We periodically place some of our adoptable guinea pigs in foster homes, as the demands and/or occupancy rate at our rescue require us to. Foster homes are particularly helpful when we have a surrendered litter of guinea pig babies who need to be handled a lot, have abandoned or neglected guinea pigs who need the rehabilitative socialization that comes with extra-focused TLC, or need to keep the occupancy rate at the rescue to a manageable level during our peak times for vacation boarding (adoptables are temporarily placed into foster homes).
Foster homes also help us handle the large influx of guinea pigs that occurs when:
- roadside or petting zoos close (as in the case of the Catskill Game Farm closure in 2006) or are forced to close by the authorities
- animals are taken away by the authorities in hoarding cases
- breeders close their businesses (or are forced to close by the authorities, as in the Pennsylvania case we helped with)
- a large number of guinea pigs are simply abandoned (as in the Baltimore case we helped with in the early years of the rescue)
On occasion, we place senior or special-needs guinea pigs into foster care with experienced handlers. This is done on a case-by-case basis, depending on the skill of the potential caregivers and the needs of the guinea pigs in question.
Who Can Foster For Us
Our strong preference is for experienced handlers. Novices who demonstrate enthusiasm, motivation, and commitment also will be considered. Orientation is required for those who do not have any experience caring for guinea pigs.
History has caused us to favor experienced handlers, as they understand the time required to care for guinea pigs, the need for a consistent routine, the need to carefully observe behavior and diet, and the space required for cages, play areas, and supplies. Regrettably, the vast majority of foster arrangements that have fallen apart (often quite quickly) have been novices who underestimated the level of effort required for guinea pig care. The back and forth between living environments is stressful for the pigs and we need to put their well-being first.
We strongly prefer to have foster homes within 30 to 40 minutes of the rescue’s location in Durham, Connecticut. Foster pigs, if/when illness arises, are treated by the rescue’s veterinarians at Pieper Olson in Middletown. Where ailing pigs are concerned, it is best to keep travel time to a minimum; healthy guinea pigs get stressed out by car rides, and long drives place even more stress on sick pigs. Additionally, travel times much longer than 30 minutes often create logistical challenges for Cindy and the foster caregivers.
How It Works
We will set you up with all the necessities for the guinea pigs we put into your care, including a C&C cage, hay, food pellets, and cage accessories (water bottle, food dish). You supply the fresh veggies and fruit and the TLC.
We have frequently had foster homes who only took the loan of a C&C cage, and covered all other expenses as “donations in kind.” Such arrangements are incredibly helpful to us, and we are happy to provide documented acknowledgment of such donations if you need it for tax-deduction purposes.
Please contact us for further information.