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This is an article that I originally posted on a now defunct forum. I thought I’d repost here, along with some other bits I wrote up, as they did prove to be useful to some.

The Process of Adopting a Guinea Pig from an Animal Shelter – In Breif

By J. Pawsey

Blake: Is one of my rescue guinea pigs (and he is secretly my favorite)

Blake: Is one of my rescue guinea pigs (and he is secretly my favorite)

The process of adopting a pet from a Rescue or Shelter can seem a little daunting, especially if it is the first time you have gone down the rescue route. There is an overload of info, a long time spent meeting and greeting Guinea Pigs and more often than not a personal visit to your home.

You first port of call is to find a rescue, with the internet it is so much easier to find a reputable rescue in your area. Once you have picked your rescues ring them! This is a really good way to get an idea of what people you are going to meet, what piggies they have and when you can meet them. Please don’t be shy or embarrassed with any questions, the more you ask the better, get as much information on the credentials of the rescue as you can. Remember a privately run rescue is likely to hold odd times as the people running them do it alongside full or part time jobs to keep their rescues going. Unlike a nationwide charity shelter which will have regular opening hours 5-6 days a week.

Please do not buy any hutches/cages/runs until after you have spoken to your rescues as many have specific housing requirements. It would be terrible if you had bought something only to find out it would be unacceptable. A waste of your money and time – and the rescues.

Choosing your Pigs

Visit your chosen rescue with as many members of the family as will be involved with your new pets. Don’t set your hearts on any until you have met all suitable piggies. Who ever runs/works at the rescue should be able to advise you on who the best piggies for your home would be, if you would like to be re-introduced to any piggies after you have met all your options don’t be to shy to ask. It may take up a lot of time but it is time worth spent, both you and the rescuer will appreciate you taking your time over the decision. It is whilst you make this visit that you will be talked through any special housing and re-homing requirements that the rescue has. These are not to make your life difficult and can sometimes seem a little excessive, especially if you have never owned Guinea Pigs before, however they are made not only so that the Piggies can have the best life possible with you, but so that you also get to experience your pets in all their glory! All talked out and overloaded with Piggy Info, you can now reserve your guinea pigs and the fun really begins.

Preparing for your Pigs

Your reserve period is the time that you have to get ready for your new Piggies you will be given time to buy their new cage/hutch, run , bedding, toys and any other equipment that you will need. It is once you have all of this in place that you will contact your rescue and the home visit, or photos of accommodation will be checked.

Home Visit

The dreaded ‘Home Check’ the part that can, in some cases entirely put a person off of adopting a pet all together. But never fear, the home visit is not as scary as it sounds

I am not a fan of the term ‘home check’ it makes the process sound difficult and somewhat intimidating, like someone is going to nose in all areas of your home, so I like to use the word visit. As this is what it is. A member of staff, the rescue owner or a volunteer will come by your house to have a look at the wonderful new home you have got for your future piggies (which if you have done to specification of the rescue will be perfect!) and have a chat. It’s an opportunity for them to get to know you, and you to get to know them … you may end up talking about something different all together. Not all rescues will give you an answer there and then, but please don’t take this as a negative, it just means they have rules and regulations about filing reports and making a write up or phone call about your Guinea set up before giving you the all clear.

If a rescue is willing to accept photographs rather than do a visit, please make sure they are clear, straight on and with a reasonable point of reference a ft long ruler for example (or small child in the run, I have seen this be done!) so that the rescue staff can see how big your accommodation is.

Collecting your piggies, the process has ended

So your visit/photo’s passed with flying colours and a big thumbs up for the effort you went through, some lucky Guinea Pigs are having a well deserved new start in life. You can now arrange to collect your new pets, if you are lucky I can be that very day. Remember to have a safe, secure carrier to take your guinea pigs home in and leave them to settle down in peace and quiet for a few days. Hopefully, as long as you and your rescue have worked together you can work through the process of homing within a week or two, yes its a little longer than rushing into a pet shop and buying that day, but far more rewarding

I hope this has proven to be a clear, albeit brief walk through the basic parts of acquiring rescue Guinea-Pigs, and has put some light on the process for anyone considering going down this route of finding their new perfect, furry friend.