This issue has been hijacked by...
... guinea pigs.
I am a confirmed guinea pig lover. I had one as a kid, but we had to give the creatively-named "GP" away when it turned out my mother was allergic. Which started after my brother was born. So I blame him.
(My mother said that no one was happier to see her come home from the hospital after the birth of my brother than GP. Guinea pigs have a highly-evolved ability to figure out who is responsible for feeding them.)
I didn't have another guinea pig until I was 37, living in a small studio apartment that didn't allow cats or dogs. I had Rosie, my little fluffy dark brown, for over 8 years. Turns out, guinea pigs live a long time, if they aren't housed in kindergarten classrooms. Their care and feeding is actually a bit complicated. (Among other things, guinea pigs are the only creatures, aside from humans, that require Vitamin C in their diet, because their bodies don't manufacture it.)
I held off for nearly ten years getting another guinea pig after Rosie died. I moved, got a dog, had to find a new home for my dog (who was really not cut out for city living), and thought about getting another dog for a long time. But the reality is that my travel schedule isn't very compatible with being a dog owner. I love pets and I really love guinea pigs.
Why guinea pigs are nearly perfect pets:
They are super cute.
They are very cuddly.
They talk to you. ("Wheeeeeeek!" is one of their favorite words.)
They don't bite.
They don't smell.
They are pretty simple to care for, so people don't mind looking after them when you are away.
They encourage you to have fresh vegetables on hand. (This video of three guinea pigs sharing a cucumber, with 3.6 million views, always cracks me up.)
They are entertaining. When they are really happy and excited, they "popcorn" aka jump and wiggle simultaneously. (Video)
I was in the neighborhood of my favorite pet store yesterday, and thought I would just take a look. These two little females are about 6 weeks old. Grace (named after Grace Hopper) is a smooth-haired red/gold and Ada (named after Ada Lovelace) is a tortoise-shell & white Abyssinian, the fluffy kind that's always having a bad hair day. It's pretty much impossible NOT to take home a guinea pig once you've stopped to have a look.
We'll return next week to the regularly-scheduled Well-Tempered.