Home NewsroomEducation Adoption Instead Of Purchasing, COVID-19 Outbreak Triggers A Wave Of Pet Abandonment

Adoption Instead Of Purchasing, COVID-19 Outbreak Triggers A Wave Of Pet Abandonment

by Amélie Poulain
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Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles recently stated that animal welfare organizations in California and across the country are now facing a serious problem of abandoning guinea pigs. They appealed that those who want to keep guinea pigs can actively contact the association to adopt small animals of buying, and make preparations for raising an animal.


Come and adopt a cute guinea pig. (Photo via unsplash.com)

Los Angeles, CA (Merxwire) – Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) recently stated that animal welfare organizations across California are facing serious abandonment of guinea pigs. The number of “abandoned rats” in each association has increased significantly. One of the main reasons is that the owner couldn’t raise it. Another reason is that the guinea pigs were not fixed, so the guinea pigs reproduced in large numbers, and the owners were unable to raise an excessive number of guinea pigs.

Starting in January 2020, the world has been overwhelmed by the COVID-19, and countries around the world have implemented different contingency measures. Some countries have locked down the cities, many schools have closed and studied through distance learning, and companies have changed to work from home. The slogan “Stay at home. Stay safe” is advocated all over the world. People spend more time at home, studying and working at home, and cannot go out to engage in leisure and entertainment. At this time, different new trends at home are blowing, such as cooking at home. Every day, you will see the photos of “today’s dinner” on Facebook and IG posted by relatives and friends, and families with children will carefully arrange the “daily study schedule.” At this time, there was also a trend of keeping pets in the United States.

In particular, guinea pigs and rabbits, which are small and cute and do not require large space, have become new favorites. Therefore, the number of small animals or pocket pets has gradually increased. Many experts and scholars in the clinic have devoted themselves to research, wanting to know what changes will happen when people are accompanied by animals in their lives. In the 17th century, the Quaker sanatorium encouraged patients to interact more with animals and the psychoanalysis master Sigmund Freud often let his dogs join in his psychoanalytic experiments. In the 1960s, the American child psychologist Boris Levinson deeply studied the effects of his dogs on patients in hospitals. Animals have become one of the important research topics.

Since 2013, the breeding of “therapy animals” has become very popular in the United States. To relieve the fatigue of passengers, a piglet was specially raised to entertain the passengers at the San Francisco International Airport. Some university faculty and staff would bring dogs to the school to relieve the tension of the students during the final exams. A study in 2015 found that children with dogs at home have lower levels of anxiety than children without dogs. Therefore, it is generally believed that “children with pets are less anxious.” Research by the State University of New York also found that raising animals, especially companion animals, can make people more positive and feel that the surrounding environment becomes safer. Instinctively, they will change from anxious mode to relaxed mode. Studies in Australia and Germany found that people who keep pets have 16% fewer medical visits and 32% fewer hospital stays than those who do not keep pets.  

The spread of the COVID-19 epidemic has increased the time spent at home, which has caused a wave of raising small animals. (Photo via unsplash.com)

Research shows that there are many benefits for people to have guinea pigs and small animals with them

  1. People who keep pets are healthier and can develop stronger immunity

    Scientists study statistics and found that people who keep pets are healthier and have better blood quality than their peers. Research in Australia has also found that people with pets take fewer sleeping pills and painkillers. In 2004, the research results published in the international professional journal “Psychology International Newsletter” found that touching pet fur can increase the immunoglobulin A in the subjects’ saliva and enhance the body’s defenses. American microbiologists believe that moderate exposure to microorganisms in the environment or pets can promote health. A study by Assistant Professor Bill Hesselmar at the University of Gothenburg (GU) found that if there are no pets at home or young children rarely interact with pets, their ability to prevent allergies will be lower.

  2. Keeping pets can relieve emotions and bring happiness

    After a busy day, the first thing you do when you go home is to look at your pet. Usually, he will run to you immediately with more excitement than you. When you touch them or feed them, you feel relaxed. Research data shows that interacting with pets has a decompression effect. It can also increase the five neurotransmitters that make you feel happy, such as endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin. At the same time, it can reduce the adrenal glands that produce anxiety. When you are always positive and happy, you could easily solve problems in your life. Studies have also shown that keeping pets can help stabilize the mood of people with dementia.

  3. Keeping pets can make the owner feel safe and reduce the feeling of loneliness

    Pets have a loyal nature to their owners and a sense of selfless companionship. No matter what setbacks the owner encounters in life, he will always listen to you carefully and let your emotions be released. With a trusted partner, the owner can feel at ease. Mental health scholars also believe that keeping pets will reduce the feeling of loneliness and isolation and will increase the feeling of being “needed”. At the same time, it can accompany the owner through the low ebb of life. It is very suitable for solitary or elderly people because pets can make the owner feel warm and increase the liveliness in the space, with a sense of home presence and stability.

  4. Keeping pets is good for preventing cardiovascular disease

    Dr. Mimi Guarneri, a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and founder of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine once mentioned in his book “The Heart Speaks” that one of the prescriptions to prevent the recurrence of cardiovascular disease is to “keep a pet.” Based on her own experience and medical practice for several years, she has found that the emotional heart affects the physical heart. Emotional fluctuations will cause the blood pressure to fluctuate and at the same time stimulate the action of the heart. On the contrary, the stability that pets bring to the owner helps reduce risk factors that cause cardiovascular discomforts, such as triglycerides and systolic blood pressure.

  5. Keeping pets is good for patients and their families

    Research by Andreas Zieger, a neuroscientist at Universität Oldenburg in Germany, proved that by using guinea pigs, rabbits, or dogs as adjuvant therapy to contact patients with brain injury, it obviously had better healing power. It can reduce the stress and anxiety of the patient, and it can also reduce the chance of the patient’s heart atrophy. At the same time, it also has a relaxing and positive effect on the patient’s family. There are also many clinical studies that support the need for the elderly to be accompanied by pets. The elderly can get the joy of life from pets, improve social skills, satisfy intimacy and sense of value, and reduce or avoid the chance of suffering from dementia and bipolar disorder.

  6. Keeping pets can cultivate children’s love, sense of responsibility, and empathy

    Gail Melson, an American child development professor, spent 10 years studying the “impact of keeping pets on children’s growth.” The study found that children who often encounter animals are more empathetic and have a strong understanding of biological sciences. There are a lot of research to explore the help of pets for young children, including allowing children to learn to respect life, practice to cultivate children’s sense of responsibility, learn to care for pets’ needs and feelings, relieve children’s physical and mental stress, and help them to build relationships and social skills, improve empathy and self-esteem, etc., and at the same time learn the different stages of life and passing away.

There is a relationship of companionship, learning, and growth between people and pets. (Photo via pexels.com)

The reason why the number of people keeping small animals and pocket pets grows in large numbers under the epidemic is the result of many changes that have occurred after the epidemic. Because almost people work and study at home, the lack of normal social and entertainment activities will give rise to the idea of needing pets to accompany you. Because of the epidemic, it is more difficult for the family, friends, and social welfare personnel to come to visit people who originally lived alone, and they will also need companions to talk with.

Due to the collapse of the medical system during the outbreak of the epidemic, many patients with chronic diseases or dementia, to reduce the risk of contact with infection in the hospital and reduce the medical burden, they mainly recuperate at home, so they will also need the company of therapy animals at home. Therefore, the healing power of guinea pigs and other small animals played a great role at this time. Under the epidemic, raising small animals can soothe the anxiety caused by environmental changes and the domination of the epidemic, and when there is no family or friends to accompany you, they would listen to you, give you spiritual companionship strength. A pet is a quiet listener and never being impatient and complaining.

There is also a wave of “PUI PUI guinea pig carts” in Asia

PUI PUI guinea pig carsモルカー” broadcast on TV TOKYO on January 5, 2021, in Japan and other Asian regions such as Taiwan have received a great response. With the time-consuming wool felt stop-motion animation method, matched with the cute guinea pig cart, the chubby body is silly and cute. It also integrates the diet and movements of the guinea pig into the animation, with the real sound of the guinea pig, and the film is virtual but had kindness in it. There is a total of 12 episodes, and each episode has a different meaning of traffic safety, which children and adults all like to watch it. In this chaotic era, it has an important healing effect, and a wave of raising guinea pigs has also started.

Please fully understand before raising, and choose adoption instead of purchasing

After the first wave of the epidemic broke out, a lot of breeders appeared. When the epidemic gradually receded, some people returned to their daily lives. The children began to return to school, and the workers returned to the company. Some of them had no time to take care of the small animals. In addition, many animal organizations stopped free sterilization services during the epidemic, and some veterinarians did not provide guinea pigs or rabbit ligation services because they felt that the risk was high. If the owner does not keep the male rats and the female rats separately, it will cause a large number of breeding and abandonment problems. Not only in California, but almost all small animal shelters across the country have encountered this problem, so they are unable to support each other in adoption, and the situation of small animals is even more difficult.

If you are already a small animal breeder, please understand his characteristics well and make preparations and plans for long-term care of him. The lifespan of a guinea pig is about 5 to 8 years. They like the owner’s company very much and have emotional changes. They need birth control or separate male and female rearing and need regular health checks. Please continue to take care of him carefully. I believe he will become an important partner in your life. If you are about to start raising guinea pigs, please evaluate your life and environment, as well as whether you have the determination to raise pets, and prepare for them to be a part of the family. If you are ready, you can contact animal welfare organizations like “spcaLA” all over the country to adopt a little guinea pig instead of purchasing to help the cute guinea pigs build a warm home.

Use adoption instead of purchase and bring the cute guinea pig home. (Photo via unsplash.com)

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