Playcentre pets going places
Titahi Bay Playcentre’s much loved guinea pigs were well travelled over summer.
The popular critters, Spike and Patches, were hosted by eight Titahi Bay families over a two-month period, as a means to ensure they didn’t suffer the same fate as their predecessors.
As Kapi-Mana News reported at the time, two guinea pigs kept at the Playcentre were removed from their cage and mauled by dogs in March last year. The preschool’s families spent a lot of time deliberating whether to replace the guinea pigs or adopt a different kind of centre pet.
‘‘The children all enjoyed the cuddles and feeding of the guinea pigs and for many it was their only opportunity to relate to pets. After much consideration we decided that as none of our community could cope with losing more pets in such a cruel way we would need to take extra measures to ensure our new guinea pigs were safe,’’ said Titahi Bay Playcentre president Loreena Dawson.
A special cage, suitable for travelling, meant they could be accommodated on lawns and in bedrooms – safe from cats and dogs.
Some Playcentre children and their older siblings even went so far as to create special runs for daily exercise sessions.
Luke Madle, 2, said he loved having the rodent guests to stay.
‘‘He melted every time he looked at them,’’ said mum Ana Welham. ‘‘ He did all the work for them. He was great at getting things out of the vege garden to feed them. We don’t have any pets so it was great to have them and pass them on.’’
Guinea pig co-ordinator Jude Pointon said many of Titahi Bay Playcentre’s children are lining up to host Spike and Patches over the next holidays.
‘‘The guinea pigs seem more rounded in life experience and in the puku area following their holiday, and as a result have been getting more out of cage exercise in the safety of a tractor tyre and have had their food intake from the Playcentre garden more closely supervised.’’
Buddies: Wesley Prescott, 3, shows guinea pig Patches some love.