Therapy Animal Question

SAH

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I need help on picking which of my guinea pigs to be my emotional support animal. An emotional support animal basically means I can bring the animal places where normally animals are not allowed, like school, in order to help with my anxiety. However, I am conflicted on which of my two guinea pigs I should get registered.

One of them, Annabeth, is very social, not skiddish, and fine with loud noises. The only problem with her is she bites, even me at times. She hates small spaces, and will attack my hand if she feels cornered, which is bad considering she needs to be carried in a carrier. My other one, Zoey, is also social, doesn’t bite at all, is very cuddly, and is fine with being in small spaces. However, she is very skiddish and hates loud noises, which is bad considering she needs to be around people all the time.

I would pick Annabeth due to her being fine with people and noises, but I’m afraid she will bite someone. Then theres Zoey, who is actually very helpful with my anxiety due to being so cuddly, but I’m afraid she will be too scared all the time and be very stressed.

Which one should I choose? Do you think Zoey will eventually get used to being around people if I were to choose her? Or should I choose Annabeth and hope she doesn’t bite someone?
 

Kiko+Peanut

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Hmm... That's tricky... I would do Zoey and hope for the best...

How did you manage to get a piggy set up as a support animal? I was planning on doing that, due to my anxiety and depression.
 

SAH

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Hmm... That's tricky... I would do Zoey and hope for the best...

How did you manage to get a piggy set up as a support animal? I was planning on doing that, due to my anxiety and depression.
Its very simple really. You have to have anxiety and/or depression, and just have to get a licensed mental health doctor to write a note.
 

Pigwhisperer

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I think if you take Zoey, you will be able to soothe her if she gets scared and that in turn will be calming for you. As long as there's no danger of her getting loose and getting into trouble.

What an amazing thing to be able to do! I have often said my pigs should be used as Pets As Therapy animals, especially Clover who loves meeting new people and is always calm and quiet. Wish I could lend her to you as she'd be perfect!

Any time my daughters (aged 11 and 14) find things getting on top of them we grab a pig to put in their lap and it helps a LOT. In fact all four of us suffer from anxiety and I think guinea pigs are the perfect pets for this because unlike cats, they ALWAYS want a cuddle, and they're a more manageable size than dogs (and without the nasty poo.)
 

furryfriends (TEAS)

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Firstly, I would like to say that I am sorry to hear that you suffer from anxiety. Cuddling and stroking an animal can really help reduce feelings of anxiety and can reduce heart rate and blood pressure. However, the welfare of the animal needs to be taken into consideration too. Guinea pigs are prey animals and taking them out and about with you, as you go about your normal daily life, will mean your guinea pig is living in a constant state of anxiety.
 

SAH

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Firstly, I would like to say that I am sorry to hear that you suffer from anxiety. Cuddling and stroking an animal can really help reduce feelings of anxiety and can reduce heart rate and blood pressure. However, the welfare of the animal needs to be taken into consideration too. Guinea pigs are prey animals and taking them out and about with you, as you go about your normal daily life, will mean your guinea pig is living in a constant state of anxiety.
Yes, I know, that was my issue with Zoey, because shes always so scared. Annabeth is very social for a guinea pig, and doesn't mind being out.
 

helen105281

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Are your girls well bonded? if you take one out and about with you as a therapy animal it would mean you are continually separating them and putting them back together. I know taking them out for cuddles etc is separating too but it is for a shorter period of time. I would also worry, as Furryfriends has said about them being prey animals and that would mean Annabeth would be in a permanent state of anxiety. Many guinea pigs do like cuddles (some of mine don't) but they don't like being out of familiar surroundings. A therapy dog is different (my friend has one) as they are used to going out and about and being in unfamiliar surroundings.
 

SAH

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Are your girls well bonded? if you take one out and about with you as a therapy animal it would mean you are continually separating them and putting them back together. I know taking them out for cuddles etc is separating too but it is for a shorter period of time. I would also worry, as Furryfriends has said about them being prey animals and that would mean Annabeth would be in a permanent state of anxiety. Many guinea pigs do like cuddles (some of mine don't) but they don't like being out of familiar surroundings. A therapy dog is different (my friend has one) as they are used to going out and about and being in unfamiliar surroundings.
They are bonded, however, Annabeth hates being in a small space with Zoey. She constantly tries to bite her and freaks out. Which, in turn, makes Zoey more scared. Outside of small spaces, Annabeth and Zoey are best friends.
 

furryfriends (TEAS)

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The welfare of the animal must be paramount. One of the five freedoms is: Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour - by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind. Taking your guinea pig out and about with you would not be fulfilling this.

I do sympathise with your situation, but a therapy guinea pig is not the answer xx
 

Betsy

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I was thinking the same thing @FurryFriends TEAS and at @helen105281 that guinea pigs would not be happy to be separated all the time and in a carrier being taken out and about. Mine hate being separated to go to the vet. I always take two of them just to help calm the other down. Mine do everything as a herd of 5 and anything that disrupts that they do not like. This is especially so if Boss Piggy Velvet has a vet visit. I don't take her as a companion piggy otherwise the others aren't happy and wander around looking and calling for her.
 

Eriathwen

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I can empathise with your anxiety, I have several anxiety disorders myself, and while the piggies certainly do help me enormously, they are not really a pet to take out and about. The strange noises and smells, dogs, traffic, children, people who want to have a look etc would be scary to them. Plus theyll need constant access to hay which can be a bit inconvenient and messy...and speaking of messy theyll poop and pee like no tomorrow XD which will need cleaning often.

There is very little that makes my anxiety worse than having to bring my pigs outside the safety of our house. A dog would be fantastic for this purpose, but small pets make the best support animals when in their own environment feeling safe and sound, instead of outside their own comfort zones.
 

flowerfairy

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I too get VERY anxious. At the dentist today I had to visualise one of my rabbits to get me through the check up. It worked a treat, I also had a small wooden rabbit attached to some beads on my hand bag which I held to make me feel better.

I hope you can find a way to help your anxiety which doesnt stress your guinea pigs.
 
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