When Pig Notes was launched in May 2006, the motivations were straightforward. We wanted to talk about how to properly care for guinea pigs. We wanted to share some day-in-the-life snapshots of guinea pig rescue. We wanted to raise our visibility, on the Web and elsewhere. And we wanted to do it without tapping out the small group of volunteers we had. And we wanted to do it without taking money away from the rescue animals.
On a personal note, though, there are other reasons that keep me writing week after week.
Reason #1: Enthusiasm
Like a lot of people who own guinea pigs...er, who are owned by guinea pigs...I like talking about them. They're bright, enchanting little souls who add a lot to their homes. They talk to you in a unique vocabulary of squeaks and squeals. They have their own version of purring, which lets you know they're happy. They always greet you. They're not afraid to boss you when they want a snack. They like to cuddle with you. They like to play with you, and like to play with their friends even more. Despite the misconceptions about them, they each have very unique personalities and it's a lot of fun to watch them interact with each other and with the humans they enslave. Pig Notes gives me a chance to get some of that out of my system.
Reason #2: Sharing
I read a lot, and I like to share what I find with like-minded people. It's either blog, or fill up people's inboxes. This seems like a better, and more efficient, option.
Reason #3: Making Noise
I'd like to think I'm giving guinea pigs another voice. Dogs, cats, horses, wildlife -- they have all had armies of people fighting for them and telling their individual stories for decades. By comparison, small and exotic animals have only recently had people start fighting for them (I was happy to see this ad from Petfinder, which features a piggie). By sharing the stories of these little critters, by trying to educate pet owners, perhaps we can decrease the number of surrenders, abandonments, and neglect cases.
Reason #4: Documenting The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
I'd like to think I'm helping to document our times. Those of us working in animal rescue and welfare have an obligation to document the awful things that some humans do to animals. We also have an obligation to document the kind and compassionate and generous things that other humans do for animals. The former holds a bright light and mirror up to the ugly, dark corners of our civilization and forces them to be cleaned up, ensures that justice is meted out on behalf of the animals who share this planet with us. The latter showcases the best that human civilization is capable of, shows that we are making progress...even if we're not making it as fast as we'd like.
It all makes me think of a great quote from Harriet Beecher Stowe:
Concern for animals is a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done.