Angela Mitchell is editor-in-chief of Guinea Pig Today and writes for CavyMadness. She volunteers with Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue, which rescues and fosters cavies in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia and Southern Pennsylvania; and supports the ROUS Foundation for Capybara Veterinary Medicine. She travels to pet conferences, expos and other events around the country as a guinea pig advocate. She lives in Northern Virginia with her guinea pigs Papua and Phoenix and cats Toast and Navy.
March is Adopt-Rescued-Guinea Pig Month! After all, guinea pigs, a.k.a. cavies, end up in shelters and with rescue groups just like dogs and cats.
Here are 10 reasons to give a rescued guinea pig a chance:
- You’ll know what you’re getting. At rescue groups and shelters, volunteers learn their guinea pigs’ personalities and can tell you a bit about them. Cavies might be small, but they have big personalities. You’ll find guinea pigs can be shy or outgoing, just like dogs and cats.
- Adopted guinea pigs come in all shapes and sizes. Long hair, short hair, bushy hair and even no hair at all! There are many different breeds of guinea pigs to be found at your local shelter or rescue group.
- The shelter or rescue group can help you learn to care for your new cavy. When you adopt a guinea pig, you’re adopting a community of support as well. Volunteers can show you how to do routine grooming such as nail or hair trimming.
- Your current guinea pig can find a friend. Guinea pigs are social animals and are happiest in pairs or small groups. If you currently have one guinea pig, a rescue group or shelter can help you find a compatible friend for him or her.
- You can get a vet referral. Volunteers at rescue groups and shelters can help you find a qualified exotic-animal veterinarian who treats guinea pigs. General dog and cat vets don’t always see guinea pigs, and your new pets will need a check-up now and again.
- Rescued pigs of all ages need homes. Guinea pigs can live up to eight years, but a rescued guinea pig might already be a few years old. Can you give a senior pet a comfy retirement home?
- You might be able to foster-to-adopt. Even if the pig you foster isn’t a good fit for your household, you might find fostering is a better option for your family. Volunteers are always needed to give temporary homes to guinea pigs who need loving families.
- Some rescued guinea pigs have already been spayed or neutered. You won’t have to deal with finding a qualified veterinarian for the procedure — and you won’t have any unexpected babies!
- You can get guinea pigs who are already bonded. Sometimes pregnant guinea pigs are left at shelters, and that means there are pups who need homes as well. Bonded siblings make an instant pair if you’re looking to adopt more than one.
- Adopting guinea pigs makes room for more guinea pigs to be rescued. Shelters are already crowded, so you’re giving a chance to other guinea pigs waiting in line for their forever homes.
After the jump: Can’t adopt, but want to help homeless guinea pigs? Find out how.
If you can’t adopt a guinea pig but want to help, contact your local shelter or guinea pig rescue group and ask how you can get involved. Spread the word about small animals living in shelters and help them find the loving homes they deserve.