A Pair of Adopted Guinea Pigs Help a Girl Find Her Smile

After one sweet gesture of friendship, everything changed for Ellen.

Ellen + Bunny, Dumpling

Our daughter Ellen is 12 years old and lives with a chronic health condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. It has brought her a great deal of pain and exhaustion and has led to terrible isolation. She has been in and out of the hospital for procedures and surgeries and has spent more time at doctors’ offices than she has in school over the past several years.

"The boys seem to know when Ellen needs them the most. "

Ellen has missed four years of school due to her illness. While her friends are going to classes, enjoying everyday life, growing relationships, she is homebound and alone. Ellen has massive anxiety but is not a candidate for treatment with medication. We have had to be creative and find other ways to help her.

Ellen’s two “besties” understand how difficult it has been for her and pooled their money for her twelfth birthday to get her a Guinea pig to help her through rough times. The girls surprised her and helped her find her “support animal.” They did their research and contacted Safe Haven Humane Society in Green Bay.

I took Ellen there to meet her new friend. Little did we know she would be taking home two sweethearts! When she met Bunny and Dumpling, she fell in love immediately. They stay with her in their cage, which is on wheels so it can easily be rolled from room to room. She is constantly holding them, grooming them, bathing them, and giving them love. The boys seem to know when Ellen needs them the most. They have been an incredible addition to our family.  

Bunny and Dumpling have helped fill a void in our daughter’s world and heal her heart. One of the fun things we do for the pigs and our two dogs is have “carrot parties,” where everyone gathers in our living room to have a treat. The dogs think the pigs are baby pups. It is so cute!

Ellen took both of her boys to the fair this year and received blue ribbons for their care. She loves them with all of her heart. I am certain that if Ellen could pack her piglets up and take them in the car to her doctor appointments, she would. She is currently working with a Big Sister through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation on researching service animals and their importance. She may just figure out a way to bring them wherever she goes!

Bunny and Dumpling have helped Ellen through fear, tears, and anxiety, and have loved her through smiles and giggles. They have been life-changing for our little girl. We are so grateful for “our boys.”

Each year, Petco Love invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Ellen Tellstrom won Safe Haven Humane Society in Wisconsin a 2017 Holiday Wishes award.