Senior Emily Otto ‘21 always dreamed of rescuing animals. An animal lover since she was young, Emily is the adoring owner of seven rescue dogs. In fact, she’d always been particularly drawn to rescuing dogs until last year when she met Upper School Science Teacher Lisa Queeno’s class guinea pig, Thomas.
“Ms. Queeno kindly allowed me to take Thomas and have him sit with me at my desk and I just loved watching him and holding him,” Emily shares. “I have pretty bad anxiety, which is elevated when I am in school, so being able to come to her class and have this little buddy by my side really helped me ease those feelings of anxiousness.”
After spending lots of time with Thomas, Emily knew she needed to further educate herself on guinea pig behaviors and care before adopting any guinea pigs of her own. Research helped her discover a Youtube channel called “Saskia at Los Angeles Guinea Pig Rescue" and Emily knew immediately that she was hooked.
“This lovely woman, Saskia, has dedicated her life to rescuing, rehabilitating, and re-homing homeless, neglected, and even abused guinea pigs. I had no idea that there were so many that were in desperate need of homes. I was also so drawn in by the fact that so many people had the wrong idea about proper guinea pig care.”
When Emily’s local S.P.C.A opened back up in early April for adoption appointments during COVID, she was thrilled to be able to adopt her first two guinea pigs, Otis and Nutmeg—but her rescuing was far from finished. On Craigslist, Emily discovered listing after listing of guinea pigs that needed new, loving homes and decided she needed to do something.
“The lack of knowledge about these creatures is something I hope to change,” Emily says. “I would say most people who come to me to surrender their guinea pigs have adopted them from a pet store, and were unprepared and uneducated on how to properly care for them.”
Emily has now made it her mission to rescue as many guinea pigs as she can under the name of her small pet rescue, Little Buddies Refuge. To help with her efforts in veterinary care, housing, food, and more, Emily has created a GoFundMe which has already garnered more than $850 to date.
We’re so proud of your kind heart and go-getter attitude, Emily. Way to go!