Guinea pigs steal the show
By JESS JAMES firstname.lastname@example.org GLENYS FORRESTER says she couldn't imagine life without her prize-winning guinea pigs.
Cavia Porcellus is the animal's scientific name and more than 250 pure breeds strut the stage at 'cavy' shows around the nation.
Mrs Forrester, secretary of the Northern Rivers Cavy Society, has been obsessed with cavies for more than 28 years, starting when her husband gave her three of them for their first anniversary.
"Life just isn't worth living now without my cavies," Mrs Forrester said.
When Mrs Forrester moved to Grafton in 2000 she discovered a cavy show advertisement in a pet shop and from there joined the Northern Rivers Cavy Society.
"There are about 12 shows per year in the Lismore area and there are often visitors from interstate and sometimes from overseas," she said.
"I've won 'best baby' at the Queensland State titles and 'best breed' at the nationals in Sydney.""
Mrs Forrester said there was an Anzac-themed show coming up where cavies were dressed in military uniforms. War veterans would be honorary judges and proceeds donated to a war charity.
"Before a show I have to clean the cavies' ears and teeth, bath them, trim them, clip their nails and pluck their stray hairs," she said.
Mrs Forrester said cavies had a four-to-six-year life expectancy, so the ones she owned now were nearly 25 generations removed from her first lot.
"Cavies come in 12 types of colours and each owner gives their cavies a stud name (family name), as well as a real name," she said.
Mrs Forrester's stud name is Mirrabook, her son Tony's is Mirraridge, her daughter Indergy's is Desi-Angel and husband Allan's is Dilligaf.
"He got the name Dilligaf from Kevin Bloody Wilson's song Does it Look Like I Give a F--," Mrs Forrester said. Mr Forrester was given permission by Kevin Bloody Wilson to use the name.
"If the national council had known where the name came from they would never have approved it," she said.
Mrs Forrester owns more than 300 cavies and dedicates most of her time to breeding, feeding and grooming them.
"My application was approved to develop the ridgeback breed so they can become a part of the pedigree show," she said.
"It'll take at least 10 years because I have to prove that a ridge can be passed on genetically." Mrs Forrester said cavies were her passion in life.
"When people ask if I'm mad, I say 'I like being mad'," she said.