Have you ever wanted to personally get involved in the rescue of guinea pigs? We are always in need of good, loving homes to temporarily house guinea pigs until they are adopted. Fostering is a major help to both the rescue and pets in foster care. It helps ease the load of caring for multiple guinea pigs, and the foster pets get more one-on-one attention and care. Also, the pet’s personality blossoms and helps us get to know him better so that we can better match him or her to a new adopting family. It's a win-win for all!
What is my responsibility as a foster parent?
1. You provide shelter, feeding, and general care including a clean environment in your home for as long as you are able OR until the pet finds a permanent home.
2. The guinea pig will need exercise time (out of the cage) each day in a guinea pig appropriate area of your home such as a playpen or a kitchen or hallway with blocked-off exits that has no electrical cords or other dangers that the guinea pig can reach.
3. The guinea pig especially needs socialization to humans. You will need to handle, pet, and talk to the guinea pig on a regular basis.
4. Keep SWFL Guinea Pigs updated with any personality, behavior, or health changes. A quick e-mail or phone call once a week with an update is sufficient.
5. Be available to bring the fostered guinea pig to adoption days when requested or back to the rescue to meet with potential adopters (unless you are fostering as a test-run to adopt). This is done by appointment only and will be arranged with your schedule in mind.
6. SWFL Guinea Pigs will provide any medical care the guinea pig might need before going into foster care. If additional care is needed, please contact SWFL Guinea Pigs first before visiting a veterinarian.
How much will it cost to get started?
Absolutely nothing unless you want to help – SWFL Guinea Pigs will supply any items that you do not already have or are able to provide in order to get set up, including a cage, washable bedding, food bowls & water bottles, hay, and pellets. Once the food and hay we’ve provided at the onset is used up we ask that you provide the animals with a quality Timothy hay (we use Small Pet Select brand) and pellets (Oxbow is preferred). You will also need to provide fresh veggies and 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.
Do I get to pick which guinea pig I foster?
Yes! As long as the guinea pigs you want is not already in a foster home, you can take whichever guinea pigs you prefer. If you aren't sure which one you might like, you may come to the rescue and meet them before you choose. Of course, we can help you decide based on your schedule and space available, as well as previous guinea pig-keeping experience and personality-type desired. Be aware that if you choose a particularly cute or very sweet guinea pig, it may not be long before it finds a potential home, and you may be asked to bring it to adoption day often. :)
Would fostering one animal for a few weeks really matter?
Absolutely! Providing foster care is a significant service.
1. Fostering allows the guinea pig more exercise time and socialization than it would receive at the main house.
2. Being under the supervision of the same individual or family long-term allows a guinea pig's personality to truly be observed, which helps when posting its profile online and finding it the best matching home.
3. For our waiting list pets, it helps guinea pigs get out of their situation faster so they can be into a new home sooner!
4. Fostering allows you to do a wonderful deed for an abandoned animal without a long-term commitment.
We strongly prefer to have foster homes within 30 to 40 minutes of the rescue’s location in Arcadia, FL. Foster pigs, if/when illness arises, are treated by the rescue’s veterinarians at Charlotte Animal Hospital in Port Charlotte, FL. 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 us and the foster caregivers.