01/20/2015 12:25 EST | Updated 03/22/2015 05:59 EDT

Guinea pig poster boy brings online following to Pointe-Claire rescue effort

Bubba, the guinea pig poster boy for a Montreal-area guinea pig halfway house, is building a loyal following online.

Now Lola Bourget, who co-founded Jodie's Jiggley Piggley Farm with her daughter in 2002, hopes Bubba's popularity translates into more interest in guinea pig adoption and more understanding of what it takes to take on a piggy pet. 

The Piggley Farm, based in Pointe-Claire, takes in abandoned guinea pigs and helps place them in new homes.

Most of the animals come to them because families don't realize the type of care required for a guinea pig, or only realize after bringing their new pet home that someone in the household has an allergy.

Many people are heartbroken to give up their new family members, Bourget said, but there are some terrible stories of abandonment as well. 

"We had three just before Christmas where they were left in those donation bins for clothes," Bourget said. 

"An example of a bad case is Nomad — he came in last summer in really bad condition after being found in a backyard... People from all over the world sent money for his vet bills. He was bald, had a skin condition, had lacerations on his body. Now he's a giant furball. He's up for adoption right now."

The Jiggley Piggley Farm also works to educate people about guinea pig ownership, an outreach campaign that has found a following on social media.

Bubba belongs to Bourget and acts as an ambassador for the farm, attending events around the community to bring more attention to the cause. His community visits have become the basis for his online portrait portfolio. 

"He's the best. He's more like a dog. He rides in a carrier, or else I'm holding him," she said. 

"He's gone viral a few times and he's getting quite well known."