What You Can Do For National Adopt A Rescued Guinea Pig Month

castaway in scotlandImage courtesy of Castaway in Scotland
This March is the tenth annual Adopt A Rescued Guinea Pig Month. The event began in 2002 when the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) declared the month devoted to raising awareness about guinea pigs in shelters and about pet cavies in general.

Here at Guinea Pig Today, we’re taking this event one step further because owning a single guinea pig is not enough. Guinea pigs are social animals and should be kept in pairs or small groups. Some rescues and shelters may require you to adopt a pair of guinea pigs. For this reason, we’re not celebrating the traditional National Adopt A Rescued Guinea Pig Month but an improved National Adopt Rescued Guinea Pigs Month.

How Many Guinea Pigs Are Kept As Pets?
According to the National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association in 2009-2010, guinea pigs constitute a portion of the 15.9 million small pets living in American households. Why do guinea pigs need rescuing? There are currently thousands of homeless guinea pigs looking for a home on PetFinder, even more end up on for free on sites like CraigsList where they can end up snake food, or completely abandoned outdoors where they succumb to the elements. The 2007 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, guinea pigs are the twelfth most popular pet in the United States. Unfortunately, exact statistics on the number of guinea pigs that fall to these fates is unknown.

Why Did They Pick March?
Choosing March might not have been as random as it seems. In fact, March was already host to a similar holiday, National Pig Day. While this holiday celebrates the domestic pig many of us know from farms as livestock, the annual event held each March 1st in the United States is “to accord the pig its rightful, though generally unrecognized, place as one of man’s most intellectual and domesticated animals.” The holiday began in 1972 by two sisters, Ellen Stanley from Texas and Mary Lynne Rave from North Carolina, and is most often celebrated in the Midwest with a confusing mix of celebrated pigs on show and the cooking of tasty bacon.

Take Action During Adopt Rescued Guinea Pigs Month!

Celebrating National Adopt Rescued Guinea Pigs Month doesn’t require you to have a guinea pig. What you can do can be started right in your own home. Here’s a few ideas for events you can organize to help guinea pigs everywhere.

Spread the Word
Guinea pigs are still sold in pet stores as inventory, a frustrating fact to many in the cavy rescue community. These pet store sales are often unplanned and un-researched and pet store products promote convenience and sales, not the long term health and happiness of the pets. Most of the guinea pigs that end up in shelters come from this point of sale. Plan to inform your friends and followers about the proper care of guinea pigs. You can start with these articles from Guinea Pig Today – A Parent’s Guide to Guinea Pigs and Responsible Guinea Pig Parenting Begins Before Your Pets Come Home. Informed decisions help people make the right choice before bringing a pet into their life.

Write to State Representatives
Since January 1, 2003, California pet stores have been required by law to provide care sheets to those who purchase guinea pigs. Organize a group in your state to encourage representatives to address this issue locally by doing research, writing letters, and promoting good guinea pig welfare.

There is also a situation in California where a budget proposal could mean guinea pigs in shelters could face immediate death. For more information on this topic and to sign the petition, please read our recent article on the topic and let others know.

Write to Pet Store Owners
In early 2009, PETCO stores announced they would stop the sale of rabbits in all of their stores and replace this practice with allowing shelters and rescue organizations to conduct rabbit adoptions. This wonderful change came about due to the efforts of the volunteers of the House Rabbit Society. PETCO CEO Jim Myers stated, “Moving to an all-adoption approach with rabbits is the right thing to do. We believe it’s good for the animals, good for our business and is consistent with our Think Adoption First philosophy.” PETCO currently sells guinea pigs. Write to Jim Myers, or other pet store owners, and let them know it’s not ok to sell guinea pigs and you would like to see a change. For more information about guinea pig products in pet stores in general, check out our article An Open Letter to Pet Store Owners.

Remind The Pet Community
Volunteers at rescues and shelters are very busy taking care of pets that need homes. Believe it or not, they might forget that it’s a special guinea pig holiday. Don’t let them miss out! Let all of your local pet resources – rescues, shelters, pet stores, pet magazines, pet websites, etc. – know about Adopt Rescued Guinea Pigs Month. Share information about how Guinea Pigs Have A Major PR Problem and let them know how important it is to not forget about the cavies that need homes. Encourage them to write to Guinea Pig Today for more information. We’re currently reaching out to as many guinea pig rescues as fast as we can, but you can let them know they can contact us as well. We have a special page posted with logos, posters, and materials that many busy pet outlets can use to let everyone know it’s time to think about guinea pigs. We’re happy to share resources with anyone who needs them.

Write An Article For Us
Here at Guinea Pig Today we aim to educate and celebrate by sharing modern ways that cavies can integrate into our lives. Write an article for us about your life with guinea pigs! You don’t have to be a cavy care guru to write for Guinea Pig Today. Articles can be obscure like “Top Ten Reasons Guinea Pig Make Great Pets for Gamers,” silly like “What Guinea Pigs Have in Common With Zombies,” or more serious topics like, “Guinea Pig Care Mistakes I Found in my Storyboook.” Be creative!

We’re working hard to bring you many great articles and news throughout the month of March as we promote National Adopt Rescued Guinea Pigs Month. We’re always interested in sharing news of guinea pig events so if you are organizing an activity, we’d love to hear about it. Please visit our submissions page for more information on letting the cavy community know you care.

If you have a great idea for an article about guinea pigs, please let us know. Guinea Pig Today is a network of guinea pig lovers and we’re always looking for the next great story. View our submissions page for more information on how to submit your idea.

Angela, Editor-in-Chief, GPT

Angela founded Guinea Pig Today and guest writes for CavyMadness. She volunteers with Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue and supports the ROUS Foundation. Her guinea pig, Papua, is the star of WHEK-TV/DT.

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2 Responses to “What You Can Do For National Adopt A Rescued Guinea Pig Month”
  1. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for this informative article!! I love the picture, too: “Piggy lips! I has em!” would be a good caption. Piggy lips are so cute!

  2. Kim (aka Castaway) says:

    I just stumbled across this and couldn’t agree more with the article – and the piggie is Gruffydd ap Mochyn (Griff, Pig-son in Welsh!) so I’ve passed on the cute lips comment (and his are divine! 🙂

    Interestingly, Griff was a rescue pig – his mum was pregnant when she was brought into the rescue and gave birth to 3 boars. Two were rehomed as a pair and Griff became companion to Celyn, who’s companion Gethin died from congestive heart disease on the day Griff was born.

    Always, always consider rescue and always, always do the research before taking on guinea pigs, or any pets for that matter. They give so much joy in return.

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