The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

The student news site of Londonderry High School

Lancer Spirit Online

Guinea pig brings ‘Joy’ to students

Joy hides under the rugs in her cage in Melissa Fried’s office. (Natalie Josic)

The special education office is often a quiet place. Small, with two shared rooms, the office is home to the smell of perfume, organized cubbies, cute pictures, peaceful music, and more recently: a guinea pig.

Joy the guinea pig lives in special education director Melissa Fried’s office. Joy is a white guinea pig with a black spot over her eye, and she has her own cage and play area. 

“I got her about a month ago for a student I work with that loves guinea pigs,” Fried said. “I got [Joy] to help her with the school day.”

Joy’s original owner had three guinea pigs, but because Joy got picked on, she had to find Joy a new home, which is where Fried came in. 

“I bring [Joy] home every weekend,” Fried said. “She prefers to be alone but does seem to get along with my dog.’’ 

Joy sniffs around her fleeced bed in the special education office. (Video by Andrew Macpherson and Natalie Merhib)

Fried has a carry-case that she brings Joy back and forth to school in, as well as a cage at home with all the toys and food. Fried says that students who are experts on guinea pigs often help her with what Joy needs to eat, play with, and how to clean up. Recently, Fried discovered that Joy’s favorite food is romaine lettuce and hay.

“She eats a lot of lettuce in a salad bowl,” Fried said. “[And] she likes to hide in her little green hut.”

Throughout her stay at LHS, Joy the guinea pig has become quite popular, and students often come to see whenever they can: before school, during lunch, during breaks, and after school.

With her black and white furry face peeking out, Joy the guinea pig settles into her little bed. (Photo by Natalie Merhib)

“She makes and brightens up a lot of kids’ days,” Fried said.

The student for whom Fried brought the guinea pig, is the reason why Joy is living at LHS. (For privacy reasons, this student needs to remain anonymous, but will be called “Amy” in this article.) Amy is also the one who named the guinea pig “Joy.” She takes care of Joy by brushing her, cutting her nails, and playing with her. 

“She jumps out of someone else’s arms to be with me,” Amy said. “I like guinea pigs because they are cute, soft, and easy to take care of.”

Fried, who was skeptical about adopting a guinea pig in the first place, never expected to warm up so quickly to an exotic pet.

Joy the guinea pig nibbles on the strap of her carrier in her new home in Special Education Director Melissa Fried's office. (Video by Andrew Macpherson and Natalie Merhib)

“I thought I was just doing it for a student,” Fried said. “I was nervous because I didn’t know anything about guinea pigs. But I learned so much already. She’s actually easy to take care of, [and] I like her a lot.”

Joy seems to make a lot of people really happy. At the end of the school day Fried tends to walk her around for kids who would like to meet her.

Joy plays under the table in the special ed. office. (Photo by Natalie Merhib)

“I’ve seen kids crying when they hold her,” Fried said. “When kids are sad they come to visit [Joy] and she cheers them up. She helps kids feel better when they’re alone.”

Fried says that students and staff alike are welcome to stop by her office at any time, and she’d be happy to introduce them to Joy. 

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Guinea pig brings ‘Joy’ to students