NEW PORT RICHEY — Scotty will never be a jet-setter, but he now has a summer home.
Last week's story about the guinea pig who couldn't fly generated offers from seven families willing to take Scotty — including three from people willing to share custody with his owners, snowbirds Bessie and Jerry Ciarcia.
After visiting with two contenders last weekend, they picked a couple who will take Scotty when the Ciarcias leave in April, then give him back when they return in November.
"I can't get over it," said Mrs. Ciarcia, 82, a retired teacher.
The Ciarcias wanted to take Scotty with them to Massachusetts this summer, but found most airlines don't allow guinea pigs on board. Some carriers would accept him in the cargo area, but it would cost about $200 each way, and the Ciarcias worried he would be too cold there.
The Ciarcias — who spoiled the housebroken guinea pig with warm baths, lots of snuggling and free reign over the Florida room — decided with heavy hearts they would have to give away Scotty.
They were pleased to hear from people who wanted to adopt him. They even heard from a man in Massachusetts who was planning a road trip to the area in late April, and offered to bring Scotty back north with him.
"I really felt people are so nice, so concerned," Mrs. Ciarcia said. "It's really heart-warming."
One of the contenders they visited Sunday already had a male guinea pig about the same size as Scotty.
"They were very cute together," said Mrs. Ciarcia. But the two animals didn't get along, she said
The Ciarcias chose a different couple with three small dogs and some birds. That couple took to Scotty right away.
Scotty will have the run of an unused bathroom with a window and a gate so he can look out, but be protected. Sometimes, he'll get to go out to the sun porch, too.
But what won over Mrs. Ciarcia was the love.
"To me that was very important, that he have love," she said.