Friday, May 28, 2010

Da Rules

It's been slow here now that four of my piggies have left, so I wanted to reiterate what we do here at the rescue. Here are the most important points of operation:
1. NO UNAUTHORIZED BREEDING, just like Jurassic Park. In seven years, we have only had two litters of newborns, both from females who were pregnant before they came to us. I am absolutely paranoid about checking sexes when new guinea pigs arrive!
2. Vet care if needed. If a guinea pig arrives and is obviously sick, we will take it to a vet. However, I am now requiring that anyone who wants to surrender a guinea pig MUST take it to a vet if it is seriously ill or injured. It's not just a matter of finances, it's a matter of suffering. If your dog broke its leg, would you take it to the SPCA and let them deal with it? Didn't think so.
3. Proper diet. Guinea pigs need guinea pig pellets, not rabbit food. They also need timothy hay and a variety of fresh produce, which we provide.
4. Cleanliness. Fleeces are washed about every four days; cages with shavings are cleaned completely at least once a week, more often if needed. Keeping cages clean not only reduces the smell, it keeps the guinea pigs free of disease.
5. Space. All guinea pigs or groups are given the most space available. Trust me, I do not like putting even one guinea pig in a small cage, but once in a while I have to on an emergency basis. I always keep a few spare cages around, just in case. As soon as a larger cage is available, I upgrade piggies in smaller cages to larger ones.
6. Last but not least, love and respect. Some guinea pigs arrive here terrified. I give them space and don't try to startle them; I put food in the cage and leave them alone to eat when they feel comfortable. I try to meet their individual needs, as every guinea pig is an individual. They each have their own personality, and I try to respect that as much as possible by getting to know them and providing what they need. Sometimes, this takes months. All I want is for the animal to feel comfortable in our home, and be socialized and ready enough to be adopted if possible.
7. Sorry, one more--permanency. Some guinea pigs are just not able to be adopted out again. Reasons can vary from age, health, temperament, etc. Again, it's about each individual animal. Most of the piggies I have right now will have this farm as their forever home, where they will receive all the love and care they need for the rest of their lives.
All I want is to care for these little guys who have no voice; just because they live in cages and can be put in a basement, garage or other room does not mean they don't feel pain, fear, or loneliness. They deserve to be treated with the same respect as any other living being.

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