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Adopt vs. Buy Rescues, Humane Societies, and Craigslist Comparison

mufasa

Well-known Member
Cavy Gazer
Joined
Mar 20, 2012
Messages
2,872
The best thing I learned here was adoption vs. buying a pig. It came too late with Mufasa, but if I hadn't found this site I would have made the same mistake instead of adopting this time around.

One of my piggies came from a cat-and-dog humane society, while the other was from Craigslist. We also have at least two active rescues within a reasonable distance so I had all three options at my disposal. I chose the humane society for my first adopted piggy because it was an hour away, which I considered doable, and they had a pair, although the other was gone when I got there.

I got Amy from Craigslist because I was cruising the listings for a friend for Borat, as well as watching online, and she was in a town about an hour away and sounded like a sweetheart (which she is, when she's not having an attitude, LOL).

I'm curious, does anyone have strong feelings about the three adoption sources and which you should turn to first, or are all things equal as long as you're saving a pig? Obviously, my experience is very limited, but here are the pros and cons I found:

Humane Society: Cheap adoption fee ($10) might be a pro for some people, although I wouldn't have minded paying more since the place obviously can use the money. It's a low-kill shelter, but many shelters have high kill rates, so I see that as a compelling reason too. Even in a no-kill, you're opening up more cage space. The main cons were that the guinea pigs seem to be an afterthought. Borat was in a tiny cage, eating food with colored bits, and his nails were so long they had curled under. Worse of all, they mis-sexed him, but thankfully I discovered the truth early enough to avoid disaster. I'd still adopt from a humane society in the future, but I'd have the piggy re-sexed by an exotic vet if I wasn't sure by looking.

Craigslist: Amy cost a little more ($25), but she came with food, pet store cage, and some other supplies. Of course, I immediately pitched the tiny cage and shavings. The main pro for me was getting to talk to her former owners. The humane society would only say that Borat was given up as "too much responsibility." I know Amy's whole story (part of a mis-sexed pet store pair, had two babies, given up due to move) and saw how she interacted with her old family before we took her. I don't see any immediate cons, other than that a person could lie about something important, but I don't see many compelling reasons to do that unless the piggy is sick or pregnant. I didn't like the fact that I wasn't opening up more shelter space by adopting Amy from a private person, but I suppose they might have brought her to a shelter if they couldn't get rid of her in time for the move.

Rescues: At a rescue you're dealing with knowledgeable people vs. a regular shelter, which means a healthier pig of the sex that you were promised. You're opening more cage space, and since you're dealing with cavy savvy people, they can tell you more about the piggy's personality and quirks. Although I didn't adopt from a rescue, I spoke to a foster person for one prior to finding Amy and was very impressed with his level of knowledge. If Amy hadn't come along, that's where Borat's friend would have probably come from.

That's my (admittedly newbie) take on all the options. I probably missed some of the pros and cons, but overall adoption is the way to go. I just hope more and more people learn that.
 
There is a shelter where I live that constantly gets guinea pigs but Austin Texas is a very animal friendly city and there is a long waiting list for a shelter guinea pig.

Craig's list is where 2 out of 4 guinea pigs came from. Both were free and came with cages, food and accessories. I was able to talk to the previous owners though in both cases they were not cavy savvy and the animals came to me with small, fixable medical issues. (sore hock, curled toe nails, Ben had bumble foot, Buddy had mites) I like the Craig's List option because there is no paper work and only questions concerning the home the piggies are going to. When it came to Ben the previous owners were very helpful with providing a ton of good information about him and his personality and likes and dislikes.

I adopted one from a rescue. The rescue was knowledgeable but they required a home visit, a phone interview, paper work a mile long, and talked to my apartment manager. The pro here was I got to take my 3 current guinea pigs to do a meet and greet so it was all worth it.
 
When I was looking for Worf, I couldn't seem to make any headway from CL. I answered a bunch of ads, but no one would return any emails, and I eventually started looking at more options.

I really did not feel comfortable with the shelter idea. I don't mind supporting their work, as I approve of their overall goal, but I didn't want to fill out my work information, have them possibly talk to my apartment or do a home visit. I would rather wait out a craigslist piggy than go through all that, and that's ultimatly what happened.

I didn't even think to check with the humane society.
 
I always encourage people to adopt from a kill shelter first. You are truly saving a life, as even a low kill shelter is killing healthy, adoptable pets. All options are viable, and I think you should look at the individual animal to find the one that seems like the best fit for you. Somehow, one always seems to stand out from the rest for me; usually, I take the one that isn't "pretty" enough, or that no one else wants. (I think they are all gorgeous). Don't forget Petfinder, too. I got my 3 "Guinea Girls" from there; most, if not all, rescues list their pets on Petfinder.
 
I think any option for adoption is a great one! They all need homes. I got 3 of my 4 from Craigslist and have had very good luck with all three. Their former owners were good to them (I'm better, of course ;p) but found that they couldn't give them the attention they needed. So far all four of my girls have been healthy and happy. Rescues that specialize in guinea pigs are way more knowledgable as far as their proper care (at least in my experience). Humane societies are great also. A pig in need is a pig in need. It doesn't matter where they come from as long as where they are going is a place that will give them the care and love they deserve.
 
I really did not feel comfortable with the shelter idea. I don't mind supporting their work, as I approve of their overall goal, but I didn't want to fill out my work information, have them possibly talk to my apartment or do a home visit. I would rather wait out a craigslist piggy than go through all that, and that's ultimatly what happened.

The amount and specifics of paperwork differs among shelters. The humane society I volunteer with, does house small animals occasionally. It has a short application and a reasonable adoption fee but doesn't require a home visit. At least not for guinea pigs, hamster, rabbbits, etc. Granted, they are primarily a cat & dog shelter and their focus is finding good placements for those cats and dogs.

Some rescues and shelters are more particular about what information they want from you. If they are a guinea pig rescue, they are focused on making sure the homes they place pigs in, are good placements for them. So they will likely take more time to make sure the match is a good one.
 
Any sounds like a great idea to me. We got our two pigs from my daughters class mate. But I know in the future we will look for shelters pigs or more "unwanted" pigs if we ever get more. I was going to buy one this summer for her ( totally did not even think about adoption) and the opportunity came up to take two in for free, though not so free cause they came with lice and a small cage, after coming here we realized how much we had to purchase to improve their life the $$ started to really add up; but I wouldn't change anything.

Any type of adoption from anywhere is a blessing imo.
 
Petfinder is the best! I found Borat there, and also potential pigs at the rescue I spoke with when looking for a second pig. The qualifications there were definitely more strict. It was just a matter of filling out some simple paperwork at the humane society, while the rescue wanted references, vet information, etc.

I wonder if anyone on Craigslist ever asks for updates on their pigs. I told Amy's former owners they could text me any time and I'd be happy to send photos so they'd know she was in a good home, but I don't think I'll ever hear from them. It was the same when I bought my horse, Figment. He resulted from an "I wonder what would happen if we put our friend's stallion in with our elderly mare" breeding, and the people I got him from had owned him his whole life. They said they'd love to come see him again, would call for update, trailer their horses out to ride on our adjacent trails, etc. and that was the last I ever heard from them.
 
I think you get the best chance of getting a healthy pet from a rescue. Shelters don't always sex their guinea pigs properly so you need to check them for yourselves. They also could have mites or illnesses but you could be saving a life if it's a high kill shelter. You need to watch out for breeders and scams on Craigslist. The owner might not have sexed them properly, either, and there's more of a chance coming home with a pregnant guinea pig if they had multiples housed together. I've adopted from all three. The only two issues I had that the shelter had males listed as females and a guinea pig I went to see listed on Craiglist was not the one in the photo.

I think most people who list guinea pigs on Craigslist don't want updates. They were probably listed on there because the owners didn't want them.
 
Mufasa, I don't think the people I got Worf from would be interested in updates, although I would have been more than happy to give them to them. I feel like they sort of neglected him anyway, with his toenails and stuff, so I'm sure they haven't given him a second thought now that he's out of their life.

I would like to email the lady to find out a little more about his history, but I haven't even tried because I don't know how much it would get me anyway. They didn't even tell me his name or anything when they passed him over.
 
Both my Craig's List piggy's former owners were happy to get e-mail updates! I don't think they want to get updates for the rest of the pig's life but they were happy to receive a couple of updates for a few months after words. It gave them peace of mind knowing they choose a good home for the guinea pigs to go to. Ben's former owner was very distressed at having to rehome him and I know it was a great relief to her.
 
I contacted one person that I adopted a guinea pig from to find out the guinea pig's birth date. As far as sending updates, I tell them that if they want an update, send me an email. That way I'm not being a pest.
 
I wonder sometimes if people are happier making a clean break and telling themselves their animal went to a good place rather than checking up and possibly finding out something bad. Figment's former owners saw the barn was a nice place and met my 20-something year old horse, so perhaps they just decided "He's fine" and cut the tie in their mind. Sometimes I wonder what they'd think if they knew we moved him all the way to Florida.

With Amy, I think the people just wanted to get out of pigs completely after having the mis-sex/pregnancy adventure and their move was the final impetus. My husband said he noticed the teen son seemed kind of sad when we took her, but I'm sure we didn't look too cruel so they can tell themselves "She's in a good home" and not take a chance of finding out anything different.
 
I wonder sometimes if people are happier making a clean break and telling themselves their animal went to a good place rather than checking up and possibly finding out something bad. Figment's former owners saw the barn was a nice place and met my 20-something year old horse, so perhaps they just decided "He's fine" and cut the tie in their mind. Sometimes I wonder what they'd think if they knew we moved him all the way to Florida.

With Amy, I think the people just wanted to get out of pigs completely after having the mis-sex/pregnancy adventure and their move was the final impetus. My husband said he noticed the teen son seemed kind of sad when we took her, but I'm sure we didn't look too cruel so they can tell themselves "She's in a good home" and not take a chance of finding out anything different.

I think you hit the nail on the head. We adopted from my daughters class mate (I see the little girl every week) and she NEVER asks how they are at all, nor does she ask my daughter. I called when I first discovered they had bugs (day AFTER adopting) and the parents did not return my call.

Finally last week I ran into the Dad, and he did ask how they are. I proceeded to say oh they are great in a new big cage with 13 square feet etc... but we are still dealing with lice. I said it gently, but I am still kind of ticked they never called me back. He was like Oh we had no idea (and I really think they did not) but it just goes to show you, that even when you think you are getting well taken care of animals from someone you are acquainted with, well it can just be not as hoped or expected :sorry:
 
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