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General Question about pet shop cavies and rescued cavies...

Glockenspiel

New Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Apr 25, 2012
Messages
2
If I get any pet (Guinea Pig, Dog, etc.) I try to rescue. Pet-shop pets are usually unhealthy and have bad genetics, and most rescued pets originally came from pet shops. I was wondering if my rescued guinea pig will be unhealthier than ones from responsible breeders? I still plan on rescuing, I'm just a little paranoid since many people have had guinea pigs from pet shops that have died unexpectedly, not that it can't happen with well-bred guinea pigs...
 
I'm not so sure that even "responsible" breeders have cavy health as one of their priorities. They generally breed for things that make them good show animals, and the ones they get rid of are their culls, which don't match up to show standards. It's not like they keep the healthiest pups -- they keep the ones with the prettiest markings or the closest to whatever standard they're breeding to.

One case in point is the number of breeders who deliberately breed for satin pigs because they, and potential buyers and show judges, like the coat. But those pigs usually (some researchers say "always") get osteodystrophy, a very painful bone and joint degenerative disease. If they gave a damn about the health of the pigs, there would never be another satin deliberately bred.

The reasons more pigs die from pet shops has to do with the abominable conditions most of them are bred and kept in. Breeding mills keep big herds of animals together, the sows are continuously backbred (which is getting pregnant immediately after giving birth), they get no veterinary treatment at all, they are shipping in containers where the pigs are packed in so closely some of them can't even reach the floor. Some of them come from overseas in those kinds of shipping containers. The big box pet stores (PetSmart, PetCo, etc) buy from those animal warehousers. Although some of them are making some effort to improve things since they got such huge negative publicity several years ago about the deaths of so many animals in Dallas (read the articles at PetSmart Cruelty for more details), the wonder is not that so many pet store pigs are sick, it's that any of them are healthy at all.

If you get a pig from a reputable guinea pig rescue, they will have made sure that the pig is as healthy as possible, or that you have been forewarned about any possible problems and have agreed to those conditions. Even if you get one from a shelter or from a person who advertises on Craig's List, you have a good chance of getting a fairly healthy pig.

I wouldn't let the possibility of future health problems deter me from adopting a pig at all.
 
I wouldn't think so. Rescues put a lot of time, energy and money into a guinea pig. They know their animals and (a good rescue) will be up front with you about any ongoing vet care your pet needs. Also, there are some pretty high standards for responsible breeders. They won't necessarily always have a healthy pig and since no one is perfect, they won't always be living in the guidelines of healthy breeding.

How to Breed Guinea Pigs
 
I guess I'm a very simple person, but I cannot understand why anyone would choose to breed an animal such as cavies, which are overpopulated. I keep trying to understand it, but if it comes down to "because they enjoy it" then it's just selfish. Or because they are trying to breed that perfect combination of health and beauty -- well, lots of us have healthy piggies that were rejects, and frankly I think all piggies are inherently cute.

"Responsible" breeders may take better care of their pigs than a mill, but I still fail to see the point of doing it, even humanely. I can humanely put down a rat and dissect in science class, so it doesn't suffer, but what is the point? I can learn just as much these days without killing a real rat. If I want a cavy, I can go any number of places and get one. I don't have to breed it. And if I positively must have a particular breed, then I need to wait until one comes up at a shelter or on CL or a rescue. Otherwise, I'm just selfish.
 
Whose to say a guinea pig is "well bred?" Breeders will always say their guinea pigs are well bred so you will want to buy them. Rescues will properly sex their guinea pigs, make sure they're healthy, figure out what their personality is like and try and match a prospective adopter with a guinea pig that matches what they're looking for in a pet. Rescued pets have been abandoned once already. A reputable rescue will do everything in its power to make sure that its new home will be its forever home.
 
@Wildcavy Not that I'm condoning breeding, I'm not- I plan to get my cavies (don't have any yet!) from either a rescue or a private party- but I don't agree with their overruning the planet. Dogs and cats are doing that, not piggies.

Otherwise, wouldn't it be easier to find a piggy to adopt? I think that some of those places that have so many guinea pigs that rescues have to humanely euthanize them should be working with rescues across the country to find homes for them else where. There are a lot of people who really can't find cavies to adopt any where near them.

Just a thought! :)
 
@Wildcavy Not that I'm condoning breeding, I'm not- I plan to get my cavies (don't have any yet!) from either a rescue or a private party- but I don't agree with their overruning the planet. Dogs and cats are doing that, not piggies.

Otherwise, wouldn't it be easier to find a piggy to adopt? I think that some of those places that have so many guinea pigs that rescues have to humanely euthanize them should be working with rescues across the country to find homes for them else where. There are a lot of people who really can't find cavies to adopt any where near them.

Just a thought! :)

Rescues aren't euthanizing guinea pigs. Kill shelters are. Many shelters transfer guinea pigs to designated rescues when they aren't adopted, but not all do that. A lot of people make road trips to adopt a guinea pig from a rescue that's a few hours away. The cost in gas isn't that great when you consider you're getting a quality pet and saving its life. Rescues aren't in it for the money and don't have the funds to drive guinea pigs long distances to find them homes or transfer them to other rescues. The small adoption fee that they charge probably doesn't come anywhere near what it costs to feed it and provide medical care until it's adopted. Rescuers do it for the love of the animals. My guess is most people, with the exception of those in remote places, can find a rescue or shelter guinea pig within a few hours drive from them.
 
Rescues aren't in it for the money
As a matter of fact, most rescues are just a bunch of people working out of their homes. All of their spare time and money goes into these animals, and the small fee you pay to adopt allows them to rescue the next animal. And there is always another one that needs saving. Very few shelters are well funded enough to actually have a dedicated building to house the animals; those that do have had a very generous benefactor or two that left them enough money to realize their dream. Then it's a constant battle to not be over run and to keep the rescue going. I am constanly amazed by the people I meet in rescue, who just give and give in the face of such overwhelming disapointment in the human race. These people are truly the most noble among us.
 
As a matter of fact, most rescues are just a bunch of people working out of their homes. All of their spare time and money goes into these animals, and the small fee you pay to adopt allows them to rescue the next animal. And there is always another one that needs saving. Very few shelters are well funded enough to actually have a dedicated building to house the animals; those that do have had a very generous benefactor or two that left them enough money to realize their dream. Then it's a constant battle to not be over run and to keep the rescue going. I am constanly amazed by the people I meet in rescue, who just give and give in the face of such overwhelming disapointment in the human race. These people are truly the most noble among us.


Not to mention that most people who run rescues also have full time jobs on top of their rescue work. Plus, in addition to the money they spend out of their own pockets to keep the rescues running, they devote a huge amount of time trying to find homes for these animals by holding adoption events and answering emails and making phone calls. Then, consider the time spent just cleaning cages, etc..... It's mind boggling.
 
Not to mention that most people who run rescues also have full time jobs on top of their rescue work. Plus, in addition to the money they spend out of their own pockets to keep the rescues running, they devote a huge amount of time trying to find homes for these animals by holding adoption events and answering emails and making phone calls. Then, consider the time spent just cleaning cages, etc..... It's mind boggling.
The woman I got my pigs from spends every Thursday shuttling animals to the vet for spay/neuter, and in between she cleans cages. All. day. long. Not 8 hrs, but 10 or 12 hrs. Then lugs 10 huge, heavy bags of trash out. Then has to update her web page, and her Facebook for the animals. I'm tired just thinking about it.
 
@Wildcavy Not that I'm condoning breeding, I'm not- I plan to get my cavies (don't have any yet!) from either a rescue or a private party- but I don't agree with their overruning the planet. Dogs and cats are doing that, not piggies.

Otherwise, wouldn't it be easier to find a piggy to adopt? I think that some of those places that have so many guinea pigs that rescues have to humanely euthanize them should be working with rescues across the country to find homes for them else where. There are a lot of people who really can't find cavies to adopt any where near them.

Just a thought! :)

If a rescue is euthanizing, it isn't a rescue, it's a kill shelter. But there is a serious overpopulation issue with piggies -- it may not be distributed evenly, but my area shelter wouldn't be getting dozens every month and destroying just about as many if it weren't a population issue. For whatever reason, pigs may not be plentiful in your area of Michigan -- I don't argue with you on that. But buying isn't the answer.

If more people stopped buying from pet stores and instead put their money toward rescues and fosters, then the rescue/foster network would expand and we could place more piggies.

I run transport / trains for different animals, both to rehome domestic ones or for injured and rehabbed wildlife. I totally agree with you that it would be great if we could get rescues to network more -- it's how we do it with some of the cat transports, for example -- but as others have stated, so many of these rescues are done on a volunteer basis and by people who are paying out of pocket. I'd rather throw my money toward them than toward a breeder.

I wish I could work out how to get rescue piggies up your way -- I know that you'd be a great piggy parent!
 
@Wildcavy What I said I said because I noticed I'm not the only one with problems locating piggies in their local area. I see posts about people struggling to find rescues all the time. It does seem that they are overpopulated in a few areas and underpopulated in others. I also didn't mean any disrespect when I was noting that. It's just what I've noticed thus far.

I know you'd help me, you offered before, and I've been looking a bit wider because of your offer/suggestion. (Again, not ready to adopt yet, just looking at availability.) There's a pair in Illinois I can not get out of my head. I really wish I could go get them- the owner is willing to house them separately and I'd like them to see them stay together because they're bonded. They're perfect too; I looked at breeds and (while I would, of course, be open to any breed) my two favorite are abbys and texels with teddys a close second. These boys are abys and they're so beautiful...

Hubby's not settled in a new job yet and I just can't do it or I really would. I'll just have to keep on looking, dreaming and planning and trust that I'm connected with the right pair when we're ready to handle them. In the mean time... :p

@ comments about rescues: I didn't know that. I stand corrected. It's the kind of rescue that I volunteered for for a time, but the woman is overwhelmed and we're not sure if she's a rescue or, to be frank, a hoarder.

She uses donations to keep her rescue running and doesn't have a paying job. Although I think she worked when she was younger, I believe all of those funds have since been dried up. She works the rescue all alone, and doesn't like asking for help; when I was volunteering, I was just going in without being asked. She refuses to call for volunteers or fosters, even though I know she's been contacted by people willing to help. Every room and her garage (which she doesn't use as a garage, she keeps the door open between the living room and the garage) is jam packed with animals.

She does a fairly good job keeping them fed (in fact, if any thing, I think she overfeeds), but their homes were a mess and I gathered up volunteers every Sunday for months to try to help her keep the house clean. She appointed me to a supervisory position and I jumped right in to get the volunteers and give them instructions on what needed to be done. (How does she do it alone?)

As much as I don't like putting animals down, if an animal is suffering, I believe it's better to have them put down- she doesn't. Also, the garage is chock full of stray cats- she has had someone come out to try to capture them before, but without much success (although, thankfully, they're not bothering the bunnies that are homed out there; I know, that was my concern too!).

She has postings online, but she doesn't do any thing specific with them: no pictures, no information about the animals that she has. Just "a bunch of piggies/bunnies/whatever need to be rehomed immediately" or something to that effect. I wanted to write up postings, but I was so busy cleaning I was never able to sit down and cuddle any animals like I would have wanted for their sake, not just my own. I could probably have at least posted pictures, but I didn't even know most of the animals names to list them under. And there aren't any adoption shows or any thing like that either that she hosts or even attends. I think she said she used to go but got so busy she wasn't able to go or she didn't feel she could do that alone (which I can understand, but why not call people? I wasn't the only volunteer.)

Then and now, it all seems like chaos to me. Which is, perhaps, why I couldn't stay. I was having my own personal battles at the time and when we had a disagreement, I told her I couldn't take it any more and I left. That was no easy decision to make- I was still thinking about the animals, but I really didn't feel like I could work with her any more.

I told her to call me if she needed a foster which, of course, she never did (call me that is- I've gotten out there once or twice since and know she still needed the extra help!). Sometimes I consider going back, but I can't now even if I want to- I have no source of transportation. My husband normally has the car for work or other obligations.

Hoarder or rescue? We were thinking hoarder. I appreciate what she's trying to accomplish, but I feel like she's going about it all wrong. She needs to be able to call people for help- both fosters and rescue volunteers. This is the rescue in my area. This is the reason I'm hesitant to adopt from her. I really think she's overworking herself when there are people who would be willing to help if she were willing to call them.

I don't mean to be judgmental. I'm just concerned she'll work herself to death and/or the animals in her care will suffer because she can't keep up with all that needs to be done. I struggle with mixed emotions about the place even now- appreciate her efforts, but feel like more could be done to organize her rescue. Getting fosters to handle some of the animals would be a good start. Yet I'm not in the position to make the decisions either, and I've never run a rescue. I can only use my best judgement. I could go on, but I'd just circle back on myself. I'm sure you can see my concern though. :/
 
It's amazing what rescues, shelters, and vaulenteers do for their animals!!
 
The guinea pig overpopulation problem may not be as well-known as the dog or cat overpopulation problem but there definitely is a problem. The guinea pig rescue I have adopted from in the past has over 100 pigs in need of homes. There are others across the country that have even more than that.

People who breed them, not to mention breeding mills, compound this problem by creating even MORE pigs.

They should be working on finding homes for those pigs in need of them and creative awareness of guinea pig adoptions, not making the problem worse by creating more pigs. I think there are people who are still unaware that you can adopt guinea pigs just like you can adopt a cat or dog.
 
If you have the chance, adopt. It's better to go out of your way and adopt than go to the pet store and 'rescue' a guinea pig. The more guinea pigs that get bought, the more the pet stores will buy. So the overpopulation of guinea pigs is made worse, even by just a few guinea pigs.
You got some really good replies above my post, that really explain why to adopt piggies.
 
Yes, don't let my derailing disturb you. So sorry about that! :eek:

Adoption is the best route because the people will know the health of their animals and will be able to tell you if you have any thing to be concerned about. If you have any concerns, maybe the rescue shelter will be able to give you a tour to see how well they take care of their animals. Use your best judgement and don't be afraid to ask questions (to them or on the forum).

Rescues want to make sure you're the right fit for them and will let you see the pet and how they're cared for before the final adoption takes place.
 
She works the rescue all alone, and doesn't like asking for help; when I was volunteering, I was just going in without being asked. She refuses to call for volunteers or fosters, even though I know she's been contacted by people willing to help. Every room and her garage (which she doesn't use as a garage, she keeps the door open between the living room and the garage) is jam packed with animals.

She does sound like a hoarder to me, too -- a genuine rescue won't, in my experience, turn down a qualified volunteer. If she isn't technically a hoarder, but more phobic of people, then she probably shouldn't be taking in that many animals.

As much as I don't like putting animals down, if an animal is suffering, I believe it's better to have them put down- she doesn't.


I agree with that, and I think most rescuers would -- that if an animal is suffering and there is no hope of making them whole or living a decent life, it is what is best for them. Just like we shouldn't put down an animal automatically because it is handicapped or wounded, we also shouldn't force the animal to stay alive when there is zero hope for a decent quality of life. In my view, keeping an animal that is suffering with no hope of relief is just as selfish as destroying an animal just because it may need more care and we are "inconvenienced."

Most of the shelters around my area keep a different log of deaths -- one for euthanasia (otherwise healthy animals that are destroyed because no one wants them) and one for being destroyed for health reasons (massive injuries, terminal illness, etc.). The euthanasia list is always far longer than the one where animals are PTS for humane reasons.

That was no easy decision to make- I was still thinking about the animals, but I really didn't feel like I could work with her any more.


That can also be the right thing to do, as hard as it is. You cannot save anyone if you are drowning yourself.



I don't mean to be judgmental.

There is a difference between being judgmental and having good judgement. You don't seem to be taking a "holier than thou" position and you are willing to work toward a solution. Those are good attributes.
 
@Wildcavy I appreciate your honesty and support, my friend. That has been a sore point for me and I haven't wanted to look back... though I have brought it up a few times on the forum, the more I actually think about it thoroughly, the more upset it makes me. I think the woman has problems and I really feel for those animals; unfortunately I don't think there's any thing thing I can do. I hope and pray those animals will have a better quality of life somehow. :)
 
She does sound like a hoarder to me as well. If the living conditions have deteriorated to the point of making it hazardous (too much clutter, not enough ventilation, etc) and the person refuses help to make it tolerable (because they are embarrassed, people phobic, etc) and if it interferes with her goal of getting animals adopted, that's a problem.

Sometimes people rescue animals with good intentions to find homes at first but before they know it, the 3 cats, pigs, dogs they rescued originally, have become 20 cats, pigs, dogs and they don't know how it got that way.
 
There might be fewer homeless guinea pigs but you have to factor in the number of households looking to adopt dogs or cats compared to guinea pigs.
 
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