This Indiana Couple Rescues Small Rodents in Need of Care

The animal-loving couple share their home with 92 hamsters, 13 chinchillas, nine mice, four rats and a guinea pig.

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- Posted on Feb 6, 2020

Hamsters in a cage gathered around a plate of carrots

A Bloomington, Indiana couple is rescuing small animals in need of medical care and basic living needs. Alex Hernly and husband Jason Minstersinly have opened their door—and basement—to serve more than 100 small rodents and rabbits, with the goal of housing hundreds of creatures more.

The Pipsqueakery, the couple’s official nonprofit sanctuary, focuses on the care of animals with medical conditions, including paralysis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, amputations, and dental disease. The current facility only has room to house 100 to 150 animals, although the couple is hoping to house hundreds more with a new formal building that’s in the works. The new space, which is located on a 15-acre-property not far from their home, is expected to hold 500 to 700 more animals. Having a larger facility will allow the pair to hold educational events for volunteers and community members.

“We try to provide access to education and tools to help people with their pet problems,” Minstersinly told Indiana Daily Student.

The idea behind the organization grew shortly after the couple’s own pet hamster, Pipsqueak, passed away in September 2012. Following Pipsqueak’s passing, they purchased three hamsters from a reptile show where they were destined to be feeders. They decided to continue their rescue mission in 2014, in honor of their beloved hamster.

According to IDS, the couple spends more than $100,000 a year caring for more than 100 pet rodents to cover food supplies, water, bedding, and vet care costs. The organization uses their Instagram account, which currently has over 80,000 followers, to not only raise awareness of hamsters in need, but to accept donations and sponsors. 

The sanctuary has become a full-time commitment for the couple, with Minstersinly quitting his nursing job to tend to the small animals.  Although the organization requires most of their time and attention, the couple is more than happy to offer rodents in need the comfort and care they wouldn’t receive elsewhere.

“We get a chance to take these animals who wouldn’t have a shot at life and watch them thrive,” Hernly added. “It’s very rewarding.”

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