of my family lives with me, and always wants to hold the pigs, I usually say, "I actually just held them," or "They look a little skittish right now. It probably wouldn't be a good idea." However, when I was in the process of adopting my pigs, this person (who we will call "Jane Doe") was in the know of the application and what not. Jane owned guinea pigs before myself, and when I was in the adoption process I was beginning to become a bit wary of her advice.

I think that Jane is well meaning (sometimes), but sometimes I just feel like she wants to prove me wrong.

At first, I didn't let her come into contact with my pigs at all, because they were still wary of people in their new home. When Jane insisted, I said, "These are my pigs. Right now they are not ready to be handled by new people. Please respect that and leave them alone." When she heard this, she said something along the lines of, "You're being ridiculous. They're fine, see? They're running around!" (More like running away from Jane, who was being very loud and standing over them).

As the epic saga of my piggy story continues, I'm trying to teach Jane a few things about how I take care of my pigs. Goodness, there are so many things that she doesn't know I just feel like screaming! It is infuriating to try and be calm when she tells me off for something that I do know to be true, like "Pigs need vegetables, Jane," or "Yes, Toni does need antibiotics and special treatment for an upper respiratory infection."
What happens if you give her the Spock stare -- mostly impassive but with an arched eyebrow, not say anything in response to her statements, and then either walk away or bring up something totally out of left field.

Jane: They don't need veggies every day.
You: (Spock stare, brief silence). So, I went and bought a new umbrella the other day.
Do you live at a family members place, or is this "Jane" family member set up as a room-mate?

If it were me, I'd bar her from entering your room and handling the pigs unless she can be mature and hospitable enough to keep her opinions to herself. There's no sense in letting her continually say upsetting things about your animals. I'd explain to her that it's stressing you out every time she makes these comments, and you don't want to hurt your relationship with each other over how you handle your pets.

May I ask if Jane is a minor? I'm hoping she doesn't throw a hissy fit if you set boundaries. Especially if she is a teenage girl. They scare the crap out of me.
Jane is not a minor, no. I'd rather not say anything else personal, simply for Internet privacy. I hope that you understand.

Jane lives in my house, and she happens to be my sister. (If you read this Jane, I love you but this is a bit unbearable!)

I'm tired of letting her walk all over me. The next time that she mentions this, I'll just say the following:

"Hey Jane, please hear me out. I know that you used to have pigs, and I respected you enough to let you make your own decisions with them. Now, I have pigs. I've asked you before to let me care for them how I see fit. I know that we don't agree on everything related to guinea pigs, but these are my cavies, not yours, and I need you to respect that."

If that doesn't work, I may have to use the Spock stare, Wildcavy. (Ha!)
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