They will give you a home page and a pet list. This site is heavily indexed, and gets a lot of hits. When The Bunny Bunch had some of my pigs on their list, each pig got between 15 and 30 "looks" per week. This means that someone was interested enough to click on the name and look at the picture.
All you need is:
1) A copy of your adoption contract (if you don't have one, go to http://www.cavyrescue.com and click on "rescuer resources" to download one).
2) A letter of reference from your veterinarian stating that you do rescue animals and take good care of them. I had my vet fax this letter so that I could convert it easily to a .gif file.
To sign up as a rescue, go to:
It only takes a few minutes and will be well worth it. Supporting documents are sent via email, and they have an address for you.
I just finished doing this for myself, since I can't rely on The Bunny Bunch to keep my pet list updated.
BTW, every week Petfinder will send you a list of how many times each pet was downloaded.
There are only a few guinea pigs listed on there right now but the site is much more accessible than GPAN (plus it allows pics and GPAN does not).
It is important for rescuers to get a presence on the Internet. Most of the adoption inquiries I get come from people who found me on the various sites where I post piggies for adoption.
All I had to do was fill out a rescue application and list my vet's phone number. Here is the site address:
1) Adoption days at local feed and pet stores. The advantage to doing adoptions at such chains as PetCo and PetSmart (both of whom allow this) is that you get to educate the public as well as possibly steer people away from buying guinea pigs in pet stores (just by your presence--I think it's a guilt thing).
I do adoptions in both my local feed store and PetSmart. So far I have had only 3 adoptions as a result--but I have disseminated a whole lot of information to people buying supplies who just come over to ask me questions.
The best way to go about this would be to contact the store manager. They will tell you which days of the week are open, or you might have to share a day with a dog/cat/rabbit rescue. I bring between 2 and 4 friendly pigs and set up a table with care sheets, business cards for vets, and miscellaneous informational packets.
PetSmart and PetCo are used to having rescues doing adoption days, but you might have to talk your local feed store into it. In this case, go straight for the owner. I have found that, if you tell them that you usually do adoptions at PetCo but would prefer to be in a "less commercial" or "more animal-friendly" atmosphere, they will be happy to oblige. It also doesn't hurt to tactfully point out that adopters will come back there for supplies.
I have 2 shelter volunteers who help me out this way. They let me know that there are guinea pigs in the shelter. Usually, I ask them to foster the pigs for at least a few weeks, giving them Ivermectin and whatever other medications they might need. Job was one of these fosters, and so was Sam. Right now my shelter friends are fostering 5 piggies for me.
A good way to get to know your shelter volunteers is to go down there and talk to them. If this isn't possible, call on the phone and ask to speak to a volunteer in the small animal area. Tell them your name, give them your number, and ask if they would keep you apprised of what is going on there. Shelter volunteers have big hearts. Even if they are not willing to foster, they will spread the word about you.
Where I live, there is a web ring for shelter volunteers in the area. It helps connect shelters, rescues, and potential adopters. Ask around and see if a similar site exists near you. I found out about this one from a volunteer for a dog rescue who was doing adoptions next to me in PetSmart one day:
The front desk of my vet's office has my name and number stuck to their desktop. In addition, I made a colorful flyer with my contact information and a picture of an adorable piggy and hung it up on their bulletin board. What has transpired from this is both adoptions and fosters. Potential adopters have been referred to me from the vet, and 2 of my fosters responded to my flyer in the office.
In return, I not only recommend my vet to adopters, but I take a stack of his business cards to my adoption days and hand them out. So it's a mutually beneficial relationship.
There are a couple of ways to get yourself some attention at the pet fairs. One is to ride in on the coat tails of another rescue, like a rabbit rescue or another cavy rescue. They may let you set up a booth in their area where you can hand out literature, show off your cavies, and make their rescue look bigger than they are.
You can also contact the event planners and tell them that you would like to give an informational talk and perhaps have a little set-up with literature and animals.
I have done this both ways. At the Pasadena Bunny Expo, I went with The Bunny Bunch, brought some pigs and gave an impromptu talk on guinea pig care (the microphone was literally thrust in my face with no notice!). I answered a lot of questions and tried to correct some of the misinformation that the pet stores give out.
And then on my own: In April, I am going to be giving a talk on guinea pig grooming at the Orange County Pet Expo. This is a huge event with lots of different rescues participating. Since I'm demonstrating how to clean out a boar butt, I should be the hit of the party.
Even if you cannot get on the venue at a pet expo, go there anyway. Hand out your cards and schmooze with other rescues. You just may meet someone who can help you out.
For instance, several other small animal rescues in my area have links to my web page from their site. I just emailed the rescue owner and asked them to do it. Believe me, they will appreciate it, because referrals take up a lot of a rescuer's time. This is especially helpful if you are just starting out and there are no other guinea pig rescues in your area. Sometimes, people call rabbit rescues looking for guinea pigs because they don't know where else to go.
You start making the most interesting alliances when you investigate the rescue community. Recently, my a vet tech who does neo-natal rescue happened to mention to her boss that several guinea pigs had been dumped outside a vet's office where she worked as a second job.
This boss just happened to be the ER vet who has seen some of my pigs, and she referred the woman to me. Needless to say, the guinea pigs wound up on my doorstep, but I made a valuable contact, because now I have someone to consult for care of newborns if needed. In addition, she is going to foster for me soon.
I already mentioned that I found out about the shelter/rescue web ring from a dog rescuer. And my pet sitter, who rescues Norwegian Elkhounds, has referred me to clients of hers who may be keeping a single guinea pig who could use a friend.
Hopefully this information will help other rescuers who are just starting out. The bottom line is, get your name out there so that you can find good adopters for your rescued pigs.
Accesses from 1-27-2003 to 2-2-2003 for CA539
a new shelter on Petfinder
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan SPCA has just launched their Petfinder page. This little shelter has really been struggling to help their animals so please pass on their link to anyone who might know someone within 50 miles of Prince Albert.
Saskatchewan only has 3 Petfinder members compared to BC's 56 members, so please help introduce Saskatchewan to the pets on Petfinder. It would be great if we could get hundreds of people checking out the site. Maybe a dozen of those people would be able to open their homes to a desperate pet. You can't imagine how thrilled everyone there would be about that.
Prince Albert SPCA:
Of course, not everyone that looks for a pet at Petfinder is perfect, or even halfway decent. But it has helped me to find very loving homes for my piggies that I don't think I would have found otherwise.