The Archivist


'Sweet' guinea pig gets a home

Mary Phillips Published: April 8, 2013

Here’s a story from The Oklahoman on Nov. 5, 1927, that begins with a life lesson.

“You can never tell what a tremendous bearing a sweet smile and a gentle disposition may have on your entire career.

“Consider for example, the case of Rex, the little brown guinea pig in the city chemist’s office, named after Rex Cleveland, city pure food inspector.

“Several weeks ago when ten little guinea pigs, the world’s most helpless animals, arrived at the chemist’s office Rex immediately showed signs of being friendly. While the other little pigs would scurry away in high terror when anyone approached their box, Rex plainly showed he was not afraid. He would walk boldly up and eat lettuce out of your hand, and he let it be known if you wanted to rub him behind the ears, it was alright with him. In fact he liked it.

“As a result, no diphtheria tests have been made upon Rex. While his little playmates suffer with sore throats and have high fevers, as result of inoculations, Rex just scampers about as happy as he can be, doing nothing all day but stuffing his little stomach with nice fresh lettuce and getting his ears rubbed.

“And that isn’t all. Employees of the chemist’s office have interceded for Rex, and he is soon to be taken to the city zoo where he will have a comfortable home for the rest of his life.

“Now, the moral is, if you’re a guinea pig, be a sweet little guinea pig.”

There was a follow-up on Dec. 17, 1927, reporting the arrival of Rex and two fellow guinea pigs at the zoo, with the note that they would soon be on display in a cage made especially for them.

Guinea pigs normally live four to eight years. There was no further mention of Rex, but we can guess he spent the rest of his life with fresh lettuce and a scratch behind the ears. Not a bad life at all.


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