We are not allowed to have pets. My husband is firmly against having animals in the house. (I am a long standing dog person myself, but please, I've got five kids. I'm not completely insane.)
Guinea pigs are low maintenance. Compost her bedding once a week, fill up her bowls with veggies scraps and hay, and Penny is a happy pig. The kids get involved (after I remind them) by washing out her bowls and vacuuming the bedding that falls out of the cage onto the carpet. We put her in the flower bed yesterday, and she hung out munching stalks while I dumped out her bedding and cleaned the cage. The kids make cardboard obstacle courses for Penny to play with in the house. Although she mostly just hides under them. That's her M.O. She hides. She doesn't run fast or far. What she lacks in physical antics, she makes up for by being cuddly and purring when you stroke her. My feisty daughter pedals her around in the back of a trike. The girls like to balance Penny on their heads. Best of all, Penny's poop is dry and pebbly and scoops up easily. The opposite of a baby's diaper.