What is one of the main ways you can help out any shelter? Be a Foster Parent! Fostering is a major help to both the rescue and pet in foster care. It helps ease the load of caring for multiple guinea pigs at the main house, and the foster pet gets more one-on-one attention and care. Also, the pet’s personality blossoms and helps us get to know him better so that we can better match him or her to a new adopting family. It's a win-win for all!
f you're looking to foster with the intent of hopeful adoption, click here to learn more about fostering to adopt.
What is my responsibility as a foster parent?
1. You provide shelter, feeding, and general care in your home for as long as you are able OR until the pet finds a permanent home.
2. The guinea pig will need exercise time (out of the cage) each day in a guinea pig appropriate area of your home (ex: a kitchen or hallway with blocked-off exits that has no electrical cords or other dangers that the guinea pig can reach. You can use old towels/blankets or mop the floor afterwards.)
3. The guinea pig especially needs socialization to humans. You will need to handle, pet and talk to the guinea pig on a regular basis.
4. Keep MHRR updated with any personality, behavior, or health changes. A quick e-mail or phone call once a week with an update is sufficient.
5. Be available to bring the fostered guinea pig to adoption days when requested or back to the main house to meet with potential adopters (unless you are fostering as a test-run to adopt). This is done by appointment and will be arranged with your schedule in mind.
6. MHRR will provide any medical care the guinea pig might need (including neutering) before going into foster care. If additional care is needed, please contact MHRR first!
Do I have to be an "official" volunteer to help?
You do not have to do other types of volunteering; we accept all types of help! You do not have to live in a specific area, but you MUST be able to bring the guinea pig to Baton Rouge when needed.
How much will it cost?
Absolutely nothing unless you want to help - MHRR will supply any items that you do not already have or are able to provide, including a cage, paper bedding, food bowls & water bottles, hay, and pellets. If you choose to provide your own food, please make sure it is a quality food, such as Oxbow or Small Pet Select, with a minimum of 25% fiber and at least 250mg of vitamin C.
What if I've never owned a guinea pig before?
We'll make sure you take home an "easy keeper" that doesn't have special medications or disabilities. We are here for you no matter what questions you have. We were all beginners once also, and we help beginners all the time to get set up for their first pet guinea pigs. It's what we do!
Do I get to pick which guinea pig I foster?
Yes! As long as the guinea pigs you want is not already in a foster home, you can take whichever guinea pigs you prefer. If you aren't sure which one you might like, you may come to the main house and meet them before you choose. Of course we can help you decide based on your schedule and space available, as well as previous guinea pig-keeping experience and personality-type desired. Be aware that if you choose a particularly cute or very sweet guinea pig, it may not be long before it finds a potential home, and you may be asked to bring it to adoption day often. :)
I have a pet already. Is this a problem?
Probably not. Many guinea pigs get along great with cats and gentle dogs. You will need to use your best judgment about introducing two animals, and be able to keep the guinea pigs in a room isolated and safe from taunting or attack by other household pets if need be. If you have another pet guinea pig, we recommend not housing them together as we wouldn't want to separate a bonded pair as well as prevent any injury due to fights.
Would fostering one animal for a few weeks really matter?
Absolutely! Providing foster care is a significant service.
1. Fostering allows the guinea pig more exercise time and socialization than it would receive at the main house.
2. Being under the supervision of the same individual or family long-term allows a guinea pig's personality to truly be observed, which helps when posting its profile online and finding it the best matching home.
3. For our waiting list pets, it helps guinea pigs get out of their situation faster so they can be into a new home sooner!
4. Fostering allows you to do a wonderful deed for an abandoned animal without a long-term commitment.
If you'd like to welcome adoptable guinea pigs (or another one of our foster pets) into your home, we have our foster parent application available to fill out online or you can download it here and bring it with you in person or email it as an attachment.