My guys Gremlin and Walter
Gremlin is teaching his younger guinea pig “brother” Walter how to find his voice. Every time their owner opens the refrigerator they start to sing with squeals and squeaks of delight, like a tiny little chorus singing for their supper. That is because they know an entire drawer filled with greens and produce is in the fridge—just for them.
The produce drawer is just the beginning. Since being adopted in October 2008 and May 2009 respectively, Gremlin and Walter have been a big part of Bridget Brennan’s home. “They get baths and I trim their hair. They have play time together twice a day,” she says. “After I get home from work I feed them a salad and they eat their dinner with our dog Gage.”
Gage, an 11-year-old French bulldog, is just one of two dogs the guinea pigs get along with in the family. Bridget’s parents have a two-year-old Yorkshire terrier named Annie that isn’t much bigger than Gremlin. The two get along well and like to follow each other around. Soon they’ll share a new pastime—bicycle riding with their owners*.
Grem, as she affectionately calls him, is Bridget’s main guy. “I’ve felt a bond with him since meeting him at AHS. He literally held on to me and wouldn’t let go.” The two have been inseparable ever since. And after Bridget’s parents bought a basket for their bike so Annie could ride along, she knew she wanted to do the same for Grem, but with a few modifications for his safety. “We can’t wait to ride with the wind in our hair. “
As an Abyssinian breed of guinea pig, Grem has a lot of hair riddled with cowlicks that often spike into little Mohawks across his body. Knowing what type of pet you’re getting is important to determining if it will be a good fit for your home and lifestyle. When it comes to guinea pigs Bridget suggests doing your research as it will help you to learn how to properly care for them and what that entails.
“Grem is the sweetest, most loving boy on this Earth. If I would have known years ago how wonderful a guinea pig was I would have adopted long ago.”
*Please consider the safety of your pets before participating in extracurricular activities with them.
Finding that perfect match
Working in the adoption centers at Animal Humane Society’s five facilities is more than just providing good customer service and placing homeless and neglected animals into new homes. It’s a study on how to find the right pet for families.
Amber Braun, customer service lead in Golden Valley, provides the following tips when considering bringing a new pet into your home.
Consider your lifestyle and activity level
You really have to take into consideration what your family is looking for in a pet. Do you travel a lot? Maybe a dog isn’t the best choice for you unless he or she can easily go along. Are you wanting a companion animal for the children in the home? A rabbit may not be the best choice as they are fairly independent and don’t necessarily like being handled as much as a cat or dog. Do you live in a town home or condo? A small dog may not work out because they tend to be barkers and yard-diggers. Companionship aside, coming up with a list of things you want from a pet can really help your family find the right one.
Research the best breed
A lot of people pre-determine the animal that they wish to add to their home based on breed, whether that be that they find that animal particularly attractive or have friends/family that have had success with that specific breed. But they should do a lot of research as they move toward adopting an animal. Go back to the list concept of making sure the new animal fits the lifestyle of your home. Our staff has a lot of experience (personal and professional) with all sorts of different animals as well as a lot of educational information that can help a family find out more about specific breeds and the different species of small critters we available for adoption.
Importance of matching a pet with your lifestyle
It’s extremely important for the family and the animal that their lifestyles complement each other. For example, an individual who is looking for a running partner would be a great match for a pointer or Lab, but could cause serious exhaustion and joint problems to a Saint Bernard or shih tzu. In the same respect, a family who is looking for a quiet companion animal would fare well with a rabbit or cat, but probably not with a Jack Russell terrier. It really is all about doing your homework and making a responsible choice when adding a new member to your family.
If the pet is for the kids, the adults need to commit to caring for that animal. While taking care of an animal is a great example of responsibility to teach your children, pets are often forgotten or become uninteresting after the first couple of months, but they still need the same basic care. Also consider what your child wants out of the pet; all species have different needs and personalities. For example, guinea pigs are great pets for children. They are often very social, moderately easy to care for, and have their own fun personalities. Their chatter and squeaks are hard to resist.
Making that perfect match
Amber’s favorite adoptions are the ones when you see an animal leaving with their new adopters and it is the most natural thing in the world, like that dog or cat was just here until those exact people came in to pick them up. Whether it is a large family with energetic children leaving with an active and hyper Lab or an elderly couple leaving with a 14-year-old overweight cat, when you see families and pets leave together like that it just all makes sense. You kind of wonder if we helped that family pick their new animal or if that animal simply waited and picked their own family and we really had nothing to do with it at all.
Up and down Grand Avenue… with your pup
Take a stroll with Animal Humane Society down Grand Avenue in St. Paul to celebrate the dog days of summer—and bring the whole family! We invite you to join us at Paws on Grand on Sunday, August 2, 2009, from noon to 4 p.m. to pamper your pet with treats, toys, photo ops and even a microchip clinic! Shops, restaurants, and other businesses along Grand Avenue will be offering fun activities, great sales, treats and more for people and their four-legged friends.
Learn more by taking a look at the Paws on Grand event guide for detailed event information and to find out which participating Grand Avenue businesses will donate a portion of sales during the event to AHS. Don’t forget to stop by and visit us to learn more about AHS and the Minnesota Partnership for Animal Welfare. See you there!
A cat allowed to roam freely outdoors has a life expectancy of two to three years,
while a cat kept indoors can live up to 20 years.
A common belief is that cats are happier outdoors. Although this may be true, allowing them to roam freely outside exposes them to unnecessary dangers. You can help your cat live a happy, active and healthy life indoors by following these helpful tips provided by Animal Humane Society’s Behavior and Training Specialist Paula Zukoff.
Pets that changed your life
Imagine your pet being featured at an upcoming art exhibition to be seen by pet-lovers from across the Twin Cities metro. You can make it happen and support the animals of AHS too. Stray Dog Arts is currently seeking participants to become part of Animals of AHS, a fundraising project and upcoming art exhibition open to the public at Now Boarding the month of October 2009. A portion of the proceeds benefit AHS. Learn more on the Stray Dog Arts website or by calling (612) 532-9084.
Guinea pigs and giving back
The relationship your child has with his guinea pig is a great way to get them active in giving back to the community. Open to kids ages 10-18, Guinea Pigs are Great is a new class at Animal Humane Society that will teach your child what it takes to start visiting nursing homes, hospitals, libraries, homeless shelters, and more with their guinea pig. This one-week class starts August 3. Registration required. Please call (763) 489-2217. Learn more…
Can you help a cat in need?
On average, AHS takes in 70 felines per day in the summer months—that is nearly 10,000 cats and kittens from May to September. This time of year, known traditionally as “kitten season,” is when thousands of kittens find homes leaving adult cats waiting… and waiting… and waiting for their own. Help these adult cats in need by becoming a Mission: Meow foster volunteer. We’ll provide the food, toys, litter and litter box—all you provide is six months of love. Apply today and learn more…
Sushi with your Poochie
You’ve finally met the dog of your dreams. His playful grin, sloppy kisses and penchant for squirrels leaves you wanting to do more for him. How often do you get to give more than a tasty treat or run at the park for his unconditional love? Join Sidewalk Dog at Sushi with your Poochie on Thursday, July 16 at Tiger Sushi 2 in Uptown (Minneapolis). Tickets are on sale now for this on-leash event that benefits the newly formed Minnesota Partnership for Animal Welfare (MnPAW) coalition. Learn more about Sushi with your Poochie and MnPAW…
Homeless and neglected animals love checking things off our wish list. New Kongs and a little Timothy hay are the makings for a great day on AHS adoption floors. See what you can provide by reviewing our current wish list.