Would you leave your guinea pigs out in the rain? Recently, two Massachusetts teen-agers did precisely that when they decided they no longer wanted to "deal with" their guinea pigs.
As we were told by the woman who brought the guinea pigs to us -- a volunteer with a cat rescue in Connecticut -- the girls had been neglecting the guinea pigs for some time. Their elderly and sick grandmother had been trying to find a new home for them to no avail; the girls were evidently not only uninterested in taking care of the guinea pigs, they wouldn't take responsibility for finding them a new home...or at least taking them to a shelter. On the day that Jean visited this house with her significant other, the teen-agers had dealt with their "pet problem" by putting the cage outside under the back porch and leaving the two piggies out in the rain.
Although Jean and her boyfriend knew nothing about guinea pigs, they said they "could not stand idly by and watch these two little girls suffer at the hands of two uncaring teen-agers." These guardian angels took the guinea pigs from the home, cleaned the cage, bathed the little ones in warm water and baby shampoo, changed the cage bedding (the pigs had been kept on cedar!) and food, washed the scum from the water bottle, and did what they could to keep the guinea pigs safe and warm.
At the same time Jean contacted us to see if we could help with Madison and Maxie, she was working through her network of veterinarian and shelter contacts to try to find a home for the girls. While they're humble about what they pitched in and did, it's not an overstatement to say Jean and her partner likely made the difference between life and death for Madison and Maxie.
Madison and Maxie did come to the rescue for a while, and despite their ordeal, their spirits and their health are remarkably none the worse for wear. Only about 18 months old now, they'll live a long and happy life with whatever family is lucky enough to adopt them. In fact, as I was finishing writing this and getting ready to post it, I learned that Amy and her family adopted Madison and Maxie tonight. They were so excited over the arrival of their new family members that they've already taken pictures of the girls in their big new C&C cage and sent them to us. For the pigs, things turned out well in the end.
But, returning to the other two girls -- the teen-agers -- one blunt and grouchy question remains in my mind. On what plane of existence do you have to be living to think it's acceptable to leave a pet out in the rain?