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Small rodents make wonderful pets.

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Small rodents make wonderful pets. Anyone who has owned one would readily aggree that hamsters, girlbils, and mice provide an owner with hours of amusement and years of companionship. Rabbits are fabulous for those who are looking for a quiet playmate, while rats and ferrets are hyperactive and surprisingly intelligent. Guinea pigs are another very popular choice for a small pet. A website dedicated to guinea pigs boasts on their front page that there is no question that "guinea pigs make excellent pets [and are] docile, low maintenance, and unbelievably cute."

I strongly beg to differ, unless "docile" means "boring" and "low maintenance" means that you only need to scoop up piggy pellet poop every few minutes. Calling a guinea pig "unbelievably cute" is at, very best, a far stretch. Their bodies are shaped like a packing tube, fat through the middle and flat at both ends.

To anyone who is considering purchasing a guinea pig and is convinced that no other rodent will do, I would urge them to go to a local lumber yard and get themselves a lovely block of wood instead. I am convinced that after weighing the positives and negatives, an ordinary log would prove to be a far better pet than a guinea pig.

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A block of wood, however, can be an indoor or outdoor pet regardless of the weather, and requires no housing other than the surface you choose to put him on. Just think of the floor space saved! He will just as happily "sit and stay" under your bed as perched on your mantle. No messy, smelly bedding or chewed-up accessories are required to keep a pet wooden block happy and healthy. When they are deserving of a treat, no foodstuffs or toys are needed; a hug and some verbal praise are all it takes to tell him that he has been a good boy. Score two for the block of wood.

It is not enough to merely house the guinea pig. No, guinea pigs require a great deal of time-consuming care to keep them healthy. Nail trimming is a must to avoid nasty scratches inflicted on both human and pig, and the manicure process can take on the feeling of a Three Stooges episode with a seemingly-lazy animal suddenly springing to life in a squealing attempt to escape your well-meaning efforts. Teeth must be checked for overgrowth and decay, often caused by a poor diet. Their bedding must be completely changed at least once a week, both for sanitary reasons as well as the unpleasant odors that radiate from an unattended cage.

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Although a pet wooden block has some similarity to the guinea pig in that it naturally is very still, he makes no nerve-grinding cries for attention and produces no waste product what-so-ever. This last fact alone sends a wooden block soaring above a guinea pig in the contest of who would make a better pet.

Compound all these painful piggy truths with the undeniable fact that, even in apperance, a guinea pig is nothing more than a fur-covered log with eyeballs, it leads to the question, "Well, what does the guinea pig do that the block of wood doesn't do better?"

The answer, quite simply, is nothing.

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