What's actually involved in starting/running a rescue?


Post   » Thu May 29, 2003 11:24 pm

I need some honest advice. I live near Penn State University. The Monday after graduation, I called the local SPCA, and sure enough someone had brought in 3 guinea pigs. They'd been found in a Dumpster. I rushed over there as soon as the 48-hour holding period was up. They were dirty and scared. At least they had separated the male from the 2 females. The older two (maybe 6-9 months) were pretty solid, but the youngest female was skin and bones. Anyway they are doing great. The vet couldn’t tell if either of the females were pregnant. I guess I’ll know in few weeks.

But this has got me thinking. The nearest guinea pig rescue I’ve been able to find is about 48 miles away in another county. I talked to the woman who runs it. She has about 50 + pigs, including one with diabetes. In other words, she’s at capacity. A brand new Petco (evil place) just open here last year. There are thousands and thousands of students here 9 months of the year. They go to Petco, not the rescue and not the SPCA, and see the cute piggies and bring them back to their dorm room or apartment, then get bored, or have to leave, and dump them in dumpsters. (I am still really upset about this.) Our local SPCA is small and not set up to handle guinea pigs, just dogs and cats, and maybe the occasional rabbit.

My point is students won’t go 50 miles to rescue a pet, not when they can use daddy’s credit card to buy one up the street. And they won’t go 20 miles to the SPCA when they don’t want the pig anymore.

I think there should be a rescue here in town, and maybe I should do it because no one else is. Am I insane? What would I be taking on? I’m a 43-year-old stay at home mom with two young boys.

Knee Deep

Post   » Thu May 29, 2003 11:31 pm

www.cavyrescue.com has a lot of information for starting your own rescue.

I tried it for awhile, but it wasn't the thing for me at this point in time. I'm best suited just to have lots of them to spoil rotten and keep for myself :-)


Post   » Fri May 30, 2003 12:02 am

It sure sounds like you have valid reasons to start a rescue.

It's tough work and most burn out before 5 years pass. No ine can blame them.

Nuts(imanut4u) is really level headed and has rescue experience. She would be excellent for input.

There was also a very good thread in the placement(?) forum. Maybe someone remembers it....?

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Fri May 30, 2003 12:15 am

There was a thread I started that sort of grew into a lot of good advice and people talking about rescuing. That link is:

http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3174&postd ... scue&start=0

Hope this helps.

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Post   » Fri May 30, 2003 9:31 am

You do have to have financial resources and time. You can't depend on donations or the adoption fee to cover costs. You might also consider being a foster family for this other rescue if they would allow you to place pigs in your home town.


Post   » Fri May 30, 2003 10:53 pm

I read the thread. Yipes! You guys sure know how to scare someone but good. Still, I could start small and see how it goes. Advertising and education, though, seem to be the way to go. Thanks.


Post   » Wed Jun 11, 2003 7:21 am

Last night I was sitting with my piggies, petting Pete E. Wheatstraw (three guesses as to his color). He had a really good day today. After a month of sitting in the corner of his cage and running for cover anytime anyone came near, and then finally making a friend, Mr. Puff, only to have this so-called friend attack him after weeks of peaceful co-existence, Pete E. was popcorning. Now he is dosing in my lap.

Anyway back to the story. I was thinking about the trip I will be making today to Pittsburgh to pick-up 6 piggies who were in a rescue, only to have their haven collaspe out from under them. And I was wondering about what life will be like with 25 pigs, when I heard the most amazing sound. At first I wasn't sure what it was, it was so soft and musical and magical. Then I realized one of the pigs was singing. I slowly looked around to see who it was. For a minute I thought it was Mr. Puff, that adorable naughty scamp. Then I saw it was the little girl, Nutmeg, who arrived here from Ohio not long ago. She was chirping. All the other piggies stopped munching, and chomping and chatting and looked at her. It was incredible. I thought I would start to cry. Instead I call softly to my husband so he could hear it. Then I came here to share it with all of you. She's still singing. I wish you could hear it. It is an amazing and beautiful sound.

I had my 7. Then came 3 from the SPCA. Then a couple of petstore pigs in very bad shape. I gave the manager what-for and walked out of there with a pair of traumatized babies and a promise from the store to change there ways. No money changed hands. Then came the Ohio pigs. They are here for keeps and left a good home because of allergies. Today I go get the Pittsburgh pigs. And finally, I got a call from a friend of a friend about taking a geriatric pig whose family is a casulty of a local plant closing and have to move ASAP.

So I guess I'm going to be a rescue now. Should it be Song of the Cavy: A Guinea Pig Rescue or Cavy Song Rescue?


Post   » Wed Jun 11, 2003 8:02 am

Aw, what a story. That singing is well... Nala was really loud but I guess I could say beautiful. It just happened to be 4:00 am and VERY loud. Good luck with your rescue and let us know how you make out with your new piggers.

I like the Cavy Song Rescue name. Really nice!


Post   » Wed Jun 11, 2003 12:12 pm

I like Cavy Song too.

Lily has awakened me with her singing - it is really neat.

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Post   » Wed Jun 11, 2003 12:24 pm

I like Song of the Cavy: A Guinea Pig Rescue best, but either way it is a wonderful story and a cute name.

Knee Deep

Post   » Wed Jun 11, 2003 12:30 pm

Gayrose- where are you located? I see you took the pigs from Cathy's, that's too bad that she had to rehome her pigs, do you know if she's ok?

I adopted 1 pigs from her in March, haven't heard from her since!

Knee Deep

Post   » Wed Jun 11, 2003 12:32 pm

Oh, and the two himi's - the older one is the mother to the pig I adopted(Rover). The babies were born on Feb 5th, so the little one isn't quite 6 months like was posted on the other board.

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Wed Jun 11, 2003 3:09 pm

Congratulations upon deciding to get started. Just be sure you pay attention to your resources, money, and time and don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it!!

Good luck!


Post   » Fri Jun 13, 2003 3:53 pm

Late Tuesday night Lisa, the vet tech who posted about Pittsburgh GP rescue going under on CG, called me back. She’d gone over to discuss the transfer, but what she found outraged her. She demanded all the pigs right then. They’d been in one small cage all day on Sunday, 3 boys, 3 girls. Everyone had bite wounds, 4 serious, and 1 very severe.

Wed. morning I called my vet to warn her, threw my boys in car and off we went. 3 1/2 hours later we pulled up to a vet’s office in Pittsburgh.

When I saw them I didn’t know whether to cry, or throw-up. Lisa, bless her, had cleaned them up and adminstered an initial dose of Baytril. We loaded them up, and sped home. I dropped my boys at a neighbor’s, then raced to my vet.

When I finally pulled into my garage, I had six sick but safe piggies and a bag full of pharmaceuticals. My husband made dinner while I transferred the GPs into the temporary quarters set up for them the night before.

My neighbor, Holly, and her husband came down after dinner to check the new arrivals. We agreed that none of the children should see these guys for a while.

We got our boys into bed. Then I collapsed next to the best husband in the world and watched a movie.

Yesterday, I got to work setting up new C&C quarantine cages. All the pigs had a gentle, but thorough bath followed by nail trimming, wound cleaning and meds. The dining room table is now a guinea pig intensive cars unit.

Here’s their status as per my vet:
All have fresh bite wounds. All have lice. The teddy male and the younger himi female also have severe mites. In addition the teddy shows signs of scurvy. He’s covered with scabs and has very little hair on his back and sides. The PEW male has serious wounds all over his mouth that concerned her, as well. The himi females have both lost hair on their flanks, especially the younger one. You can see her flesh through the fur remaining.

My own examination showed that they all had heavily poop encrusted toes. The white animals had yellow stains on their tummies. The claws had been clipped at some point, but not recently. The aby female has several large calluses and the soles of her feet are raw and peeling. The teddy male is a mess: in addition to everything else, he has a ripped ear. It looks recent but not immediately so. The other two males picked on him relentlessly. They’re all separated now. He also has diarrhea.

They are not emaciated. Weights range from 37 to 21 ounces. But they all feel bony. They are also skittish, especially the teddy and the younger himi female.

My son and husband have given them all new names to go with their new lives. The aby female is now Bessie. The himi girls are now Keiko (the senior) and Yogi (the junior). The teddy is Brillo. The PEW boar is Chicklet, and the agouti male with the crest is Sugar Ray.

While I set up the cages and chased after my boys, I worked the phone. Starting Monday I have 5 second and third graders coming to be the official guinea pigs snugglers. They’ll come everyday to snuggle all my other pigs, while I concentrated on the Pittsburgh crew. I also have 2 seventh grade girls who’ll help with cage cleaning, grooming, and meds. Two families are lined up to foster weanlings if we have any pregnancies. Another mom is working on getting us nonprofit status. And my dear neighbor, Holly, will help me with anything from emergency vet runs to a glass of wine after a long day.

I think I’m in pretty good shape for now.

I want to acknowlege Lisa for saving these pigs before something truly dreadful happened to them.

I also want to acknowledge my two super boys,who peacefully endured 7 hours in the car with nothing more to show for it than a Happy Meal and 6 new piggies they can’t even visit.

Finally, I want to thank my husband for all his love and support.

Please email me at grayrose2@aol.com if you know anything about these pigs or about the Western PA Guinea Pig Rescue. There are more details, e.g. cages, breeding, etc. which I'd be happy to share, but privately.

Thank you,
Cavy Song Guinea Pig Rescue.
(PS. We're full right now.)

Knee Deep

Post   » Fri Jun 13, 2003 4:04 pm

Wow, this is very bothersome and I've emailed you.

When I went out there, the pigs all looked good and were seperated by sex. They were in small living quarters, but Cathy assured us they had a larger cage in her bedroom that was being cleaned that day.

Cathy was a very sweet woman when I met her, I'm a bit surprised at this.

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briana d

Post   » Fri Jun 13, 2003 4:07 pm

Wow. Those pigs are lucky to have found their way to you. You are also very lucky to have all the support that you have.

Poor pigs with great lives ahead of them. Good job!

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Post   » Fri Jun 13, 2003 4:09 pm

Be very careful not to pull things off their feet. Soak them in a warm dilute solution of water and chlorhexidine gluconate (it is cheap by the gallon on the internet -- there are generic versions). This way you can decide if it is poop or skin/spurs. If they have spurs they may be clipped. If you pull them off, the foot will bleed profusely and may get infected.

Good luck. Hope these guys heal well and find great homes.

Knee Deep

Post   » Fri Jun 13, 2003 11:02 pm

I just wanted to post something here since it's not being updated from what is being said on CG...

The pigs being put together in one cage together was not in Cathy's control, she's not good health wise and she trusted some younger people to care for her pigs... the person thought it easier to put all pigs into one cage to clean instead of the couple they were in...

This all comes from a post by one of Cathy's close friends (Lisa) and someone who's helped her with the rescue.

Just wanted to post the update so people aren't going against Cathy and her rescue efforts, like I said, having met her and her pigs, this was very shocking for me to read...

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Post   » Sat Jun 14, 2003 1:17 am

Thank you Erin for the update on the situation...
Rescue is hard ...you have to have a strong stomach, and will, and know when you can't handle it...I knew I could only help Cathy by placing the babies as I already have 6 of my own...Cathy has been on the boards for years and I think until she had to depend on her kids to help her, her animals were in the greatest shape...She is very knowledgeable and very upset that she cannot take care of GPs right now...(she has a cast on her leg and she can't get around to even cook right now!!!)

I will continue to rescue the occasional sick or old GP...but I know my limits...
I encourage everyone to check out the thread I began with the call for help...I explained the situation re the animals conditions...

I missed you and Jen the day you were down at Cathy's and I am sorry 'bout that...I did get to see the pics of the babies...
As a matter of fact, you have pics of all the GPs except Riff and Raff...you should post the link again!!!


Knee Deep

Post   » Sat Jun 14, 2003 1:21 am

I don't have them anymore actually, Jenn took them and she's not spoken to me in a month now.

As for people checking out the CG thread, it's pretty much not possible since most here are the banned and the beautiful.

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