WHY ADOPT A GUINEA PIG In the 2011 - 2012 financial year in Australia 2,574 other animals were euthanized by the RSPCA. As part of the RSPCA reporting structure other animals includes, poultry, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, rats and mice. *RSPCA Australia National Statistics 2011 - 2012These are all animals which may have been adopted. This is only a small representation of the growing problem in relation to small animals and the underlying issue of homelessness. On average Australian guinea pig shelters and rescues have over 150 guinea pigs in need of a home every year. One of the largest guinea pig shelters Australian Cavy Sanctuary regularly has 1000’s of guinea pigs being surrendered each and every year. These are no kill and non for profit rescues. They rely solely on adoptions and support from the public to continue to save lives. How Does Adoption Save Lives? When an animal is adopted from a shelter, it not only ensures that animal has a loving family and home, it also makes space for another animal to take its place. When you adopt you don’t just save one life you are saving two. The Most Common Misconceptions on Adopting a Guinea Pig There are no rescues or shelters where I live or nearby:You would be surprised at the tenacity and determination that volunteers at rescues and shelters are capable of when it comes to saving the life of an animal. Rescue groups have been known to transport guinea pigs via car pools, foster groups, and even via airlines interstate. There are also many private rescue organisations, including guinea pigs in foster care that are available for adoption. By contacting your state or the closest reputable rescue in your area you could enquire about the possibility of private adoption. Adopting may be a lengthier process than simply purchasing an animal, but the outcome is well worth the wait. I can’t find the type of guinea pig or rabbit I want at a shelter:Whilst it may be true adopting a particular breed, or type of small animal can require more patience than going to a pet store or breeder the benefits of adopting, and waiting for that particular animal far outweigh the impulse to go and purchase the guinea pig. Allow time to research how to care for the animal. Understand that guinea pigs can live for 4 – 7 years on average. See Before Adopting for more information. With 1000’s of guinea pigs being received nationwide in reputable rescue organisations it is always possible to find a particular guinea pig. The main reason rescues do not classify by breed for dogs, cats or even guinea pigs is due to the fact that each life to a rescue is precious. Each animal deserves a second chance at a loving home, regardless of what they look like. Patience is essential. Remember you are saving a life not just obtaining a pet. An adopted guinea pig isn’t worth as much as a pure bred guinea pig: Many people are under the assumption that no pure bred animals make it to a shelter. This fact is incorrect. Each year thousands of breed specific guinea pigs are surrendered, abandoned or rescued from inhumane conditions. These are all animals which were classified as show guinea pigs or a breed specific type. These animals were rescued through no fault of their own. It is vitally important that people are educated and are aware of the pitfalls of not researching a reputable breeder. Many people may claim to be a reputable breeder however they are not. In Australia there is no ombudsman who is responsible for the licensing nor regulation of breeding animals. Do you think any of the above guinea pigs are a specific breed? If you answered yes you’d be correct. They are also ALL rescuesI can get a guinea pig for free, why would I pay an adoption fee? Fees can vary depending on the rescue, if the animal was treated and also fees are usually a rescues sole income. Many rescues depend on fees to ensure the ongoing operation of the rescue, raise awareness and also enable the shelter to continue to save lives. Fees often include initial assessment of the animal at the time of rescue including: Vet ChecksFoster care – ensuring animals are housed in a safe location if the rescue is up to maximum capacityMedical treatments if required: Medications, parasite treatments, grooming and overall careSpraying and NeuteringAdvertising the animal for adoption and organisational costsRescue groups often spend MORE money than what fees they charge for the adoption process. If you calculated the costs for the above treatments you would be looking at an average cost of $400 - $450 sometimes more. Guinea pigs require treatment via an exotics veterinarian, who is knowledgeable in the care of guinea pigs. Procedures, medications and treatments are often more expensive than many people would think. If you accommodate the small fee charged by the rescue you would understand that the costs charged do not compare for the care the animal received to be able to be adopted. This is why many rescues struggle to maintain operation, as often they cannot charge the actual costs involved and so rely on donations from the public to minimise this financial gap. Benefits of AdoptingNo hidden surprises!: Adoptable guinea pigs are correctly assessed, sexed and paired to ensure no unexpected pregnancies or that you don’t go home with a mixed pair. Bonded Pairs: Guinea pigs are social animals and require the company of their own kind in order to communicate and express themselves freely. Rescues will often have bonded guinea pigs available for adoption, so the bonding process can be easy and simple. Guinea pigs will need to establish dominance in order to have a successful pairing. With the benefit of having a vast array of guinea pigs in their care, rescues can bond, and ensure the guinea pig is accustomed to having a friend. Medical and Vet Checked: Rescued guinea pigs are screened for medical issues, and treated accordingly. If an issue is discovered the rescue will advise you of the ongoing requirements in relation to treatment. Guinea pigs in rescues are strictly assessed to ensure only healthy animals are adopted to the public to the best of their ability. Many pet stores do not have this capacity as the costs involved in having an experienced exotics veterinarian treat and check the animal far outweigh the profit margin they will make in the final sale. Matched to your Lifestyle: Volunteers, rescuers and organisers know the animals intimately. From personalities and temperaments each guinea pig is different. Many guinea pigs are also acclimatised to living depending on your household. Some guinea pigs may have lived with other pets in the household, lived indoors or have a certain acclimatisation to being tamed. Guinea pigs can be difficult to tame. Guinea pigs which have been held and are used to humans are often shelter animals. They love to be petted and stroked so you can have that lap pig you have always wanted. Rescues often require an adoption form to be completed for two reasons: 1)They want to ensure the household and requirements for caring for the animal will be met. 2)They are able to see what household you would offer the animal and are able to screen and match the animal to suit your current lifestyleReturn policy: Rescues work hard to ensure all animals have a forever home. If for any reason an animal can no longer be cared for rescues will often accept the animal back even years later. This ensures that animal always has a chance at a second life. Always has a chance for the best possible outcome. Education: Guinea pig rescues care for their animals and have a wealth of experience and information to offer you. You are educated on the correct care, assessed and ensured that you are not overwhelmed with caring for a guinea pig with no knowledge on diet, health or housing requirements. Rescues and shelters will offer ongoing support and knowledge and love to receive updates on the animals they have rehomed. You always will have the benefit of having a knowledgeable database and support base on caring for your pet.