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From the Mail Bag (or Inbox!) this Year

Even though we've provided a Your Thoughts page, many people like to write a personal email for comments and feedback. We wanted to share them with you (privacy protected, of course). Most of it is positive and encouraging. We know there are negative components to this site, so we want to provide some balance. Some comments are just about the site, some are follow-ups from adoptions. " . . ." means we've omitted personal information or specific questions. Comments from us are in this color and are only to add clarification.

This Year, 2002
I am going to get  my first guinea pigs in the next month or so. I recently bought a large pig cage @ Petco. Then I found your webpage and all the wonderful cages people have made. I'm taking the cage back and plan to make my own out of the cubes and Coroplast board. I plan to make a rather large cage about 2 X 6 with a upper area of 1 x 4. I also will put tops on the cage as I have cats and don't want my piggies hurt. I will send pictures when it is completed.   

Thanks again for such a wonderful website. It is so well organized and contains much more info than other sites combined.

Terri 9/5/02

My name is Tomomi writing from a radio station in Japan, ZIP-FM. I read an article about your adoption trek across the US and thought it was quite interesting. We are now wondering if it's possible to do a telephone interview with you on our radio show and talk about the trek and also your organization. The interview is for about 5 minutes in English and we are going to translate it into Japanese for our listeners. Please let me know if this can be done. Thank you very much. (I did the interview, I have the tape--have to get it converted for the Hollister page)
Tomomi 8/6/02
Thank you for taking the time to make this website.  I have learned a lot about the importance of large spaces for the piggies to roam and live.  Most first time pig owners have no idea how much is adequate to keep a guinea pig happy and thriving.  Please keep up the good work I will visit the site often to look for updates and new ideas.

Lynette 8/6/02

I hope sincerely that you find homes for guineas to be loved pets but . . . . if not, rather than have the guineas starve and suffer perhaps they could do good with their deaths. I know in Peru they eat them, so perhaps they could be sold to expatriates as a food source (the proceeds going to your rescue organization) or maybe shipped to Peru with proceeds again as above.  (no comment or reply sent)
E. 8/1/02
About 2 months ago, I bought 2 sows from Petsmart. They told me that they were both 3 months old and that was on May 29. Well yesterday one of my sows had 2 piglets. I called Petsmart back and they told me it was impossible for my sow to have had piglets, so they won't help. But I have these 2 adorable piglets which are already running around, one even tried to eat hay today and no worry's mom's doing great. But the amazing thing is, she still looks like she always did, I can't tell that she was pregnant. So I'm stuck. I went through your website and I know its awful to dump them in a shelter but I never intended to have piglets. That's why I got 2 sows. What should I do? I don't want to get rid of them because my sow is so protective of them, but what if there are males? If they were sows, I might be able to keep them with some cage expansion, but shouldn't the pet store have to take some responsibility? Thank you for any tips you can provide.  (replied appropriately)

Ambrosia 7/24/02

I just wanted to let you know that I saw you on the news the other night regarding all the little guinea pigs that need a home. I got in on the tail end of it so I did not get the full story. I do know there were quite a few and that a lot of the females were pregnant. Boy I really learned a lesson regarding these little guys when my female had the 7. Remember I told you how she lost all her hair and got scabs all over her? Well the vet gave me medicine and I am happy to say she is back to normal again. Eleanor went through a lot and she is just precious, I would not give her up for anything. I got the rest good homes (I think) and ended up keeping two female, Maggie (the blonde) and Molly is all black like her Mama. Good luck with your rescues, you are a great person for taking such an interest in these animals fate!
Kathy 7/15/02
I would like to find out how I can help the animals in this city! The Clovis Animal Shelter has been seen storing euthanized animals in piles in the back room. This shouldn't be the way that we deal with the overpopulation issues!

Windy 7/14/02

This is by far the best website I have ever seen!!! Out of years of 'surfing numerous subject matters, your site just blew me away!! Not only is it easy to maneuver, user friendly and aesthetically pleasing, it also gives exact instructions to build the piggie cages from where to buy the material to the picture of the box cutter to cut the Coroplast!! I couldn't have asked for better guidance. :0)   

Thank you for your explicit instructions on how to build these cages. My piggies and I can't thank you enough!!   

BTW - do you know where I can get more plastic connectors for the cubes? I've run out!!  (replied appropriately)
Susan 7/12/02
I live down in South Orange County, I know that you are up north, but I wanted to know if you knew of anyone down here with an adoption home. I found a guinea pig by the dumpsters of my apartment complex. She (I think it's a she) was in a cage with some food in it. It looked like someone had just abandoned her there. I took her into my home after it had been a few hours and no one came back for her. I can not keep her though, I am 20, a college student, and I am moving in a few weeks to San Diego. I have had her in my home for about a week, and she is so cute, but I just can't keep her. If I could, I would. I just don't have the money really and wasn't expecting to have her here with me, and I barely have any time to care for her. I went and bought her food for the mean time while I am trying to figure out what to do with her. If you know anyone down in this area or have another suggestion, I would love to hear it. I know that you have so many of these little guys and no homes for them, and now I am emailing you about one that I found. I would love to hear from you. I check my emails every evening, so please write me back and let me know if you can help out at all.  (replied appropriately)

Amber 6/26/02

Don't yell at me. Your website on not breeding guinea pigs came across as very rude.  I am on the internet trying to find facts on certain subjects, not be yelled at by some moron that thinks they know everything. The risk of a Sow dying during, or after birth is more like 10%.  I have been breeding guinea pigs for 5 years, and have never had a litter larger than 6.  They all go to good homes at not for profit prices.  You act like everyone out there is going to keep 10 pigs is a 2 foot cage.  If there is adequate room (2 square feet per pig), there is no worry about the mother killing the young.  You need to get your facts straight before you start ordering people around.

Yes, the breeding page on my rescue site is strongly worded. My intention is for it to be noticed and for people to experience a reaction, rather than ignore the important message and facts it presents. I consider it successful in achieving this goal. I regularly get compliments on the directness and thought-provoking content.

It is not intended to be pleasant reading for those involved in breeding. It is not intended to be encouraging about breeding, nor to present a "how-to" guide for aspiring breeders. That much is quite clear from the opening paragraph. It is intended to open the eyes of someone who is contemplating the idea of breeding their pets. And for quite a few undecided pet owners, it's already helped them make an informed and responsible decision, NOT to breed.

A link to reliable sources of information on pregnancy, labor and delivery is provided for those unintentionally finding themselves with a pregnant sow. This happens far too frequently as a result of ignorance and cavalier attitudes on the part of pet store operators and others selling pet guinea pigs.

The president of the American Cavy Breeder's Association is the source of the 20% mortality risk figure. I suggest you take it up with him, if you disagree with that figure. Even if it was 10%, I would never suggest someone breed their pets with a ONE in TEN chance that the sow will die!

The page explicitly states: "Typical litters average 3 to 4." Just because you've personally never had a litter larger than 6, in only 5 years of experience, you think it doesn't happen?

You obviously failed to understand the message of half the page. I don't care what price you sell your pigs for. I don't care if you sell them for $1000 or ZERO--the amount makes no difference to me. The point is that every pig you produce and sell takes a potential home away from one sitting on death row in a shelter or at a rescue, or from someone looking to rehome their guinea pig or it's unwanted litter from a pet store mistake. Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, many shelters nationwide are full with guinea pigs. Deprived of adoptive homes, they are destined for euthanasia.

I wrote nothing about the mother killing her young. I do say that 2 square feet per pig is too small--and hundreds upon hundreds (and more every day) of cavy people agree. Go to www.guineapigcages.com and see for yourself. Two square feet is definitely breeder standards, though . . .

Anonymous 6/25/02
My daughters and I just bought 2 male guinea pigs about a month ago. We bought them at Petsmart, but I honestly did ask the salesman if they had guinea pigs at the local shelter and he said "...no when people want to get rid of their guinea pigs they bring them here or to other pet stores." I was dumb enough to believe him. He also sold us a rabbit cage that had a wire bottom!! Luckily I was smart enough to think "hey won't they break their legs if they take off running in that thing and a leg gets stuck in the wires?" So off we went and bought a Guinea Pig cage (now at this point I'd spent over $90 on cages). Eventually I found your web site and in turn found C&C cages and now my boys have a 36 square foot cage that they are very happy in.

I started reading these posts about females and babies, and
saw all those adorable baby pictures and you can guess....I got "baby fever". I even went so far as to look for female guinea pigs listed on the net in my area. Then I read your section on "so you think you want babies" and let me tell you I no longer want any baby piggies, I don't want a female within 5 miles of my boys...and if that wasn't enough to change my mind the photos of all those cages full of unwanted piggies that fill your home definitely did the trick.

So to make a long story a little shorter...THANK YOU, from me, my boys and
that female...whoever she is...that I almost tortured.

Tina 6/19/02

I am currently doing research on keeping guinea pigs as pets. So far cavyspirit and cavycages just absolutely crush all other sources of information I've come across. I am very thankful to have found them and I am very thankful to you for creating them. I've found few truly informative books and there is a lot of conflicting info on the web. I love how cavyspirit is more than just an informational page, it is a community. It helped me to get in touch with a local cavy rescue organization and track down some piggies in need of help . . . 
Justin 6/18/02
I just want to tell you how much your web site has impacted our lives. I'll try to make this brief :-) We went to check grooming prices for our dog, when my kids spotted the guinea pigs. I used to raise them when I was their age and I admit to having to hold one "for old times sake." Well, I guess I had forgotten the magic those little critters can work on you. Next thing I know, I'm telling them I'll discuss it with their dad and "We'll see." My next stop was the internet to find out how to build a cage (my dad built mine years ago.) That brought me to the guineapigcages.com site. I loved the idea for the cage (especially since I had extra cubes here that I needed to find a use for!) I called a local sign company and they sold me Coroplast at wholesale because they thought it was so cute that I was making my own cage :-) I read more on your site about Cavy Spirit and I called locally and found "the Guinea Pig Lady" who does the local rescues. We went out today and started the adoption process for two boys, about a year old, who had been abandoned in a parking lot. They had been nursed back to health over the last 3 months, and were headed to a new foster home if they didn't place by the end of the month. (The family was going on vacation.) All around I think this was answered prayers. Your Cavy Spirit caught here and I just wanted to pass along blessings for the blessing that you have brought all of us!

Allyse 6/12/02

I just needed to write to you to say "Thanks" for your wonderful website. I cannot imagine how much time you have volunteered to build your website in order to educate the public on how to properly care for these wonderful babies!

I am literally speaking when I say babies, here is what I mean:
I am a pet care provider here in Phoenix and I am also deeply involved in animal rescue. I generally rescue Cats, Dogs and Ferrets; however, in December, I could no longer stand to see the way one of my clients was neglecting his cavies and after caring for them a few times, I had come to love them. I approached him on the topic and offered to take them. He agreed!  I was so excited to be taking in my first cavies. I had done some research but not enough. After having "Ivan" and "Merv" for some time, I found your website. What a delight.  I am so pleased to have somewhere to look for good information. Luckily, due to being involved with ferrets, I already have a wonderful vet who has also been helpful.  

About a month ago, I rescued a pregnant pair and only 2 1/2 weeks after the babies were born, my sweet little momma died. The babies are all very strong and doing great. 2 of them are grey like your newest litter on the webcam and 1 of them is a beautiful chocolate color with white hair growing in at the base of each of her cowlicks. Talk about adorable! Thanks to your great information and helpful photos on sexing, I am confident that I have 3 girls. Initially, I had planned on rehoming the babies and keeping the pair together after having "Peder" neutered. Now that "Petunia" has passed on, I have introduced Peder to Ivan and Merv and am going to keep the baby girls in a separate cage. I have built a double decker cage of cubes and coroplast and have the 3 boys on the bottom and my 3 baby girls on the top! I am in piggie heaven and hope they are enjoying their much improved lives as well.

Petunia was a good mamma and I miss her dearly. I sure wish she could have stuck it out to experience a good life. She was just over a year old and had been pregnant and having babies her whole life. She just couldn't last any longer. It breaks my heart.

I will continue to return to your website for any updates and valuable information. Thanks again and please keep up the great work!
Becky 6/9/02
I read your page on breeding Guinea Pigs. I think it's a little harsh.  I've already read into all those problems and I still plan on breeding.  First of all, if you discourage breeding of Guinea Pigs people who want a pet guinea pig will resort to going to pet stores.  This just aids pet stores.  Plus I have already had half our block say they want one of the babies if I breed.  Of course not all of them are going to get one because I have scene how responsible some families are over others.  I just dont think you should discourage breeding so much.  Instead you should make sure future breeders know the responsibilities of finding responsible owners for their babies.

Molly 5/20/02

That's too bad there are so many unwanted pigs in your area still. I went to the humane society near me to drop off some pig food, as I am at my limit, and there were too many needing homes. Rabbits, pigs, chinchillas, rats and hamsters....all without homes. I hadn't been in a while, and I felt really bad not having room for them. At least this is a no kill shelter, so they have a chance. It is just sad for them to not have the love of a real home. I think there are more homeless animals since the "big chain pet stores" showed up in our area. Before that, there were barely ever small animals needing a home..
Lisa 5/19/02
After we got home on Saturday, all of us and the equipment made it upstairs. I put the cage together in about twenty minutes and it is not hard. It looks great and Fionna, Abby, and Pork Chop (Porky) seem quite content. It is so easy for me to sit and watch them. They bring me a lot of joy.

I really appreciate what you did for all of us. I feel a little more knowledgeable now and I will continue to seek out information. I am really impressed with your setup. All of my friends have and heard are hearing about it. Thanks so much. I know I will be visiting again some day. If there is ever anything I can do to help you with your little friends, please let me know.

Maria 5/13/02

I bought 2 guinea pigs from a pet shop believing them to be 2 girls. Wrong they were a boy and a girl. So anyway the girl eventually had 5 babies, 1 girl 4 boys. So what I've done is obviously separated the girls from the boys. I've got the dad in a cage on his own, the mother and daughter is in another cage, and the 4 boys in another cage -- which is huge. But the problem is they seem to be fighting. I thought that with them all being brought up together they would have got along. I would appreciate any advice you could give me. Thank you very much.
Susie 5/7/02
Just wanted to take a moment and let you know how valuable your site has been in my search for information on cavies. Your site has given me the most thorough knowledge of our little friends and I especially appreciate the instructions for the C&C cages. Mine have been in their new cubes and Coroplast home for a few months now and really love it. I wanted you to know that your site is indispensable!

Emily 5/5/02

Could somebody tell me if there are any organizations like yours in the Youngstown, Ohio area? I was very impressed with your web site and would like to find a similar group in my area. Our family has recently purchased a cavy and as you can guess we have fallen in love with it and would like to get another. I was not happy with the lack of knowledge at the pet store where we got this one. Nobody could tell me what sex or how old it was "we just get them in and ship them out, can't tell you anything about that." And this was a major chain ! Well anyway I would appreciate any information you could pass on to me.
Toni 4/21/02
We've been looking at your website for since July of last year. We picked up a guinea pig from a friend...who after buying it found out that her 5 year old son, just wasn't ready for it.  So, with our love of animals we took it on and she has been a real joy to have.  

We are not too familiar with them as this is the first we have ever had.  We have rabbits, birds and dogs.  I have a few questions......

(Then later. . .)
I've checked out the cages, that you talk about in your sections.....and as I can understand, how you want a huge home for the guinea, I can't help but think that a smaller home would be just as good as it would not hinder the love and care of the "little ones".

With our other group of animals that we have , the only place that would be able to house such a huge home for the guinea, would be our garage....and I wouldn't do that, a garage is for stuff....not for our animals.  So.....

Anonymous 4/8/02

I am a very first time cavy owner. My Mom bought me a guinea pig from Petland for keeping my grades up and she was pregnant. A little less than a month later she had her babies. She gave birth to four beautiful babies. But unfortunately she lost the fourth one. Any way I bought another one (named Willy). So now I have 5 curios and active cavies. Your website has been WONDERFUL! If it hadn't been for you (and the help from Seagull's site) I would have no idea how to care for my cavies. Thanks to you now I have happy, healthy guinea pigs. I made the same type of cages you have on your site and they love them. The mommy (Gwen) has room to run around as her mischievous little babies (Ebony, Allspice and Eddie) follow her. Willy is in another cage (but the same type). . . .
Cindy 4/6/02
I got a 8 week old guinea pig for my 4 year old and brought it back to the pet store the same day. She was very sweet, but I didn't understand what she was telling me by the sounds she was making and want to give any animal I own the best possible care. She was sitting on our lap and as my self and my children stroked her back gently she began to chuckle almost like a squirrel barking. When we would pick her up sometimes she would sqeek too. I have heard some cavy sounds at a web site and I am definatly confused, LOL.

I want to find a reputable breeder in Louisiana so that I can get a young female pair to join our family. I don't really trust the pet shop where I bought the cavy. I have seen animals vomit and when I tell them they say oh it did and walk right by the animal without a second glance. They also have bredd their hampsters out of popularity. How much do 8 week old guineas go for anyway. I paid $24.07 for the one I had with tax included.

I have never had a guinea, but the little one I had for a few hours has got me hooked. Can anyone give me a little help? I wouldn't mind adopting one, but I can't afford to go to another state and I would like it to be given a clean bill of health from a vet. I thank anyone in advance for any help I recieve.

Anonymous 3/29/02

janet.jpg (36401 bytes)I'm SO glad you are getting this awesome opportunity to speak up for the animals!!! Attached are a few photos of a guinea pig that I took in a few months ago. Her name was Bessie and she lived only three days after she came to us despite all our best efforts. She had come from a pet store in our area.  She had an extremely advanced case of scurvy (lack of Vitamin C) and horrible mites. On top of this she was close to full term in pregnancy as they were not separated by sex at this store. I hope her sad story will be a help to all of the other innocent animals who end up at a pet store.
Janet Adams, Knoxville GP Rescue 3/28/02
I am so glad that I found your wonderful site. I have had Phoebe, my cavy, for about 5 years. When we brought her home from the Humane Soc, she lived sort of "free range" in a room of our house with our 3 bunnies. Eventually they passed away (they were all seniors) and I decided she should get a regular cage. This is when I realized how pathetic the choices were at stores! About 2 years ago I saw the Sunflower Garden cage online and attempted to copy that. It was bigger and nicer than what was available at the pet stores, but lately I had been feeling the urge to redo it somehow. I just didn't know what I could do differently for the bottom. Well, these cages are perfect! Even undecorated they are cute. 

I was *just* about to purchase a small 2 story cage that was for ferrets. It was nice but my sweetie is getting to be a senior herself now and I don't even know if she could use the ramps. The base of the cage was smaller than what she currently has. Thank you for this web site and all the detailed instructions and pictures. It's really inspiring. I am sure that many piggies will be getting upgraded accommodations. I was really happy to see so many ideas for cages now...they were hard to come by a few years ago.

Carrie 3/26/02

As a former computer programmer, I must say: This is the most gorgeous and well organized web site I've ever seen!

I was hoping to get cage ideas for my chinchilla, but I think the chinchilla would eat too much of the Coroplast and am not sure if the coating on the cubes is chinchilla proof. Or the connectors.  She eats plastic of any consistency. Unlike the guinea pigs, who might "nibble" a little, she chews industriously and efficiently. I'm giving in and getting one of those Tommy 120 cages. Her current cage is only 24 X 14, way too small, even with a wheel, which she adores.  I had no idea gp could not use wheels.  Many years ago, I had one for a few weeks, and constructed a cage. I did everything wrong: I used linoleum, chicken wire, and cedar shavings (dangerous and smelly). Neither of us was very happy, and I put an ad in the paper. I was replaced with an eight year old.  I love the sounds guinea pigs make.

Michael 3/11/02
Thank you so much for your excellent, professional website. Great educational information in an easy-to-read, interesting format. The pictures are adorable. It's comforting to know of other cavy lovers. Someone's got to watch out for these precious, timid little creatures.

Sandy 3/11/02

Not knowing any better recently I adopted 2 beautiful cavies at a local PetsMart, (Bert & Ernie) after three long weeks we lost Ernie to an upper respiratory infection. I took him to 4 different vet's in the area, with no success. It was very difficult for my family because in just the 3 weeks Ernie touched us with his little personality, we miss him greatly. Anyway we still have Bert & his new partner in crime Rosie (who incidentally turned out to be pregnant). After looking at your web site and having falling in love with cavies my mother, sister and I are considering starting up a rescue. Here in Oklahoma I can't find any rescues for cavies and I called several animal shelters in the area to find out if they receive many cavies, they do but they put the poor little things down after 1-2 days. 

But we don't know how to get started; please I know you are terribly busy with taking care of your rescue, but if you get a spare chance and wouldn't mind talking to me, we would love some pointers . . .
(we replied, of course)
Ebi 3/8/02
By the way, two of the Humane Soc. of Sonoma Co.'s guinea pigs were adopted because of Cavy Classifieds - proved more powerful than their television appearance. Thanks so much! (She is referring to the Cavy Classifieds.)

Kathy 3/5/02

How ya doing! I am so excited about my big, hot, compost pile that I posted a reminder to people on the California exchange forum to see if I can drum you up some other people who would like it. Hope that's OK. I'll remind people there and in the compost forum once in a while for ya . . .

Guinea pig manure!! Attached is a pic of the "finished product". It seems
that about a scant truckload of piggen stuff (my first two visits) combined with some starbucks grounds and misc stuff makes about two small wheelbarrows of mostly finished compost, plus about a hefty bag worth of unfinished stuff that I sifted out and put in the working pile (which is made of the ton of stuff I got last time) to finish up. Taking pictures of compost, am I crazy or what! :) I'll keep my ears open for any gardening pals, or maybe a local organic group or community garden that might want your stuff. I'll prolly be ready for more in a few weeks.

Elizabeth 3/4/02

I was going over the web and found your website.  I'm a 20-yr-old first time owner to a 10 month-old boar named Angus.  I am moving to another apartment and became insistent that Angus come with me.  As soon as Angus and I have settled in Angus will be getting a baby brother.

I was reading over about Son and I wanted to tell you about my Angus.  Son sounds like such a sweet guinea pig and will bless lives.  Angus is also a special needs guinea pig.  I bought Angus from PetsMart when he was 3 months old.  I took him home and he and I managed to bond over the next couple of months.  I was told at PetsMart that Angus was the runt of a litter of four and his parents were show pigs.  Three boars and one sow was in this litter and the sow was the only one show quality.  The couple gave the three brothers to PetsMart.

Angus and I managed to bond and Angus spends many nights playing with me.  I began to notice that Angus had an excessive water consumption.  He would drink 2 to three bottle of water a day.  The vet was worried that Angus might have diabetes, liver, or kidney problems. I was referred to a specialist.  (Oddly enough I thought about taking Angus to her for a vet when I first got him but decided the travel of 26 miles was excessive.  Guess I'll listen to my inner voice next time.) My plan was if it was painful for him to live and would be a lot of money, I'd put him down.

Well, his checkup found his tongue is infused to his lower jaw. His blood work came up fine (except for some parasites which is minor compared for what I had prepared myself for).  I have to soften his food for him and when I took Angus back for a recheck he had gained 123 grams in 2 weeks.

I am glad there is a group that takes care of guinea pigs that need help.  No one can forget the smallest of creatures.

Diana & Angus 2/22/02

We just adopted two guinea pigs from Marci in NJ.  When we were there we told her that we had used a web site to build our cage with Creative Cubes and Coroplast and what a great website that was.  Everything was spelled out so nicely.  She said that you had done that website.  I just wanted to tell you thank you and a job well-done!  These rescue groups are wonderful and the people running them are so dedicated.  Thank you, thank you.
Lisa 2/21/02
I've been doing a lot of research on guinea pigs, being that we were interested in getting a couple. This was when I discovered your site. Thank you for the wonderful information! I am so much better educated than I was previously. I had purchased a book, but the information was not accurate in regards to a few things, most of all the cage information. Thanks to you, our piggys are happy in a large Coroplast/cube home. You'll be happy to know we rescued 2 from Monterey SPCA. I am happy to report many people were viewing the sample Coroplast/cube cage they have set-up. They also asked me if I knew of your website so that I could make the cage. Of course, I did know of you, and had already had the cage ready and awaiting Timmy and Teddy's arrival. We love them very much!

On a not so happy note, I visited the Petco in Gilroy Ca. They had 2 cavies in a glass fish type cage with pine bedding to my horror! One had a lot of discharge in his eyes. They also appeared to be extremely young. I told the woman working there that the pine bedding was toxic. She replied, "That's what management tells us to use."  I told her, I see your using CareFresh for the rats cages, (right below the guinea's) why can't you use it for the guinea pigs?  "Oh, I'll talk to the manager about it."  I said good, you might tell him you have a sick guinea pig here as well. I don't no how much good I did. It sure made me mad though. I've also had to educate my neighbor down the street who has 2 cavies as well. Why don't people do research before they get a new animal? It's beyond me.

Leslie 1/31/02

You are doing such a great job on your website. I especially like the flyer you can printout yourself to promote your pigger(s) if you have to find new home for them. (She is referring to the Cavy Classifieds.)

The shelter that I volunteer at is down to one unneutered male cutie named Carrots. The one-eyed GinGin got adopted and the 4 babies went quickly. All my 16 are doing well except for my biter who I just got back from the vet as she was having blood discharge from her vagina. He managed to examine her without suffering a bite! I have to separate her out, put towels down and see if it's urinary or genital. Then we will proceed from there. Other than that, I've been very lucky so far!

I was interested in what you had to say about TFH publications -- about some of their works aren't reliable for the information they have as they are filled with sales pitches for pet store products. I just realized after I read that and looked at my collection that my Proper Care of Guinea Pigs by Peter Gurney is a TFH book! Being a reference librarian I was really suspicious when it first arrived because it has no copyright date and it also has an ASPCA seal of approval on the cover, but nowhere inside is there any endorsement by the ASPCA. Very misleading and suspicious, indeed.

I wonder if the ASPCA or Peter Gurney knows that they have reprinted his wonderful book. I ordered it from Amazon.com when they said the hardcover was out of print, but a paperback was available. Just curious, do you know anything about this version of the "cavy bible"? (If you have any info, you can respond on this thread.)

Karen 1/31/02

I was going to send you another email telling you how helpful I have found the information you guys have posted--especially about the cages. I have been researching some pet catalogs and was not happy with what I found--seemed inhumane. And now I know that I am not the only one--thanks for the support you guys have given these wonderful creatures. I am particularly impressed with the comments about limitation, and pushing education. (She is referring to a thread on the Cavy Rescue forum on How to start a small rescue in one's home.). I have had 2 instances just this morning where people thought that GPs only lived 1 to 2 years--and said they had had some as kids!. SHEESH!! Your brochure is wonderful! I am on a mission!

Louise 1/28/02


Thank you for all the wonderful good you are doing with this web site. 

I bought my first piggy at the Petco at 2445 West Vista Way in Oceanside, CA on 12-8-01, not knowing then how awful the conditions for piggies (& other animals) can be in Petco stores.  Thank goodness my sweet hubby had the instinct and luck to have picked out the precious piggy we named Chocolate Brownie, also known as C.B. or Brownie.  He was a young (nearly 4 months old we were told) adorable piggy who seemed very quiet compared to the others he was corralled in with within the glass walls of the small enclosure.  All the guinea pigs Petco had at that location were housed in only 2 small glass aquariums, side by side.  There must have been at least 10 or so in each of the tiny two 3ft. X 1ft. cells. 

But Brownie was different somehow from all of the other piggies who were rushing around the enclosure hurriedly - calmer, quieter.  He took to my hubby immediately, settling into the cradle of his big hands next to his chest.  We bought everything for Brownie from Petco that afternoon, his cage, food, hay, toys, treats, igloo, vitamin supplements, books on care, and bedding.  We asked if we should buy another piggy to keep him company, but the Petco staff said that since he was a male, he would do fine alone, so long as he got plenty of interaction with our family.  I think looking back he must have been thrilled to be set free and alone in his own spacious cage (we bought the biggest one we could find!)

We noticed that he was a male, yet he had been put in with all the females.  We would later find out why...Over the next few days, at home, we began to notice that something was wrong with Brownie:  he shook like a little old person as he walked, and leaned his little head to the right pronouncedly. He also 'vibrated' sometimes - which Petco employees told us (when we phoned that night) was 'normal' for piggies - and that it meant they were 'happy'.  Brownie felt warm to the touch.  We spent the night on the floor next to his cage to watch him closely.  He was not really eating a lot or drinking much either. 

On 12-13-01, we took him for his free visit at a local vet called Mohnacky Animal Hospital - they have an arrangement with Petco to see any animal purchased from Petco for 1 free initial visit. Brownie was met with such kindness and understanding and compassion at Mohnacky, we were relieved.  Turns out he had a bad bite on the back of his right ear, and the pus and infection had gone to his brain, causing neurological damage.  The poor little thing had been put in with the mature males (probably before he was mature enough to be put in that situation) and had gotten bitten.  That may be why they put him in with the females.(?)  The Veterinarians treated him with a shot of Corticosteroid to bring down the swelling on his brain, then injected him with an antibiotic, and instructed us to continue oral antibiotics (Baytril Suspension) for 2 weeks. 

We would bring him in for many, many more visits during those two weeks, just to monitor his progress.  More tests were performed at our request at the next visit on 12-17-01:  Scotch tape test, another Corticosteroid injection, fecal floatation test, and an ear treatment for an internal ear irritation.  A recheck was done on 12-20-01, on 12-26-01, and 12-28-01.  Petco balked at paying any fees beyond the 15 day 'warranty' period, but we stood our ground and demanded they pay for any and all of Brownie's expenses related to their negligence.  We tried to make friends and allies out of the employees at Petco, so as to ensure the health and welfare and improved conditions for all the rest of the piggies and other pets there. 

The first day we brought him into the Vet, he weighed 133 grams ~ by last week, he was up to 588 grams! :o) Next he developed mites (from Petco, too) & was given a shot of Ivermectin and told to bathe him once a week in an Episoothe Shampoo bath they gave us. But right after the shot, although the mites seemed to get better, his entire system seemed to get worse.  He lost his appetite, began to sleep lots more, and seemed listless.  His poops got lighter and loose.  His breathing seemed troubled and his little nose had to be wiped clean with a warm wash cloth frequently to keep nasal discharge from building up.  The Vet today looked at him and he had developed an upper respiratory infection due to the mites weakening his immune system. 

Poor baby, what a lot for such a dear little creature to bear!  His weight was down 20 grams to about to about 544 grams.  Being Sunday, a different Vet was on staff from his usual Doctor, so she assessed his situation freshly:  his neuro-muscular mobility impairment remains, though it seems to us to have greatly improved since he came to us.  The Vet decided to dispense with the mite medication (to delay the second dose injection) for now, as to allow Brownie some time to heal from the respiratory infection.  The doctor injected him with some fluids to help him and a shot of Baytril, sending us home with Baytril Suspension to give him daily for 2 weeks, after which we will bring him in for a check up. 

We treat him like the little prince that he is - we offer him all kinds of fresh veggies & fruit, make his home as comfortable as possible, play with him lots and give him love and attention constantly, and just adore him.  He loves sunlight so much, we go for walks down by the ocean so he can soak up some rays and vitamins.  I remember the first time he ever saw the sun ~ how he gazed at it in delight and dreaminess like a cat who found a sunny spot on the carpet.  How very dismal life must be for those precious piggies that must bear out life in the confines of a Petco or the like. 

God bless you Teresa for raising the awareness of how important it is for us to adopt our pet family members from sources besides conventional pet stores.  The Petco managers have clearly not been happy about it, but they have paid and continue to pay for all of Brownie's medical expenses that are incurred as a result of their negligence before we took him home with us.  Managers David and Scott have agreed to keep the guinea pigs in better quarters, more separated from now on. 

I go by at least once a week to make sure they're doing better, and Mohnacky Animal Hospital staff tells me that they are seeing many more of the guinea pigs from Petco lately.  That makes me feel really good, but there is still much to be done.  God bless you for all the important work you are doing, and the difference you are making in the lives of so many.

Taylor 1/20/02

My site is now on-line. The link is https://cavies.lightskies.net/. I translated your article "Why so big?" and I used some photos from the section "Cubes and Coroplast". You can find them in the section "Gabbie" (there are some references to your sites).
I know you can't read Italian, but you can tell me what you think about the general appearance of the site.

Thank you very much! P.S. your new Cavy Spirit site is really GREAT!!!

(this is a beautiful website, especially if you know Italian!)

Jeanne 1/17/02

First of all, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all the great stuff you keep putting on the web. It makes life so wonderful for piggies and their slaves everywhere and makes being owned by these little creatures so much FUN.

I just love the cube and Coroplast idea! I think I'm just about ready to make one finally, I'm going to use a 2ft x 4ft plastic office folding table. I'm going to try TAP Plastics (wholesaler) in SF for the Coroplast. With any luck I will be able to just walk it home since it's only a couple blocks away from my apartment. I'm so excited!

I'll let you know it turns out. I am a small animal volunteer at SFACC and I give out your site info to everyone even thinking about having cavies in the shelter and when shopping at the pet supply.

Anthony 1/11/02

I wanted to say that your newsletter and site is terrific! What great resources! And I must say that I'm thrilled about your policies on no breeding/showing. I'm letting my shelter contact know so she can use the tools on your site.
Sherri 1/11/02
Hi. I'm from the UK, I was very pleased to read your pages about guinea pigs. I have guinea pigs myself and found your information very interesting. I have 11 in total, 4 are which are babies at the moment. I have had guinea pigs for years. Thank you.

Hayley 1/10/02

. . . I enjoyed getting your newsletter! I really like the idea of the printout for piggies for adoption so people can hang it in various places. That's a great idea! And so easy, people won't be able to resist! . . .

Hey, I just read the post about the wood pellets where you posted a picture of the CareFresh you use per week!  Whew!  I can't believe it!  I really wish the wood pellets weren't so heavy as they are so economical.  Actually, I used to make my boys lug it around - I did have them put some of it around my bushes, but oh my, the mounds I did create!  If I kept it up, I'd have my own version of the Rocky Mountains right here in Missouri!
Donna 1/10/02
I love the newsletter...thank you for including me on your email list! I have some wonderful news -- after discovering the Cavy Rescue / Cavy Classifieds website from your first newsletter, my husband and I adopted two baby boys that were featured by the SF ACC !! They are still in the quarantine period, but we look forward to introducing them to our other two piggies, Simon and Henry.

Many, many thanks for all the work you do and for the information that you make available. If it wasn't for your assistance, we wouldn't have our two newest additions, Neptune and Pluto! I hope the situation in Monterey improves -- my goodness, they have a lot of piggies that needs homes :( I work in Santa Cruz and will spread the word...and I will probably make a trip down there myself (uh-oh!).

Congratulations on your progress toward becoming a non-profit! The Cavy Spirit website looks great -- you've done a wonderful job updating it! I see that Jeeves and Beauty were adopted :) Please give that adorable Mocha a kiss and a nuzzle from me!
Sharon 1/9/02
I absolutely love guinea pigs I currently have 9 very well cared for guinea pigs (almost a full time job!!). I live in England and I have looked at your web page and it's really good. We don't have many guinea pig rescues here and I would love to help rescue unwanted piggies! I love the guinea pig "Son," he's really sweet and I would love to have him (but I know that he can't be brought over here!) and I feel really sorry for the poor little thing! Good luck in rehoming all your piggies, they deserve it and happy new year.

Lucy 1/7/02




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