The dogs are even bossed about by their guinea pig best friends, owner Jen Ryan Furlong from Los Angeles said
Heartwarming footage of two dogs and a pair of dumpling-sized guinea pigs’ forming an unusual bond over a bowl of salad has taken over the internet.
Eight-year-old Wilbur the Basset Hound and his two guinea pig sisters, Market Price and Rumpadump, have been happily sharing lettuce for the past four years, but they didn’t expect another canine friend, Shrimp, would soon join the odd snack party.
Owner Jen Ryan Furlong, 35, from Studio City, Los Angeles in the United States, adopted Shrimp, aged two to three, from local shelter Wags & Walks in December 2020.
The jolly rescue dog quickly integrated into the family and joined the rest for regularly healthy treats, despite being a creature of very different size to the guinea pigs – she weighs 75 pounds.
Jen, a manager of student finance operations, said: “It blew me away when the rescue told us that she’s so unbelievably happy. Nothing can really explain why she’s so excited to see other people and dogs that her whole body jiggles.
“It only took about three weeks for Shrimp to get closer to Wilbur and the guinea pigs. She is appreciative of every creature. Even though she seems like a giant, she’s still very gentle when playing with everybody.”
Jen Ryan Furlong)
Sweet Shrimp has learned to wait for her little counterparts to eat first, despite her habits of gobbling food up while living on the streets.
Jen said: “She has shadow respect for them. She recognises that they’re delicate little creatures, and treats them very differently.
“Shrimp will play with extremely small dogs and guinea pigs by getting on their level and by letting them take control. She’s even gotten put in place by the guinea pigs.”
Wilbur and the Dumplings, as Jen called her guinea pigs, developed their healthy snacking tradition long before Shrimp arrived.
Jen explained: “Wilbur is very selective in his diet. He’ll eat Romaine and sometimes carrots only if others are eating them. Much of this is based on jealousy of what the guinea pigs are eating.
“The first thing that I did was check if this is okay for dogs, and how much is okay. I guess I had a sort of standard concern, because I knew this wasn’t normal.
“They still very much eat meat and have their standard dog diet, but every day they have this healthy serving of salad. I think it’s almost become a bonding experience.
“I’ve often tried giving Wilbur the same things he’ll eat with the guinea pigs. But if it’s not the right time and he’s not with the guinea pigs, he won’t eat them. So sometimes it feels like it’s about the tradition or the ritual of eating salad together that makes him want to do it.”
Jen Ryan Furlong)
Jen worried that Shrimp’s arrival would interrupt this family routine, but to her surprise, Shrimp’s playful characteristic has quickly matched Market Price’s, creating an incredibly emotional bond between the pair.
She added: “When Shrimp was first allowed to interact with the guinea pigs, Wilbur showed this protective side to the little ones. He understood that this was another dog, so he would do things like hover over them, look at her and put her in place.
“But now, I think Shrimp and Market Price are like inseparable twins. They have the same markings, which was not planned. People think that we probably got Shrimp to match, but they just happen to have that very similar personality: social, pushy and true to themselves.
“They actually play together. Shrimp gets excited when she sees Market Price. She’ll chase her around and get to her level to play hide and seek. They very much have their own special bond.”