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Those poor guinea pigs. June 18, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in pets, wit and wisdom.
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Crimes in our friend Ben’s area tend to be predictable, and at first, the demoralizing rundown in yesterday’s “This Just In Newsletter” e-mail from our local paper seemed no exception:

“Allentown teacher charged with having sex with student”

“Casey Anthony trial: Bug expert said Caylee’s body elsewhere before being dumped in woods”

“Monroe County raid leads to seizure of high-grade marijuana, guns”

“Allentown man armed with baseball bat charged with assaulting estranged wife”

Ugh. But this particular police roundup included a headline our friend Ben would never have expected to see:

“Police: Family of guinea pigs stolen from porch of Bethlehem home”

Sure enough, a cage containing two adult and one baby guinea pig (more correctly called cavies; please don’t ask our friend Ben why, or how to pronounce “cavies”) had been stolen off the porch of a woman’s home while she was indoors doing chores for an hour.

Why someone would steal guinea pigs is somewhat beyond our friend Ben. I don’t know what they’re going for in stores these days, but it’s still probably less than $20, as opposed to, say, more than a thousand dollars for a fine purebred dog. (Or, as we just read this morning, $12,000 for a police dog. And you thought those Army ashtrays were expensive. But I digress.)

While it’s true that guinea pig is a staple food in parts of the Andes, and perhaps some hungry thief was hankering for a taste of home, our friend Ben rejects this theory. Like rabbits, guinea pigs raised for meat are both much larger and much plainer than those raised for the pet trade. The stolen ‘pigs would barely have made a shish kebab, much less a meal.

No, it seems clear that some light-fingered person thought the cute little critters would make good pets. Which they do, by the way. Our friend Ben’s little brother had several while we were growing up, and they were cute and personable, becoming attached to family memebers (or otherwise) to varying degrees and showing off quite an adorable array of tricks. The youthful Ben found this an ideal arrangement, since the ‘pigs all loved me, and I never had to clean their cages. (Hey, they were his pets, not mine!)

Like all good stories, this one has a clear moral. There may not be a lot we can do to change the mindset of thieves, but we can at least decrease the chances of becoming their victims. We can refrain from setting out desirable objects, be they diamonds or guinea pigs, unattended in plain view where some unscrupulous soul might be tempted to help himself, and have every opportunity of getting away with it.

Our friend Ben can only hope that the three little ‘pigs are happy in their new home.

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