In Loving Memory of Chocolate:

AHS Beloved Guinea Pig

Bailey Cook, Staff Writer


A couple of weeks ago we suffered a great loss at Armuchee High School. Dr. Bettler’s class guinea pig, Chocolate, has passed away. Chocolate was a brown guinea pig with brown eyes.  Dr. Bettler also has another guinea pig named Doughnut, who is a white guinea pig with some spots of brown and a yellowish-brown color. Rylan Weaver, junior, said, “The guinea pigs make the classroom a better place. It’s like they give off a sense of comfort and care.” Students can look at the guinea pigs and feel a sense of comfort. Avery Seiter, Junior, and Weaver are like co-caretakers for the guinea pigs when Bettler was out for a day or if something was wrong with them. When Chocolate was having respiratory distress, for example, right before chocolate passed Seiter and Weaver noticed that he was starting to look ill. They have educated themselves about guinea pigs in order to take care of them. Occasionally Weaver and Seiter would go to Bettler’s classroom in the mornings before 1st period to refill the guinea pigs’ water bottles and give them some hay to eat.

Seiter shared a funny story. She said, “One day when I was in class, I had gotten Chocolate out of the cage to play with him. Chocolate was climbing on my shoulder relaxing, and then out of nowhere Chocolate jumped off of my shoulder onto the top of the cage.” The girls helped Bettler with trimming Chocolate and Doughnuts’ nails. They even helped trim their hair if it was getting matted in the back or if it was just getting in the way of their everyday activities. 

Dr. Bettler said, “It sends a good message to kids showing that I am a caring and kind-hearted person.”  Bettler thinks that having the guinea pigs in the class adds light and joy to the room by having something other than just school-related things; it makes the classroom an overall positive place. He said, “The guinea pigs impact our classmates in a good way;  it’s like they give you a chance to see the soft side of some people because when holding the guinea pigs you need to be delicate and gentle with them.” Dr. Bettler has had Chocolate and Doughnut for 2 years as a class pet. He got them from two little girls who had already had them for 2 years, but they couldn’t take care of them anymore. He had already known some things about them prior because his wife, who is also a teacher, has had a few guinea pigs as class pets in the past. 

When we have breaks during the school year the guinea pigs stay here at Armuchee. Dr.Better comes and feeds them as often as needed. During the summer, Dr. Better lets Mrs. Flagello takes them home because she has two young daughters who love to play with Chocolate and Doughnut. Better likes to call it “Camp Flagello” because while the guinea pigs are with them he knows that they are in good hands.

Chocolate impacted a lot of students and faculty here at Armuchee High School. He will be missed dearly.