Little Buddies Refuge is a guinea pig rescue located in Philadelphia, PA. We have rescued and rehabilitated over 200 guinea pigs since April 2020.
Our priorities have always been set on providing and advocating for proper care for guinea pigs, and it is our ultimate goal to find perfect homes for each and every one of the rescues we take in while spreading knowledge through our advocacy and social media.
DISCLAIMER: We are working to get all of the below information onto our website in a much more digestible format!
Guinea pigs are an incredibly misunderstood pet across the globe, and in the U.S., the reasoning seems to stem from pet stores. Pet stores often make it far too easy to purchase guinea pigs, so plenty of credulous people impulse-buy them for themselves or their children under the guise that they're "beginner friendly" or "great for children". Not only do pet stores push a very harmful false narrative, they also sell completely inappropriate and overpriced paraphernalia with the goal of making a buck off of these innocent creatures without regard for their wellbeing.
This may come as a shock to you that these billion-dollar corporations, the ones most people go to when they decide to purchase guinea pigs, would be so thoughtless when it comes to their care. For one, it does have to do with money. The things they sell, such as honey, yogurt, and seed-laden treats "for guinea pigs", while ultimately harmful to the guinea pigs themselves (neither honey, yogurt, or nuts are appropriate for their herbivorous diet), are a tasty treat, so people conclude that they can't be harmful because their guinea pigs love them––so they go back for more. The pet store cages (an infamous term in the guinea pig community––yes, that exists) they sell hardly meet the minimum requirements (get this: the most popular "guinea pig cage" sold at Petco is 3.75 sqft while the minimum requirement for a SINGLE guinea pig is 7.5 sqft) yet they are advertised as cheap and easy to set up, meanwhile, the most spacious and easiest-to-assemble cages are substantially less expensive, not to mention easier to clean, easier for you to interact with the guinea pigs, amongst lots of other great attributes.
However, it really comes down to the fact that only recently have people started really understanding and researching guinea pig care. People often come to me saying, "I had guinea pigs growing up, so I know how to take care of them," which often makes me feel a bit awkward, since guinea pig care has grown and changed a lot since then––for the better.
For years, these pet stores have profited off of their misinformation about guinea pigs, and it doesn't look like they're going to stop anytime soon.
What we can do, and what Little Buddies Refuge has always been passionate about, is listen, learn, and grow in terms of our knowledge and care. Over the past two and a half years I've run this rescue, my guinea pig care has changed quite a lot––we have updated and modified so many aspects of our rescue to meet the new and arguably best standards of living for the guinea pigs.
I don't expect new owners to know every last detail, but our adoption application incorporates all of the essential questions that I would expect a passionate new owner to know.
It truly saddens me when people have come to me to say that my application process is "too much" or that they're just going to go to a pet store instead (I think it says a lot, also, that people would rather go to a pet store to buy guinea pigs than prove their basic knowledge to a rescue because they know the pet store does not require any sort of adoption process other than handing them money).
There have been times where I adopted out guinea pigs in the past that I have come to regret, such as adopting out single piggies to live alone, and adopting them out to homes where I wasn't 100% sure of their ability to fully and properly care for them for the rest of their life. Recently, we had someone return two girls we adopted out back in late 2020, when my adoption process was almost nonexistent, and their reasoning was that their kids don't care for them and they're moving. Upon taking them back, they were slightly underweight and had overgrown nails. It reminded me why I have the current application in place––to prevent scenarios like this (among many other reasons, of course).
I had someone say to me recently, "the application is only a fraction of the time spent caring for a pet" and I thought it articulated my thoughts perfectly.
If you understood my mission and my passion, you would completely understand my reasoning behind every single question on the application. If you don't, that is fine––I don't expect to get through to everyone.
We hope not to deter anyone from adopting, rather, to inform the uneducated and pass on knowledge that will help these little creatures get the proper care they deserve so they can live their life to the happiest and healthiest extent.
• OUR POLICIES & PROTOCOL
Potential adopters must be knowledgable of guinea pig care. Previous ownership of guinea pigs is not required. Children must not be the main caretakers or be financially responsible.
We do NOT adopt out to anyone who: will be giving guinea pigs to someone as a surprise present (guinea pigs are not toys), will be housing them outdoors, will be keeping them in any sort of hutch, will be housing them in a cage with wire/non-solid flooring, will not use proper bedding, plans on breeding or eating them, or is hostile. Other reasons include but are not limited to not meeting basic requirements (ex. showing knowledge of proper housing and diet).
If guinea pigs are listed as a pair or trio, they are not to be separated unless serious fighting occurs. It is very important to keep bonded piggies together.
All females, (unless born here) regardless of background, will be kept under pregnancy watch before being adopted out.
Upon adoption, all guinea pigs will: be properly sexed, checked for health issues (which we will be transparent about), have their nails clipped, and (if long haired) have been properly groomed.
• OUR ADOPTION PROCESS
First, we ask that you reach out either via the Petfinder contact form or email (email@example.com). We will then get back to you as soon as possible and will include a link to our adoption application. We ask that once you have completed the application you notify us of its completion via email.
Once we have a chance to go over your application, we will get back to you via email. Often times there are certain parts of the application you have filled out that we'd like to respond to or share feedback about, such as mistakes or misinformation we'd like to correct or help to further educate. Keep in mind it is our mission to spread knowledge about guinea pigs and their care so they don't end up neglected or back in the rehoming cycle––it is not a personal attack.
Hint: Check out our little adoption cheat sheet at the end of each of the adoptable piggies' Petfinder profiles!
There are requirements for being accepted on the application, such as:
- showing basic knowledge of guinea pig care (diet, housing, etc.)
- must be able to provide proof of having or planning on getting safe and appropriate housing (must meet MINIMUM size requirements) –– this can be done via email since you cannot attach photos or videos to the application
- having access to a vet for illnesses and emergencies
If you aren't approved, we will most likely try to help you understand why we weren't comfortable adopting to you and hopefully deter you from purchasing elsewhere.
If you you are approved, we will figure out a time and place to meet to exchange the piggies! This is usually quite fun and exciting, as we often have so many lovely and unique personalities to choose from. Most guinea pigs reside at the main residence (location not public due to it being our house) however some are in foster homes.
(If your guinea pigs are in a foster home we will get you in contact with their foster to figure out where you'd be picking them up or if they are able to be dropped off OR they will be dropped off to us and then you can come pick them up from us directly.)
Once you arrive, depending on whether you had a certain single (only available if you already have a piggy; we do not adopt out single piggies to live by themselves), pair, or trio of piggies in mind, we will have them ready to meet you. We can talk for a bit––I am always open to questions and helping you through the process. Once you've made your decision, you will pay the adoption fee via the medium of choice (cash, Zelle, Venmo, or PayPal) and you can be on your merry way!
After the adoption, we like to ask that you send us some pictures and/or videos and updates of the piggies you adopted so we can share our work with the world. It also gives me such joy to see them happy in their forever homes. :)
In some cases, you and their previous owner have anonymously agreed to share some sort of contact in terms of how the piggy is/piggies are doing which can just be photos or occasional updates.
That's it! We like to make this process easy but also thorough to make sure the guinea pigs are going to a great forever home. If it sounds like too much for you, then maybe you are not suited for adoption from us.