The surviving guinea pig, which died the following day.

The surviving guinea pig, which died the following day.

Guinea pigs abandoned on animal shelter steps

Two guinea pigs were left on the Orcas Animal Shelter’s front steps during non-business hours.

On the morning of Nov. 19, a volunteer who walks dogs prior to the shelter opening at 2 p.m. discovered the discarded pets, both of which later died.

One of the guinea pigs was so cold and stiff that it was presumed dead until it moved slightly. Despite revival attempts throughout the day, it didn’t survive. The other one appeared to be in good health and a foster parent cared for the critter, as the shelter is only equipped to house dogs and cats. However, it died the following day. Temperatures on Nov. 19 reached a high of 46 and a low of 39.

“At least we know both of these little cavies had a warm place and lots of love in their final hours,” said shelter manager Marsha Waunch.

This is only the second time an animal has been left unattended in the shelter’s history. Waunch says a cat was left “years ago.”

Although the shelter just handles felines and canines, the staff is happy to help anyone in need of re-homing a small pet, bird or livestock. Waunch reminds the public that the shelter can facilitate a variety of next steps. It is open daily from 2 to 5 p.m. and can be reached at 360-376-6777. More information is available at

“Give us a call,” Waunch said. “We know folks, like 4-H, who might be helpful, and we can put them in touch.”