Maple, a guinea pig aptly named for her coat of many colors, brown, caramel and white, is a frisky and cheerful addition to the Gotlib’s Fair Lawn home.
Their guinea pig penchant goes back years.
“We had a guinea pig when [our oldest children] Melissa and Steven were younger,” said Lisa Gotlieb, the mother. “Eventually, she died. We were heartbroken.
“We had taken in a 4-year-old guinea pig before we had Maple,” she explained. “We knew the family from shul. They were looking for a loving home for their guinea pig because they got a puppy and the kids weren’t paying attention to the guinea pig anymore.
“Plus, the dog was big and too rough around her. So we took her. Phoenix, [the guinea pig they adopted], was very, very sweet. We had her for a year and a half and she got sick. That was heartbreaking for us and is why we wanted a young guinea pig when we were ready for another one.”
While Steven, 25, was already out of the house, Melissa, 23, and her younger sister, Rebecca, 11, still longed for another guinea pig.
So, about a year or so ago, the family went shopping at a local pet store and found Maple.
Now, Maple, whose cage sits in the living room area at the bottom of their staircase, is very much a part of the Gotlib family.
“She really is a lot of fun,” said Ms. Gotlib.
“Because she is at the bottom of the stairs, she knows when we come downstairs and gets very excited and squeaks.
“One of her favorite things to do is eat,” Ms. Gotlib said. “In addition to eating her guinea pig food, she loves carrots, cucumbers. She also loves grapes, which we peel and cut up for her. In the summer, she likes to eat melons, watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe.”
Said Melissa, who always wanted a furry pet, “We’ve never had a dog or cat, so it’s great to have her. Sometimes we take her out and she sometimes sits with us to watch television,”
Added Rebecca, “She just loves cuddling. She’s very affectionate and very social.”