We spend so much of our lives conditioned to feel the need to be with someone to inform our value as a person. In Switzerland it's actually illegal to buy single guinea pigs because they get lonely – the same is true in the US for adopting stray cats. It's a natural instinct and reality that everyone has to deal with at some point in their lives.
In fact, Switzerland consider it cruel in social circles
In Switzerland most people do have the standard pet roster of dogs, cats, and rabbits - maybe even the odd reptile - but one thing that doesn't raise eyebrows is the role of guinea pigs in the average Swiss family household. Shocked? Why? They're just basically bigger than a mouse, smaller than a wombat, and generally, just mind their own business. Can't relate, lol.
But so many mental health and social development studies have linked positive reinforcement with having pets and young children in the same household. It helps with social cues, the understanding that actions have consequences - not least that if you don't feed a living thing, it won't last all that long. In short, in Switzerland having guinea pigs is a symbol of wellness and a means of demonstrating healthy codes of living. You can look after yourself and you also manage to look after others.
That is your duty
Guinea pigs are a lot more similar to human beings than you'd think. We both get lonely, apparently! According to studies, similar to lots of other rodents, guinea pigs require a mate or partner - even if it's just in a cage. They need socialisation just as much as we do. They are just as damaged by isolation and solitude as we are, maybe that's why guinea pigs and humans make such a good family together. We need each other, even if we don't think we do.
We presume that we have all the power, to feed, water, and walk our pets, but if guinea pigs in Switzerland have taught us anything, it's that we all stand to learn something from everyone we come into contact with.
Even if they're smaller and fluffier than you expected
It is interesting, though - to return to the news that in Switzerland it's actually illegal to own just one guinea pig - to consider the issue of one of them dying. Do you just have to buy another one to replace it - that would sort of diminishing its emotional value, surely?
Well, according to sources, you can - and sit down for this tidbit - RENT a guinea pig to remain law-abiding citizens.
Ah, the things we do to stay on the right side of the law.
It's all for a good cause though, as studies show that having pets improves the quality of life of both parties - the animal and the human. Who's to argue with that?
While this law is relatively new, it sets a new and intriguing tone in the political future of the Western European nations, and who knows, it may spread globally. I don't think Trump is busy doing anything in particular at the moment? Maybe Boris Johnson will bring reform in Guinea pig care mandates to the UK to assuage growing Brexit tensions.
Stranger things have happened.