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Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Rescuing Guinea Pigs From Pet Stores?

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 image to enlarge
guinea pigs in a wooden hut
Teddy and Baci (two of Joanne's guinea pigs) relax in their hidey house.
four guinea pigs in wooden huts
Photo Courtesy Joanne Colangelo
Macie, Merri, Sweetie and Spicy spend time in their hidey houses.

When it comes to those in need, I just have to help. They might be birds, bugs, reptiles or just about any animal. As a youngster, I fished out bugs struggling to stay afloat in our swimming pool. Nowadays, I don’t think twice when stepping out into the middle of traffic to detour cars away from a turtle slowly crossing the road or a dog wandering off leash. Recently while on vacation, I found myself capturing various little critters from our rental house and bringing them outside to safety. Out to the back yard went the spiders and crickets. Little did I know that I was also “rescuing” palmetto bugs, aka American cockroaches.

A friend of mine recently bought a guinea pig from a pet store and asked me if we would consider it a “rescue.” While logic tells us that “rescue” and “pet store” are contradictory, there are exceptions.

Some stores do not invest money in pets that need extra care because the expense would make the animal less profitable. This is disastrous for animals that become sick, injured or grow older. A friend of mine went into a pet shop and she found a wounded, neglected, guinea pig that was clearly in trouble. She believed that the piggie was suffering and might die without her intervention. When she spoke to the store owner, he had no intention of remedying the situation. So, she bought the little guy, sought immediate medical attention and, with gentle, loving care, saved its life. Was this a rescue? I would say, “Yes!”

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “rescue” means “to free or deliver from confinement, violence, danger, or evil.” Usually, the purchase of an animal from a store is not a rescue, however, in my friend’s case it was. I know I would not have been able to turn my back on that guinea pig. Most rescuers suggest that if you find a guinea pig in poor condition that it’s best to ask the store manager to give up the animal rather than to sell it to you. The main reason for this is to send a message to the store that they will not profit from selling sick pets.

Whenever I visit places that house animals, I always check out their living conditions. If I see a cage without food, water, proper ventilation, other necessities specific to that animal, animals fighting with one another or anything else that doesn’t look right, I gently approach management and let them know. They appreciate it (most of the time) and the animals appreciate it (all of the time). I really feel that I must be an advocate for those that cannot help themselves, just as my friend was for the sick little guinea pig.

Just the other day as I waited in line to pay for my piggie supplies at my local feed store, I couldn’t help but notice the box of live crickets sitting on a nearby shelf. Obviously, they were reptile food, but a thought did cross my mind. Hmmm.

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Rescuing Guinea Pigs From Pet Stores?

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Reader Comments
Hey Joanne! Wow, I never thought about a pet store piggie being a rescue pig. Then, I guess I've 'rescued' a pet store piggie too. My 2nd pig, Brittney Lea was a pet store pig and he (yes, HE) was obviously sick. I nursed him back to health, but he was never quite right and only lived 1 year/8 months. But, at least, he was Loved. Also, I go on 'Piggie Patrol' too everytime I visit a pet store. Just the other day, I noticed an older piggie living alone that had overturned his pigloo. He obviously wanted it to be upright, so I found and attendant and asked her to help him. If wheee don't look after our little critter friends, who will??? As always, Wonderful Blog! :-)
Leah, Princess Snowflake, & Bertie Pig, Charlotte, NC
Posted: 9/16/2008 7:55:16 AM
Rescuing animals is wonderful, no matter what kind of critters they are.
R, S, CA
Posted: 9/2/2008 1:41:02 PM
wonderful story, and it proves to me that I am not crazy...when I pick up worms off the street and carry them to the grass, or, rescue a tick off my landlords hood that he put there to roast in the sun....yes, moscitos will be released as well.
Marion, Minneapolis, MN
Posted: 8/30/2008 6:48:05 PM
OH, SHE'S GOT TO BE THE NUMBER ONE ANIMAL LOVER IN THE COUNTRY --- SAVING ROACHES???? NOW THAT'S ONE FOR THE BOOKS!!! CAN'T WAIT FOR THE SEVENTH BLOG.
PATTY, MAHOPAC, NY
Posted: 8/27/2008 8:37:14 PM
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