ADOPT A RESCUE RABBIT OR GUINEA PIG


Penny & Wild: Smalls of South Florida is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and no-kill small animal rescue that specializes in rabbits and guinea pigs. We are 100% foster home, donation-based, and volunteer-run. By adopting a rescue rabbit or guinea pig from us, you are not only saving one animal’s life, but you are also opening up a space in a foster home for us to save another so THANK YOU!!

All of our rabbits and guinea pigs are seen annually by an experienced exotic veterinarian and spayed/neutered prior to adoption. Our animals are housed indoors in foster homes throughout Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties and we only adopt out to indoor, no-cage forever homes. You can see our adoptable rabbits and guinea pigs’ profiles below and if you would like to arrange to meet them, you can submit an adoption application. Submitting an adoption application is not a commitment; you will not need to sign an adoption agreement or pay a fee until you are approved to adopt. After receiving an application an Adoption Coordinator will contact you within 24-48 hours to discuss the next steps.

 

RABBITS


Are you thinking about adopting a rabbit? Did you know …
  • 3rd most popular & 3rd most abandoned pet in the US.
  • 10+ year commitment.
  • 3-4 hours of attention and care per day.
  • $2,500 or more per year in food, supplies, and care.
  • 4FT x 4FT (16sq ft) of living space per rabbit. Cannot be kept outdoors, in hutches, or in cages.
  • $$$ Need to be seen by an exotic vet every year, a wellness exam costs around $75-90 in Florida.

Adoption Process

APPLICATION

  • View our Adoptable Rabbits
  • Submit an Adoption Questionnaire
  • Attend a Bunny101 Class via Zoom [every Monday @ 6pm]
    • First time-adopters, with or without previous rabbit experience.
  • Attend a Bonding101 Class via Zoom [every Wednesday @ 6pm]
    • For those who already have a rabbit at home and are interested in bonding.
  • One-on-one Adoption Call with an Adoption Coordinator

PREPARATION

  • Schedule a Meet&Greet to meet the rabbit(s) you are interested in adopting.
    • Meet&Greets take place in our North Miami Beach group foster home.
  • Order Required Supplies
  • Bunny Proof the room / area where the rabbit will be free-roaming 3-4hrs per day
  • Submit a picture and/or video of your complete at Home Set-up

ADOPTION

  • Pay the Adoption Fee
  • Schedule a Home Visit – Drop-off
  • Join our Facebook Adopters Group

Housing Requirements

 

  • Domestic rabbits should be housed and kept indoors at all times.
    NO: patios, porches, backyards, or walks/outdoor playtime.

 

  • Min. 4ft x 4ft* living area per rabbit when enclosed.   *depending on size.
    NO: Hutches or cages.

X-pen, hutch, cage

 

  • Rabbits need soft surfaces like carpets or area rugs to get around on.
    NO: tile, marble, or hardwood floor.

 

  • The enclosure should be in a bedroom or a central, high-traffic area like the living room.
    NO: laundry room, garages, patios, etc.

 

  • Cannot stay in the enclosure all of the time and need 3-4 hours of daily supervised free-roam time to explore and exercise in a bunny-proofed room.

Forever Families Only

I am a FOREVER rabbit.

Not an UNTIL Rabbit.

Until you have no time for me.
Until you have to move.
Until you have a baby.
Until you get bored of me.
Until I get sick.

 

If you can’t promise to love them forever, please don’t get a rabbit.

4 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE Adopting a Rabbit

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Rabbits are a long-term commitment and can live 10+ years. Do you see yourself loving them as much in a decade when the initial excitement fades? Are you willing to provide supportive care at the end of their life when they have arthritis and mobility issues and need accessible, low-entry litterboxes or cannot see and hear as well? Are you planning to have children; and if so, will you still be able to spend 3-4 hours per day giving your rabbit the care that it needs and keeping the enclosure clean? Do you travel for work or plan on moving cross-country/out of the country in the next ten years?

Are you getting a bunny for your child? Children will get bored. Even teenagers who put together a very convincing PowerPoint on why you should get a rabbit. Most rabbits do not like to be picked up or cuddled and some can be described as boring or fearful. Are you willing to take over changing the litter box, feeding, and spending time socializing with them which usually takes 3-4 hours per day, if your kids no longer do? What are you planning to do with your rabbit if your child goes away to college? Or, if you downsize your house after your kids move out?

Do you travel often? Or would you like to? Would you like to do a road trip across the country? Or backpack through Europe? Take a week-long cruise? Or stay with family over a long weekend? Rabbits cannot be left alone for days at a time and need daily care and attention. Finding a rabbit-savvy pet sitter can be tricky and boarding with a rescue or a vet can cost $25-40 per day.

Are you willing to spend $300-$1200 on Veterinary Care? Rabbits should be seen by a rabbit-savvy exotic vet every year. A physical wellness exam costs $75-90 and blood work $100-$250. In the event of an emergency, x-rays, and surgery can cost $1,200+ in a single day. Spay/neuter costs $400-600, and 80% of female rabbits will develop reproductive cancer by age 4 if not spayed.

The Truth About the Easter Rabbits

80% of bunnies purchased for Easter are abandoned a few months later. Most will not survive to be 1 year old.

Every year after Easter and Christmas, thousands of rabbits are abandoned in shelters or “released in the wild” where they will not survive. Domestic rabbits do not have the instincts or know how to find food, water, and shelter. Many are hit by cars, attacked by predators, starve, or succumb to an injury or illness within a few days or weeks. Why does this happen so often with rabbits? It is primarily due to the misconception that rabbits are short-lived, cheap, easy, low-maintenance, and/or good “starter” pets for small children.

While wonderful pets for adults and responsible older teenagers, rabbits are not ideal pets for busy households with small children. As prey animals, rabbits are easily startled by fast movements and loud noises and do not enjoy being picked up or carried. Children will quickly get bored of a pet that they cannot cuddle or pick up and what was originally meant to be a fun and easy pet becomes a chore and a burden on the parents. An expensive one at that, since most rabbits are sold as young as 8 weeks and will need need to be spayed/neutered at around 5-6 months. Cost: $350-700. If rabbits are not fixed, when their hormones surge they often do not litterbox train and may spray urine and/or become aggressive. 80% of female rabbits will develop reproductive cancer by age 4 if not spayed.

When properly cared for, rabbits can live 10+ years. They can be as intelligent and interactive as cats and dogs, curious and mischievous like a toddler, and have unique personalities but they are often locked in tiny cages and called “boring”. They can absolutely be very affectionate when socialized with people and they can be easily litterbox trained! They require 3-4 hours of attention and care per day and they do best living fully or mostly free-roaming in a “bunny-proofed” room or area where they can binky and flop to their heart’s content. This should be in a bedroom or central high-traffic area such as the living room. You can follow YouTubers “Lennon the Bunny” and “Sincerely, Cinnabun” to find out more about living with a free-roaming rabbit.

#NotJust4Easter

Bonding Rabbits

Do you have a rabbit and want to get them a friend? We do Speed-dating and Pre-bonding services for groups of 2-4* rabbits. *We also bond larger groups on a case-by-case basis.

  • Speed-date: on a typical “speed-date” we will introduce 4 – 5 rabbits, one at a time, to see who your rabbit gets along with the best. The speed date will take place in a Penny & Wild group home under the supervision of an experienced Bonding Coordinator and usually takes about an hour. When picking which rabbits will be introduced, we will consider the applicant’s preferences as well as our Bonding Criteria for age, size, gender, and nature (see below). After a successful introduction, you will then have the option of taking the rabbits home to bond yourself or leaving the rabbits for “pre-bonding” with the Bonding Coordinator.
  • Pre-bonding: rabbits that are not bonded will not be able to live together in a single enclosure right away. Even if they do well during the speed date they will need to start off as neighbors; living side by side in 2 “mirror enclosures” (4ft x 4ft, 30″ tall X-pens). Bonding at home yourself can take 2 weeks – 2 months, or more. We offer “pre-bonding” starting at $35/day and rabbits will be ready to go home within 3-7 days and live together in a bonding pen. This makes the bonding process much shorter and easier.

If you would like to schedule a Speed-date or Pre-Bonding please fill out an Adoption Application and a Coordinator will be in touch to discuss our Adoption & Bonding Policies and recommend potential matches based on your answers.

Requirements: Rabbits must be spayed/neutered and have been cleared by a vet within the last year.

Bonding Criteria:

  • AGE: Rabbits should be within 1-3 years of each other’s age.
  • SIZE: Rabbits should be within 1-3 lbs of each other. We do not bond rabbits who are drastically different in size due to the risk of severe injury to the smaller rabbit in the event of a fight.
  • GENDER:
    • M/F: these pairs are the most natural and easy to bond.
    • F/F: if a female does not get along with males we will try introducing a female friend.
    • M/M: with the exception of brothers who were born/raised together in the rescue and are truly bonded we do not bond males to males due to the frequency of un-bonding and severe injuries.
  • SUBMISSIVE / DOMINANT NATURE:
    • D/D: two dominant rabbits will not be bondable and can severely injure or even kill one another.
    • S/S: likely to be a rare “love at first sight” bond. One rabbit will still be dominant but there will be minimal chasing/mounting, if any, or rabbits may alternate mounting.
    • S/D: This is the most common bond, it will take time and dedicated effort. Bonding can take 2 weeks to 2 months, or more.

Out of State Adoption

Out-of-state adoptions are handled on a case-by-case basis. Please look at the considerations below and/or submit an Adoption Application if you would like to be considered.

  • AGE: must be 6 months of age or older; no seniors over 7 years old.
  • SPECIAL NEEDS: cannot be blind or have a medical condition.
  • SEASON: no long-haired rabbits between May-August, unless shaved down, due to the Florida heat.
  • HEALTH CERTIFICATE: $105/rabbit. All animals moving across state lines require a health certificate by law. This cost would be in addition to the adoption fee.
  • TRANSPORT: adopters must transport the rabbit themselves or cover the cost of a 2-way flight and the in-flight pet fee for a volunteer to transport the rabbit to them.
  • CARRIER: airlines require specific carriers of a certain size and you will have to purchase one.
  • AIRLINE: Spirit Airlines is currently the only airline that will permit rabbits to fly in the cabin. If Spirit does not travel to your state, you will have to travel to a neighboring state’s airport to meet our volunteer.

Allergies

There is no such thing as a “hypoallergenic” rabbit. All rabbits shed and have dander.

That being said, the Rex breed is known for being “low-shedding.” This is because they only have one layer of fur as opposed to two; the undercoat and overcoat that other rabbits have. Other breeds that have a single layer of fur are Plush Lops and Velveteen Lops. On the other hand, the New Zealand, Lionhead, Angora, and American Fuzzy Lop breeds are considered “high-shedding.”

Regardless of breed, rabbits will shed twice a year in spring and fall. During “shed season”, rabbits will molt their coat and grow a new one.

Watch this video to see a rabbit groomed: YOUTUBE

 

 

GUINEA PIGS


Are you thinking about adopting a guinea pig? Did you know …
  • Lifespan 4-8 years with the proper diet & care.
  • 2-3 hours of attention and care per day.
  • $800 or more per year in food, supplies, and veterinary care.
  • Are considered exotic animals and require specialized veterinary care.
  • 2FT x 4FT (8sq ft) of living space per guinea pig.
  • Guinea Pigs are social and need to live in pairs or trios.
  • Vitamin C Deficiency is common in guinea pigs because they do not produce it.
  • Guinea Pigs are very vocal and can be quite loud. Google guinea pig noises & what they mean.

Adoption Process

APPLICATION

PREPARATION

  • Order Required Supplies
  • Submit pictures and/or videos of Home Setup for approval
  • Schedule a Meet & Greet

ADOPTION

  • Schedule Pick-up
  • Pay Adoption Fee

Housing Requirements

  • Guinea Pigs should be housed and kept indoors at all times.
    NO: patios, porches, backyards, or walks/outdoor playtime.

 

  • Minimum 2FT x 4FT living area when enclosed.
    NO: Hutches or cages.

  • Guinea pigs need soft surfaces like fleece or a cage liner.
    NO: plastic, wire bottom, or wood shavings.

 

  • The enclosure should be in a bedroom or a central, high-traffic area like the living room.
    NO: laundry room, garages, patios, etc.

Are Guinea Pigs Easier to Care for than Rabbits?

Yes, and also no.

Guinea pigs do not need to “free-roam” 3-4 hours per day and you will not need to guinea-pig proof your room or home as you would with a rabbit. A pair of guinea pigs also require half the living space a single rabbit would:

  • 4FT x 4FT (16sq ft) per rabbit
  • 2FT x 4FT (8sq ft) per guinea pig pair

Guinea pigs live half as long as rabbits do:

  • Life expectancy is 10+ years for rabbits
  • Life expectancy is 4-8 years for guinea pigs.

Unlike rabbits, guinea pigs are not likely to litter-box train:

  • When cleaning up after rabbits; most of their pee/poop will be in the litterbox.
  • When cleaning up after guinea pigs; their entire enclosure will need to be cleaned.

 

5 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE Adopting a Guinea Pig

Where do you see yourself in the next 5-8 years? Guinea pigs are a long-term commitment and can live up to 8 years. Do you see yourself loving them as much in a few years when the initial excitement fades? What about if your children lose interest? Are you willing to clean their cage multiple times a week for the next few years? Are you willing to provide supportive care at the end of their life when they have arthritis and mobility issues?

Are you getting guinea pigs for your child? Children will get bored. Guinea pigs are prey animals which makes them fearful by nature. When they are being held, most of them are calm. That being said, they often run away when people try to pick them up and flinch away at loud noises like yelling. If you have a loud household, the guinea pigs may spend a good part of the time hiding in their hideys. They can be extremely social when they get to know you and settle into a routine but they are not animals that (usually) come when called, learn tricks, or frequently interact with children (although there are always exceptions). If your child becomes bored and stops wanting to hold their guinea pigs, are you prepared to do the work to clean up after them and socialized them? 50% of our guinea pig surrender requests each year come from parents who bought guinea pigs from a pet store and their children stopped interacting with the guinea pigs not even two years later.

Do you travel often? Or would you like to? Would you like to do a road trip across the country? Or backpack through Europe? Take a week-long cruise? Or stay with family over a long weekend? Guinea pigs cannot be left alone for days at a time and need daily care and attention. Finding a pet sitter can be tricky and boarding with a rescue or a vet can cost $25-40 per day for a pair.

Are you willing to spend $300-$1200 on Veterinary Care? Guinea pigs should be seen by an exotic vet every year. A wellness exam costs $75-100 and annual bloodwork costs $200-300. In the event of an emergency, x-rays, and surgery can cost $1,200+ in a single day. Spay/neuter costs $400-800, and 80% of female guinea pigs will develop ovarian cysts by the time they turn 1.5 years old. Ovarian cysts are extremely painful and without surgical removal, guinea pigs can go on to experience crusty nipples, hair loss, bite their sides because of the pain, and even have the cysts rupture internally time and time again over a period of years. They are also predisposed to uterine problems that can result in death, especially as they get older. Three out of every five female guinea pigs that we receive have cystic ovaries, an abnormal uterus, or both. The other two out of five are generally younger (though we have seen cysts as young as six months old) and would have encountered problems as they got older.

Are you willing to make sure that your guinea pigs always have a friend? Guinea pigs are extremely social animals and do not like to be alone. Adopting guinea pigs is a commitment to each pig, knowing that when one of your two passes away, you will have to get a friend for the remaining one. Guinea pigs are not animals that can be left on their own to age until they pass away after losing a friend. You can absolutely adopt a senior if your remaining guinea pig is older but they can’t just be left alone for their last few months/years. Are you prepared to make sure your guinea pigs always have a friend, regardless of age?

Can I Adopt Just One Guinea Pig?

Guinea pigs are extremely social and should not live in isolation. They can (and often do) become depressed and can develop behaviors specific to guinea pigs in isolation, similar to orcas in captivity or even people in solitary confinement. If you already have a guinea pig (or multiple), you can absolutely adopt just one guinea pig to bond with your current pig(s). If you do not currently have a guinea pig, you will need to adopt two in order to make sure that your new guinea pig is not alone!

Our rescue follows this protocol in foster care as well. All of our guinea pigs are paired up in foster homes. You can choose to keep them in the pair they are already in or you can choose to introduce the guinea pig to a different potential friend (unless they are a bonded pair).

 

Out of State Adoption

We do not adopt our guinea pigs into out-of-state homes.

Should I adopt males or females? What about old guinea pigs or young guinea pigs?

This is one of the most common questions we get from new guinea pig owners, especially since Google has so much conflicting information. One of the things that we encourage adopters to keep in mind is that all of our guinea pigs are spayed and neutered which means that hormonal behavior from either gender is significantly lessened or nonexistent. Many people believe that males are sweeter – that’s not always the case. Every guinea pig has their own personality and we’ve had many sweet females who are sweeter than males. Our adoption coordinator will be able to tell you about the personalities of our guinea pigs so that you can make a good decision! Since all of our guinea pigs are fixed, it’s most natural to keep them in male-female pairs. That being said, pairs of females generally do quite well together. Males should only be paired together if they are both neutered or are pre-bonded.

As for age, that really depends on what your family is looking for! Young guinea pigs (under two years old) tend to be much more energetic. That being said, they are also generally more wiggly when being held, have a much shorter attention span, and don’t sit still for nearly as long when being held. The younger they are, the more this applies. Six-month-old piggies take time to mellow out which is definitely something to consider if you have children. Senior guinea pigs (5+ years) tend to be the most mellow and are often the most affectionate as well. These piggies know how lucky they are to have a home when they’re older and are often grateful for every head rub, treat, hidey, and cuddle they get. Middle-aged guinea pigs (2-4 years) are the most popular age range to adopt (and the most recommended for families). These guinea pigs have mellowed out enough that they’re happy to hang out, take treats, and do head rubs and they aren’t as wiggly as their younger counterparts. Our rescue also generally has at least 2-3 pairs at any given time who are used to living with children in the home, feel free to ask our adoption coordinator about these pairs after applying if you are looking for family pets!