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Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Adopting Older Guinea Pigs

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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black and white guinea pig on green flowered fabric
Photo Courtesy Joanne Colangelo
Joanne rescued Spicy, despite that Spicy was an older guinea pig. The two have found much happiness together.

When I was ready to adopt another piggie (or two, or three, or…), I made a trip to The Critter Connection, which was the closest guinea pig rescue I could find. It only took me three hours to get there! I was immediately impressed by the dedication of Cindy and her volunteers to give the guinea pigs such extraordinary care. She even knew each one’s personality!

I thought that seeing so many homeless little guys would make it nearly impossible to choose one (or two, or three, or…), but then I spotted “Indigo!” Cindy had pulled Indigo from an animal shelter that proved to be very stressful for her. Now, Indigo was in a foster home and still not finding a permanent family. She was there for quite some time, and Cindy was perplexed as to why potential adopters never showed much interest in her.

Once I heard that, the deal was sealed. Of course, Indigo was meant to be mine! I picked up the sweet bundle and held her close. She nuzzled back at me, and I knew I had found the right one. Indigo was at least 18 months old, but whether she was 5 weeks or 5 years, it didn’t matter to me. She was mine. So, that day, I took home Indigo, re-named Spicy, and another little girl that I named Merri.

Some people wonder if older guinea pigs can bond with their new families – the answer is, yes! It is the personality of the animal that determines how quickly and closely it bonds. Because guinea pigs live in “today” and don’t dwell on “yesterday,” most don’t bring “baggage” along with them from their previous homes. Of course, if the pig has suffered severe abuse or fear (such as a dog attack), it takes it longer to recover, but with loving care it will turn out to be a wonderful little pet. My Spicy fit in just fine. Although it took us 18 months to find one another, it was worth the wait.

Adopters might also be concerned that adopting an older pig will give them less time with their new pet when its age and life span are considered. To that I say two things: yes, it does matter and no, it does not matter. When adopting an older guinea pig, the chances are more likely that your pet will pass away sooner than if you adopted a young pig, but not guaranteed. I know of guinea pigs that have celebrated their eighth birthdays and others with the same care that didn’t see their first. However, if you find a guinea pig that captures your heart, trust me, its age won’t matter at all.

So, is it worth adopting an older guinea pig? I think so. If you want real proof, then just ask my Spicy!

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Reader Comments
Hey Joanne, I don't care about age either. Both Princess Snowflake and my Beloved Butterscotch were about 1 year old when they came to own me, and I'm getting ready to adopt another (older) boy piggie from MGPR. I used to only want babies, but in a way, I kind of find it more rewarding to bring home an older (throw-a-way) pig to give them a second chance at a really, good life. I know I was put on this Earth to spoil those little critters Rotten...and Princess Snowflake can testify to that...Wheeeeek! :-)
Leah & Princess Snowflake, Charlotte, NC
Posted: 8/21/2008 2:27:47 PM
Joanne,
you are right on! I fell in love this a guinea pig that somebody brought to a pet store. I could tell that he was old but took him home anyway. We did not have much time together, but he was one of the most special piggies that I have ever met. Every day he literally jumped onto my lap and showered me with kisses, as if to say "Thank you for taking me home." A most rewarding experience. Thanks for reminding me on my friend "Teddybear." He was beautiful! We had less than a year together, but I think that I made a difference in his life.
Marion, Minneapolis, MN
Posted: 8/20/2008 5:45:54 PM
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