What do you do with an unwanted small pet in Park Slope? I’ll admit that I have a vested interest in exploring this topic, aside from being a reporter. I am the owner, or really the parent of the owner, of two severely under-utilized hamster-sized guinea pigs.
Olive and Sweetie were adorable when they first arrived two years ago — their purchase spurred on by months of begging from my then-10-year-old daughter.
Cute little fluff balls of fur are irresistible in almost any species. It became quickly apparent, however, that those same balls of fur were making me sneeze in a big way. They had to go.
My boyfriend began to make jokes about taking them for walks in the park and — oops — losing them along the way.
Out of curiosity I called Eugene Patron, the press spokesman for the park: “Do people dump small animals in the park?”
Cats and dogs do get left in the park, in hopes that someone will come along and rescue them. And there’s always the odd case of a snake or rabbit being abandoned in the park by owners who (hmm, like me) thought they’d love the pet, but ended up not being able (or, like me, wanting) to care for it.
The pet plot thickened in my house when we got another adorable fluff ball, Bella, the tiny poodle (who did not make me sneeze). Now the guinea pigs were demoted to even less than nothing. Now their care began to fall more and more on me — the one who can’t even breathe around them.
A friend of mine commented that she used to go to an Ecuadorian restaurant on Fifth Avenue that served guinea pig. I discovered that the place is now closed — darn it. We had hoped to take my daughter there for dinner one evening just to see if she would get the hint. I did find a New York Times article about the place. It turns out that guinea pig — served whole — is a holiday treat amongst Ecuadorians. I won’t go into the bone-crunching details of how a “cuy” is eaten.
(By the way, some people like to eat iguana too. In Costa Rica they call them “chicken of the trees,” although they are now an endangered species and it is illegal to capture them, no matter how hungry you are.)
Desperation aside, I would not seriously consider abandoning Olive and Sweetie in the park or selling them to a restaurant as food. But what should one do?
“Finding a private home for the animal is the best course of action,” says Jude Lassow-Sunden of Muffin’s Pet Connection, a not-for-profit animal adoption group. “Scope out all your friends, family and co-workers.” This way you can be sure the new owner is going to be good to your pet.
And, believe it or not, there are rescue groups for just about every type of animal — even guinea pigs. Have-a Heart Guinea Pig Rescue in New Jersey is one example. In Allentown, Penn., I found Give a Chance Hamster Rescue.
My daughter has finally seen reason about our guinea pigs. I have to admit, though, that none of my attempts of convince her of the ultimate kindness we would be doing to them by finding them a new home did a thing to convince her. The conversation went more like this:
Daughter: “Mom, can we get another poodle?”
Me: “OK, but only if you agree to get rid of the guinea pigs.”
Daughter: “Really? I can get another dog? It’s a deal!”
Wendy Ponte is a writer who lives in Park Slope.
Park Slope: Our own front-page cover girl — chalk graffiti artist Natalie Shea — was interviewed for an upcoming episode of “The Colbert Report” the other day at her 10th Street home. If Stephen Colbert wants to thank us personally for breaking the story, we’ll take four VIP seats to an upcoming taping, please. …
Our pal Mo Willems celebrated his 40th birthday on Monday night and was toasted by a veritable library of Brooklyn-based kid’s book authors, including Jon “Stinky Cheese Man” Scieszka and Ted Lewin, whose picture book on Gleason’s Gym comes out next month. … Don’t forget the free “Photoshop master classes” at the Mac Support store on Feb. 23 and March 8. David Biedny, who literally wrote the book on the famed photo-editing software, will lead the 3 pm sessions. Did we mention that they’re free? …
Bay Ridge: It’s time again for the Bay Ridge Community Council’s annual photo contest. Adult and student photographers (ages 5–12) should send their entry — a single photo per person — to McLaughlin & Sons, 8225 Third Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11209 by March 3. …
Also, our friends at the Bay Ridge Lions honored past president Marilyn Mannino at Hunters Steak House on Fourth Avenue last week. Peter Killen, a Lions Club member in good standing, vouched for the steak. …
Now he’s a sweet Sweet 16 story. Our pal Stavroula Kafkis donated $500 to Lutheran Medical Center last week — money that she had originally set aside for treats and party favors at her January “Sweet 16” party. The 11th grader at Fort Hamilton HS says she hopes to be a pharmacist one day. …
Congrats to 68th Precinct C.O. Eric Rodriguez, who just got promoted to deputy inspector.
©2008 Community News Group
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