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Sunday Stills: Celebrating Past Pets

Lens-Artist Challenge # 145 Getting to Know You

Thank you to Terri Webster Schrandt of Sunday Stills and to ScillaGrace the guest host of LAPC for their wonderful topics. They go so well together in my case.

I post so much about my pets. Puppy Girl wove herself into our hearts over eleven years ago. When we lived in California, we had a string of cats, but none that came inside until Scardy, Nutter Butter and Moji. So I celebrate them ad naseum as we become more and more comfortable as a family.

Notice that my formerly cat-allergic husband is taking the picture of Puppy girl tolerating Nutter Butter sleeping with his head so close to hers. Nutter Butter is not pushing Puppy Girl out of “his” bed. Moji stays far away from the others in her own Kingdom where she is the only Princess.

Long Long Ago in a Land Far Away

There lived another family which included me and animals that my first husband, Mark, tolerated at first and then came to enjoy.

This was my favorite guinea pig, Piggles.  A teacher colleague of mine gave her to me as a classroom pet back when we could have classroom pets.  Of course, she lived at my house, not at school.

Mark liked her, bought her an outdoor amazing rabbit hutch, even cleaned up after her sometimes. She would come inside, sit on our laps to watch tv with us for short periods of time. I would hold her first, then he would hold her. Usually by the time it was his turn, her little bladder had all the tossing and turning it could stand. Fortunately, she always sat on a thick absorbent towel. Mark had an amazing amount of patience.Piggles was so cute that I decided that I wanted to raise guinea pigs. My friend had other guinea pigs, but I didn’t want to have related pigs having guinea babies, so I went to the pet store and bought Buster, and brought him home as Piggle’s mate.They both had such cute faces, and cowlicks – very cute. They looked a little bit alike.  Later I learned that my colleague had sold her extra guinea pigs to the pet store.  Piggles and Buster were brother and sister. They had cute piglets.I’m sorry that Tri is so blurry.  This was taken at least xx years ago.  She used to be much clearer! JK

At one point I wanted to and did write a children’s book, The Three Little Guinea Pigs. Our dogs Bud and BJ were the bad guys. My friend Joyce illustrated it for me, but I never got the courage to send it to a publisher.

drawing by Joyce Purporo

Bud was Mark’s adored dog. BJ was mine and also was Bud’s son.

Bud would eat Piggles food out of jealousy! You can barely see piggles behind the head of lettuce.

Bud Junior, BJ, was more interested in sniffing Piggles than eating stupid guinea pig lettuce.

So the story was born about the three guinea pigs out smarting the big bad house dogs and telling the readers that the story of the pigs being eaten by a wolf was preposterous.

Guinea Pig Fourth Grad Curriculum

When I taught the fourth grade bilingual class, I stayed up at nights designing curriculum around these loveable animals. In my class my students kept a spiral notebook in which they worked guinea pig math, observed guinea behavior, and wrote poetry. I’ve included a few of the worksheets I designed to show you what fun I had teaching and designing curriculum.

The curriculum was based on several summer training programs I took in science and math project-based learning. The kids loved it and so did I. This first page teaches logic.

Of course, I had to write some poetry and one song that we all learned. Here is one of the poems.

Guinea Mania

© 1993 Marsha Alvord Ingrao

A few pages students completed and glued in their notebooks.

Guinea Pig Pre-Test – Guinea Guesses

Pre-tests are also a good way to pique students’ curiosity and help them learn more. Here are ten questions. How much do you know about guinea pigs?

  1. Where did guinea pigs come from originally?
  2. How were they used?
  3. Name three breeds of guinea pigs.
  4. What is the male guinea pig called?
  5. What is the female guinea pig called?
  6. Do guinea pigs prefer bright sun or dark hiding places?
  7. Are guinea pigs herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores.
  8. Do guinea pigs prefer hot or cold weather?
  9. Are guinea pigs aggressive or gentle.
  10. List five hints to care for a guinea pig.


My teaching years were so much exhaustingly fun. I taught a bilingual fourth grade class for about five years. At the time we didn’t have a lot of curriculum, so those of us who taught the bilingual classes took extra training and improvised.

I am proud of what my students accomplished in my class and beyond. Many became teachers, some scientists, managers, lawyers, and leaders in their communities. I had the privilege of being a tiny part of their growth.

Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful week.

24 replies »

  1. Sweet post Marsha but the piece that got my heart was in the end when you spoke about your bilingual teaching and its impact on the children. You should be so proud of that! (and of your guinea pig illustrated book, published or not!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Tina. 🙂 I love all your island posts. What a beautiful place. It’s so different than our desert out here. You get such beautiful birds. 🙂 Thank you again for your kind remarks. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pets often define different times of our lives, don’t they? Great pictures and stories. I especially enjoyed reading about the lessons you created for your students. I’ve had inspiring teachers (and bosses) and uninspiring teachers (and bosses). You, obviously, were a teacher who inspired and brought fun to your lessons. Lucky students!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an incredible post, Marsha! Your current pets are adorable and I will never forget Puppy Girl’s bravery with the racoon encounter (not even a year ago)! Your guineas are remarkable but even more so how they inspired you to create engaging curriculum to help teach important concepts to children. Thanks for sharing these memories and talent, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your guinea pigs look cute and I love how you incorporated them into your lesson plans 🙂 The dogs sound like fun too, but as a cat lover I find your gorgeous ball of black fluff (Moji I assume?) totally adorable!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Moji is adorable, and the biggest diva you ever met. Sometimes it’s okay to touch and love her, other times, you’d better bow and approach her slowly with treats in hand. She doesn’t come over for treats the way the dog and Nutters does. She waits for you to bring them to her – for nothing specific other than not sneaking outside when I let the dog out. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • How true. I think I told you that the only time I EVER saw my first husband cry was when our first dog, Al-Licks died. I’ll never forget it. He couldn’t do anything for the rest of the day. It was one of the saddest days of our lives. That’s why, when I found Bud in a pet store, I had to get him. He looked like a miniature version of Al-Licks. 🙂





Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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