Each spring many baby guinea pigs and rabbits are purchased as fluffy adorable little Easter gifts.  Unfortunately, many of these pets wind up unwanted a few months later when the novelty has worn off and owners grow tired of the routine care involved.  Each year I send the following plea to local newspapers requesting they run it in their Opinions or Letters to the Editor section.  My hope is that more people will consider the responsibility and care guinea pigs or rabbits require BEFORE they buy that cute little baby.  

If anybody else would like to run this plea, feel free to copy it and submit it to your own local newspaper. Use my name if you'd like (though you should follow with a c/o to your own name and address) or tweak it a bit and use your own name.   Many newspapers require an address with submissions to be printed (though the address is not put in the paper).  

Thank you for helping pass along this important message!


PLEASE - before buying that cute fuzzy little Easter pet, know what you are getting into. Pets must be purchased responsibly, not impulsively. First learn what that animal needs to be healthy and happy. What are its characteristics? Can you honestly provide a proper, permanent home? Rabbits and guinea pigs live about 5 - 8 years. Both require a large cage and daily attention and affection. These are not easy care, low maintenance, low cost pets. Not all rabbits and guinea pigs are as cuddly as they look. Many of the animals displayed for pre-Easter sales come from pet mill type breeders. Respiratory ailments, diarrhea, lice/mite infestations are not uncommon. Are you willing to pay for veterinary care if your pet becomes sick? Animal shelters dread the calls that start soon after Easter. "Will you take this rabbit (or guinea pig)? The kids are bored of it." "We don't have time for it." "It's not as cute or fun as it used to be." "It smells." Learn before you buy! If you are not sure you have the time, money, interest and commitment - DON'T BUY!

Vicki Palmer Nielsen, Jack Pine Guinea Pig Rescue (www.JPGPR.com)

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