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Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Bringing Annie Home

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.

Click images to enlarge
Baby guinea pig feeds from its mother.
Annie and her baby piggie Monkee.
Two guinea pigs sitting next to each other.
Photo Courtesy Joanne Colangelo
Abbie, an Abyssinian, became fast piggie friends with Annie, a Teddy.

A new volunteer had joined our cat rescue group when she began bragging about her guinea pigs.

At the time, I knew little about them except from having seen them in pet shops. So, when she invited me to her home, I eagerly accepted and was curious to see what the fuss was all about. When an adorable tortoiseshell guinea pig was plopped into my lap, I was instantly hooked (in spite of it piddling all over me!).

Since I don’t buy animals, I began a search for a homeless guinea pig. Where does one find a rescued guinea pig for adoption? A good place to start is by contacting shelters and guinea pig rescue groups. Also, check out veterinarians because they may know people who need to re-home their pets. Online, lists numerous piggies and there are websites that serve as classifieds. Scout out ads posted in feed stores, community bulletin boards, in newspapers and other local publications. Let others know that you’re looking for a guinea pig. A friend of mine adopted a lone classroom guinea pig through word of mouth.

My first guinea pig was Annie. I was at an adoption day at PetSmart with my foster cats when another rescue group set up cages alongside us. There were ducks and turtles, hamsters and gerbils, and even a chicken. A "kill” shelter was about to euthanize all of its small animals and this group took them all! So, as I oohed and aahed over every adorable little face, I spotted guinea pigs.

Then, I saw Annie. She was an adult Teddy, thin and obviously distressed. She was in a tiny carrier separated from the rest of the cages, and I knew she had to be mine. She wasn’t up for adoption because she was being treated for a serious wound. Annie had been found wearing a tight collar that embedded into her neck. Luckily, I convinced the rescue group that I would take proper care of her and before I knew it, I was on my way home with Annie and lots of medication. (Please don’t put a collar on your piggy!)

Although the medication stung, Annie knew that I was helping her, and we bonded heart-to-heart. Yet, being a herd animal, Annie needed more than my company. So, when Annie was well, I adopted an adult Abyssinian guinea pig named Abbie from the same rescue group. It was an instant and fun friendship for them (and me).  However, my rescue efforts soon tripled when, weeks later, Annie surprised me with a baby!  I affectionately called the little girl Monkee.

Of course, all of this happened years ago, and sadly my trio is no longer with me.  However, they are the reason why guinea pigs continue to bless my life.

Every life has a story, but somehow rescued animals have the most special ones of all. Don’t you agree?

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Bringing Annie Home

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Reader Comments
A Collar?!?!? Errrrrrrr! I am so Happy that you took Lil' Annie under your wing and let her into your Heart. What a Beauty she was. It's true, I think that a Slave ALWAYS has a Special bond with a piggie that needs a little extra attention...
Leah & Princess Snowflake, Charlotte, NC
Posted: 8/6/2008 1:19:38 PM
It will make people think twice before buying guinea pigs from a pet store verses adopting them from a shelter or rescue.
Thank you so much for a heart warming, wonderful true story.
Marion, Minneapolis, MN
Posted: 7/31/2008 4:57:47 AM
It will make people think twice before buying guinea pigs from a pet store verses adopting them from a shelter or rescue.
Thank you so much for a heart warming, wonderful true story.
Marion, Minneapolis, MN
Posted: 7/31/2008 4:57:36 AM
Lots of good information here! Interesting to find out how you personally became acquainted with guinea pigs. I've been following you blogs and enjoy them! Write on!!
Alge, Logan, OH
Posted: 7/30/2008 9:36:34 PM
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