12 Strays of Christmas: River just needs a box to call his own, and some leafy greens

12 Strays of Christmas: Meet River the guinea pig

River is a guinea pig looking for a new home. For information on how to adopt River, visit the Whatcom Humane Society, 2172 Division St. in Bellingham, Washington.
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River is a guinea pig looking for a new home. For information on how to adopt River, visit the Whatcom Humane Society, 2172 Division St. in Bellingham, Washington.

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12 Strays of Christmas

We've partnered with the Whatcom Humane Society to offer holiday pet tips and profile 12 of their adoptable pets.

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River is a happy-go-lucky young adult male guinea pig looking for a new home.

He is extremely social and enjoys being held and exploring new things.

River would like a home where he could enjoy the luxury of a roomy cage filled with toys and a nesting box to hang out in.

He loves to snack on dark leafy greens and is not afraid to use his unique voice to tell you what is on his mind.

A home with older kids would be ideal for this sweet little piggy.

Please visit River in the small animal room at the Whatcom Humane Society.

For more information about River, visit the Whatcom Humane Society, 2172 Division St., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday-Monday or call 360-733-2080 or visit online at whatcomhumane.org.

Today’s tip: Cold weather pet reminders

Whatcom County winters can be endlessly long and bring with them cold temperatures, rain, wind and snow. The Whatcom Humane Society has some reminders to help pet owners keep their animals safe, dry and healthy during the winter season by following a few simple guidelines.

Don’t leave animals outdoors for extended periods of time. Short-haired, very young and very old animals are extremely susceptible to the elements including rain, sleet, snow and wind.

If you must leave an animal outdoors, the animal must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough for the animal to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. The shelter should be turned to face away from the wind and raised a few inches off the ground.

The Whatcom Humane Society has a limited number of free doghouses available to pets of residents in need. Doghouses are available at the Whatcom Humane Society facility, 2172 Division St. on a first-come, first-serve basis. Whatcom Humane Society also accepts donations of new or used dog houses for this program.

Pets that spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes the animal’s energy. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make sure the water does not freeze.

Livestock animals need extra feed, hay and a source for water. Wind- and rain-proof jackets or blankets should be provided for horses, goats and other animals at risk in the elements.

All outdoor livestock should have access to a dry, draft-free shelter.

Warm engines in parked cars can attract cats and small wildlife that crawl up under the hood to stay warm. Before starting your car, bang on the hood to scare any animals away.

Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe your animal’s feet off with a damp cloth after walks or outdoor exercise.

Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but has a sweet taste that attracts animals. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach of all domestic and wild animals.

If you are aware of an animal in need or that is kept outdoors without proper shelter from the elements, please contact the Whatcom Humane Society Animal Control and Rescue Department at 360-733-2080 or your local animal control agency for assistance immediately. Whatcom Humane Society can help direct you to the animal control agency in your community.

Laura Clark is executive director of the Whatcom Humane Society.