Thank you for caring enough to contact Austin Guinea Pig Rescue and making the effort to secure your pet's future. Due to the overwhelming number of unwanted animals surrendered to local shelters, we are committed to rescuing and fostering those animals who risk being euthanized. Consequently, we are unable to take in surrenders from the general public.
Our rescue has limited foster homes and funds so the guinea pigs on death row in the animal shelters are given our priority. These pets are often hours away from dying and often require medical attention. It is very rare for us to take a private surrender as this displaces a shelter pig.
Being a rescue does not make us automatically emotionally and financially responsible for all unwanted guinea pigs in Austin and surrounding areas. Taking on too many fosters means we will not be able to properly care for all of them.
We are happy to help by giving advice on how to keep your guinea pig(s), or how to rehome your guinea pigs on your own. However, we do not have the room to take in your unwanted pet(s).
NOTE: If you find a guinea pig (in a yard, park, box, behind a dumpster) the best thing to do is to take them to an animal shelter and report them as a stray. Both the Austin Animal Center and the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter take guinea pigs. If you are dealing with an animal abandoned on a property, call 311 as abandoning an animal is considered animal cruelty.
If you simply do not wish to spend any time reading or trying to find your guinea pig a new home, or are out of time to try, please take the pet to your local animal shelter. It is far better than turning the pet loose to fend for him or herself to be attacked by a predator, be traumatized and starve to death, or simply leaving the pet behind when you vacate the property.
They will likely end up at the local shelter regardless, in possibly worse straits, rending them unadoptable and euthanized immediately upon surrender.
Although we are unable to take your pet directly into foster care, we hope to make you aware of what your options are with regards to finding a loving and caring home for your pet.
Option 1: Keep your pet
Austin Guinea Pig Rescue and other rescue groups are committed to providing the necessary information to pet owners so that they can provide the very best care for their pet. There are many reasons why individuals are not able to keep their pets. If you feel your pet's behavior is the problem, please let us know. Often, with a little information or advice from experienced pet owners, the problem(s) can be alleviated or overcome altogether. Many behavioral problems are corrected with spaying or neutering. Additionally, we can provide you with a wide range of referrals depending on what your specific question or problem may be. If you are trying to pair guinea pigs and are having issues, there is some good information here.
Option 2: Be your own foster
Continue to care for your pet until you find the right home via advertising (see information below).
Option 3: Surrender your pet to a shelter
While many people have differing opinions on this option, it remains a viable one for many others. The Austin Animal Shelter in Austin (7201 Levander Loop, (512) 978-0500) or the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter in Georgetown (1855 SE Inner Loop, (512) 943-3322) will accept any animal, the Austin SPCA (124 W. Anderson Lane, (512) 646-7387) may accept animals only by appointment. Please keep in mind that while every rescue group does its very best to rescue all animals, every animal surrendered to a shelter does risk being euthanized. It is not our intent to mislead or misinform you on the realities of pet overpopulation. Simply stated, there are many more wonderful animals than there are loving, caring, permanent homes.
Please do not release your pet to the wild to suffer injury, starvation, or death. Domestic animals do not have the same instincts as wild animals. We receive calls all the time from individuals who have found stray, injured, or malnourished animals. You can read more information on what happens to animals that are turned loose here.
Preparing the pet for his/her new home
The following is information which we feel is necessary to find your pet a good home and which also closely follows our organization's policies regarding adoptions. There are two major steps to finding homes for animals. The first is to prepare your pet for adoption. The second is to advertise and screen callers for suitability.
If you have not already made them, these are the preparations:
It improves the chance of being adopted as an indoor companion (so that your pet will enjoy a life that is safe and social). Unneutered animals tend to "mark territory" and are prone to cancer (this will not necessarily change the behavior of smaller animals such as guinea pigs, chinchillas, hamsters or gerbils). It also insures that no more unwanted animals will be produced. The veterinary clinics we recommend routinely spay/neuter rabbits and other exotics, and are very experienced.
Litterbox training (rabbits)
For rabbit litterbox training, click here. Most other small mammals do not use a litterbox, although guinea pigs can sometimes be trained to use one.
Spend some social time with your pet, petting, sitting on the floor. Being used to people will make your pet more appealing.
Know your pet
Understand your pet's health status and personality so that you can tell an interested person what to expect.
Advertising and Screening Callers
Place ads in local newspapers such as the Austin American-Statesman (512-445-4000 or online) in category Pets and Livestock or the the Austin Chronicle (512-454-5767 or online). Flyers can be placed on veterinary, pet supply, supermarket or restaurant bulletin boards. You can also post on Craigslist in the Pets category.
State your pet's strong points: spayed/neutered, house trained, friendly, good with children, etc.
Requesting a $25 or more fee in the ad excludes callers wanting a free animal for the wrong reasons (examples: research, backyard breeding). People willing to commit to giving a pet a home will readily pay a fee. Consider offering your animal and his/her food, leashes, litterboxes, cage, etc. as a "package deal."
To screen people who answer your ad, ask the caller questions about their previous pets (what happened to them), current pets, why (s)he has decided to get a pet, and the type of living arrangement the caller would provide. Explain that you are asking questions because you want the person and the animal to be happy.
Say no if you feel the home is not suitable - make an excuse. Politely tell the caller that your pet doesn't do well with children (if your children became uninterested in the pet, tell the caller why), isn't used to being outside, is scared of dogs, etc.
It is possible to find a good home for your pet, but it takes time, commitment, and some expense. Should you find a home for your pet, please pass on the above-mentioned care and information to the animal's new owner so that (s)he will have some basic information. Also, we would appreciate your referring any additional callers to us or other rescue groups. There are many more wonderful animals seeking homes. We hope you find this information useful. Good luck placing your pet.