Jack Pine Guinea
Jack Pine Guinea Pig Rescue was started
way back in 1993. The eight years previous to that I was active
in breeding and showing my guinea pigs with the ACBA. When the
realization hit me that far too many guinea pigs were not ending
up in safe, loving, permanent homes - my focus turned to rescue.
As we enter our 12th year of rescue there are some important
changes planned again.
Over the last decade we've often housed
anywhere from 50 to 80 guinea pigs here, sometimes even more.
The rescue is run out of our very small home, with myself the
sole guinea pig care giver. Most of the financial burden has
been covered by me and my husband. With ever increasing costs
of veterinary care and high quality animal supplies, along with
other facets of our life demanding more of my time and energy,
it's become necessary to cut down considerably on the amount
of guinea pigs taken in and cared for here. Over the next year
Jack Pine Guinea Pig Rescue will become more of a sanctuary,
with emphasis placed on taking in "at risk" animals
and less energy put into adopting them out.
By the time I reach my 50th birthday in
May 2006, I hope to be semi-retired from rescue and have my herd
size down to about 20. I want to be able to spend time with family
and friends, and in fixing up my severely neglected house. I
want time to enjoy my own pets. Being able to take a vacation
would be swell, too. Since starting the rescue I've only had
one vacation, 3 days in northern Minnesota.
In the past I've pretty much taken in
any unwanted guinea pigs we were contacted about and had room
for, then tried to adopt them out into loving homes. The last
couple years I've had a depressing amount of these adoptions
returned to my shelter for various reasons. Considering the amount
of time and energy I put into screening potential adopters to
ensure my guinea pigs wonderful permanent homes, these returns
have surprised and greatly frustrated me. It is a condition of
my adoption contract that my guinea pigs are returned to me if
the new owner can not or will not keep them, but it always saddens
me when this actually happens.
I am now giving priority to the tougher
rescue cases, guinea pigs that are "at risk" or in
dangerous situations. This includes guinea pigs with problems
that make them difficult to adopt out at humane societies or
other public animal shelters, and pigs who may even be facing
euthanasia. These cases will be given priority for space in my
quarantine area and Pig Room as they literally may not have any
other safe place to go. I will be working more with organized
animal shelters rather than private guinea pig owners.
Open space in my rescue is always in short
supply and now that we are committed to downsizing it will be
even more precious. Owners contacting me about unwanted guinea
pigs that I consider "easily adoptable" (youngish,
friendly, healthy) are now usually referred to local humane societies.
Humane societies in the Twin Cities area are generally well equipped
to handle guinea pigs and do a good job of caring for them while
there. These humane societies have more resources to help with
funding, routine care and adoptions. I am concerned that bonded
pairs may be split up at some shelters and the screening process
for adoptions may not always take the special needs and characteristics
of guinea pigs into consideration to better ensure them a proper
permanent home. However, I simply can't continue to take them
all in here. Owners can ask about these things when surrendering
their animals to a humane society. There is a link farther down
to directories of humane societies and other animal shelters
Before I find myself contacted by every
irresponsible owner in the 5 state area that wants to dump their
old or sick guinea pig let me repeat two statements:
1. I will be working more
with organized animal shelters rather than private guinea pig
2. Open space in my rescue
is always in short supply and now that we are committed to downsizing
it will be even more precious.
Owners are welcome to contact me for ideas
or referrals to help you deal with or place your "problem"
guinea pig. Owners may also ask any animal shelter they do leave
their guinea pig with to contact me if there is a problem with
that guinea pig and the shelter is unable to adopt it out. The
animal shelter can contact me at
I encourage people with unwanted guinea
pigs to take a good hard honest look at their situation and to
see if they can't make some changes that will enable them to
keep the guinea pig. In many cases "where there's a will
there's a way" and the real problem boils down to lack of
will. There's a million lame excuses for getting rid of a pet,
but in most cases when I try to help people work around the so
called problem with keeping their guinea pig - the reality is
they just don't want it anymore. Not always, but definitely the
majority of the time.
If owners are uninterested or unable to
solve whatever problem they're having with their guinea pig,
they might try placing the guinea pig themselves. Owners can
start out with a free ad at petfinder.com classifieds and a list of questions
to help screen folks who respond to make sure they can provide
a safe and loving home. Posting flyers can also help.
A good picture
attracts attention, along with a cute description of the guinea
pig highlighting its adorable personality.
Flyers should be left at veterinary clinics,
pet store bulletin boards, dog groomers, any place animal lovers
tend to frequent. Don't offer to giveaway pets free to strangers. This
increases the chance that guinea pigs may end up in abusive or
unsafe situations, and can decrease their value to the new owners.
Owners going this route need to screen
folks who are interested in taking the guinea pig. Be nosy, ask
questions. This helps increase chances the guinea pig will receive
proper care in a safe home with people that are likely to keep
it for the rest of it's life. It is hard on pets to lose a home
and people they're accustomed to. Hopefully a few questions will
prevent this happening again.
The following links offer further advice
on finding a new home for a guinea pig:
Help Finding New
Home For Guinea Pig: cavyrescue.com
Guinea Pig Overpopulation
and How to Find a Home for Yours: homeforgps.com
In the meantime owners should read through
the following articles to make sure their guinea pig is receiving
proper care now. No doubt improvements can be made on housing
and diet. Sometimes the more people learn about their pet, the
more fun and interesting it becomes. Occasionally owners change
their mind about getting rid of the guinea pig after they've
learned more about it's natural habits, quirks and proper care.
Kinda puts the animal in a whole new light.
Even though I have dozens of guinea pigs,
most of them are not likely to be easily adopted out. Over half
of the guinea pigs currently residing at Jack Pine Guinea Pig
Rescue are 4 years old or older. Many of my rescues have chronic
health problems that require daily medication, special housing
or ongoing monitoring. Others have personality problems or simply
live with a problem pig. I do not split up bonded pairs so even
with dozens of guinea pigs I generally have only 10-12 that I
consider easily adoptable.
Family problems and long overdue projects
have demanded so much of me over the last year or so that I'm
now doing far less adoptions then in the past. Since our focus
will be rescuing problem guinea pigs it is likely we'll have
less animals to adopt out in the future, though some of our guinea
pigs will be available for adoption as "Special Needs"
pets. These Special Needs guinea pigs may be old, skittish, nippy
or have chronic health problems.
It's hard enough finding good permanent
homes for young (or youngish), healthy, friendly guinea pigs
- finding folks willing to welcome a problem animal into their
home can be nearly impossible. Anybody open to the idea of adopting
a Special Needs guinea pig is welcome to email me at
to see if any are available. Please read through the information
and articles linked to in the Adoption
section of my web site first. This helps give an idea of what
our adoption procedure involves and what we look for in new owners
for our piggies. Folks can also write to this email address to
see if we have any guinea pigs available that are NOT considered
Note: We LOVE adopting out to folks that
have adopted guinea pigs from us in the past and given our "babies"
wonderful homes where they've been loved and cherished.
I highly recommend the two Minnesota guinea
pig rescues listed below as another source of guinea pig information
and possible adoptions. Both are run by gals with lots of dedication
and guinea pig savvy. Their animals receive excellent care. Every
rescue has their own adoption procedure and requirements, please
contact Allysse for details.
All of the humane societies in the Twin
Cities area, and many of the rural humane societies, accept and
adopt out guinea pigs. Some city pounds occasionally have guinea
pigs as well. Most take good care of guinea pigs at their shelter.
Staff at these shelters won't have the experience and wealth
of knowledge about guinea pigs that a rescue devoted specifically
to guinea pigs has. Click on the links below for directories
of humane societies and other animal shelters in Minnesota.
Because of my hectic life and an amazing
talent for procrastination, I've gotten worse and worse at responding
to emails promptly. I do read emails right away, but may not
have time to compose a thoughtful and coherent reply for a few
days. Sometimes email gets lost. Feel free to send a second request
if I haven't responded after a few days.
For medical questions and information
the GuineaLynx.com site is really one of the best. This site
covers an impressive amount of guinea pig care and health topics,
providing reliable information and suggestions. Questions can
also be posted on the messageboard. Registration is required
to post, but not to just read through the medical section or
GuineaLynx has a wonderful information packed booklet for sale
called Cavy Health Records. I consider this a "must have"
for all guinea pig owners. Cavy is the "proper" name
for guinea pigs, it is pronounced "K-V".
Of course it is essential to bring any
guinea pig suspected of being sick to a good veterinarian right
away. Owners should contact a vet who is experienced and knowledgeable
with "exotics" such as guinea pigs. The links below
can help you find a good guinea pig vet.
That covers most of the big changes planned
for Jack Pine Guinea Pig Rescue. There's also going to be some
New larger cages
as we cut down on the amount of guinea pigs and cages kept here.
Walls and cabinets
will be painted nice cheerful shades of yellow (I'm so sick of
vinyl flooring will be replaced with tough easy-care laminate.
The whopping mess
of a closet will be cleaned and organized with new shelving and
I can't wait. Any donations toward our
rescued guinea pig's daily care, never ending veterinary bills
or planned Pig Room improvements are always HUGELY appreciated.
Donations can be mailed to Jack Pine Guinea Pig Rescue, 26515
Apollo Street NE, Stacy MN 55079