Questions for rescues...

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Jezie+Pottersmom

Post   » Tue Jun 29, 2004 5:58 pm


I have only been on GL for two months, and I am really spending more time here, reading about rescuing and the pros and cons, but I still have a lot more questions.

Keep in mind I am playing devil's advocate here, not against resuce in anyway, would actually like to start my own someday.

Ok, here goes--

1. How do you keep the rescue running when you take in owner surrenders and the gp's need vet care?

2. Why do people surrender their pigs to a rescue that asks for donations, as opposed to giving them away for free?? I know a lot of people complain, about the donation, and some even say you should pay them for giving you their pigs...??

3. Is it easy adopting out pigs, as the average joe idiot would first think to go to a pet store to buy one, or look in the paper for free ads???

4. I just don't understand how you keep a rescue running on such small donations, except that you put a lot of your own money into the rescue....

5. Do most of you work full time and run your rescue? It seems to be a double edge sword, as if you don't work full time you don't have enough money to keep the rescue running, and on the flip side if you work part time you have more time to give to rescue, but not as much money....

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ThatKat

Post   » Tue Jun 29, 2004 7:15 pm


I have only been an official rescue since late 2003. I am small - usually I only have a couple of piggies looking for homes. The most I have ever had is 8.


1. I work at a Vet. That gives me a small discount and lets me run an account. Also, sometimes the Vets do exams for me at no charge. I have to pay for meds and everything, but at least they will look at them for me.

2. I have taken in only a handful of surrenders, but each of them wanted the pet to go to a good home. I am thankful that they gave them to me (with a donation - usually of supplies or food or hay) instead of giving them to a petstore. I didn't ask why they did, I was just glad they didn't give them to the first person that walked by.

3. It is not "easy" to adopt out pigs. I still get requests from classrooms wanting to adopt pigs, and people only wanting one pig. Once I tell them I only adopt out in pairs, I usually don't hear from them again. I also get a lot of people who want "friendly, cuddly pigs", but right now I have a lot of active babies who don't like to be picked up or held, and that makes it difficult to place them. Petfinder has helped TREMENDOUSLY in finding good homes, though. The worst thing I did was put an ad in the classifieds. It attracted all the idiots in the city.

4. I have had 2 money donations. One was $10, and another was $15. One was from someone who adopted, and the other was from a total stranger. I have had a few hay donations (thanks Michelle!), and sometimes people will help out with supplies. But 95% of the expenses are out of my pocket.

5. I work full time. I am considering getting another part time job to help out with bills and other expenses. But you are right - that would leave me less time for floor and lap time and for cleaning cages.

Charybdis

Post   » Tue Jun 29, 2004 8:25 pm


1. We don't take in owner surrenders. We take shelter pigs only. We provide a great deal of the basic veterinary care. Mites, lice, bumblefoot, enteritis, fungus, eye infections, small wounds, dehydration, scurvy -- all of these things are first given home treatment before a vet visit is considered. Anything requiring diagnostics or any possibility of surgery goes immediately to the vet. Many rescues receive discounts from their vets. We support our rescue by selling feed and other small animal products.

2. Doesn't apply to us, but people would rather give their animal to a rescue if they are concerned about them being adopted by the right people. The donation is usually a courtesy to a public charity for taking on the extra burden of added animals.

3. Even the average Joe Idiot tries to adopt pigs from us. We get way more applications than adoptions, which is because our standards are high and our screening strict. It would be easy to adopt them out if we lowered our standards of care. We won't. We want to assure that they good to excellent homes and will not wind up back in the homeless pet cycle. And still, despite our rigid adoption process, some are eventually returned.

4. Sounds like the same as question number one.....but most rescuers do put a significant amount of their own money into the rescue. 501(C)3's (like us) are eligible for grants from government, corporate, and private institutions. Some rescues hold fundraisers and sell products. I've observed that, in order to have your rescue be self-supporting, you need to limit your numbers enough to have extra time, energy, and volunteers for fundraising.

5. Most rescuers work full time. However, most rescues do not have a facility. The volunteers and fosters put in what time they can. Someone who has a hundred guinea pigs in their house probably has less time for working.

Just one additional comment. When you encounter someone who thinks that rescues should pay to take in animals, that person has a fundamental misunderstanding of the function of rescues in society. A rescue is a public chairty, an institution of support for a societal weakness -- a safety net for animals who otherwise might die. For comparison, a homeless shelter takes in people who have fallen through the cracks in society. One would not expect a homeless shelter to "buy" its patrons.

User avatar
piggie parent

Post   » Tue Jun 29, 2004 8:54 pm


I to am a new rescue. I have spent a pile of money on my pigs. But through reading I have also saved some because I would've ran to the vet. So there is plenty of homework to do. I haven't had any shelter surrenders yet,meaning my number hasn't been given to anyone that has called the shelter looking to dump a pig. Mine have all came from private homes, and a foster that just couldn't do it anymore. When I take in from people, I first ask them why? Then if I have room I may take them. The people have to give me their supplies and cage, even though I may not use the cage because they are always small. I don't want it to be so cheap for the person to go buy something else to stick in the cage. I also ask for a bag of food and shavings. I tell them what brands to buy and tell them that is the only brands I will accept. I have been pretty sucessful getting those items. But you will always run across the ones who say I just can't afford it and then its up to you. I get donations from friends and a special angel in Georgia is always looking out for me and my pigs. The most pigs I have had at once was 15 and wow all I did was clean.My biggest and hardest lesson was some pigs that a person wanted to dump that were in very very bad condition they were just sad. I had to say NO because I couldn't afford to add that kind of vet bills. So I think learning to say no is the hardest part and learning I can't save the world is the next.
I don't work I am a stay at home mom. I don't know how the people do it and work. Bless them for doing it though. I don't think I could keep as many if I had to work.

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Teresa

Post   » Tue Jun 29, 2004 9:04 pm


I no longer take in owner surrenders (except in rare and special circumstances). I'm not even taking in shelter pigs at this point into my home. If they can't go to a foster home or directly to adoption, I'm maxed out already.

It's interesting how rescues evolve. Over the years, I now have to reserve room for returns from the huge adoptions we did over the last 2-3 years. Also, my space is taken up more and more with unadoptable (medical conditions) and aging guinea pigs. So, less room for adoptables. I have to now rely more on foster homes and direct adoptions.

Money, money, money, honey. That's the name of that tune. You need to have it to rescue. No other way around it. Rescue is a total personal money pit. I don't care where you get additional funding from, it is NEVER enough. So, if you want to keep the financial drain small, keep the rescue very small. How? Learn to say no, toughen up your skin on the surrender calls. You can't save them all.

Finding good to excellent adopters is very difficult. The rescues that claim to crank out the pigs have low standards and aren't doing anyone any favors in my opinion.

You need a marketing approach of some kind to get the word out about your rescue. It's a business (in reverse -- no profits, just cost), but a business, none-the-less. So you need to market.

If you don't have a well-healed significant other or are independantly wealthy, you'll be needing to work full-time and figure out how to rescue and have a life on top of that.

Start small. On this page, http://cavyrescue.com/rescuerresources.htm, this thread talks about ideas on starting small: http://p208.ezboard.com/fguineapigadoptionfrm2.showMessage?topicID=5.topic

User avatar
gracielee
Me, too!

Post   » Wed Jun 30, 2004 9:42 am


1. How do you keep the rescue running when you take in owner surrenders and the gp's need vet care?

You spend all your money. Then you start using credit. Then you ask for discounts. Then you pray for donations or a windfall. We spent over $5000 in vet care in 2003, and we get a discount.

2. Why do people surrender their pigs to a rescue that asks for donations, as opposed to giving them away for free?? I know a lot of people complain, about the donation, and some even say you should pay them for giving you their pigs...??

Many people understand that "Free" guinea pigs become snake food or neglected pets. They no longer want the pig, but they don't want it to be eaten or neglected. Sometimes people have life crises, such as death or divorce, when they can no longer keep the pet but are still interested in it's health and welfare.

Some people soothe their conscience by dropping their animals at a rescue rather than a shelter.

People who complain about surrender fees are just wanting to dump their pigs and have no idea, nor do they care, about the operating costs of running a rescue. Some people genuinely cannot afford the surrender fees at that time. Most people whom I've had complain about the surrender fees just want to dump an animal they don't care about and have no interest in the care of the animal.

3. Is it easy adopting out pigs, as the average joe idiot would first think to go to a pet store to buy one, or look in the paper for free ads???

Most people who find rescues are indeed, good potential adopters, but not all. Many folks resist the idea of hay, fresh veggies, bigger cages, but it's from a lack of knowledge versus deliberate intent.

4. I just don't understand how you keep a rescue running on such small donations, except that you put a lot of your own money into the rescue....

Yes. You don't go into rescue thinking you'll break even.

5. Do most of you work full time and run your rescue? It seems to be a double edge sword, as if you don't work full time you don't have enough money to keep the rescue running, and on the flip side if you work part time you have more time to give to rescue, but not as much money....

I work full time and have picked up part-time contract work to try to keep the rescue afloat. This, of course, means I rely heavily on friends and family to help care for the animals and make sure they get adequate floor time, lap time, etc, as I am not home enough to do it all.

I console myself with the fact that I can at least take the expenses off my taxes.

User avatar
jennylynn
GL Junkie

Post   » Wed Jun 30, 2004 10:59 am


T (and everyone else~especially the older rescues), how often do you get pigs returned to you after they've been adopted out?

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Critter Connecti
Supporter in '12

Post   » Wed Jun 30, 2004 1:09 pm


I have a small rescue that I started this past winter and do out of my home. I mainly take guinea pigs from local pounds and shelters that are full with cats and dogs. On occassion I will take an owner surrender and will "hint" that a donation is appreciated. This is what I have found.

The people that surrender their piggies to rescues are parents that are concerned over the well being of the animal. They do on occassion offer to make a donation. They are usually grateful that someone will take this "problem" off their hands.

Adoptions are very slow because of the screening process. The majority of inquiries never fill out the application because they don't want to be bothered. I only adopt to genuine piggie lovers with excellent references. Some of the piggies are with me for several months before the right adopter comes along. In that time I have managed to get very attached and need to be assured that the quality of care will continue once the pig has left.

Foster homes are definitely the answer. There are many other piggie lovers out there that have a certain amount of time, room, finances, whatever, that want to help even in a small way.

Fortunately I have not had an serious health problems with any piggies that have come in so vet bills are very low. I also use a vet hospital that will give me a break from time to time and will "teach" me so I am not always having to run to them.

Donations are non existent. Adoption fees don't even begin to cover the costs of food, bedding, veggies, fruits, hay etc. This year I grew a piggie garden so that helps with the cost of the veggies. I have storage so I can buy bedding and hay in bulk (very picky about the hay). I work full time and care for the rescue piggies as well as my own pets the remaining hours in the day. That is my life.

Rescue is done for love of the animal

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Suzie

Post   » Wed Jun 30, 2004 11:00 pm


1. How do you keep the rescue running when you take in owner surrenders and the gp's need vet care?

Right now (with a rare exception) I don't take in surrenders. I am working closely with the Humane Society. I am taking in their pregnant pigs.

As for vet care, I've been very very blessed. I have a great working relationship with a vet who wants to encourage rescue work. I get free visits and discounted meds and procedures. Two weeks ago I had 4 pigs in (on two seperate days). I had 2 urinalysis, 2 skin scrapings (I'll never do that again), 4 exams, 1 bottle of Baytril, 1 bottle of a sulpha drug, and a bottle a medicated shampoo that had a $21.75 price on the bottle. My total cost was $20.


3. Is it easy adopting out pigs, as the average joe idiot would first think to go to a pet store to buy one, or look in the paper for free ads???

I have been working with the Humane Society, Petfinder and our local zoo. This networking has helped me find homes for most of the pigs so far. My local zoo has a petting area with guinea pigs. They are often asked where they could get a guinea pig and they are going to refer people in my direction.

4. I just don't understand how you keep a rescue running on such small donations, except that you put a lot of your own money into the rescue....

We are fairly new. We had a big garage sale a few weeks ago and raised about $400. When that runs out I will be using my own money.

5. Do most of you work full time and run your rescue? It seems to be a double edge sword, as if you don't work full time you don't have enough money to keep the rescue running, and on the flip side if you work part time you have more time to give to rescue, but not as much money....

I am lucky here as well. I am a stay at home Mom/student so I am home (and have my kids to help) with the day to day care of the pigs.

User avatar
piggie parent

Post   » Wed Jun 30, 2004 11:08 pm


Suzie, did you give the pigs to the zoo? Are zoo here also has a petting zoo and I have noticed that several of the local places that deal with live stock have an area with an explantion about the animal on a beautiful plack and it also has there company info. How neat it would be to have that publicity. And then people would look for me instead of the pet store and maybe there wouldn't be so many local dumps here. Or at least one can dream.

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Suzie

Post   » Thu Jul 01, 2004 10:01 am


The Zoo gets their guinea pigs from the Humane Society. It was interesting how the zoo connection was made. The Director of the Children's Zoo is a parent at my children's school. My neighbor was at a meeting and somehow the topic of my rescue came up and she was thrilled to have a personal contact to give the zoo patrons when they look for more information on guinea pigs. It has some exciting potential.

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piggie parent

Post   » Thu Jul 01, 2004 11:08 pm


I was wondering, our shelters here either A/C or Humane will not take in any pigs. They hand out my number instead. I would love to try maybe a tempory expo there with the pigs, mainly to let people see them but also to get the word out that you don't have to go to a petstore to get one that there is a place that has pigs in need. What do you guys think or am I going mad?

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Suzie

Post   » Thu Jul 01, 2004 11:13 pm


I think it is a great idea. You must create a balanced system of intake and outake or it simply isn't going to work.

PiggiesRUs

Post   » Fri Jul 02, 2004 12:21 am


A:

I try and take in the ones that have a high likelyhood of being readopted. Young, healthy, etc..I WISH I could afford to take in the highly sick and aging, but I cannot.

B: A lot of footwork and connections for care. I don't want to leave any stoned unturned because you never know who can help you with what. Just in the past two days I have received an email from a web designer offering free services and have a good lead for discounts at a local feed store. I talk to everyone everywhere I go making connections....they pay off.

C: I only handle what I know I can handle. No matter how much my heart hurts, I know I still have to care for my fiance, 4 kids, dog, 3 cats, 6 foster kittens and two fish. They come first, Cavy rescue comes 2nd.

D: God...I cannot do it without the blessings I have been given. This is more of a joy than a burden, and I know I cannot continue unless it feels that way. It is hard, but I enjoy it...and it is great for my kids.

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Rose
Wheeks and Cheeps

Post   » Fri Jul 02, 2004 2:55 am


Well here is how The Critter Corral handles it:

1) Owner surrenders....if and when we have room (HA!) and then a donation (after all most are here in the rescue for 3 to 6 months and you know it doesn't take long to spend that $50 give up per pig fee - more for older ones). We have made exceptions on our fee but not TOO often. All supplies are a must too!
I also work at a vet so I also get a discount on my piggie's care.

2) The people who have turned their pigs into us are so happy we take them and keep them in our home and screen potential adopters that they don't have a problem giving us our asked for donation. Also, I think our reputation speaks for itself.
I love the people who want to donate their pigs to me. Of course they are also the ones who threaten me with turning them loose in the woods.

3) I don't think it's easy to adopt out. I know it's gotten to the point, and I think the old timers will agree, your name speaks for itself. I have people drive 3 hours to adopt from us. They like the idea that the piggies are kept in a home and we know their personalities. I can only think of a handful of matches that didn't work out. Also, our favorite "competitors" have bad reps here! (Petsmart and Petco)

4) We do put a lot of our own money into our rescue on a regular basis but we also plan events every 3-4 months to help keep us going. It also keeps the adopters involved and motivated because we are so active. Also, newsletters really help. I can guarantee that when ours go out, every 3 months or so, donations go up. There are other ways that you can "market" your rescue.

5) I work full time and I won't even say how many pigs are in my house right now. Thank goodness for my foster homes and volunteers that help out. Our area is a VERY large dumping ground all year round.

As for the return question, we keep track (and do follow up calls) and have a less then 1% return rate..of course I better find a piece of wood to knock on.

My question, how do all the other rescues keep track of how many have come in? Each of ours gets a number. As of today we are at 1087 in a little over 5 years.

Are we getting rich? Well my husbands garden is rich in the fact we compost a lot of our bedding. If pig poop was gold, I'd be very wealthy. As it stands now, everytime I have a scared, terrified piggie start running around and popcorning or see them sprawled in their mound of hay sleeping, I feel like the richest person in the world!

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piggie parent

Post   » Fri Jul 02, 2004 8:55 am


I was wondering what publicity things have people done? What has worked and what was really a waste of time. Since all most all of my pigs are owner surrenders I called local vets,and shelters. I have business cards made up.

Thought about doing a couple of T-Shirts. Something like...Got Pigs? We do. South Carolina Guinea Pig Rescue. Homeless Pigs need you.

I am always looking for ways to get myself out there for the public to see.

IluvePiggies

Post   » Sun Aug 16, 2009 7:55 pm


I was wondering what publicity things have people done? What has worked and what was really a waste of time. Since all most all of my pigs are owner surrenders I called local vets,and shelters. I have business cards made up.

Thought about doing a couple of T-Shirts. Something like...Got Pigs? We do. South Carolina Guinea Pig Rescue. Homeless Pigs need you.

I am always looking for ways to get myself out there for the public to see.

I don't own a rescue but I do want to start one. The saying is great but I would do something like this:
Front:
Got Pigs? We do
Back of shirt:
South Carolina Guinea Pig rescue
Homeless Cavies need your help.

If you say Pigs, people might read the back and misunderstand and think that you are also doing homeless hogs. Using the original English name for Guinea Pigs could educate people too.

I would also try holding a local car wash or something and hand out fliers there. Or stapling fliers to telephone poles like at an intersection

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cabaya

Post   » Sun Aug 16, 2009 8:18 pm


I would think that Petfinder is great for publicity as well as finding pigs homes. Many people browse Petfinder for no reason, and alot of people who are looking for a pet check petfinder if they are considering adoption. Also talking to your vet about having them recommend you to people would be good and putting up posters and business cards in a vets office.
(Put up a large banner in front of Petsmart and see if they lose some business *evil laugh*)

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babytulip07

Post   » Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:12 am


South Carolina Guinea Pig Rescue? There already is a South Carolina Guinea Pig Rescue, well not anymore technically, I merged with All Creatures Rescue and Sanctuary, but I still have the petfinder site for it.

Where in SC are you? I suggest you try fostering first before thinking about opening your own rescue. All Creatures could always use more fosters. Our foster application is on our website. I used to run the South Carolina Guinea Pig Rescue after piggie parent (she founded it) moved to Alaska. Its really really difficult to do it all by yourself and it takes a ton of money. I can't tell you how many rescues started only to fall through because they go in over their heads.

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