Q. When and why was Small Angels Rescue founded?

A. Small Angels Rescue was founded in the fall of 2003 when the organizers recognized a need for a group to help small animals abandoned at animal shelters. The rescue was founded as a way to move these animals into foster homes for socialization and proper, attentive care, as well as to streamline the adoption process and provide accurate, thorough information to adopters about these often misunderstood animals. As Small Angels works primarily with kill or open-admission shelters, moving the animals into our rescue ensures they will not be euthanized.

Q. Where is your shelter located? What hours are you open?

A. We do not have a shelter; instead, we have a network of foster homes to care for the animals. We are based in Frederick, Maryland, and work with animal shelters and adopters throughout the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. We do not have any paid staff. We are all volunteers who dedicate time to answering adoption queries, assisting adopters, working with foster families, caring for foster animals, arranging vet care, and running the organization on our free time, as we have other job and family commitments. Consequently, the rescue does not have any regular “hours” that we are open. Check the “Adopt” tab at the top of this page for more information on adoption events.

Q. From where does Small Angels receive animals?

A. Small Angels Rescue assists animal shelters in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area when animals are scheduled to be euthanized and when the shelters call us for assistance. Our two primary sources of animals are Frederick County Animal Control in Frederick, Maryland, and the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center in Derwood, Maryland. We also sometimes take animals who have been abandoned and—in unique, emergency situations—we take animals surrendered by the public.

Q. How do I give up my small animal(s) to Small Angels?

A. The demand from people looking to surrender their animals to us is so great that, unfortunately, we cannot take in all the animals we are asked to. In addition, we place priority on saving space for animals who are in imminent danger of being euthanized in kill or open-admission shelters. When we can, we work with people who want to give up animals, but the amount of assistance and support we can provide is dependent on the demands being made on us at the time. We offer courtesy posts on our Petfinder.com site so that people can post information and pictures of their animals; potential adopters are directed to the person giving the animal up. Or, the animal can become a “foster animal” for Small Angels: The person surrendering the animal continues to care for him or her; Small Angels assigns the animal a number and posts him or her on Petfinder.com; and Small Angels screens potential adopters, conducts interviews, completes the adoption paperwork, and collects the adoption fee. For more information, email us at info@smallangelsrescue.org.

Q. Why do people give up small animals?

A. The most common reasons we have encountered for people giving up small animals are 1) a child lost interest in caring for the animal; 2) the animal was purchased from a pet store and subsequently gave birth; 3) the person poorly researched and understood the amount of work involved in caring for an animal; 4) the family was moving and left the animal behind; 5) the animal showed behavior problems that the person was not willing to deal with.

Q. What is your adoption process?

A. Small Angels adoption process is straightforward. All of our available animals are posted on www.smallangels.petfinder.com. We keep the site as up-to-date as possible. When potential adopters wish to inquire about adopting, they contact the person listed in the post. All adopters must fill out our adoption application. Adoption coordinators review this application and work with the adopters to clear up any questions or concerns about the information supplied. Adopters work with the adoption coordinators to schedule adoptions at a time and location convenient to all parties involved. At the time of adoption, we review care information and make sure the adopter spends ample time visiting with the animal to be adopted. We review our adoption contract, which the adopter signs, and collect the adoption fee ($10 for mice, gerbils, hamsters and rats; $35 for unaltered guinea pigs; $45 for neutered male guinea pigs; and $55 for spayed female guinea pigs.

Q. Why do you charge adoption fees?

A. Adoption fees are used to cover the cost of caring for the animal until adoption. Animals are in the care of Small Angels Rescue an average of three months. During that time they need lots of love and attention, but they also need food, hay, and clean cages. One bag of bedding costs from $6 to $13. Food ranges from $5 to $11 per bag. Some of the animals who enter the rescue are ill and need veterinary attention, so your adoption fee also goes to offset the cost of the medical care the animals receive before they are ready to be adopted. We neuter our guinea pigs before they are adopted. (It is healthier for them, allows them to live with other members of their species, and prevents unwanted pregnancies.) Guinea Pig spay/neuter costs from $70 to $90 per animal.

Q. Do you ship animals?

A. No. Shipping is inhumane, causes stress to the animals, and prevents us from meeting our adopters in person.

Q. What is Small Angels’ policy on breeding?

A. Small Angels opposes breeding of small animals. Adopters are required to sign a contract stating, in part, that they will not breed animals from the rescue. We have an extensive spay/neuter program for our guinea pigs allowing them to live in mixed-gender groups. We separate other animals by gender unless-as with Syrian hamsters, male mice, and other individuals—it is necessary to keep them alone.

Q. How can I help Small Angels Rescue?

A. Small Angels needs foster care parents for small animals in our program. We also need financial donations either by becoming a member or donating on our website. Finally, please spread the word that there are many small animals in rescues and shelters looking for homes and that you don’t need to go to a pet store to find a small animal.

Q. From what sources does Small Angels receive revenue?

A. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We receive income from adoption fees, donations, membership fees, and fundraisers.

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