The Seven Guinea Pigs | Teen Ink

The Seven Guinea Pigs

May 24, 2022
By AriannaA, Hughson, California
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AriannaA, Hughson, California
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Author's note:

I made this story for my dad's birthday. It is told in 3 chapters, each from a different point of view.

It was almost my first birthday when I first met Tillroy. I looked up into his kind green eyes and knew that he wanted to help me. I did not know who he was at the time, I had never seen a boy before with such beautiful eyes. All I knew was that he couldn’t be one of Charlotte’s, the lady who owns us. She was far too cruel to have a child as sweet-faced as him. He isn’t anything like her. 

         The rare times that he comes over to talk to Charlotte we all listen intently in on their short conversations. His words have a lilting melody to them, and he says everything with a smile. Now, a week later, I have learned a few things about him. He’s not from around here, he lived in Canada his whole life and only just moved here, to the States. Canada is really far away and sounds a bit like Neverland, or maybe like the magical world on the other side of Charlotte's walls. He misses Canada and says that some of the people here are mean to him. Charlotte doesn’t care much about him or anything he tells her, but we love the stories he tells, looking forward to when he’ll come visit us again.

           Tillroy is a really nice person. Every Time he visits Charlotte he crouches in front of our cage and pets us through the bars. Sometimes he will even bring tasty carrots and other treats for us. We love Tillroy, and Tillroy loves us. Us is my family. We are a family of guinea pigs in a small cage tucked into the corner of Charlotte’s house. There are seven of us together.  Myself, Apple, Muffin my sister, Melon my other sister, Lemon my brother, Cracker my mother, Sushi my father, and Kat my grandfather. Don’t ask why my grandpa is named Kat, it’s a really long cat story. I don’t think we are treated very well. Our bedding is caked in dirt and mud and all kinds of nasty stuff, there is never enough food, and, worst of all, our nails never get trimmed and so they dig into our feet and make every step painful. I don’t understand why Charlotte is so mean to us. She shouldn’t be so horrible, we’ve done nothing wrong.

So, back to Tillroy. He’s really nice and changes out our food and water. He even replaces the bedding in our houses sometimes. Tillroy talks to us while doing this, saying things like, “I love you”, “You’re really funny”, and “Aww, that’s so cute!”. He sometimes whispers secrets to us, dreams he has, and things he misses from Canada, the magical neverland.  We both need each other. He brings happiness to Charlotte's dark house and we give him comfort and someone he can talk to.

One day, Tillroy cleaned our entire cage. I was really happy, but I was scared that he would get in trouble. When Charlotte found out, she was furious. Fortunately, he had already left. The next day, however, he came over for a visit, and I thought that Charlotte’s head had blown off and lava was spewing out! When Tillroy’s mom came to pick him up, she heard the commotion and was horrified. I think she told Tillroy to stay away from Charlotte, because we didn’t see him again for a long time. He didn’t regret what he did one bit, smiling and winking at us when he left.

When I cleaned the guinea pig’s cage, I didn’t regret it. In fact, I kept pleading with my mom to let me go back. She finally asked me why, because she needed a good reason, and I told her that I had been taking care of Charlotte’s guinea pigs because she mistreats them, and that they need me to survive. My mother was horrified that Charlotte would hurt animals, but she still refused to let me go back. 

She fell silent, thinking, as I said to her, “It’s the only thing we can do! I have to take care of them. I can’t let them die!” She shushed me and told me that she needed some time to think, so I went to go practice piano while I waited.

Around 30 minutes later, she called me down. She said, “I have done some research and I know what we can do.” She layed out her whole plan: I was going to go to Charlotte’s house and talk to her while I waited for the people at the shelter to show up. They could take mistreated animals away from their owners. They would come, take the guinea pigs from her and put them in the shelter, where they would wait for their new owner.

 “So,” I said, “the new owner will be us, right. Because if it’s not us, then they will get separated, it wouldn’t be right.” My mother’s guilty look told me everything. 

She said that we did not have enough money to support us and 7 guinea pigs. “Maybe somebody else will find them and realize that they are a family. Maybe they won’t get separated.”

 “Ok,” I said, “but promise  me you will tell the people at the shelter that they need to try to keep them together. And, I want to visit them every week.” She promised and we set the date for our plan.

A week later, my mom dropped me off at Charlotte’s house. We had already called the shelter, and they were on their way here right now. I rang the doorbell, and Charlotte answered. She frowned and shut the door. 

I told her through the door, “I came here to apologize for what I did. I shouldn’t have cleaned the cage without your permission. I was really rude.” 

She said through the door, “Do you promise to never do it again?” I told her yes, and she opened the door and let me in. I sat down at the kitchen table and we started talking.

I needed to know why Charlotte was like this, so I asked her, “I know that you got very upset when I cleaned their cage. But, is there a reason that they live like this?” I motioned towards the cage, already caked in dirt and mud. 

She scowled at me, but sighed. “I used to be married to a man named Jeremy. He was the love of my life and he loved animals. I gave him the older guinea pigs, Kit and Kat (he liked to call them Kit-kat), on his 60th birthday. We cared for them and loved them together. But Jeremy died. I guess I am mean to them because they are a constant reminder to me of him. I just wish they could go away.”

 I wondered if I was doing the wrong thing, forcing them away from her. Maybe I could help her treat them better. But then again, she wants them to go away. They make her sad and nobody deserves that. 

I said in a soft voice, “I think I need to tell you the truth.”  

She seemed confused, “What do you mean?” she asked. 

“I mean,” I said, “That I didn’t come here to have a pleasant conversation today. Both my mother and I were very unhappy in the way you treated your guinea pigs, and so we called the animal shelter so that they could take them from you. I’m sorry, but no matter what you won’t be able to treat them better and so we have to take them from you.” 

She sighed and smiled weakly, “That’s okay, Tillroy. I know that you have the best intentions. Besides, like I said, they just bring me pain, so this will be a weight lifted off my shoulders.” She smiled a bit wider now, “And, if I ever get another pet, you’ll be there to make sure I treat it right.”

We sat in silence for ten minutes, until the doorbell rang. We both knew who it was. We walked to the door and opened it. A tall, dark skinned man in a Future Pet uniform was standing on the porch looking expectantly at us. 

He said, “I have come here to take away the 7 guinea pigs of Charlotte Robinson,” He flipped through the forms on the clipboard he was carrying, “because she mistreats them.”

Charlotte calmly said, “I am Charlotte. I will bring you the guinea pigs.” 

The man looked at me and said, “I thought she was a horrible person, she seems so polite. Did you tell her that I was going to take the guinea pigs away?” 

I nodded, smiled, and replied, “She was a bad person, but I talked to her while you were coming over here,” I looked at his hopeful expression and shook my head, “She is a good person, but she won’t be able to treat them better, they remind her of something painful from her past.” 

He frowned and said, “That’s very sad. Maybe taking them away will help her get past whatever happened to her.” 

I nodded just as Charlotte walked up behind me. She handed the carrier with the guinea pigs in it to him. He made sure all 7 were in there, nodded and started walking towards his truck. 

Charlotte stopped him and said, “You make sure they get a good home, and don’t let them be separated. You need to tell the people that want to buy them that they have to buy all of them, because they have been through some hard times together, and have grown to love each other enough to survive. They would be like an incomplete puzzle without each other.” 

He nodded, told her that he would try his best, and got into the truck. 

A couple minutes later, Charlotte smiled and said, “I know this sounds mean, but I am glad they are gone. It will make life easier for both me and them.”


A month later, I went to the pet store to visit the guinea pigs. Ever since I had taken the guinea pigs from Charlotte, she had seemed so much happier and kinder. Every week I go to the petstore to check on the guinea pigs. This time when I went to check on the guinea pigs, they weren’t in their cage. I asked the man at the desk and he said that he had sold them a couple hours ago to a little girl and her mom.

I blurted out, “Were they sold together?! Do you think they will be a good home for the piggies?! Who was it? Can you describe them to me so I can talk to them if I ever see them?” 

He sighed and said, “Yes, they were sold together. They will be a good home. In fact, they insisted on paying $70 instead of $20 for them because, as the little girl said, ‘I want to help out my shelter, and they will mean much more to me than $20.’ It was a little girl in a frilly pink dress with her mom. Why do you care so much about them?”

I said, “I was the one who had them taken from their owner” 

He nodded and said, “I remember people talking about you. Things like this don’t happen very often”

I said goodbye and walked home. There was nothing else I could do.

I love my new guinea pigs SO MUCH!!!!! I now love only 2 things: Pink unicorns and MY PIGGIES. The moment I saw them, I knew they were perfect for me. They were cute and fuzzy, and even though they were skinny, they were still like little furballs. I love them! They are so cute, and cuddly, and they are really smart. I have already taught all seven of them three tricks, and I have only had them for a couple days. The tricks are zoom (when they run really fast across their cage), popcorn (where they jump in the air), and wheek (the cute high pitched noise that they make). They are gaining weight and seem less nervous than when I first got them. I am going to treat them like royalty because I am a princess and they are my pets. I want to squeeze them because they are so cute, but I won’t because I am a very good owner. As proof that I am a good owner, I  made a checklist.

This is it:

Buy a guinea pig (or 2)
Buy a very big cage-at least 6 feet by 2 feet, so they can run around a lot
Buy them food
Teach them at least 3 tricks
Make them very, very, very, very, very happy
Clean their cage
Buy all their cage supplies: their hutch, water bottle, food dish, tunnel, wheel, see-saw toy, and other cute toys that you see at the store

            I can’t wait to tell Tillroy that I bought guinea pigs. We have been friends for a short time,  because he just moved here, but he is my best friend already. Oh! I can tell him at school today!

It is finally Monday! I walk to the door, grab my backpack off of it’s hook on the wall, say goodbye to my mom, and head out the door. I am going to tell Tillroy in class today that I got guinea pigs. I get on the bus and sit next to him, ready to tell him, but he seems sad, so I stay quiet. Throughout half of our classes, he still seems sad, so I wait. Finally, in science class he cheers up (because he loves science), so I pass him a note:

Hey, Tillroy! I got guinea pigs. Are you

free to come over today after school

 so you can meet them?

He suddenly becomes really, really sad, but then he sees me looking at him, and plasters on a fake smile. He turns the note over, writes something on it and passes it back to me. It says:

Sure. I just need to ask my mom.

I am really excited. Maybe my guinea pigs will cheer him up about whatever he was sad about.

Several hours later, I have just finished my homework and am about to go get ready to clean the piggies cage, when the doorbell rings. I answer the door, and it’s Tillroy! 

“Yay!” I say, “You can help me clean the guinea pig’s cage, so I have someone to talk to.” 

“Lead the way,” he says.

I bring him upstairs to my bedroom, where I keep the piggies, but I pause and say, “I forgot, I need to get the tools first. I will throw my toys under the bed while you get the materials. They are in the garage on the rack next to the door. Get the bucket and shovel.” 

He laughs and goes back downstairs. I run into my room, tidy up my room (actually cleaning, not throwing them under the bed), take the lid off of the cage, and take everything out. Tillroy walks into the room with the tools, and as soon as he sees my guinea pigs, his face flushes with shock.

Seeing his face, I said, “What, did you expect me to get hairless guinea pigs?” 

He shakes his head and says, “I just know those guinea pigs, I took them away from their owner to put them in the shelter.”

 I think for a second and then shout, “Story  time! Tell me what happened.” 

He nods and says, “When I moved here, I liked to talk with the old woman next to our house-” 

“Oh!” I said, “Is she the cranky old lady who mistreated her piggies? The shelter told me about her when I bought the piggies.” 

He nodded and continued, his eyes still on the cage, “She mistreated them, and my mother and I felt bad for them. So we had the shelter take them away from her. They went to the shelter and I visited them every week. I was really worried when I heard that they had gotten sold.” 

He peeled his eyes off the cage and smiled at me, “But now I don’t have to worry, because they are right here.”

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