You don’t normally think of baby animals this time of year. Most critters wait until spring to have their young. To me, this shift in nature’s rhythm is the most compelling evidence of global climate change.
If you think about it, as recently as ten years ago you wouldn’t be able to find a kitten for Christmas, and yet this holiday season we not only had a shelter full, we had some so young that they had just reached the two pound mark (which is required so they can be altered and put up for adoption). That means the still has kittens and it’s after new years! Unbelievable!
A few weeks ago, we had a small terrier/poodle dog surrendered with four newborn puppies. They were in a foster home and just went up for adoption the week before Christmas. We don’t often have puppies (thank goodness) and small breeds are in demand right now, so they were lucky. They were truly adorable and didn’t last long – all were in their new homes for New Year’s, including the mom.
In addition to puppies and kittens, we also recently had 3 adult guinea pigs with 4 babies brought in to us. If you’ve never seen newborn guinea pigs - they are the cutest things ever!
For a rodent, the guinea pig has a long gestation period (about 9-10 weeks) so the young are born "precocial" – eyes open, fully furred and ready to go! They come out looking just like little mini-moms (or dads). They’ve also been in a foster home so they are fairly well socialized and handleable. They just recently became available for adoption, so come see just how adorable they are.
But wait, that’s not all! In case you didn’t think kittens, puppies and guinea pigs were enough, we also have a pair of baby rats! It’s sad how often we get pregnant or nursing animals surrendered to us when the humans realize that they are going to have more than one mouth to feed. With rats, the numbers can climb dramatically in just a few months.
Think about it – rats come into season every 5-6 days and their gestation is just 21-24 days. Females can get pregnant again right after giving birth if the males are left in with them. Consider that each litter can result in 10-12 offspring and those babies are ready to breed when they are just 5 weeks old. It would only take one pregnant rat and the mistake of not separating the young soon enough to see how quickly you could become overwhelmed!
So our shelter has been turned into a nursery of sorts. Lots of baby animals, along with their parents, waiting for new homes. There’s nothing cuter than a furry baby to bring a smile and act as a de-stresser. Come on by to see them – you might just fall in love!
Upcoming Events: Pet First Aid Class & CPR class, Saturday, Jan. 14, 9:00-12:00. Cost is $60 and includes a reference book for home use (specify dog or cat book), $70 if you want both books. This 3-hour class will cover CPR, Heimlich maneuver, obtaining vital signs, and more. Space is limited and registration will close on Jan. 11. Payment is required to reserve a spot so stop by the shelter to sign up. Call 584-1582 for more information.
Meet the Bunny, Second Saturday of each Month (Jan. 14) from 1-5:30. Meet our adoptable rabbits, ask care questions of our knowledgeable volunteers, and shop our bunny boutique for fresh hay, rabbit toys and accessories, and some cute gifts for the bunny lovers on your shopping list.