Crown Point resident Connie Klar enjoys helping unwanted guinea pigs find new homes by volunteering with The Critter Corral guinea pig rescue.
Licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Illinois-based rescue agency has placed 3,000 cavies, or guinea pigs, since it was formed in 1999.
Animals are fostered in the homes of volunteers throughout the region until they are adopted.
“We usually have about 75 guinea pigs in the rescue at any given time. Ninety-five percent come from shelters and animal controls where they would otherwise be euthanized,” Klar said. “From Dec. 28 to Jan. 6, we took in 79 guinea pigs from three different shelters.”
“And in October of last year there was a family that was evicted and they left over 40 guinea pigs outside in boxes,” she added.
Klar began fostering cavies a year ago after meeting The Critter Corral founder Rose Zamarocy.
“I usually foster the pigs that need a little extra TLC. I am thrilled when the pigs I foster get adopted. I feel like I did my part to save a life,” Klar said.
While Klar doesn’t recommend cavies for small children due to their fragile frames and sudden movements, she said they make outstanding pets.
“Pellets, hay and bedding are relatively inexpensive, and veggies and fruits can be bought in any season. Cleaning the cage regularly and lots of love is all it takes,” she said.
“They are often great lap companions for watching TV and the pigs I've had in my home get along well with both my cats and dogs, although caution is always recommended.”
Klar also suggested obtaining a cavy from a rescue group over a pet store. “Most of these cavies have been given up and have no home. You can often find out a little history about them. We can also help with behavior issues,” she said.
“The Critter Corral will always be there to help and there are plenty of events to take your cavy and meet other like-minded people.”
The mother of two, Klar is employed as a veterinary assistant and receptionist by Hanover Veterinary Hospital in Cedar Lake and North Central Veterinary Emergency Center in Westville.
More information on upcoming adoption events can be found at crittercorral.org.