Guinea pigs have a high mortality rate. They get killed by dogs, cats, extremes of temperature or they escaped. One morning, two of the guinea pigs became mothers. One produced two babies and the other gave birth to one baby and most of her insides.

The young owners watched in disgusted awe.

‘We’ll have to take her to the vet’s,’ they decided.

‘I’m too busy,’ said their mother.

Entreaties turned to tantrums and then tears. Didn’t their mother care that their favourite guinea pig might die?

So the vet’s crowded waiting room witnessed the arrival of a distracted mother and the sick guinea pig, being swept through by a wave of howling children.

The vet sent the worried owners out to the waiting room while he got to work.

When they rushed in to survey the invalid she was spread-eagled out on a towel on top of a hot water bottle; a guinea pig sized anaesthetic mask over her muzzle. Her pulsating insides were back inside her. The vet nurse was drying her with a hairdryer.

The guinea pig mother had had a prolapse the vet reported, with another baby waiting to be born, but she might not manage it.

He assured his wailing clients that he would do a caesarian section and while he was doing it he would give the guinea pig a hysterectomy. After he explained what a hysterectomy was the owners approved and returned home.

The vet rang later to report that the guinea pig and its unborn baby had not survived. This was a real domestic tragedy.

‘I suppose everyone is upset,’ I consoled.

‘Not as upset as I’m about the bill,’ the mother wailed.

And receiving his bill, she remained unconsoled, despite the lovely sympathy card the vet sent the four mourning owners.

I always said that Vet had a lovely bedside manner.

in Australia


See Margaret's profile.


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