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In Loving Memory of Peter Gurney

March 9, 1938 - July 1, 2006

On July 1, 2006 the worldwide guinea pig community lost a dear friend: Peter Gurney. Peter will be remembered as one of – if not the – world’s leading authority on guinea pigs/cavies.

His untiring efforts over the years have helped many, many people and their companion animals, and gave us hope for our little ones when we thought there was none. That ceaseless devotion and fiery passion for these dear creatures has resulted in an overall increase in the quality of care and life for our companions over the past two decades.

He was a strong voice for the meek, and taught us that just because someone has letters after their name, they might not know what they are doing. He taught us to ask questions, look for answers, and seek other opinions if need be.

Being outspoken occasionally landed him in trouble, but no one can deny that his willingness to speak his mind kept many people on their toes trying to keep a half-step ahead of his wrath. The result was more people - professionals and laymen alike - learning more about cavies and how to keep them healthy and happy.

Peter’s love for cavies was always apparent in his writing; he was one of the first people to write a book that was actually about correct care rather than an elaborate ad for pet supplies (The Proper Care of Guinea Pigs), and also the first to publish a book on alternative therapies (Piggy Potions). He was also deeply devoted to helping bring a bit of joy to critically ill children. Nancy Pistorius (mother of Alyssa Buecker, producer the famed “Carrot Wars” videos) noted:

“He took it upon himself to distribute copies of my daughter Alyssa's movie, CARROT WARS, to children who were patients at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London. He paid weekly visits to children there, bringing his piggies along in a wooden wheeled contraption that he hauled onto the Tube (subway). While he waited for the lift (elevator) at the hospital, he would hum or sing a little tune. I will never forget accompanying him on his rounds, the way the children's faces would light up when he entered the room. It was a sad day for Peter and for the children when government regulations stopped him from making his visits to the hospital.”

Peter leaves a worldwide community of thousands that deeply mourn his passing. He also leaves us a wealth of information and fond memories – not only of him, but of cavy friends that lived with us longer as a result of the better care techniques he taught.

His legacy will live on, as we all must continue to strive for the goals he set for better care and humane treatment for our companions. His memory will live on forever in our hearts.

Go in peace, dear friend.

Peter Gurney photo courtesy of The Winking Cavy Store

For those who wish, a contribution can be made in his name to the following charities, all of which he strongly supported. Details on how to contribute will be posted the week of July 10, 2006:

The Cambridge Cavy Trust –
please make checks payable to "Cambridge Cavy Trust" and mail to:

Cambridge Cavy Trust
1 Splash Lane
Huntingdon, Cambs
PE28 2AF
United Kingdom

The Dr. Hadwen Trust –
The Dr Hadwen Trust is a registered charity dedicated to finding alternatives to the use of animal experiments.

Read about Peter's last project with the Trust

Home Page:

Donations Page:
A special tribute page to Peter has being created

The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children –
GOSH is where Peter would take piggies to visit and cheer the sick children.
GOSH donations page


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