Have you seen the guinea pig in Mrs. Knodle’s classroom? The white, brown, and tan fluff ball that peeks out at you from inside her small home and occasionally lets out a few chirps?
Her name is Papa New Guinea, and many students have stepped up to help take care of her.
“The Guinea pig got her name freshman year when I was in biology,” said junior Francine Guenther.
According to senior Jenna Eversum, science teacher Clare Knodle let all of her classes pick out names, and then at the end of the day, she sent out a survey to the school.
“Trey Emery and I thought it would be funny to put Papa New Guinea up there, and then it won,” said Guenther.
Seniors Jenna Eversum and Kaylana Pribbenow have taken the guinea pig over the summer and holidays to have time to bond with the small furry friend.
“We would let her run around the living room and hold her a lot. We fed her every morning to keep her happy! Now she has a really good bond with me,” Guenther said.
Papa New Guinea’s pet parents can be busy at times. However, the group cleans her cage weekly, feeds her, and takes care of her as if their own pet.
“We feed her fresh produce every day as well as hay and pellets. You also have to play with her, and I often carried her around in a big hoodie pocket to hang out,” junior Gabrielle Kovars said.
Although New Guinea is surrounded by many students, there is little concern about her safety.
“I don’t have a lot of concerns with students hurting her. Guinea pigs themselves are very healthy,” said Kovars.
Papa New Guinea spends most of her days within her cage, though people are able to hold her and pet her.
“Typically the only students that take her out of the cage and hold her are her old caretakers and kids from her advising. So there aren’t a lot of random students grabbing her out of her cage,” said Eversum
The pet parents take good care of the class pet, making sure she has adequate food available, love, and human interaction.
“I think if people want to see her they should ask to hold her first, just to make sure she is out of harm’s way,” said Guenther.