Wetlands guinea pig rescue with Orange County Cavy Haven

wetlands1

I think I might be the only biology major in Southern California who had never been to Bolsa Chica Wetlands.  Every semester at school somebody brings it up, and every time I feel like my scientist cred goes down just a little bit – I’m not sure why, it’s just never happened!  Last Monday, I finally had the opportunity to venture out there for a very unexpected reason.

wetlands3

My friend Michiko posted on Facebook about a colony of about a dozen guinea pigs that had been dumped at Bolsa Chica, and asked if anyone could come help her attempt to catch them.

Yeah, you read that right.  Catching.  Guinea pigs.

I haven’t had as much time as I would like for rescue lately, so when someone is in need and I happen to be available, I jump on it.  Next thing I know, I’m in Huntington Beach with a few other friends I’d never met before, crawling through bushes, trying to catch guinea pigs.

I’ve caught stray dogs, cats, and rabbits before, but it’s always been on much easier terrain and sometimes still took several days and multiple attempts.  I definitely thought there was a chance we could spend hours out there and go home empty handed, and so did Michiko.  But one by one, we slowly started catching pigs, and over a span of about 4 hours the 8 of us had caught all 9, including a baby who was about 2-3 days old.

IMG_5602

The pigs had found shelter in some dense shrubbery, where they were able to scoot through little openings in the brush without being seen.  One method we found that worked was to block one or more of the openings with a towel (shown above) or our arms, luring them toward us with veggies, and staying still as statues until one person was able to swiftly grab them with their hands.

Toward the end of the 4 hours, there were only 2 pigs left – and as much as we didn’t want to leave them overnight, we started thinking we might have to give up and try again tomorrow.  An idea came to me that I’ve used before in cat rescue and trap-neuter-return: sometimes, it’s possible to use one cat or kitten you’ve already caught to lure a resistant one into a trap.  This is especially useful for reuniting mom and babies.  A mother cat who isn’t interested in tuna might be more likely to respond to her meowing kitten.

We weren’t sure if either of the remaining pigs were our little one’s mom, but Guinea pigs are herd animals, and typically live in groups of hundreds.  As we started catching pigs, we saw the ones remaining becoming less confident.  Even if we weren’t trying to catch a parent, I thought their tendency to seek safety in numbers could help us out.

wetlands2

We took our tiny baby piglet, loaded him up securely in a small carrier, and took him with us back under the bush.  Sure enough, he started wheeking right away.  I’m not sure if my strategy actually worked, or it was just that enough time had passed since the last catch and the remaining pigs were getting more confident, but soon enough we had the last two!  (It may have also been that we were getting desperate to catch them, and more willing to dive into what felt like tumbleweeds.)

wetlands4

Grateful for the amazing rescuers at Orange County Cavy Haven who facilitated this mission, and for the other volunteers who showed up at a moments notice to help some piggies.  These little ones are being fostered through OCCH, so please visit occavyhaven.org if you would like to donate toward their care, foster, or adopt.

To learn more about why #AdoptDontShop is important for small animals, check out my blog post:  Is it time to commit to pet-free pet stores?

Lastly, a reminder that abandoning any kind of animal is not only unkind to the animal, it disrupts local wildlife, and is considered a misdemeanor in some cases.  Don’t do it!

Oliver – Adopted September 2013!

oliver

 

** OLIVER HAS BEEN ADOPTED!  His foster family decided they couldn’t let him go and the adoption was made official in September!

** IMMEDIATE FOSTER NEEDED FOR OLIVER ** We found Oliver unexpectedly and were already at capacity.  We can provide a crate, food and supplies to a reliable, local foster who can transport him to weekend adoption events in Redondo Beach.  If you can’t make it home from work for a potty break, we’d be happy to help with free walks.  We would love to help with training, and continue his playdates/outings with Bruce.  All he needs is a place to stay and someone to hang out with while he waits for his forever home.  If you are interested in fostering Oliver, please contact Lisa@veganpetsitter.com.

Oliver is an adorable 8-month-old Dachshund/chihuahua mix.  He was found running down Anza in Torrance, and the family he was registered to didn’t want him anymore because they were moving.  He was already neutered, microchipped and dewormed, and is now caught up on vaccines.  His date of birth is 12-12-12.

Oliver can be shy at first, but loves people and is very sweet and affectionate.  He loves to run in the backyard and go for walks, then he’ll come inside and cuddle on the couch.  He makes friends quickly with female dogs, and takes a little time to warm up to new males.  He is also a great passenger and loves to ride in the car – especially to go to the park or the pet store!

Because we want Oliver’s new home to be a forever home, interested parties should fill out an application and agree to a home check.  The required application and more information about the adoption process can be found at www.lovejoyfoundation.net.

If you would like to meet Oliver, he will be at adoption events with The Lovejoy Foundation on Saturdays & Sundays from 10am – 6pm.  Adoptions are held at Global Pet Food Outlet Express, 401 S Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach.  We plan to have him there every weekend, but feel free to contact us in advance to make sure he will be there when you plan on attending.  If you have any questions, please contact lisa@veganpetsitter.com.

View Oliver’s photo album.

Tegan & Sara – Adopted Fall 2013!

t&s

** TEGAN & SARA HAVE BEEN ADOPTED!  Sara lives with her mom and dad and loves to play with her kitty brother, Oreo.  Tegan (now Shelly) was adopted by a great family with a human brother and sister.  Both are doing great in their forever homes!

Tegan & Sara are two beautiful medium-hair Siamese mix kitties.  They were found in an alley in Torrance at only 6 weeks old, and were taken into a wonderful foster home.  They are now spayed, vaccinated, dewormed, microchipped, and ready to be adopted.  They are also current on flea control and tested FIV/FeLV negative.  We estimate their date of birth to be around 5/9/13.

Tegan & Sara are both mellow, affectionate kittens, Sara being the more outgoing of the two.  They can be shy at first, but melt in your arms and will get comfy in your lap until they fall asleep.  They have healthy appetites and eat both wet and dry food.  They love to perch on their cat tree or in a windowsill and check things out.  They can be adopted as a pair, or individually to a home with another cat or kitten.  For their safety, they must be kept indoors.

Because we want Tegan & Sara’s new home to be a forever home, interested parties should fill out an application and agree to a home check.  The required application and more information about the adoption process can be found here:  http://www.purrfectpartners4cats.com/adoption.html

If you would like to meet Tegan & Sara, they will be at adoption events with Purrfect Partners on Saturdays & Sundays from 12-4.  Adoptions are held at Centinela Feed, 413 N Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach.  We plan to have them there every weekend, but feel free to contact us in advance to make sure they will be there when you plan on attending.  If you have any questions, please contact lisa@veganpetsitter.com.

View Tegan & Sara’s Photo Album

TNR Weekend with Stray Cat Alliance

TNRSCA750

Photo by Stray Cat Alliance | straycatalliance.org

On Friday, April 26 & Sunday, April 28, Joseph and I took part in Big Fix Friday – a friendly competition between Stray Cat Alliance and Best Friends Animal Society to see who would be the first to trap, neuter and release 50 feral cats.

Trap-neuter-return is the humane trapping of feral cats in order to spay or neuter them, and return them to where they came from.  Although all feral cats did originate from lost or abandoned tame cats at some point, they have reverted back to a “wild” state.  Because they haven’t been socialized, they aren’t good candidates for adoption or living indoors, and the best chance they have is to stay where they are.  The only effective method of population control is trap-neuter-release, which prevents future generations from having to live the difficult life of a street cat.

We helped the Stray Cat Alliance team and were assigned a colony in South Los Angeles.  We used 9 traps and were able to catch 7 cats in about 4 hours, helping SCA reach a total of 58 cats trapped on the first night.  By the end of the second night, volunteers had trapped 111 cats!

TNR

Night 1 | 58 cats tucked in by midnight.

Of our colony, one of the cats we trapped turned out to not be feral after all, and was actually extremely friendly.  He is about 1-2 years old and was not neutered, had no identification, and the man who feeds and looks after the colony assumed he was feral because he was never able to get near him – but  he might have just been fearful in an outdoor environment.  We called him Alex, and once he was inside he became very social and affectionate.  After his surgery, he went into a foster home and is now available for adoption!

alex2

Alex | Adopt me!

All of our surgeries went well and we were able to return the other 6 cats to their caregiver, a man who lives in his van near the colony and provides them with food and fresh water every day.  Although he said the cats never let him near them, he said he cares about them very much and knows they appreciate him too.  When we told him about Alex and asked if he would be okay with him finding a home, he did seem a little sad but didn’t hesitate to say yes.

release

Success! Joseph releases a spayed cat back to her colony.

Although the weekend was primarily about the cats, I was just as moved by their caregiver.  On the first night we offered to share some snacks we had, which he declined, and asked if he needed anything else.  All he wanted was a flashlight, which I brought him on return day with a couple sets of batteries, and he looked like he was going to tear up as he thanked me.  It was only a small gesture, and what we did for his colony only took a small effort, but seeing his kindness toward the cats inspired me to want to do more.

To learn more about TNR and Stray Cat Alliance, visit StrayCatAlliance.org.

Share the Love for Booker & Olly Bear!

valentinepups

** Win a prize package worth over $100 if your share leads to their adoption! **

TO ENTER:  (1) Start sharing Olly Bear & Booker’s photos and information via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, your website, blog, flyers, or any other way you see fit.  Tell everyone you know about them! (2) Try your best to get their information to the right people – their future families! Make sure to mention you are participating in this contest.  (3) If your share results in either of the boys getting adopted and we can confirm with their adopters, you will win one of our fabulous gift packages, worth over $100!

Meet the boys:

olly1Olly Bear (approx. 4 years, neutered, boxer/bulldog mix)

Olly Bear is a sweet, mellow and affectionate dog who needs a good home.  He was found chained in a garage and was kept there by a hoarder.  He was rescued by The Fuzzy Pet Foundation and is doing great now.  He does well with other dogs and loves cuddling and giving kisses.  Olly is crate trained and listens well to commands like sit, down, roll over and shake hands.  He is also very good on car rides and loves to run!

For more information about Olly Bear, visit:

Booker (approx. 4 years, neutered, rottweiler mix)booker2ADOPTED!!!

** We are SO happy to announce that Booker has found his forever home, and got adopted on 3/13.  Congratulations, buddy!!

Booker was rescued by ARME (Animal Rescue Media & Education) in Los Angeles, CA, and he is currently their longest resident.  Booker is great with other dogs and has earned the nickname “nanny” because he looks after all the rescues that come into ARME headquarters – even letting rescue puppies use him as a jungle gym and play with his tail!  We have had the pleasure of pet sitting for Booker and he is wonderful on walks, and deserves to finally go to a caring and loving home.

For more information about Booker, please visit:

Questions about the contest? Please e-mail: lisa@veganpetsitter.com.
Good luck, and thanks for helping these deserving pups!

***

sharejpg