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Wild Packs of Guinea Pigs

Several weeks ago I was paging through the Express, that free daily paper they give out at Metro stations, and one of their ads caught my eye. This is the season for the Combined Federal Campaign, where Federal workers are exhorted to give generously to a wide variety of charities and the total amount raised this way is proudly displayed in Federal hallways. It’s a good campaign, and you do get a large selection of worthy non-profits and charities to give to. Well, this ad was for one of those non-profits, but many people who saw the ad apparently thought it was a joke.

It was an ad for the Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue, because guinea pigs need rescue too. It showed the absolute cutest guinea pig (well, apart from your own, which is no doubt The Cutest Ever) and the CFC number if you wanted to list them as the recipient of your contribution. But reactions from letters to the Express indicate that people thought it was a joke. Surely guinea pigs do not need rescue. Are there packs of feral piggies roaming the alleys of Washington? No, those critters you see scurrying away under the bushes at night are rats.

But guinea pigs still need rescue. But they’re so cute, you say, how can they ever be in need of rescue form a bad fate? Well, because they are cute, people get them as gifts for their children. And for a while the kids are happy and play with them, and then the reality of cleaning that cage every week sinks in, and suddenly those guinea pigs are not so cute anymore. And then what? Unless the parents take ownership and responsibility, grudgingly, perhaps it is easier to just get rid of it? Or maybe your landlord discovers these rodents in your apartment and reminds you of the “no pets” policy.

The Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue takes these abandoned piggies in and tried to find new homes for them. So, if you find you have a bit of extra cash that you haven’t given to a worthy cause yet, please consider helping out these sweet, wonderful creatures. And please, if you think they would make a nice, cute gift, take a moment to consider that they do live up to 8 years and they need a large cage, which has to be cleaned every week. And they need companions of their own kind, so you should have two, and can you spend enough time with them? Like any other pet, guinea pigs are a responsibility. Just because they are small and cute in the pet store, does not mean they are easy and disposable.

That said, if I had more space, I would totally have 2 or more guinea pigs because they are the most wonderful pets – as long as you are fully aware of the responsibilities that come with them.

A wild pack of cavys

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