Animal Communication with Shelby
By Hector Medina and

Started on: 06/04/13 11:14:12
Medium: Conceptual

So this week I met up with a guinea pig named Shelby. She lives with my friend Elizabeth. She has mostly brown hair with blond spots. The most interesting part of how she looks is her hair growth pattern. She seems to have whorls all throughout her body. Shelby lives in a pen that is roughly 4 feet by 3. She is roughly 2 years old and a bubbly personality.
When I first arrived, Elizabeth said she might be too lazy since she was recently fed. I tried to get her out of her pan to interact. I bribed her with treats like raisins. Unfortunately I couldnít give her that many, she is only allowed 5 a week. She was recently taken to the hospital since she had been sneezing frequently. She seemed to be healthy just a tad over weight. The doctor said she was allergic to her hay bedding, to get something more organic. When you think about it, 5 raisins is nothing, but for a guinea pig thatís a lot for such a small body.
The next step was to show her the small pink brush. Apparently she loves getting brush. She was very alert and wanting to interact but she still didnít come out of the cage. I thought maybe if we calm down and get to her level of energy she would be more interested in collaborating. We tried the breathing exercise Barbara introduced us to. We simply sat on the floor next to the cage and began breathing in through our nose out through our feet. I simply like this breathing technique because you become self aware of your body. Once the room was quieter we listen more attentively to Shelby. She would squeeze and chew on things. We could hear her foot steps on the hay.
Elizabeth explains how she is very smart. For example she connected Elizabethís morning alarm to her getting treats. When Elizabeth usually gets up she gives Shelby a treat and eventually developed into a habit. Thus Shelby knew that when she heard Elizabethís morning alarm, it meant she will be getting a treat. So Elizabeth explained that once her alarm goes off, Shelby makes a fuss and wants her treat. She cannot hit the snooze button because Shelby will continue with her racket, forcing her to get out of bed. Also Shelby only does it when she hears Elizabethís alarm, although her roommates have the same alarm, Shelby will only react to hers.
Shelby is also picky about her things. She wants her food to be on top of her igloo. She will not eat it if it fell off of it. Another thing is that once Elizabeth moved Shelbyís water bottle dispenser to the other side of the cage. Shelby didnít like that; she didnít drink until it was placed where it should be. Also she does not like golden raisins, only red. And also she only likes specific chew toys for her teeth.
In the end, Shelby taught me many things. First, that she is spoiled with love. That she likes things a specific way and that she cannot be bothered after eating. It was an interesting experience interacting with this miniature dive. I think doing some research on guinea pigs might be very insightful.

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