Meet Laura, Woody & Rupert!


My name is Laura De Stefano (nee Humphreys), and I think I must have been a guinea pig in a previous life!

I’m currently Mum to two boars – Woody and Rupert – and live in Huntingdon, Cambs, with my husband. I decided to start up Tiny Paws in 2018 with the aim of offering an exclusive, specialised, guinea pig only environment providing grooming, holiday boarding and a multitude of additional services I intend to incorporate just as soon as I can.

I have created a mini-CV below sharing a few of my credentials. I really should work on an actual CV sometime though…


For over 10 years I have been a leading voice in the campaign to improve guinea pig care, medical care and welfare. I have published one book of my own relating to my experience with guinea pigs, Charlie’s Memoirs, with another book on general guinea pig care in the works. I was also instrumental in designing, rewriting, contributing to and delivering the British Association of Rodentologists comprehensive 300-page professional textbook, which deals specifically with the medical care of guinea pigs. I also wrote extensively for Guinea Pig Magazine, which I co-launched and contributed heavily to for more than 6 years. 



I have run around a dozen websites and forums – most were for guinea pig health and care – in my late teens and early twenties. I was very active on some major online forums back in those days and held in high regard for my commonsense and logical approach. Those forums included (but weren’t limited to): Guinea Pig Cages, when it was still known as Cavy Cages;  Cutiecavies; Guinea Lynx; TKCC; Guinea Pig World; and The Guinea Pig Forum. The most notable sites I ran and owned myself were The Piggy Boards, a forum of my own, and the educational website and advice line Guinea Pig Helpline which ran for several years in the early 2010s.


Away from the world of guinea pigs, I have a fairly wide spectrum of interest, so here are ten random points of interest (or not?!):

  1. I’ve lived in Huntingdon for 15 years and it is “home”, but I actually grew up as a military kid.
  2. I love to read.
  3. I take far too many photographs.
  4. I’m a writer with a severe case of writer’s block (going on around 7 years now).
  5. I have very diverse music tastes. Firm favourites however include Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Take That, The Script, The Beatles, The Kinks, Elton John and Queen.
  6. I’m a keen boulderer (rock climbing up to 5m without ropes) and enjoying trying to fall over while figure skating.
  7. I was teetotal until the age of 23 when I met my half-Italian husband.
  8. I was an only child for 17 years, when my parents had twins.
  9. I live with chronic pain and mental illnesses that have at times been life-limiting.
  10. My husband is one of the top Ninja Warrior athletes in the country.

Creator of the 2019 Summer Campaign #guineapigsdieinhothutches as featured on ITV Anglia


The Resident Pets

Throughout my 30 years I have grown up with and kept 33 guinea pigs, 5 dogs and 1 hamster. We currently have very few pets of our own, but, exactly in life as in business, we are a guinea pig only household – we don’t keep any other pets.

At present, we have 2 guinea pigs – Woody and Rupert – both of whom have a short bio below. The names of all of my previous piggies, loved and lost, are listed further down the page.

Elwood Mungo (Woody)
Cream self
Estimated DoB: 19 August 2021
Personality: Houdini-turned-soft sappy snuggle bug.

Woody with his best facial expressions on show.

Rupert William
Silver agouti teddy (and possible part capybara?? 1.6kg!)
Known DoB: 14 January 2022
Personality: Teddy bear in name, breed and character. Gentle giant.

Rupert in a rabbit sized bed.


Loving Memory:

Charlie, Tuppence, Lottie, Jasmine, Dexter, Gwenivere, Saffron, Breanna, Franklyn, Meghan, Willamina, Harrison, Pandora, Kingslie, Rosemary, Delilah, Sophia, Elijah, Errol, Gabriel, Archie, Amelie, Felicity, Miranda, Sampson, Wilbur, Hugo, George

A Special One – Wilbur

A friend recently said something that struck such a strong chord, it has stuck with me. As I sat with her as one of her piggies passed away in her arms, I told the piggy that Wilbur would be there to welcome her at Rainbow Bridge along with all her friends and all the other Tiny Paws piggies she has “met” during her stays here. This little sow’s mum said Wilbur was like the gatekeeper of Tiny Paws. We lost Wilbur in January 2022, a loss that remains particularly painful, so I like to imagine him being there to meet the many piggies we have had the honour of knowing when they cross the Bridge. His spirit lives on here as, without Wilbur, there would have been no Tiny Paws, as summarised in this poem gifted to us by my mum, Tracey Humphreys.

About Wilbur

Wilbur Bartholomew
29 May 2016 – 15 January 2022

Wilbur came to us as a friend for Archie in summer 2016. Archie had just lost his cagemate Gabriel, and we really felt that he was a good candidate for re-pairing with a young boar. Enter Wilbur! He was around 4 months old when we acquired him. He was in quarantine for around 2 months whilst I could monitor him, whilst Archie was treated for skin problems, and while we waited for the legal processes on our house purchase to complete. When we introduced the pair, all went well and the two lived very happily together until Archie’s death on 10 April 2018. We attempted to introduce another boar, Oliver, shortly after but Oliver bullied Wilbur badly, so we ended up having to rehome Ollie. Wilbur eventually ended up with George, although that relationship too lasted less than a year, again with Wilbur being the victim of unnecessary harassment. (Even though he did more than his share of harassing George for many months prior…he’s a victim but he is not innocent!)

Wilbur had a very unique sparkle that was rarely dimmed or put off by anything, and everyone who crossed his path adored him. He was always loving, but as he grew older he turned into a very openly affectionate and self-confident pig; he knew loyalty, he knew his humans, he knew who he was and what he loved, and he loved just being with us. His favourite thing to do was to eat nuggets – he became a bit obsessed by them, so we had to give them to him via treat ball, which he rapidly found his own unique way to make use of – and to lick people before sleeping eyes tight closed on them.

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