History of GPRO
The Guinea Pig Rescue Ottawa (GPRO) has been saving the lives of Guinea Pigs since 2019. You might ask why Guinea Pigs need rescuing? Well to put it quite simply there are many animal welfare issues that arise when it comes to poor breeding practices, uneducated pet stores, animal cruelty and many more heartbreaking issues.
These animal welfare issues are a result of misinformation and not enough education. We are a no kill shelter and we provide a sanctuary for Guinea Pigs for as long as it takes for them to find their FURever home. Many guinea pigs come to us sick and we make sure they are healthy before adoption. With this being said we decided that it was time to take action and help educate our community about Guinea Pigs needs, and how rewarding it can be to have these little guys as companions.
How We Started
We came across our first glimpse of the harsh reality of these little ones when we were at PetSmart shopping for our pet lizard Uromastyx named Red.
We saw a small Guinea Pig that looked extremely scared and malnourished. We quickly adopted him on the spot! Upon returning home we researched all we could about Guinea Pigs' conditions in pet stores and classified ads and this is when we knew we needed to take action. The overwhelming information we found about mistreatment in stores, abandonment by owners and euthanizations in shelters brought us to tears. ! The more we researched, the more we found that even our local Guinea Pigs were being mistreated. A quick search on our local classified ads showed owners using language such as “Guinea Pig for sale, "need gone ASAP" or " need gone or euthanized.”
This broke our hearts and immediately had us running around the city responding to these ads, even coming across situations where guinea pigs were left outside in boxes. During the warmer seasons we got many of these types of calls as people mistook these little creatures for wild animals, but the harsh reality is that these animals cannot survive on their own. Bred to be household pets and companions, guinea pigs are not something you can just throw away and forget about. As we became more known around Ottawa, we started getting a lot of sick guinea pig surrenders because some owners could not afford medical treatment and vet visits. We paid out of pocket for surgeries and vet visitation and medication.
Guinea Pigs across Ottawa needed our help urgently! We got to work and began our rescue program by starting in our home, however we quickly ran out of room even with many adoptions, since the number of surrenders was growing so rapidly. The adoption process ensures that families and individuals are ready to care for a small pet like a guinea pig and have the right knowledge for them to live happy and healthy lives. Thus, we had to relocate the guinea pigs to an apartment. With the rescue growing faster than we ever could have imagined we decided to also hire a staff and move to an even bigger facility with sufficient space that allows us to offer educational programs and other services for these little ones.