A guinea pig that was abandoned in a Lyon County mailbox in April has a new mission in life – to educate the public in animal care and what to do if you can no longer care for your pets.
A woman who lives in a rural part of the county just west of Emporia found the female guinea pig – now named Rosita – while checking her mail and called the sheriff’s office.
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Rosita had a few homes after she was rescued, but as Schanee Anderson put it on Monday, “Serendipity is an amazing thing.”
Anderson, the curator of education and farms for the Sedgwick County Zoo, happened to be at one of the police substations in April and heard about the abandoned pet. She emailed the shelter housing Rosita and told them if a home for the rodent wasn’t found – the zoo would be happy to offer her one.
Rosita is no longer homeless and is on a mission.
“As an ambassador for the zoo, she will potentially travel the state helping us present programs to people of all ages, teaching them about how amazing guinea pigs are ... but also what to do before you purchase a pet, after you purchase a pet and what to do if you find you can no longer take care of that pet,” Anderson said.
The process of getting the zoo’s newest ambassador on the road has been deliberately slow. Rosita has lived at the zoo for about 2 1/2 months. She’s been in the education department for several weeks.
“We wanted to give her time to get comfortable, and for us to build a trust with her,” Anderson said. “The hardest thing for her is that she’s been in a lot of places in a short period of time. We want her to know if she leaves here, she’ll come back.”
It’s been estimated that Rosita is about a year old. And now, she’s in great health.
“She’s a little shy,” Anderson said.
Sheriff’s deputies found the original owner of Rosita and charged the 17-year-old with three counts of animal cruelty. She is accused of abandoning two other guinea pigs in the county. They haven’t been found.
“If you find yourself in a situation where you can no longer care for your pet, the best thing you can do is make sure you bring it to an animal shelter or a place where that animal can be cared for,” Anderson said.
For Rosita – “the ending of her story is a happy one,” Anderson said.