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Adopting/Rehoming animals - I'm trying to do the right thing but...

(82 Posts)
FirstLeg Sun 11-Sep-11 18:46:13

...we have been contacting Shelters in the last few weeks about taking on a couple of guinea pigs. We used to have them until about 5 years ago, so know all about it, have all the kit etc.

However, we can't find ONE place that will accept us as suitable! Despite heving cared for 5 guinea pigs over the years, we aren't allowed to have any from a shelter because:
*we have a six year old (she is calm around animals and this can be seen when she visits the Shelter, plus she will be supervised when handling them/when they are out in the pen)
*our hutch is too small (it is 3 1/2 ft wide and our previous guineas were happy enough in it, it is fox/cat-proof, raised from the ground and has a nesting covered section). Apparently the RSPCA say many purpose-built hutches are too small...
*we will be keeping the guineas outside. Apparently they need to be in a shed in the winter. No-one told our old guineas that.
*one shelter wanted to do a home visit, but then told us we lived too far away...

Of course, if we went to the pet shop, we could of course just walk away with as many guineas as we want. Friends of ours keep their guineas outside, have the same size hutch, and have toddlers ffs.

I do accept that Shelters can't just hand over animals willy-nilly, but with all these restrictions, I suspect many of their guinea pigs will never find a home sad.

cookielove Sun 11-Sep-11 18:50:19

Unfortunately that is the case for a lot of animals in shelters, my parents and sister have both been turned down by the RSPCA, for different reasons, even though they have had previous pets. My parents wanted a dog, but because they worked during the day they weren't allowed, and my sister lived to far away from the shelter for a home visit. So inevitability set in and animals were bought from friends or shops instead.

coccyx Sun 11-Sep-11 18:50:34

my mum had her guinea pigs inside in the winter. Don't they originate from warmer climate? whats big deal in getting a shed for them.

coccyx Sun 11-Sep-11 18:53:53

have you tried ? lovely ones on there

squeakytoy Sun 11-Sep-11 18:55:14

I think they should be inside in the winter too. Hutches do not offer a lot of protection from the elements in very bad weather.

Birdsgottafly Sun 11-Sep-11 18:56:06

Better for them not to find a home than live or die in misery, not that this applies in your case, but i can see it from that POV.

I don't know if your hutch is big enough, but the RSPCA make up some stupid rules. When i had Guinea's they were only in the hutch over night, but some people leave them in there constantly.

I would consider bringing them in, in winter, though. Not all will survive outside, you might have just been lucky.

HeadfirstForHalos Sun 11-Sep-11 18:56:50

I'm not a huge fan of petsathome but they have a rehoming section now. My friend adopted 2 from there last week.

pramsgalore Sun 11-Sep-11 18:57:22

we ended up buying a puppy instead of getting a rescue older dog, because we had a child, i am home all day, only had 1 dc at the time, and only wanted a small dog, they would not even do a home visit, i now don't give to animal charitys as i know i am not the only person to be turned down, if they won't help them selves why should i help them, go to the pet shop and when they moan they can not rehome their animals tough.

MilkandWine Sun 11-Sep-11 19:33:57

YANBU to want to re home some Guinea Pigs at all. They make delightful pets, so cute and entertaining.

But they are very delicate little things and I think aren't generally considered a good pet for younger children because of this. That may well be why the shelter has these guidelines.

A 3 foot hutch should be fine for 2 Guinea Pigs. As others have said, the RSPCA do have some utterly ridiculous ideas. I personally wouldn't bother going through them anyway, they are a bad organisation IMO. I have a friend who had her (perfectly well looked after) elderly horse taken away by them and it died in their care as it had a specific ongoing illness that they choose to completely ignore. Despite my frantic friend trying to tell them about it repeatedly.

Try going through a local re-homing place instead? there should be one in your area.

With regards to the winter and cold they do have a point though. Guinea pigs originate from South America and are not well suited to our cold weather. I used to keep mine outside in Winter but with a heat lamp rigged up in the sleeping compartment to keep them snug.

DogsBestFriend Sun 11-Sep-11 19:49:53

Birds, I very much agree with you.

Prams, not all rescues operate the same policies. As a rescuer myself I can't see anything you've written which would deter me from approving your application. Fair enough if you ONLY wanted a bouncy adollescent dog, that might not be suitable with a young DC, or if I homechecked and discovered you allowing your DC to manhandle an existing dog, but that's not evident here.

All I can say to those who have been turned down because they have children is try another rescue, don't give up. The big ones will have policies set in stone, small, independent rescues often don't. As for not being near enough to homecheck, rescue should have the wit and the contacts to ask another rescue to do that in their place if necessary - I despair of some sometimes! <<rolls eyes>>

The only real reason I can think of for maintaining a limit to how far out they can rehome that is because if it's a problem to get out to HC a family it would be a problem to get out to the pet straight away too if, heaven forbid, the family were neglecting/abusing him or if they could neither keep him nor get him back to rescue themselves.

pramsgalore Sun 11-Sep-11 20:04:43

i tried 3 local ones, they will not rehome a dog if you have a dc, but would consider a single person, even if said single person was at work all day, i know this as my friend got a rescue dog, does not make sense to me, we now have a little dog, who is well cared for, insured and has had all his injections, that could have been some poor rescue dog looking for a nice home!!!!!! but no we had to go out and get a puppy

DogsBestFriend Sun 11-Sep-11 20:11:46

"they will not rehome a dog if you have a dc, but would consider a single person, even if said single person was at work all day,"

Then they need a kick up the arse! angry sad

I can only add, for the benefit of anyone considering rescue but who might be put off as a result of your experiences, that dog rescue - and indeed animal rescue in general - need not only be local. WRT dogs, for example, some all-breed rescues such as Many Tears (who will rehome to families with children) rehome across the country, as do many breed rescues. Anyone in your former position might do themselves a favour not just by searching further afield themselves but by posting their county and what they are looking for on the Doghouse where we nasty vipers can make suggestions of possible rescues, nearby and further afield. We'll do out best!

DogsBestFriend Sun 11-Sep-11 20:13:12

Out best? Well we can try that but doing our best will probably be far more helpful!

<<goes off in search of cola and chocolate>>

mercibucket Sun 11-Sep-11 20:18:44

pets at home have a re-homing section that always has guinea pigs looking for new homes. I can't imagine they are that fussy
having said that, they do need a big run (guess the cage is just for night time and they have access to a large run during the day?) and I would bring mine in during winter or at least keep them in a shed, esp the last two winters!

funnypeculiar Sun 11-Sep-11 20:21:23

A thought - when looked at rehoming piggies, we talked about them being family pets (ie NOT expecting the children to look after them) rather than pets for the children, iykwim. Seemed to be quite a big issue for a few of the rescue places we talked to.

DogsBestFriend Sun 11-Sep-11 20:39:00

Very good point, funny. Probably borne out of the number of guinea pigs and other pets which come to them because "the kids have got bored of them" or "the kids won't clean and feed them any more" as well as "the kids hate them now" and "Tarquin keeps hitting it".

Yes, rescue has heard them all. More than once, sadly. sad

griphook Sun 11-Sep-11 20:40:37

I think that's really sad, as you sound like you have really thought it through.

but please think about bringing then in a night when it's cold. As there is nothing worse than running outside when you're seven to find you beloved rabbit frozen to death. still remember it to this day was rememberance sunday.

DoMeDon Sun 11-Sep-11 20:42:36

We were declined a GP too - DD is under 5 - shame.

eurochick Sun 11-Sep-11 20:49:00

I think the criteria some of these places apply are very odd. Most homes would surely be a better option than being locked in a cage with a concrete floor with no humans to build a relationship with (am thinking mostly of dogs but similar things apply to other rescue animals).

Sookeh Sun 11-Sep-11 20:49:02

Where abouts are you OP?. My sister has had to give hers to me (she's rubbish at keeping animals properly hmm) but I'm not sure I can keep her permanently sad

She's a lovely little thing though.

My sister just sort of sprang it on me.

FirstLeg Sun 11-Sep-11 20:50:15

Thanks for all your messages, it is good to hear some sensible views on this.

We never kept our guineas inside, even when I had them when I was a child, and our friends who currently have them do not. Is it a new thing? Don't guineas come from the Andes mountains - it's not very warm there surely!

We used to make sure they had loads of bedding, and put a thick rug over the hutch when it got really cold. However, the hutch was in a very sheltered spot - it was sited near the back of our house, and the garden slopes upwards - no winds at all.

Oh well, looks like it will be a pet shop or friday ad job for us them, but will look for the pets at home rehoming thing.

griphook sorry to hear that happened to you. I really don't think it is that common an occurance though, despite most rabbits/guineas being housed outside.

coccyx Sun 11-Sep-11 20:54:43

they are from south america. are you still going to leave them out in the winter despite many posters saying otherwise??? glad the rescue place said no

FirstLeg Sun 11-Sep-11 20:56:39

Aw, thanks Sookeh, I hope you can sort your new guinea out a permanent home, but we are looking at taking a pair of guineas - they are much happier paired up, and if we get them as a pair then we know they will get on...

DogsBestFriend Sun 11-Sep-11 21:00:39

Firstleg, if you'd like to tell me your nearest big town or even just county I'll put a shout out amongst rescue to see if I can find anyone nearby who can accommodate you. I'd be inclined to agree about keeping the GPs warm in winter however, but am NOT well aquainted with them so can't speak with authority there.

I can with dog rescue though, eurochick! And I have to argue - to an extent.

Whilst there are of course some bad dog rescues many, many of them, the ones I work alongside included, do far more than lock a pooch in a kennel and feed him. Aside from the fact that many work from foster homes so provide a home from home environment and that those which run from kennels nonetheless endeavour to place their dogs in foster homes wherever possible a good kennels based rescue will build up a relationship with their dogs, it's part of the assessment procedure as much as anything else. To give you a very quick idea of what I mean, take a look at this, where I was working with and assessing a GSD in rescue. Volunteers, staff and owners there also interact with the dogs and spend time with them as much as possible, whether by play, by volunteers coming out to walk dogs, by twits like me spending weekends and holidays at the rescue to help out or by having dogs out to interact with when we sit outside during our frequent tea and cake breaks.

FirstLeg Sun 11-Sep-11 21:03:37

coccyx - no need to be rude. I have googled - guinea pigs ARE from the Andes, and are quite hardy little things as a result. Some places advocate wintering them inside, many other places do not. It is not the same as a reptile which needs a temperature-controlled environment, guineas live outside halfway up mountains in the wild...

My previous guinea pigs have all lived long and happy lives outside - in fact now I come to think about it, I have never met anyone who has kept theirs inside biscuit.

It is just a shame these places are being so rigid when there are som may little guineas who need a good home (which I am confident we can provide).

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