Dale Eggeling's passion for guinea pigs began in the fall of 1995 when her son, Dustin, brought home Tommy, the guinea pig being raised by Dustin's second-grade class, for the weekend. "It was love at first sight," says Dale. "He was so cute and furry." A few months later Dustin's teacher decided that Tommy needed a new home, and the Eggelings adopted him. Dale taught Tommy tricks ("He squeaked and sat up on his hind legs for treats," she says), took him to LPGA tournaments and even brought him into the interview room. Dale was heartbroken when Tommy died in July '98, and to fill the void she bought Tommy II at Pet Corner, a store in Tampa. Her brood now comprises three more males—Cinnaman, Mousy and Smokey—as well as two females, Bandit and Candy.
Eggeling feeds her pigs only fresh food. They are especially fond of timothy hay, grape tomatoes and orange slices. "My pigs are wonderful therapy because they make me feel young," says Eggeling, 46. "I guess I'm just a big kid at heart."