What the cavies did not know was that a terrible thing had happened. Donner, Macie, and their humans lived in a little town called Lake Isabella. Lake Isabella was in a valley called the Kern River Valley, which had a beautiful blue lake in the middle of it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a natural lake. It used to be a river, and about fifty years before this story (which for cavies would be during their grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grand-grandparent’s time) some people had decided it would be a good idea to dam up the river and turn it into a lake so the nearby city of Bakersfield could have drinking water and so that there would be lots of tourists who could come for boating and fishing on the lake.
Pretty soon, the humans got so used to the river being dammed up, that they started building houses and shops and businesses where the river used to be. They even planted crops there, because the soil was so rich and fertile. They did all these things believing that the dam would hold forever.
You have probably guessed what happened next. The dam broke. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of water came rushing out of the dirt wall of the dam. Water rushed in and flooded the whole valley. Many of the buildings that were right under the dam were completely swept away, but some of them, like Donner and Macie’s house, were only flooded.
Luckily, the people who lived in the town had known that the dam was going to break. No one found out in time to fix it, but they were able to warn all the people that lived there. Everyone was forced to evacuate, including Donner and Macie’s humans. Unfortunately, the humans were not allowed to bring their pets with them. That is why Donner and Macie were forced to leave their cage and try to find a way to survive.
For three or four days, Macie and Donner continued living on the floor near their cage. They had hay and pellets, and other than the layer of water on the cold tile, and the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables, they were comfortable. They began exploring the room around them, and soon got to know the layout of the bookshelves, cabinets, windows, computer desk, and closet. They nibbled on the books, took naps throughout the day and night, lapped up the water on the ground and went to the bathroom wherever they pleased. Using their large front teeth, they pulled the towel they were living in behind a small bookcase next to the computer where they could feel more protected.
Macie was very content living on the floor of the room, but Donner was not. Macie would find him staring up at their old cage, or standing by the closed door of the room. She tried to distract him and talked about how great it was to have food and to feel safe, but he still seemed like something was bothering him. On the morning of the fourth day, while she ran around happily, he simply grunted and lay down with his head on his paws. She snuggled up to him and finally asked,
“Donner…what’s wrong? Aren’t you happy? We have everything we need.”
“Macie, we have what we need for now,” Donner grunted in response, “but the food is not going to last very long. Some of the hay is already getting moldy and the pellets will run out sooner or later. Also, I don’t know how we will get away from the water and the cold. ” 1
1. Because guinea pigs are from South America, their bodies are used to a much warmer climate, and if they get too cold or wet, they run a big risk of getting sick.