- I GAVE, dammit!
Para, now you know what it feels like to be continually chopping veggies! I have 3 foster rabbits too, so there needs to be a veggie compromise. My rabbit/piggy mix:
red bell peppers
Plus a "pregnancy boost" box full of high-calcium veggies such as carrot tops and parsley. The ones with scurvy get some of this too.
I use plastic grocery bags to pick up dog poop too. So every time I go to walk the dog, the house erupts in wheeks.
- Little Jo Wheek
I spend thousands yearly on vet care and bedding. Vet care the most, of course. As I've stated before, some pigs require constant meds. Two out of three dogs, as well. Yearly exams/labs cost me hundreds of dollars--just for well animals!
Reading through the developments in this thread, I find nothing of Teresa's or Judi's comments to argue. They are all true and then some. I have never had more than 25 animals at one time (which was even for me a nightmare). Every animal takes time. How many of those pigs gets held by a person EVERY DAY? Even if you allotted 5 minutes per pig and had two people, that would be about an hour daily just holding pigs. You can try to "double up" on pigs, but it is certainly not the same. Then, the attention is subdivided. Just saving pigs does make a bit of a dent, but if they aren't allowed daily human interaction--what's the point? Sometimes, the truth is they may indeed be better off dead. It is not my wish at all, but we need to combat the root of the problem.
Educating others and causing the "ripple" effect is the most efficient way we can make the most of our time and resources. I'm not saying that caring for individual pigs is not constructive or necessary, but if we combat the root of the problem, maybe there will be fewer pigs out there to rescue. Preventing further dumps and abuses helps pigs even more than having a select few of the population be rescuers and foster homes. I wish there wasn't a need for rescues at all. But there are, and there will be, I know. There's a balance to keep. I haven't found it myself yet. If I had, I wouldn't have "burned out" as many others have and are doing. I'm recharging my battery as well and doing more education than rescue/adoptions right now. People are noticing, too. People will notice. They seem to notice and benefit more from the outreach and education than individuals (those crazy guinea pig people) dedicating their lives entirely to rescuing and rehabilitating pigs.
Maybe this will keep it in perspective. The breed rescue for dogs that I'm quasi-involved in here and there reorganized about 3-4 years ago. It used to be several organizations, regionally, that did their own things and occasionally worked together. Now it is a huge entity that is nationwide in the US and has one steering committee and several "regional coordinators." It's good money-wise and some efforts that would otherwise be duplicated unnecessarily, are not now.
The bad news is they take in tons of dogs now, rather than a few. Why the increase? At least 30-50% of the "rescues" are now "breeder assist" placements, including two dogs I have now as my own. It has become popular for well-intentioned, dedicated, knowledgeable people to "rescue" and help ANY and EVERY animal in need, rather than attacking the owners and breeders for their lack of dedication and care to the animals. I am more disgusted every day. These breeders are rehoming their bred dogs through rescue! That is totally unfair to the true rescues, in my opinion. There is a great need for extra foster homes and often these breeders have groups of dogs (extra burden) with poor past veterinary care that they want "rehomed" ("disposed of" in my opinion) at one time. It is their responsibility--not rescue's responsibility, IMO. Why is this important? What's the point? There is no end to abandoned animals for us to deal with. If we had other deterrants to dumping animals, perhaps this would not be the fastest growing area of concern. Rescues wouldn't be so burdened. We need to figure out how to educate people before getting pets that they have certain lifelong needs and PREVENT them from getting to rescues or even becoming breeders themselves (searching for their own "perfect" specimens and providing us more animals for the homes which do not exist).
Not only that, what adds to the problem is the lack of proper screening for prospective pet owners. Many of the shelters around here charge only a 5$ adoption fee and some are not allowed to screen at all. So if I walk into one of these places and tell them that I want a guinea pig to torture and murder, they will give it to me if I have 5 bucks.
And we all know what kind of screening they do in pet stores. Unfortunately, this is where most people acquire their pets. So I think the largest education effort has to be pointed in that direction. Ideally, I'd like to see all pet store workers taking a mandatory seminar in animal care so that they can in turn inform the people who buy pets there.
But what would be more realistic is a smaller measure, like an effort to make sure that the care sheets pet stores are now supposed to distribute are in fact available and accurate. How difficult would that be? A uniform cavy care sheet like Teresa's, downloadable from the web, that everyone made a habit of taking to the pet stores they frequent. Oh, I'm just full of ideas but no time.....