Rescue: should I?

drapricot

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Hello everyone!

I'm brand new to the forum, literally registered ten seconds ago. I'm Greek, 19 yo, and a college student with a hella lot of free time. I don't have any piggies, but I have been interested in them for so long and I've been researching for their care forever. I'm an experienced pet owner, however, having grown up with dozens of different kinds of pets, mostly small mammals and rodents. Plenty of rabbits too. But never a guinea pig. Currently I own a dog, and up until a few weeks ago I had a hedgehog whom I absolutely loved, who unfortunately passed away in my arms due to aging. And even though I can't bring myself to even look at another hedgie right now, my room feels too empty (my dog sleeps in a pen in the living room). I've always wanted to get a guinea pig at some point, so I've done my research through the years and I know a handful of things about their care. Of course that wouldn't stop me from keep being engaged and learning more things about them on a constant bases, but what I'm saying is that I know the basics.

Sorry for the long intro but I needed you all to know where I stand. I'm somebody who takes seriously the commitment of having a pet.

So having said all that, I causally visited a local pet store the other day to get some stuff for my dog, and I bumped upon some piggies. I normally DON'T buy animals from pet stores for all the reasons we all know. However I seriously considered getting one this time, for the mere reason that their cage was TINY and so dirty, the conditions they were living under horrible. And it was so many of them in this tiny cage and goodness, my heart broke. And there was this one little black guy whom I instantly felt this strong connection with, and I just needed to get him out of there.

Now, I have a free spot in my heart for a new pet. I also literally have an empty cage in my room (big enough to hold a piggy). And I fell for that little dude.
BUT.
This major problem I'm having is that I cannot take more than one. Firstly because I'm still living with my parents and they have this strict rule of one pet per bedroom (rightly so, cause I would have made a zoo by now lol). But most importantly because I can't provide for more than one. Don't get me wrong, of course I have money on the side for vet and emergencies, and I'm not too tight economically, but on a regular basis the double amounts of food and bedding and possible vet bills are something I cannot cope with. I cannot get more than one pet.

Obviously I know piggies are very social and vocal creatures and need to be in groups or at least pairs. Which is exactly why I'm starting this thread. I need your advice, experts. Only taking into account the well being of this certain black little guy, which alternative do you believe is best? I KNOW neither is ideal, which is why I'm asking. Should I leave him as he is, in a very small, dirty and crowded cage where he is seriously neglected but he has the company of other pigs, or should I get him and give him a much bigger cage and the proper care, but no buddies with him? Obviously I don't want him to get lonely or depressed so if the pet store is better I will leave him be and look for other alternatives for a pet. But then again, I have a LOT of free time in my hands and I'm home 80% of the day, and I also have the friendliest and softest with other pets dog, so he will have us. But I recognize that might not be enough.

I honestly don't know in which case he will be happiest, having no experience with guinea pigs and their needs, which is why I'm asking you. Thoughts?
 

lildog5

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As you already pointed out guinea pigs are very sociable animals . However it’s hard to tell because I know you would give the pig a much better home but it would be lonely. What you could alternatively look for is to adopt a guinea pig as sometimes they are already by them selves for multiple reasons .
 

Little Ones

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Most pet store animals are adopted in about 1-2 weeks, getting one would not be in the best interest of the guinea pig as they absolutely cannot live alone, it’s just not fair - take it from someone who owned just one guinea pig when I was 14, the guilt still haunts me sometimes. Therefore, if getting one is your only option I’d say don’t do it, someone will most likely buy him soon anyway and perhaps will be able to provide a more suitable home
 

Lady Kelly

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I agree with Little Ones. As you appreciate that piggies would be best kept as pairs minimum then by buying one you would solely be looking after your best interests rather than that of the piggy. What if your piggy doesn't keep well on their own and goes into acute pining? Whilst acute pining isn't overly common they could stop eating and then you would have no option but to get a second or to let them pass painfully.
 

Wiebke

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Hello everyone!

I'm brand new to the forum, literally registered ten seconds ago. I'm Greek, 19 yo, and a college student with a hella lot of free time. I don't have any piggies, but I have been interested in them for so long and I've been researching for their care forever. I'm an experienced pet owner, however, having grown up with dozens of different kinds of pets, mostly small mammals and rodents. Plenty of rabbits too. But never a guinea pig. Currently I own a dog, and up until a few weeks ago I had a hedgehog whom I absolutely loved, who unfortunately passed away in my arms due to aging. And even though I can't bring myself to even look at another hedgie right now, my room feels too empty (my dog sleeps in a pen in the living room). I've always wanted to get a guinea pig at some point, so I've done my research through the years and I know a handful of things about their care. Of course that wouldn't stop me from keep being engaged and learning more things about them on a constant bases, but what I'm saying is that I know the basics.

Sorry for the long intro but I needed you all to know where I stand. I'm somebody who takes seriously the commitment of having a pet.

So having said all that, I causally visited a local pet store the other day to get some stuff for my dog, and I bumped upon some piggies. I normally DON'T buy animals from pet stores for all the reasons we all know. However I seriously considered getting one this time, for the mere reason that their cage was TINY and so dirty, the conditions they were living under horrible. And it was so many of them in this tiny cage and goodness, my heart broke. And there was this one little black guy whom I instantly felt this strong connection with, and I just needed to get him out of there.

Now, I have a free spot in my heart for a new pet. I also literally have an empty cage in my room (big enough to hold a piggy). And I fell for that little dude.
BUT.
This major problem I'm having is that I cannot take more than one. Firstly because I'm still living with my parents and they have this strict rule of one pet per bedroom (rightly so, cause I would have made a zoo by now lol). But most importantly because I can't provide for more than one. Don't get me wrong, of course I have money on the side for vet and emergencies, and I'm not too tight economically, but on a regular basis the double amounts of food and bedding and possible vet bills are something I cannot cope with. I cannot get more than one pet.

Obviously I know piggies are very social and vocal creatures and need to be in groups or at least pairs. Which is exactly why I'm starting this thread. I need your advice, experts. Only taking into account the well being of this certain black little guy, which alternative do you believe is best? I KNOW neither is ideal, which is why I'm asking. Should I leave him as he is, in a very small, dirty and crowded cage where he is seriously neglected but he has the company of other pigs, or should I get him and give him a much bigger cage and the proper care, but no buddies with him? Obviously I don't want him to get lonely or depressed so if the pet store is better I will leave him be and look for other alternatives for a pet. But then again, I have a LOT of free time in my hands and I'm home 80% of the day, and I also have the friendliest and softest with other pets dog, so he will have us. But I recognize that might not be enough.

I honestly don't know in which case he will be happiest, having no experience with guinea pigs and their needs, which is why I'm asking you. Thoughts?
Hi and welcome

It is always a dilemma, but please be honest about whether you can give an animal you rescue really what it needs as a species. Otherwise it is not exactly a rescue, just a less bad home. It is important that you are you honest with yourself in this aspect. Good intentions are important and they are very much to your credit, but you need to be able to follow through or you ultimately fail any animal you try to save.

Guinea pigs are ground roaming animals that live in groups. They do not only need companionship, they also need space to run and move around in order to stay healthy; and that minimal space is pretty much the same for one guinea pig as it is for two.
Both these aspects in combination are the single most important for long term physical and mental health. Sadly shop cages are still far too often a size that may be minimal for a single hamster, but that is definitely NOT appropriate for guinea pigs, single or not! :(
Cage Size Guide
This link here may give you an idea why space is as important as companionship: Enrichment Ideas for Guinea Pigs

My Dylan ended up with atrophied muscles at his back end from being kept in a hamster cage for over two years before he was advertised as a no longer wanted pet and was lucky to be picked up by a proper guinea pig rescue. He could not not walk the length of a normal cage without his back legs giving way and him having to hop. It has taken me weeks of daily exercise time and extra vitamin C to gradually build up his muscles. It has taken even longer to find him a suitable companion (after several failures along the way) because of his social deficits from living alone right through his formative pre-teenage months.
Dylan (who was neutered by the rescue before being put up for adoption) was lucky in that I have the space and the options to ultimately find him a baby girl from the same rescue that hasn't challenged him at any point (although she is coming up to the most challenging period of the teenage months now) after a gentle baby boy failed when he reached the teenage months and are no longer willing to concede total submission.
I am telling his story as an illustration of what even a well-meant rescue can mean for the guinea pig in question if you cannot give him what he really needs. We know from other previous Greek forum members that guinea pig welfare sadly has still got a long way to go in your country although the internet is thankfully speeding up the process somewhat.

Nearly 50 years ago, we had our first single guinea pig. To this day I rue that as a teenager I didn't stand up more to my mother about asking our neighbour whether their bereaved amd rather neglected single boar could come and live with our boy forever instead of spending joint lawn time and always ending up squeezed together tightly in the smallest hut by the end as often as I could sneak him out... :(

You may find our new owners guide collection helpful in finding out just how many aspects go into keeping them to the standard that you would like to want to keep them knowing that you are doing them justice. Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides

It is a very tough ethical dilemma for you, and it really needs some serious thinking through. But it speaks well of you that you are aware and that you are asking before you rush in blindly.
 

Lady Kelly

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I would just like to add to this because if it's a matter of convincing parents. There is very little difference between getting one and getting two piggies. The minimum cage size requirement stays the same, the food isn't much difference and neither is the cleaning. If you find your heart strings being pulled by the pet shop standards all I can say is you can't save them all, you can buy the one or two you have seen but by the next day there will be new babies put in exactly the same conditions ready for someone else to buy. I often have to remind myself this otherwise I'd be overrun with piggies
 

artcasper

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It's nice that you wish to have a guinea pig, they do bring such joy but as others have said best to get 2... x
 
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