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Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Why Rescue A Guinea Pig?

By Joanne Colangelo
Joanne Colangelo volunteers for a number of animal rescue organizations. She shares her experiences in giving guinea pigs another chance at a forever home.

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guinea pig
Photo Courtesy Joanne Colangelo
Annie was the first guinea pig Joanne adopted from a rescue group.

As long as I can remember, I’ve always been passionate about animals. I didn’t know it at the time, but my first “rescue” came when I was 8 years old. Mom and Dad came home from shopping with a giant brown bag one Saturday afternoon. Curiosity got the best of me and to my delight, when I peeked into the bag, it was filled with snails. Wow! I never had a pet snail before! Little did I know that they were food; a delicacy, in fact. So, out of the bag and into a large cooking pot they went. It horrified me, and before water was added to the pot, I asked my dad if I could have a snail of my own. With a hearty laugh, Dad said I could pick any one that I’d like and I did. I chose the smallest, dullest snail of the bunch and gently spoke to it. “You’ll be OK, little snail,” I said. “You’re in safe hands now.” I gave the snail a little kiss on its shell and turned my attention to my dad once again. “Dad? May I have one more to keep this one company?” By now I had seen my father’s anticipation of a delicious meal dissipate into the realization that his young daughter had ruined his appetite. Guess what? I got the entire bag of snails!

Now, as an adult, I have rescued many more animals. Some I saved as a volunteer for a pet rescue, and others I adopted into my home. I am currently owned by rescued dogs, cats and guinea pigs. Since some rescue animals come with a “history” or “baggage,” I’m often asked why adopt them? My only response is how can I not? They all deserve second chances and many are homeless due to no fault of their own. In fact, while I am not looking for “perfection” in my pets, somehow I always get it! They are simply perfect for me.

But, rescued guinea pigs? Cats and dogs are in shelters and rescue organizations, but guinea pigs? When it comes to guinea pigs, most people think that you must buy from a pet store or breeder, especially if seeking a young animal. Sadly, all kinds of animals need rescue and piggies are no exception. In fact, Petfinder.com states that they average approximately 1,200 homeless guinea pigs listed on their site daily. There are too many animals and not enough homes.

My first guinea pig, Annie, was adopted from a rescue group. As she settled into her new home, she waddled around every inch of her cage, investigating and wheeking her way around. Then she popcorned with sheer joy. I experienced that same pure elation as I witnessed the start of Annie’s new life. It was a familiar feeling for me; one that began many years ago with my snail friends.

That is why I rescue.

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Why Rescue A Guinea Pig?

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Reader Comments
What a Beautiful story, Joanne. I am so Happy that there are wonderful people in the world like you who give 'throwaway' pets a second chance. The Princess is my second rescue piggie, and there's just something Magical about giving a rescue a good home, and you can see the Pure JOY in their eyes. ^..^
Leah & Princess Snowflake, Charlotte, NC
Posted: 7/25/2008 10:43:08 AM
Joanne, what a great article! You write so beautifully it almost makes me want to go out and get some guinea pigs. You are a beautiful person, inside and out.
Kathleen, New Bern, NC
Posted: 7/25/2008 4:43:51 AM
What a cute story! Small animal rescue is wonderful!
R, S, CA
Posted: 7/23/2008 1:53:54 PM
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