Our pet pick of the week is Butterscotch. Butterscotch is an adorable guinea pig that, believe it or not, was found as a stray on the streets of Camden. We can only hope that this little critter somehow got out by mistake and was not purposely abandoned on the side of the road to fend for herself against wildlife, traffic and other dangers. Luckily, she was spotted by a Good Samaritan who called around looking for a safe place for her and we were happy to take her in. Guinea pigs have long been hailed as good starter pets for kids old enough to learn proper handling of these little critters. Piggies, as they are affectionately called, rarely bite and will often recognize their owner and greet them with a squeal. Butterscotch loves to be held and has a very calm, sweet disposition. Although guinea pigs like attention and exercise, it’s important to provide plenty of living space with caves and tunnels so they can go in to hide or rest. Like their hamster and gerbil cousins, guinea pigs like to chew constantly; it helps maintain their teeth that grow continuously, so proper wood chew toys are a must. Weighing an average of 2 pounds, guinea pigs have a lifespan of 5 to 7 years.

Although our shelter population is primarily made up of dogs and cats awaiting homes, we regularly have “pockets pets” available for adoption too. The most common are hamsters, gerbils, mice, guinea pigs and rabbits. In addition to Butterscotch, we currently have a Russian Dwarf hamster and several rabbits, brown ones and white ones, who need homes. Our staff will be happy to discuss the care of pocket pets with you to see if they are the ideal pet for your family.

The U.S. Postal Service is launching commemorative Animal Rescue: Adopt a Shelter Pet stamps to help raise awareness of the need to adopt shelter pets. They go on sale April 30 but are sure to run out fast. Pre-order now to make sure you get your stamps at http://stampstotherescue.com. Help spread the word that adopting a shelter animal is the right thing to do. If you’d like to do twice as much good, donate the Animal Rescue stamps to the shelter; stamps are a regular item on our wish list. We spend over $3,000 a year just on postage — mailing our quarterly newsletter, organizing fundraising events, paying bills and most importantly sending thank-you notes to you, our generous donors. Every donation of stamps to our organization helps our bottom line and allows more money to go directly to the care of the animals.

Celebrate Every Day is Tag Day by joining us at Shaw’s Supermarket in Rockland on Saturday, April 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. We will have our tag machine on site. You can purchase a personalized engraved I.D. tag for your pet, your keys, or your luggage or make an I.D. necklace for your sweetheart. We have a great assortment of colors and shapes to choose from. According to the American Humane Society only about 15 percent of dogs and 2 percent of cats who end up in shelters without an I.D. tag or microchip are reunited with their owners. We are encouraging pet owners to get their pets tagged and/or microchipped (available at the shelter) to increase a lost pet’s chance of getting home. Tags are only $7 each. All proceeds go directly to helping the animals in our care.

Our wish list this week: postage stamps, clay cat litter (non-clumping), KMR (kitten milk replacement), kitten nursing bottle, 13- and 30-gallon garbage bags, toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, canned cat and dog food, and gift certificates to Staples and Wal-Mart. We are located at 65 Dexter St. Extension off Route 1 in Thomaston. Contact us at 594-2200; P.O. Box 1294, Rockland, ME 04841. We’re open every day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Wednesdays. For more information visit hskcme.org.