Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Who Stays, Who Goes?

My job (for lack of a better term) here at the rescue is to find permanent homes for some of the guinea pigs I take in. My goal is not to be a "revolving door" and get as many guinea pigs in and out of here as possible; my goal is to make sure that candidates for adoption are going to be compatible with their new families.
When I take in new guinea pigs, I like to take quite a bit of time getting to know them. I want to see what they do when I pick them up, how they're eating and drinking, whether or not they jump or hide at any little noise, and how they are around my kids and dogs. Obviously, they are treated if there are any health issues, and will not be adopted out until they have fully recovered, assuming their temperament is good. I take note of what foods they like and dislike. When I hold them, I watch to see if they nibble a lot (and I warn potential adopters if they do!). When I get pairs, I usually find that one is more shy than the other. I do keep pairs or groups together unless there is fighting to the point that could cause injury. Sometimes I am able to place single guinea pigs together, but in most cases (especially with males) this doesn't work. Single pigs can live side by side in their own cages, though, so everyone has plenty of "neighbors" to chat with!
I have a LOT of piggies to get acquainted with right now...Taco and Chili are very calm when held, although Chili's coat is a little drab and coarse. I need to handle Duff more so he is less jumpy, and Poppy needs a little extra care as we are going to assume she is pregnant. I want to handle her enough to make sure she is used to it, but she needs to be handled carefully to prevent injury to her or the pups. And of course, if pups are born in February, they will go fast! As with most animals, people like to adopt babies. Guinea pig babies will bond quickly with humans if they are handled well!

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