Hello from the PigPen in Janesville!
We still have rescue pigs awaiting new homes (watch petfinder for postings of their "mugshots"), but we also want to bring to your attention all the pigs that are still awaiting homes in your local shelters and humane societies. We encourage people to consider adopting these lovely guinea pigs straight from the shelter.
Shelters and humane societies are being severely hurt by the economy right now. Donations are down, but animal surrenders are up. Many shelters do not have the funds to house and care for the smaller animals and exotics for a lengthy period of time. Be aware that they often do not post the smaller animals on petfinder along with cats and dogs, but it doesn't mean they have no guinea pigs (or rats or hamsters or gerbils) available for adoption. Ninety nine percent of the guinea pigs that come through the Wisconsin Guinea Pig Rescue are pulled from Wisconsin shelters when their "time is up" and most of them are young pigs that are a year old or younger.
Here are a few tips and ideas if you are considering adopting from your local shelter:
-Do your research and have your cage and supplies all ready before you bring your new pig/pigs home. Remember that petstore cages are way too small for these animals to live in, so consider a C&C cage like the ones at http://guineapigcages.com/ .
-Call your local shelters and humane societies frequently to find out if they have guinea pigs available and have them take your name and contact information down so they can call you if pigs become available.
-Oftentimes you need to visit frequently in person to let shelters know that you are looking for pet guinea pigs.
-Read through the sexing guides on the GuineaLynx Health Care Guide (http://www.guinealynx.info) so you can double check the sexes of available guinea pigs at the shelter (mistakes can happen!). If you are not sure about the sex of an animal, see if you can take the animal to a vet prior to finalizing the adoption.
-If you are looking for a friend for a pig that you already have, do take the precaution to quarantine any new animals in a separate room from your present pets for 3 weeks. It's not a bad idea to take the new pig for a visit to a cavy savvy vet during that quarantine period to rule out any illnesses or the presence of mites or lice. Also have the vet doublecheck the pig's gender. An accidental pairing of a male and female puts the female at serious risk(complications, often resulting in death, are quite common with guinea pig pregnancy and birth).
-Often guinea pigs have been eating an inferior brand of pellets and have not been given hay or fresh daily vegetables when they are surrendered to a shelter. Do provide unlimited hay (SO important to healthy digestion and healthy teeth!) and immediately switch to a decent pressed pellet (like Oxbow brand Cavy Cuisine) which contains no seeds, nuts or bits. Also start immediately to introduce fresh vegetables, but keep in mind it may take the guinea pig time to get used to them if they have not been eating them (sometimes they are even a little scared of a piece of lettuce at first).
-The best way to monitor the health of your new guinea pig is to use a digital scale to weigh the pig weekly. A pig adopted from a shelter will often show an initial weight jump (anxiety from being in a shelter environment can affect appetite) and then it is quite normal to see a gradual weight gain thereafter (from typical growth).
-It's scary for a guinea pig to be in a shelter environment and it will take a few weeks or even up to a month for a guinea pig to start to relax and get used to your home. Be patient. Remember that a guinea pig may not have had a lot of handling before it was surrendered to the shelter so it may take time before it feels comfortable being picked up and held. Of course, young children should never be allowed to catch and hold a guinea pig and that is even more so the case with a pig that is not used to being handled.
-Giving a shelter pig a new home is just as rewarding as providing a home for one of our pigs in rescue (99% of our rescue pigs were pulled from shelters just like yours) and we hope you will not hesitate to look into the option if you are wanting to add a pair of these lovely animals to your family.
-Volunteers from the Wisconsin Guinea Pig Rescue are more than willing to answer questions you have about pigs you have adopted from the local shelter. Don't hesitate to drop us an e-mail.