Rescue News — 2006
December Care Seminar
On Saturday, December 9, we returned to the Farmington Petco for a final pre-holiday appearance. While we were there, we sold several sets of note cards featuring photos of rescue pigs, collected some donations, and chatted with customers and store staff. Sadly, a father and daughter came in to surrender their male guinea pig, a sweet little guy who was about eight months old, because the 11-year-old girl had lost interest in him after just six months. Fortunately, it did not take him long to find a new home.
Rescue Reaches The 500 Mark!
With the arrival of the Catskill Game Farm guinea pigs, and several other guinea pigs from shelters in neighboring states, the rescue took in its 500th rescue pig — just 8 months after we took in #400!
It’s been a busy intense year for us (and the other small/exotic animal rescues in the state) as we’ve experienced what seems to be a new record high in not only mass rescues but also owner surrenders. The help of our supporters, adopters, foster homes, and other volunteers makes all this possible and we are deeply grateful for the help. We need your continued support — now more than ever. Whether it’s monetary support or helping to hang rescue flyers around the state or educating your friends and acquaintances to “opt to adopt,” no gesture of help is too small. If you’re interested in helping, you can e-mail Cindy.
November Care Seminar
On Saturday, November 18, we made our first appearance at the Farmington Petco. While there, we talked with store staff about guinea pig rescue (in particular) and small animal rescue (in general) in Connecticut. We also chatted with customers who stopped by to find out what we’re about and to make donations, and showed a mother and daughter how to trim their guinea pig’s toenails. We were also visited by a young man who wanted to know what kind of climate controls he needed in his apartment (summer and winter, but particularly summer) in order to provide a guinea pig with a healthy and comfortable living environment.
We were kept company by a friendly male guinea pig whose family dropped him off, after having him for a couple of years, to the store staff the day before. As we left the store that afternoon, a couple with a young daughter was talking to one of the assistant managers about taking him home.
Pigs Rescued From Catskill Game Farm
When the Catskill Game Farm closed its doors in October, many of the animals in its care were put up for auction to the highest bidder. With the game farm’s array of animals ranging from small exotics to hoofstock to wildlife, animal rescue and sanctuary organizations around the country protested the jeopardy that the auction placed all the animals in. Unable to reach any kind of alternative agreement with the farm’s owner, a coalition quickly formed and raised money and headed to New York State to save as many animals as possible by outbidding everyone else (except other rescue organizations employing the same strategy).
In the midst of this tragedy were 26 rabbits and 40 guinea pigs. Coalition members had the foresight to ensure the rabbits and guinea pigs did not end up on the “market” and were able to win the bids on many animals — including the guinea pigs and rabbits. Then their task was to find rescues to take these animals in. (The rabbits were shuttled off to rescues in New York and Michigan.)
In all, 40 guinea pigs were pulled out of the game farm in tragically poor condition. Filthy, dehydrated, malnourished, and underfed, they were rescued from a foul-smelling pen in which males and females were kept together with little regard for the fact that the females would get pregnant. Although all were brought out of the farm alive, nearly a dozen were so sick that they didn’t survive the emergency transport to a rescue/exotic vet in Pennsylvania who volunteered to take in the 30 surviving guinea pigs temporarily.
The Critter Connection took in 10 guinea pigs, including 7 babies that had just been born, and will bring the remaining pigs to Connecticut as soon as they are strong enough to travel. Once the pigs are healthy, they will be put up for adoption. This effort has stretched our resources, and all donations of money, food, hay, bedding, or fresh produce will provide substantial and much-appreciated help as we nurse these animals back to health. Monetary donations can be made through the PayPal link here on the site, or you can e-mail Cindy if you’d like to donate food or supplies.
Rescue Profiled By Local Newspaper
The Critter Connection, and its founder/owner/president/head critter wrangler Cindy Kuester, were profiled in “The Middletown Press” early this month. The full-page article covered the rescue’s history, the fabulous care that Cindy gives to the rescue pigs, the successful rehabilitation of guinea pigs that others would likely have given up on, and the strength and uniqueness of the guinea pig personality and spirit. The article’s appearance yielded an almost immediate influx of inquiries about adoptions, fostering, and donations. Keep the inquiries coming! The piggies need your help!
Small Animal Rescue Open House Successful
The September 23 open house at the Newington PETCO drew an encouraging amount of traffic, and a few curious passers-by, for the rescues who participated. In addition to The Critter Connection, folks were able to meet F.A.C.T. (ferrets) and the Hedgehog Welfare Society and the critters they brought with them. Kathy, one of the volunteers for Rabbit Allies of Connecticut also was able to stop in, hand out some rabbit care information, and field some questions from the public. Finding a few potential adopters, all the rescues were able to help raise awareness about small animal rescue, and about the unique care needs of their respective species.
Thanks to all the rescues who participated, and to everyone who came out to visit us!
Small Animal Rescue Open House Announced
In a first-ever event of its kind in this state, several small/exotic animal rescues are coming together to do an open house/education exhibit to raise awareness about the neglect, abandonment, and abuse of small animals. The event will include guinea pigs, hedgehogs, and ferrets. Organized by The Critter Connection, other confirmed participants include F.A.C.T. (ferrets) and the Hedgehog Welfare Society.
The event is scheduled for Saturday, September 23 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Newington Petco. We hope you’ll come out to visit us and meet these other hard-working rescues. If you know anyone who is contemplating adopting a pet from one of the represented species, please encourage them to come talk to the rescues and get some advice and guidance!
Care Seminar At Newington Petco
We made our first appearance at the Newington Petco with a three-hour educational exhibit. While there, we met one of our newest adopters, chatted with a number of animal lovers who paused their shopping to learn more about guinea pig rescue (and to visit with Trina and Rodney, two adoptables who came out to visit), and handed out resource brochures and shopping lists for critter supplies.
“Ask The Guinea Pig Expert” Debuts In Pets Press
The August 2006 issue of Pets Press, the newspaper for Connecticut pet owners, just started hitting newsstands and mailboxes across the state this week. The issue marks the debut of our new monthly column called “Ask The Guinea Pig Expert”.
Do you have a persnickety pig who’s picky about his pellets? A feisty female who frightens off faithful friends? Whatever your question — be it about diet, behavior, routine care, health, or whatever (as long as it’s about guinea pigs) — e-mail it to us. If we get more than we can possibly answer in a monthly column, we’ll start answering questions on the Pig Notes blog.
For our out-of-state readers, note that Pets Press does archive each issue on its Web site a month after it comes out.
By the way, this isn’t our first time in Pets Press. We were also interviewed for an article on small animals in their September/October 2005 issue.
Open House In Farmington
On Saturday, June 17, The Critter Connection participated in an open house at Advanced Veterinary Care in Farmington, Connecticut. The event gave us a chance to talk with a lot of adults and children about guinea pig rescue and adoption, and we met many caring, compassionate, animal-loving people during our time there.
We were also able to meet up with a variety of other animal rescues operating in the state, including: House Rabbit Connection, the Ferret Association of Connecticut, Inc. (F.A.C.T.), and Lazicki’s Bird House & Rescue, Inc. While it was heartwarming to connect with people who are as committed to rescuing ferrets, exotic birds, and rabbits as we are to guinea pigs, it was also heartbreaking to hear their stories of abandoned, neglected, and abused birds and small animals — underscoring, once again, that cruelty is not limited to just a few species.
Rescue Receives Federal Non-Profit Status
The Critter Connection, Inc. received word from the IRS that our application for 501(c)(3) status has been approved. While expanding the range of options for financial support that we can receive, this new status also means that contributions made to us are deductible on your federal taxes. Putting an application together for 501(c)(3) status requires an extraordinary amount of work, and could have been even more so had it not been for the help and support of Christopher William Hoyt, Esq., of The Hoyt Law Group, LLC. We and the animals we save — now and in the future — extend him our deepest gratitude.
In response to so many of you who have requested that we find a way to share more of our stories, experiences, and knowledge, The Critter Connection has just launched its blog — Pig Notes. It’s our way of creating a new online community with our adopters, donors, volunteers and foster homes, and anyone else who wants to drop in for a visit. Use the Comments link at the bottom of each blog entry to post a public reply, or use the e-mail link on the left side of the page to drop us a private note. The blog will be updated weekly, so visit frequently and comment often!
Find Us On Squidoo
We’ve expanded our online presence to Squidoo, a new venture that lets people create dynamic pages of links, resources, and more on topics on which they’re experts…or simply passionate. It’s a cool community, where you can find pages (called “lenses”) on everything from starting a home-owned business to programming in Java to finding the perfect tea.
We’ve started two lenses: Guinea Pigs 101 and How To Spoil Your Guinea Pig. While these pages contain lots of information out of the gate, they’re just a start — Squidoo lenses get updated often so visit frequently!
Squidoo lenses are ranked by visitors. To ensure votes are unique (and not artificially driven up), you must use the Sign Up link to obtain a free membership. Membership lets you log in and rank the lenses you visit in the community (there’s some cool stuff up there), create a bookmark list for your favorites, and build your own lens if you decide to translate your expertise, passion, or hobby onto the cyber-page.
IGive.com Added To Our Fundraising Mix
The Critter Connection is now on the list of charities at IGive.com, a philanthropic-oriented Web site that helps online shopping dollars go even further.
How it works: When you sign up for a free IGive membership and specify us as your charity, a percentage of your purchase (as much as 25%, depending on the retailer you shop through) will be donated to The Critter Connection, Inc. IGive works with more than 600 online retailers, including Barnes & Noble, Discovery Channel Store, Eddie Bauer, Franklin Covey, Gap, History Channel, Home Depot, Land’s End, Overstock.com, PETCO, PETsMART, Staples, and Target. Visit the IGive site for more information.
Remember: Every little bit donated helps the piggies!
Celebrating 2 Years & More Than 400 Second Chances!
This month marks our second anniversary! Thanks to the help of our adopters, supporters, and foster homes, we’ve been able to give more than 400 guinea pigs second chances at happy homes, work with shelters and rescues along the upper East Coast to raise awareness about small animal neglect and abandonment, expand our online presence, substantially increase our visibility in the community, work with our veterinarians to save lives that would otherwise have been lost, and so much more.
We have many new plans for the coming year, which we’ll be announcing here on the site soon. To accomplish them all, though, we need your help and donations. Working together, we can all continue to make a difference in more little lives!
The Critter Connection Visits The Zoo
For the first time, we participated in the annual Pet Awareness Day at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, CT. April 15 turned out to be a beautiful warm and sunny day, absolutely perfect for being outside, watching kids with painted faces visit with the adoptable animals brought to the event, and talking to folks about animal rescue and adoption. It was a busy few hours as we chatted with potential adopters and people who just wanted to know more about what we do. By the end of the event, we were nearly out of flyers and completely out of brochures after people offered to hang them on bulletin boards at their churches, offices, and favorite hangouts. Once again, previous adopters came out to see us as well as to visit and support the zoo.
Thank you to everyone who stopped by and offered to help spread the word about The Critter Connection!
Adoption Event At Petco In South Attleboro
On April 9, The Critter Connection headed up to Petco in South Attleboro, MA, to participate in a weekend adoption event that they were sponsoring. A little off the beaten track from our normal area, we and a local rabbit rescue that also participated in the event were able to do our parts to raise peoples’ awareness of small animal abandonment in the Northeast.