From the Mail Bag in 2001 (or Inbox!)
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.
|2001 - It was a very good year!|
|I was looking at guinea pig sites, and I have enjoyed yours the most so far. I love how you have pictures of adoptees. |
I am a sucker for guinea pigs mainly because our first family pet was a tortoiseshell named Oscar. Plus, they're so darn cute! Today, I had the joy of bringing home the seventh guinea pig I've had since I fell in love with them over twenty years ago.
My sister and I support the idea of a guinea pig rescue. We live in Nebraska and didn't know that such an organization existed until I found your website. We agreed that we would be more than willing to be foster "parents" /or adopt from your organization if we lived nearby.
Keep up the good work.
|I just want to say hello and congratulate you on the wonderful and IMPORTANT work you are doing. I am becoming an outspoken advocate of small animals. I recently began volunteering for Animal Allies in Duluth, Minnesota, and promptly adopted four more rabbits, to add to my first pair. I also have four dogs so we're a busy household. I adopted the additional four as they were being offered out singly -- most people don't want pairs of rabbits, even though that is clearly the best way to go for already-bonded pairs. Anyway, while volunteering at the shelter with the rabbits -- three were found in a dumpster and brought to the shelter -- a guinea pig was surrendered to the shelter. He was too much work, I guess.|
He is the most beautiful little guy you can imagine. I'm still a little nervous around him but he is so alert and beautiful and NEEDS a good home. Another volunteer and I are deciding how to deal with him at the moment. I have offered to foster him -- to learn "on-the-job" as I have no experience in guinea pigs. I am fostering a bunny right now and they were side by side at the shelter so I believe he could go on top of the bunny cage. Anyway, I am yielding to the other volunteer's expertise. She has two guinea pigs already (girls) and may foster this boy herself. We will see what happens with him this week. I was shocked to learn that black piggies don't move as quickly as others. Well, he is perfectly beautiful to me -- as are the black dogs and cats -- so I'm ready to work with him if the need arises. Your website makes the prospect of fostering this new type of animal very possible. I don't know if I will get him or not but I'm learning so much that I believe I will foster a piggy someday and I will be ready. A few years ago I would have never imagined I'd feel this passionately about a rabbit or guinea pig. But I do! They deserve so much better than they get. I feel so privileged to be able to make life better for even a few of these gorgeous animals. I just want to shake the rest of the world up!
Thank you for your work. It's wonderful and the cage designs just may come in handy soon!
Happy Holidays and Bless You for caring for the little creatures!
|Congratulations for a splendid and amusing site. Not only amusing, your Cavy Spirit initiative is a model for education purposes as it stimulates awareness to several environment related issues and to our responsibility as parents and pet owners. |
The knowledge base you offer is comprehensive and yet easy to understand. The site is easy to navigate, the text, graphics, and photos are pleasant and interesting. I learned a lot from you.
What else can I say? I just loved your site. Thank you for sharing it with us.
The next day: Hello again, Teresa.
Yes, I learned that cavies are fairly popular pets in Brazil. I haven't heard of rescues/shelters for these animals, though, so I believe most of them come from breeders and pet stores, and I also bumped into a Brazilian breeder's homepage sometime ago.
Most cavies are kept inside very small cages, and most probably don't get any floor time, at least in large urban areas like the one I live in (I'm from the metropolitan area of São Paulo, comparable to New York City or Mexico City). The need for education and awareness for proper animal care is crucial for smaller and/or exotic pets. The situation is not as severe for "regular" pets such as dogs and cats, even though a large number of them are surrendered at shelters or simply abandoned in the streets. A good friend of mine is a biologist who works with the Municipal Zoonosis Control Department and she got very interested in your site as she deals with shelters and rescues for abandoned animals (she is a cat person, though she told me her parents gave her a GP when she was 6 or 7 years old), and is currently developing educational programs with the help of local animal care and control agencies and other associations.
The cavy I helped to take care of belonged to my girlfriend's 15-year old son, who came back home one day with a baby GP and a fancy (you guessed, absurdly expensive and abusively small) wire-bottomed cage in February. He called the pet Dizz (pronounced jeez), and after a couple of weeks (yes, you're right again) he decided that he didn't want the cavy any longer. So his mom adopted and took care of him while I paid for the expenses... and we also learned to love the pet. We had no previous information about cavies.
At this time Dizz had already outgrown his diminutive cage, and the first thing we did was to get him a larger cage, not fancy at all, just large (excessively large according to the pet store clerk, and still with a wire bottom and two wire decks, intended for chinchillas) and plenty of pine shavings (kiln dried) for bedding. The only source of information was the local pet store, until I figured out that it was not reliable at all. I tried some vet clinics, with no results, and the Internet where I found some Brazilian homepages for cavies. Even though today I consider these pages to be very poor compared to American, British and Australian sites, at that time I got slightly better information from them.
It didn't take long before we realized that the new cage was not as large as the cavy needed, he would never try the wire decks and ramps (of course), and so we removed the wire decks, added three solid plastic shelves, and he ended up with a four deck cage with a total of 5 square feet, of which only 1.5 square feet of wire bottom. A wooden hidey hole, floor and lap time, plus all the exercise getting up and down his four level cage, plenty of water, pellets, fresh vegetables, assorted fruits and alfalfa cubes (we didn't know that this should be just a treat) made a very happy, popcorning guinea pig.
Unfortunately, Dizz didn't live too long. In September (late winter, with some unusually cold nights at 48ºF) we noticed that he sometimes sneezed and became less active. After checking health information on some American sites on the Internet we realized that something was very wrong, and it was very difficult to find a vet who would accept rodents, so there was not a happy ending for our pet.
We were very frustrated as we believed then that our cavy received adequate care from us. We should have known better.
I continued to browse the Internet for cavy information and found extensive data on cavies, breeders, pet stores. After I got to Guinea Pig Cages and then to Cavy Spirit I was amazed with the wealth of information available. I have been to other very good home pages as well, but yours is superior. Your educational and awareness efforts are straightforward and don't miss the mark.
I did my homework and found that a 4mm thick, 8' x 4' sheet of Coroplast is cheap indeed - about US$ 4.80 at a plastics distributor and US$ 14.40 at a local hardware store. A set of 23 grids (12" coated wire grids - 2 1/4" inner squares) and connectors costs US$ 12.40, though I found one set of 13 grids for US$ 14.80 and another set of 17 grids for outrageous US$40.00. Food is not a problem, but bedding is - kiln-dried pine shavings are available in most pet shops at reasonable prices, but forget about Care-Fresh, Cell-Sorb or similar bedding options as these are not available at all. I have not checked cat litter, though. Timothy hay (or equivalent) is also difficult to find in the metropolitan area where I live, but I believe it is not impossible to find, and there may be other good options as well.
The bottom line is, as you mention, that providing adequate care for cavies (or other animals) is very simple once you have the information available and are committed to your pet. Unfortunately, the information is not readily available from pet stores, bookstores or even vet clinics. This makes your work much more important.
Thank you once again for providing us with such good information and a neat, amusing site. Congratulations for your work and effort.
Paulo in Brazil 11/28/01
|I am not sure how to spell Koodos. Anyway, I have been meaning to write to you for a month or so now and haven't gotten around to it. Now it is a late night that I cannot sleep =).|
I wrote to you a few months ago and gave you my opinion on a few areas of your "old" web-site. However, I really hope you didn't take anything I may have said badly. In fact, I have been meaning to email you to say what a wonderful job you have been doing. Your new web-site is wonderful!!! I haven't read all of it, but it is a wonderful resource. Now that I have about 15 pigs in my care, I can appreciate more now what you do with your rescue.
I have rescued about 15 pigs and Sunday will rescue two more. I don't run a rescue, but if someone wants to find a new home for their piggie, I will help.
I have also made my first cage out of cubes and Coroplast!!! Once I started, it was so easy. So far this is my favorite cage!!! From now on, this is the kind of cage I will have. It is so convenient to open from the top. I don't even need to take my pigs out to clean the cage! It is so large (4x2 grid), they love it.
Anyway, I just want to thank you and encourage you in your work.
|May I just say...THANK YOU! |
I had been hoping that someone would create a web site just like yours - with thorough suggestions, photos, resources (online sources are particularly cool and helpful), recommendations, etc. This is GREAT!
I'm currently using the cubes as "walls" for my piggie cages, but I didn't even think about the corrugated plastic for the base. I have been using polytrays - pvc cage "liners" used in the life science industry - and have had reasonable success. But, as you say, their 2.5 inch height lets all sorts of happy-cavy-strewn stuff (CareFresh, poops, pellets, et al) spread everywhere.
I am SO psyched to order the edible huts and more cavy cozies. My piggies LOVED their cozies, until a miserable bout with mites forced me to toss everything not easily soaked in Clorox water.
Thank you, too, for your rescue work. I'm now up to 14 fuzzy squeakers, one dropped off at a local museum as snake food, one mom and her three (new) babies who were unwanted Christmas gifts, and three taken out of pet shops after having told the uninterested managers that some of the piggie population was ill and in need of health care (I refer to these as pet shop "accidents" - I accidentally adopt yet another piggie). I only really "signed up" for three, one of which was unknowingly occupied with four lovely babies, all of which I simply had to keep once I got to know them.
So....Thank you for your caring, your technical expertise, and your willingness to share with the rest of us. You are truly appreciated!
|We placed Guina with Michelle this morning. This was a very happy story for all concerned. Michelle has two other guinea pigs, your type of cages, and a room where they can be let out. She has two sons who like to hold them and Guina is very much of a lap guinea pig. Guina got to go out to graze on our lawn in an enclosure, but I couldn't let her loose in the house because of dogs. So she will benefit from room to roam and other guinea pigs for company. I always miss animals that are gone, whatever the reason, but it is great to know she will be in such a good location.|
Thank you to both of you (including Kathy A, your foster home) for a wonderful referral and all the work you do.
|It is the first time I have visited your web site and I am very impressed with your articles and the general helpfulness of your site.|
I run a small guinea pig and rabbit boarding facility in the U.K. and three times a year I send out a newsletter to my clients, with general information regarding piggies. I am always looking for articles and especially appealing photos of our fur balls and I would very much appreciate it if I could use some of the photos you have of your adoptables. I know it really is not useful to you with regard rehoming them as all the people who receive my newsletter are in the U.K., but I thought it would help to show the people in the U.K. that we also need to rehome piggies here from our own shelters, and your photos are very appealing. I would of course send you a copy of my newsletter when I used one of your photos.
I found the article about pet shops very interesting. I feel we are lucky where I live that our large pet stores (we have two one in Gloucester and one in Cheltenham) have very high standards, but that does not mean cruel things do not occur at the smaller pet shops. I do not visit these very often, perhaps I should. I am training to become a Rodentologist at the Cambridge Cavy Trust, (British Association of Rodentologists) it is a two year plus course and I am only just beginning, but I hope in the future to gain more and more experience with our guinea pig friends and pass this experience onto people who want more information about their guinea pigs. I hope it will be okay to use your photos. (of course it was)
|I have been surfing piggy sites for a few months looking up cage design, and I think yours is great! My question is . . .|
|I really enjoy your websites. My roommate and I have Guinea Piggies and want to build them a cage like the one you have on your website. He and I have been having some problem's locating the materials . . . I want to make sure our Guinea's have the best home!|
I've been wanting to get our piggies a nice new cage and your site, has been just wonderful! Everyone I know had never owned a Guinea Pig, and don't have any real idea of fun and joy they can bring into your life. They bring me so much love and joy, I want to make sure I do the same. And your site has lot's of great tips to help keep our babies happy!
|I just wanted to write this to you to thank you for your suggestion about feeding my sick guinea pig Critical Care. The Critical Care has done wonders for my guinea pig. I had called you about two weeks ago about my guinea pig not eating due to teeth problems. She had previously broken all four of her front teeth and only two of them were growing back, but they weren't growing back correctly. I ended up taking the guinea pig to a vet dental specialist in Madison, two hours away from where I live. Madison has one of the best vet schools in the Midwest and a lot of the vet specialists who teach at the school also have practices there. The dental specialist removed the teeth and filed the molars down. She will not grow her front teeth again but the vet specialist told me that she will eventually learn to pick up her pellets with her tongue. She is doing a lot better now and she is on Baytril as well as Rimadyl to ease pain. She has trouble eating her pellets although she tries. I syringe feed her twice a day with the Critical Care and she loves that stuff. I also shred carrots and feed that to her. She likes that. Tomorrow, I am taking her back to her normal vet to have him make sure she is okay. I love my piggies a lot and they are like my children to me. The vet bill for her, including the specialist surgery and her emergency vet visit, was almost $800. That is a lot of money, but I love all my piggies and I don't mind spending that on them. |
I am glad for your website and for being able to get some advice from you on the phone. I admire what you do for the piggies. It is sad to see how people view guinea pigs as disposable pets. Today, someone at work told me a story that made me want to cry. Most of the people at my work think I am a little strange since I have such a love for my piggies. One of my coworkers told me that his three year old son had taken his daughter's guinea pig and tossed it against the dresser a few times, thus killing it. He (the coworker) found that kind of funny but since his daughter was devastated, he went out and bought her two new piggies. He told me that he felt stupid that he had to go and bury the dead piggie since he didn't see much to burying a guinea pig. That is sad and now he has bought two new piggies for his daughter. I did tell him this, that if I was still working there and his daughter got tired of the piggies, I could take them for him. He was okay with that. I love piggies and I cannot bear to see them suffer. They are so fragile.
Thanks a lot . . . Take care and say hi to all the piggies.
|Wow, your website is stupendous!!! Babbs and Rita are gorgeous. I can't believe how great the quality of your pics are. I hope your adoptions are going well . . .|
|The Cavy Spirit web page is great! I found so much useful info today, especially with cage design. My piggies currently live on my second floor patio deck with lots of fresh air, sunshine and shade. However, I know that with the onset of inclement weather, I am going to have to bring them inside, but I'm very unsatisfied with the commercial cages available. Most are so tiny. The Cubes and Coroplast is a great, inexpensive solution that can easily be stored in spring and summer months when not in use. The info on bedding and toys is also invaluable.|
The more time I spend with my piggies, the more time I enjoy them. They really are great little creatures with wonderful personalities and your website reflects your devotion to them.
|Your site just keeps getting better and better! (I have to ask, are you a "professional" web site designer? Because your site is not only informative, but it's extremely well designed.) . . . I'll be getting a new piggy friend when I get back from vacation . . . (My boss's kids have tired of their guinea pig, so I am going to take her. They only have the one piggy, and the shelter doesn't currently have any, so it may be a little while before I can get her a friend. I just thought I'd let you know why I wasn't just taking two pigs at once, since I know you feel very strongly about them adopting out in pairs. I think it will be better for the poor thing to go to a home where she will be cuddled and loved, even if she has to be a single piggy for awhile. And she is alone at my boss's house now.)|
If I lived closer, I would drive right over to Cavy Spirit and adopt "Son" for a friend for her :-) He just looks like the sweetest thing, and I admire his positive attitude.
Thanks for your help, Teresa, and keep up the good work.
|I've been reading several of the discussion boards that you post on for a couple months. I started reading about a month before we choose Hans (male abby) from the local shelter and have continued to read ever since. I also look over your websites quite often and admire your work, dedication and all the advice that you give out. Now, I'm writing to get some of your advice . . .|
|I spoke to you at the Monterey County SPCA a few days after the hundreds of pigs were rescued . . . I went out that following week and put together a cage based on your directions for our three pigs (6 grids x 2). They have never been happier and it's so easy to clean. I have it split up because two of the girls fight, but we switch off who gets to run outside in their covered cage, and open up the whole cage for the other ones. We also adopted two male babies from the SPCA who are living in a separate cage until they grow and can be neutered, then moved in with the girls. I plan on adding on a "Wing" off to the side to the cage to add extra room. Anyway, good luck with your efforts and thanks for the cage idea. Another friend with 2 males also built a cage for them...they now can live together because the cage is large enough and so cheap to build!! Thank you, thank you!|
|Beautiful Site. Gets better all the time.|
|Love your site. I just purchased two piggies . . . I also made a cage using a 4x2 piece of plywood covered with aluminum. I made wall for drafts about 6 inches tall and bought wire shelving for the sides which are nailed under the plywood . . . |
|. . . I love your site and I think it is just absolutely great how you save all those piggies. I hope more people will log onto your site and find out what they need to do for their pigs . . .|
|I've been to your web site, and while I didn't attempt to undertake the phenomenal task of looking through it all, your creative cube and Coroplast page was quite helpful, and I think I may use your cage design for my cage. . . |
|I have been to your web site several times and am touched by your care and concern for the wonderful Cavies. (We) are slaves to them all! . . . All of the piggies are girls. They live in a 22 square foot (on the main floor), two-story cage that is modeled after your "grid" cages. Your designs and instructions were great. They also have free run of the house. Believe me, they know where the refrigerator is! I also made a piggie pouch (again, your idea) which they just love. I can't tell you how much joy they have brought to our lives, but I know you understand. I wish I lived in your area; our hearts and home have room for a couple more special girls. We don't have any Cavy rescue organizations in our area (. . . Saskatchewan, Canada) but, I have left my name at the SPCA in case any piggies come in for adoption. . . . Thank you for saving the lives of so many of God's special creatures. I wish you infinite good wishes. May your fridge never lack for veggies!|
|I just signed up for iGive, and ordered Cellsorb through the Ferret store on the web site. This is a great idea for obtaining donations to your organization.|
Chumley Boy and Teddy are doing great. They really are cute together. Sometimes Teddy lays right outside Chumley's box, just to be near him.
I'm going to start using the iGive web site - for shopping at the Gap and some other major stores.
|First, I must say that we love your site! We are in our mid 30's and my husband and I got into guinea pigs about 8 months ago. We are slaves to two females we named Capy & Bara!!! One was a pet store find and the other came from a local breeder; now we know better.|
I have been popping in here for some time dreaming and trying to get up the nerve to build a new cage for my girls.
. . . Sorry to be so winded! I am so excited about their new habitat I can't stand it and can't wait to see the looks in their faces when they actually see that they will now have their own hidey house, water bottle and bowls. YIPPPEEEE..........
|I love the work you are doing with piggies. When I got my first two, I got hooked on them. I have 10 now plus one baby! A couple of hints for you that I got off your website. |
Cages: I love your basic cage design. I custom made a 3 feet by 3 feet cage using your technical with a few variations. My apartment is small, so I have to use maximum space. I got Home Depot to cut a 8' X 4' board into two 3' x 3' sections and I joined the scraps to make another 3' x 3' section. I got three 4' x 4' coloplast pieces from Tap Plastics. I put the first board down on four 16" x 8" x 8" cement block and cut the coloplast to size. I overlapped the wire cubes and used electrical ties from Home Depot (very cheap and come in different sizes) to secure them. The overlap is due to the difference in the length of the wire cube. I made a hinged door with the ties that swings down. This makes one complete 3' x 3' cage.
Now, I lay the second board down on the top of the plastic knobs from the corners of the lower cage. Build a second cage. Add a third board for the top cage. I have storage for piggie stuff under the "piggie dorm" and three separate floors. So in a 3' x 3' space, I have piggie storage and 27 square feet of piggie living space. The piggies love it! It's in a long window that gets morning sun, so they can look outside, one side looks into the kitchen and the other into the living room.
So, girls dorms are on floors, one and two, each housing three piggies. The third floor has the boys dorm.
Like you, sometimes I have to use a commercial cage. I cut out the bottom wire and set it in a plastic under the bed storage container. This gives you a nice plastic lip to keep in the shavings, hay etc. I just bent a coat hanger to make hooks to hold the plastic bottom on the to wire cage. I just take the cage to the garage can, snap off the wire frame and dump out the contents. No smelly rusty wires to catch debris or a piggie foot.
Cleaning: I use a whisk broom, dust pan and a grain scoop to clean out the cages. It's a little more difficult do to the floors and the door.
Free Food and Bedding: Since I have horses, I get to feed barns regularly. With a couple of sacks, they will let me pick up scrap hay, timothy, orchard grass, oat, wheat, grass and alfalfa hay. It's usually smaller pieces that fall off during loading and unloading of the bales. The piggies love it, especially the wheat hay. They also have straw. I put the Carefresh down and a layer of straw on top. It gives them a nice bed and floor without using up so much of the Carefresh.
|I happened across your site 2 days ago and I want to thank you for your cage information. I adopted a boar from my local humane society last spring and another one a few weeks later. The adoption counselor told me to just buy a "regular" GP cage so I did. I did my homework and found out they need exercise so I made a "pigpen" out of cubes for them that they run in for 2-3 hours a day. I had no idea that was not enough. I feel so guilty now when I look at them in their "cells" (cages) and plan on building them pens this weekend. Thank you for enlightening me! . . .|
|My name is Anthony and I'm a small animal volunteer and part of the purple halo group (a small animals volunteer group at a local animal care and control facility). I logged on to your page last week--Amazing. I'm fostering a guinea pig right now and you had such great information. I'm more experienced with rats but I'm very fond of the piggies and like to learn all I can. . . .|
|Compliments on the new cage site!!! yaaayyyy . . .|
|. . . Also, thanks so much for sending me to your wonderful site! I loved it! . . . We have been having more "bad days" than "good" and it was nice for me to read in your "about us" section that we are not alone and that there are others out there like us who go through the same challenges being in the rescue business. It sure can be hard, can't it? Anyway, you are doing a wonderful thing and your site is very informative and fun.|
~ Changed website from old format to current format ~
|I have been frequenting the guinea pig board at the Petsmart web site recently, and today I had a chance to follow the link to your Cavy Spirit web site. I just wanted to drop you a note to tell you that I am thoroughly impressed with all that you are doing. Not only do you provide a wealth of important information for cavy slaves but you also don't mince words when you talk about careless pet ownership, irresponsible breeding, and the current situation in which small animals find themselves in pet stores. I can only imagine the situations you've seen over the years, and I know how difficult rescue work can be (let alone working with pet stores that sell animals). Your determination is admirable, and your web site is really fantastic.|
I live on the east coast with 1 cavy who came to me unexpectedly when a friend of my mother-in-law rescued him urgently from an abuse situation. I have grown to love him--they're wonderful creatures.
I wish you the best in your efforts.
|I had a quick question about my guinea pig. First of all, you have a very informative site that provided me with a great deal of knowledge. Thank you for the time and effort you have spent to allow people like me the opportunity to get to know more. I am in the process of moving and have been looking for a "houseplan" if you will, for my guinea pig. Yours is the best one I have found. What a great idea. I have a question though . . . |
|Hope 8/22/01|| |
|I really appreciate your time today when I called needing to talk about the loss of my little critter, Charlie Brown. Your support means a lot and look I forward to meeting you and your piggies in person soon. I did go to your cage site and I think your on to something here. You might want to set up a Home link from there, I couldn't get back.|
|Hi, my momma pig had babies 20 days ago. I want to sex them so I can separate them out. Can you refer me to a website where I can see pics of the different sexes? I used to have a website but somehow it got deleted. I think what you are doing is wonderful.|
|Hi. I'm 11 years old and I was on your site and I think it is great :) But I wanted to know on your site that HUGE cage and I wanted to know where you got it.|
|You have a great website! I have learned lots from you and have just made one of the Coroplast cages. Due to space constrictions, I have made mine a 2x3 grid which will hold two guinea pigs. I do have a question though . . . Thanks for your time. I commend you on your commitment with the shelter and web site!|
|I just have to say thank you for your wonderful cage pages! I am so excited about building a new home for my girls. I just got a new baby from Jack Pine Guinea Pig Rescue to be a companion for my year old Toffee, and neither cage that I have is really big enough for both of them. I had purchased some Creative Cubes already, but the Coroplast is a great idea! I was going to use carpet on the bottom and have them on the floor. Your site has given me inspiration to be more creative. Thank you for sharing.|
(There are more, but this is probably already too long!)