Have you heard about the Seattle Animal Shelter and the Great Guinea Pig Rescue of 2017? It was one of the largest state-wide transfers of rescued animals in recent memory. It is also the perfect example of the reach of the SAS Critter Program as it works to ease the plight of homeless and abandoned critters in our area.

This story starts last April when more than 90 guinea pigs were found dumped in a field in Umapine, OR. Authorities identified a local couple as being responsible and an additional 193 guinea pigs were eventually found at their home. The couple voluntarily surrendered these remaining animals. They explained that they were unaware of any resources to help them with the growing population which had started just three years ago with two males and one unspayed female. The situation became overwhelming.

Over 250 of these guinea pigs found their way to Blue Mountain Humane Society (BMHS) in Walla Walla. Many of the females were pregnant and there were many babies. BMHS transferred over 100 guinea pigs to the Portland area, the Tri-Cities and even to Utah.

Not only did SAS participate in this transfer by serving as a transport hub for Western Washington, it also accepted some guinea pigs into the shelter, most of whom were pregnant and all of whom were white! Of the 7 guinea pig moms we fostered, SAS saw the birth of 16 babies by mid-June. These births brought the total of our “white guinea pig army” to 23!

Staff and volunteers have worked strenuously in all areas to care for these animals both at the shelter and in foster care. To date, we are happy to report that all 7 moms and 11 of the babies have found their forever homes. Most recently, moms Hedwig and Big Mama found a loving home with a young piggy companion who recently lost her sister. It took 6 months, but they finally had a happy ending.

We are not quite finished yet. We still have five of the baby boys waiting for their chance to celebrate the new year in a forever home: Theodore & BB, Munchy & Michael, & Simon. We are almost there though!

As with all of SAS’ work with critters, we are very proud of our role in this rescue and having the support of the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation. These guinea pig stories are uplifting examples of what happens when people and organizations care, but they also shine a light on the plight of the “other” companion animals out there. As with all creatures, we need to reinforce responsible care in our society, including spay and neuter, and ensure that every animal finds the home they deserve.