Even Our Guinea Pig Had a Household Chore

"Even our guinea pig had a household chore" by Melanie Jean Juneau (CatholicMom.com)

Via Pixabay (2013), CC0 Public Domain

I decided no able-bodied human or animal in our family would live in my house without contributing in some way to our household

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the family as the original cell of society which teaches children all about justice and responsibility. There are countless ways to teach kids about responsibility and one of the best ways is assigning everybody a chore. Even family pets are not exempt.


2207 The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society.

Our pet guinea pig pushed his luck one day when I discovered why Guinea Pigs are called PIGS. It is because they eat just like real pigs, that’s why.

I was losing patience with ours; every time I opened the fridge that little rodent would squeak like crazy, begging for another vegetable.

One day, I marched out into our garden and pulled out an entire stalk of broccoli and stuffed it in the guinea pig’s cage. I stuffed the entire cage with greens, mini broccoli, and a thick, fibrous stalk. The wire door didn’t even close completely.

The next morning the entire plant was gone, only a few tough, stringy fibres left. When I opened the fridge door, that guinea pig started squeaking for food once more. I couldn’t believe it; his stomach should have burst open.

Then I made a decision.

No able-bodied human or animal would live in my house without contributing in some way to our household. I decided that this particular animal was going to trim the grass around the house. I gathered the oldest four kids together and explained that we were taking the bottom off the cage and placing it right beside the house where there were no gardens. Every few hours, someone would move the cage.

It was a brilliant idea.

The kids thought it was hilarious that a guinea pig would have a household chore and I was quite pleased to have a little more peace in the kitchen.

However, I forgot to consider that we lived in the country. Foxes, coyotes, wolves and even owls love to snack on rodents. One morning the cage was knocked over and all that was left of this little guinea pig was his gizzard. David was sure that it was no ordinary predator that had attacked our guinea pig. No, it was a big, black bear and he knew that to be a fact because he could see “the big, bloody, footprints down the lane!”

Copyright 2017 Melanie Jean Juneau


About Author

Melanie Jean Juneau is a mother of nine children who blogs at joy of nine9. Her writing is humorous and heart-warming; thoughtful and thought-provoking. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life. Melanie is the administrator of ACWB, the Editor in Chief at CatholicLane, CatholicStand, Catholic365 , CAPC & author of Echoes of the Divine.


  1. what a funny solution to the guinea pig’s role in helping with household chores. it would be better to have your next guinea pig help with composting instead of lawn care. all your kitchen vegetable parings and scraps can be converted to fertilizer for the garden.

  2. Oh no! Your poor piggy! Mine used to squeal every time I opened the vegetable bin. I remember when we were first married our dinner guest arrived a little early. All the while I tore lettuce for our salads, that little pig squealed.

  3. Many years ago we had a guinea pig who ran free around the house with the dog and cat. He had an open cage in the corner to sleep in and do his business, and when he wanted a treat he would run up to our feet then run over to the fridge. Of course the dog would beg for a little carrot too which he would take outside and hide in the garden. Fun times.

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