Our Pandemic Pets Are Guinea Pigs


Brianna Conrey
5 min readOct 1, 2021
Two guinea pigs eating a pile of shredded carrots while staring at the camera.
Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

My younger son, who is now 8, has wanted a pet since he got to hold a chicken during a kindergarten field trip. The chicken’s name was Sunny Sunshine. That was also the look on my son’s face as the bird nestled into his lap.

The pet he wanted most was a kitten. However, we already have a cat who is borderline crazy. I’m pretty sure a kitten would drive him over the edge.

Luckily my son expressed no interest in getting a dog. As a general rule, I am not a big fan of dogs. At the risk of oversharing, I will disclose that I sometimes yell at dog owners for assuming that I want their off-leash dogs to sniff me. After I read that Jonathan Franzen lives nearby and walks his dog in the area, I have always fantasized that I might someday run into him, while simultaneously fearing that I might inadvertently yell at him for poor dog management. But I digress.

Since the chicken field trip, we have become a divorced family, and the kids split their time between their dad’s house and mine. So, adding another pet to the mix has seemed impractical at best. Yet despite the logistical hurdles, I knew my son was still yearning for a pet of his very own. Eventually, worn down by over a year of COVID lockdowns and no in-person school, I began to feel guilty enough that I thought we should try to make it work.



Brianna Conrey

Family, relationships, and life after divorce with a twist of humor. Exploring happiness, creativity, and how to be a good person in a complicated world.