Posts in monthly updates
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Happy May everyone!

For the month of April we had four (4) chinchillas surrendered and two (2)  chinchillas were adopted.

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Our numbers of chinchillas are much more manageable now and our upcoming move of them should be relatively easy. We had hoped to have everyone settled in before the heat of summer, but it looks like that’s just not going to happen. We assumed that by hiring pros we could get the necessary work to the new building done quickly and efficiently. That has proven to be a radically unrealistic idea as we are at the mercy of every one of those individuals' schedules. So far we’ve had the framing to the new chinchilla room done. Ed from Olde Oak Construction was especially sensitive to our timeline and worked us in to his schedule. His work was outstanding and very reasonable. AND, he cleaned up after himself! We hope to utilize Ed for many more future growth projects.

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We’ve also got the electrical moved, new lines run and powered up. The extra thick insulation is in place for added sound dampening and heat barrier between the rescue room and workshop. The drywall is up. Doors are in place. Sounds good, right? Well, now comes the hard part. The air conditioning in the building completely died and it just so happened during the electrical and drywall phase. So the drywall mud couldn’t dry and the construction guys were absolutely miserable. Now we’re fighting with the home warranty company about repair to the HVAC system. Obviously we can’t move the chinchillas in until that is fixed!

In the meantime, we are slowly painting the offices as we can squeeze in time for a day trip and hauling in lots and lots of files. We still need to finish the drywall. Our wall man seems to have fallen off the face of the earth. (Karma baby, Karma) We need to finish the trim, prime and paint the rescue room. Needless to say, with all the road blocks we have no planned date for our official move. We’re still operating surrenders, adoptions and websales (mostly) as usual. We appreciate a little extra patience as we juggle the timing of everything.

Here is a panorama inside view of the rescue room. The wall isn't "really" curved, it's just the camera angle. This shows our progress as of today. Getting closer!

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Happy April!

Happy April everyone!

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With the move to our new facility taking much longer than anticipated, we’ve had to bend a little with regard to surrenders and adoptions. Of course we’d much rather see chins go to happy homes than to have to take them in. 😉 Currently we have more than a dozen rescues waiting for their own special person. We have two new sets of females who appear to be receptive to other chinchillas. They would be excellent candidates for someone who has a lonely female and would like a small herd (trio) of their own. Trios are great! With a trio, should something horrible happen to one chin, two are left to console each other.

We had a bit of an emergency situation this month where one of our follower’s lost one half of a pair. The remaining chin stopped bathing, was uninterested in food, and just generally withdrew. This is an emergency situation! In a case where a chinchilla mourns the loss of a cagemate, they can literally die of loneliness. This is especially true of chins who have had the benefit of a cagemate. Some chins respond better to a loss and thrive….but it’s just unnatural for a chinchilla to be alone.

Which reminds me, we often hear people ask whether a chinchilla should go through a mourning period before introducing him or her to a new friend. The answer is “NO!”. Chinchillas are not people. They have no social need to show their respect for a dearly departed. They do not share the same psychological perspective as a human.

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When considering the needs of an animal, one must consider their needs as a species. This includes food choices, shelter accommodations, how we approach training, stimulation and socialization. As herd animals, chinchillas benefit from the proximity of those of their kind…assuming those in the social group are compatible!

Males, with their instinctive drive to procreate, are much more difficult to pairbond. This is especially true if both males and females are in the same home. We have found that the brevicaudata chinchilla, the ones who are considered more “show” quality and have the big, fat body style,  are the easiest to keep in groups. The typically pet store chins and breeder cast offs  (more likely lanigera and costina) tend to be more aggressive towards their own kind and difficult to group.

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Again, working with their psychological framework, we can give them the benefit of matchmaking when we utilize spay/neuter surgery. This allows us to pairbond otherwise alpha males with a female or two and gives them a much better chance of adoption.

Neuter surgery can be expensive and is not without risks. However, the benefits far outweigh the risk. To date, we have had but a single negative surgical outcome. Please know that neutering a chinchilla will not change their behavior as it does with other animals such as canines, felines and equines. Neuter surgery simply makes it impossible for them to reproduce. In the case of individuals who have both male and female chins, it is the responsible way to keep chinchillas without having to segregate them in separate cages.

As a rescue facility, of course we advocate responsible pet ownership. We encourage chinnie pet people to choose a single gender pair or group,  OR, to choose castration. And while we’re on the subject, those who think they can be quick enough to intervene during m/f playtime to obstruct a possible breeding are fooling themselves. It takes a millisecond for a male to impregnate a female chinchilla. Don’t be part of the problem.

Nothing to see here folks. Or, Hurry up and wait.

Well...March came and went with no fanfare. We expected to have all sorts of new news about our new place, the moving progress, pictures, videos, etc. But we've been hit with some unexpected roadblocks. It seems one issue after another keeps appearing like a long lost family member looking for their portion of an inheritance. We have likened the experience to a bad group project. You know the kind. One person pulls all the weight, most wait until the last minute to contribute, someone else says everything is all wrong and we need to start over again, someone else plagiarizes, complaints are made about "that" person who does nothing and is allowed to get away with a passing grade regardless. *sigh* Closing on the new place has been delayed multiple times already as one issue after another must be addressed.

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In the meantime, we're operating business as usual. We have wood to harvest and process. Lumber to cut, parts to drill, orders to fill...*cue the music* This is beginning to sound like another song. 

If Whimsy's was a musical: The home purchase is a country song. The activity of our realtor is the orchestral interlude, Flight of the Bumblebee. Filling store orders is a Tolkien style dwarvish work chant.

Lovebug, piñata, hugs & Kisses, bunny!
Jacob’s ladder, pumpkin platter
This is kinda funny!
Chinchworm, fruitwood kabob, and a pound of wood!
Don’tcha know we’re ready to go....
...send payment if you would.

Aside from that, the chins are doing great. The neutered boys are healing well. We have several inquiries for pairbonding that are on hold until we move. And we have some rescues due to come in. We've been freshening up some cages with new ledges and have been processing wood like crazy. And speaking of wood...

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We're a bit backlogged on processing as spring is the ideal time to harvest. The drying phase is the most time intensive. It MUST be done slowly and thoroughly to be sure there is no chance of the wood molding. The Jacob's Ladders are on hold until the larger whirls are completely dehydrated. We've seen far too many other vendors "bake" wood quickly to sell a heavier product that isn't completely dry. This is very dangerous practice! Not only does that rip off the consumer, but it makes for a toxic chew!

And...on that happy note, it's time to get back to work. We hope to have some exciting and good updates soon.

Happy February!

Happy February everyone!

For the month of January we have had zero (0) surrenders or adoptions. We have been laying low for the better part of the last year in anticipation of our move. As it is now, we have about 40 chinchillas we’ll need to transfer to the new place in a couple months. Our gofundme page to fund the new rescue room  is up and running again after a minor setback where the page would not accept incoming donations. Even still, the monetary help is trickling in and we are profoundly grateful to those who can help in this way.

Those of you who follow us on facebook are privy to the most immediate updates and news. Recently we’ve developed some fun ideas for some new chew toy designs. It’s been more than a year since our last new release. But the long wait  has been worth it!

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On facebook we asked our followers to help come up with a name for the new chew toy.  We thought of; Shreddy Freddy, Twig Man, Straw man, Vinny the Vineman, Heart on my Sleeve, and on and on. But the best suggestions came from facebook and actually covered both original two styles of toy. We’re going to go with the T(ch)inMan as our default design.  We’ve heard rumors that he  is related to the Wizard of Oz’s Tin Man. Our TchinMan has found a  heart and is willing to share it.  The King of Hearts (AKA Pineapple King) is by popular demand and just in time for Valentine’s day. Thank you Kelsey and Nicole for your name suggestions!

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But the inspiration continues! Our graphic designer came up with another idea for a Knight in Shining Armor, complete with a sword and strategically placed star on the “shield”. For Halloween, we foresee releasing a headless horseman. Cinco de Mayo can potentially bring in Señor Scarecrow. But for now we’re just going to focus on Valentine’s Day. With that being said, who hasn’t ever had more than one  individual vying for your attention at the same time? They are offering undying love to you and your chinchilla.

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Now, it’s getting a bit awkward as in anticipation of their popularity,  we’re finding these guys everywhere! Several are on Whimsy's desk, many more on the IKEA, one was caught overseeing the spring wood harvest this weekend and another in a photo op with one of the rescue chins. The guardadoga got hold of two others, some are in the living room in boxes ready to go as surprise gifts to some of our customers (Shhhhhh!) Personally, we feel they must be distant relatives to Elf on the Shelf or something. But don’t take our word for it. We have them available in our webstore on the Chew Toys page. You’re welcome to order your own and find out. Please, share with us on facebook of all the adventures of your TchinMan. That is…if he lasts long enough.

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Extra Happy New Year!

Happy January everyone! And welcome to 2018!

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For the month of December three (3) chinchillas were surrendered and six (6) chinchillas were adopted. We had a largish number of inquiries for adoption in December as folks considered adding new family pets before the holidays. Christmas is a great time to justify spending the necessary start up costs for chinchilla ownership. But once the big ticket items are taken care of, the rest is (usually) maintenance. For us, the fun part is post-holiday when we meet all the new chin parents who hear about our rescue and webstore. We love seeing all the different ways people use our cage accessories and chew toys to decorate cages and pamper their pets. Happy! Happy! Happy!

But now for some long awaited news. For those of you who have been following us for some time, you know that we were this --><-- close to winning the Rock Spring Farm Essay Contest two years ago. Ever since then we have looked for a suitable alternative. When the essay contest was canceled after we learned we were finalists, some of you suggested we start a gofundme page to gather donations for the purchase of a larger place. Whimsy didn’t feel comfortable asking for donations to foot the bill for a new home. That is our personal responsibility, no matter how much of it is related to operating the rescue and support store.

It’s been difficult to keep the secret. And actually, 2017 has been a frustrating one as we chased after the possibility of owning a certain property that never panned out. We did, however, find another place that is even better! And the amazing thing is, our contest essay gave us the edge this time around as ours was the “backup offer” that earned the favor of the sellers. So with this news we’d like to announce that we’ve found the future new home of Whimsy’s Menagerie!

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The new place is remarkably perfect. It has a charming home on lush acreage. There is room enough to keep the horses on our own property, and planting space to transfer and expand our young organic orchard. Best of all, it has a separate workshop/warehouse/office building that is larger than our current home! We will finally have the much needed space to work and keep the chinchillas in a building other than our living quarters. Additionally, the shop has its own septic, gas and electric system. This will allow our CPA an easier task of keeping our business and personal expenses separate. Whimsy’s Menagerie runs and operates through webstore sales and donations, but Whimsy does not take a salary. We have alternate means of income for personal expenses such as for the mortgage on the new home. We’ve got the new home covered now, but ask that those of you who would like, can contribute to the modeling and finishing of the new rescue room.

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The future “Whimsy’s Workshop” is a blank canvas. There are offices carved out of a portion of the building that are finished with insulation, drywall, lighting, heat and AC. The actual workshop area is a gigantic unfinished space where we would need to claim some for the rescue room, quarantine/isolation room, sanitation area and storage. For this we need to have interior walls constructed and insulated, a stairway built for attic storage access, floor laid, electrical, heat and AC routed. We have had a structural engineer come to assess and estimates presented. 

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Our future new home is currently under contract with a closing date of spring 2018. So we have a few months to prepare. We’re planning to make the move seamless as we shift in stages from one location to the other. But we can certainly use some help with transport, set up, cleaning, construction, etc. The following gofundme link is in place specifically for the construction and improvement of the rescue and related areas. We hope to have this project funded and started by the end of March. If you would like to contribute, we would be thrilled! Alternatively, any donations or funds “rounded up” made through paypal that do not cover regular operating costs, go into the construction fund. We’re excited to finally share with you the relief of our growing pains. Thank you everyone for making this possible! The good favor of our new and returning customers has convinced us that we're doing the right thing.

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