Posts tagged surrender
Welcome to our new website!

Happy June everyone!

Our graphic designer said it's time for our website to grow up. So we have launched a new version. This site now contains a blog format for updates which will allow you to search specific terms such as "malocclusion," "cage design ideas," "pairbonding," etc. We also have a fantastic new layout and pictures of our store items. Also, after much prodding and poking, Whimsy has finally made the hand crafted soaps available in our store.

Our old web address ( will remain live for those who just hate change. But the constant glitches with that server were causing some pretty severe issues where ordering and payments were concerned. We're hoping this new site will be glitch free, hassle free and fun! Now if only I could get the graphic designer to lighten up a bit and add some more pictures. Anyhoo....

For the month of May three (3) chinchillas were surrendered and two (2) chinchillas were adopted. We were especially excited to see Chi go to his forever home. Chi was our "least likely to be adopted" chin. Like a troubled teenager, Chi just needed someone with the patience of a saint who was willing to work within his boundaries. Marilyn was just that person. On rare occasions we hear from folks who like a challenge. Marilyn was literally a life saver.

Which reminds me. I need to clarify that even though we are not a no-kill shelter, we rarely ever actually put down a surrendered chin. Only the most medically terminal go over the rainbow bridge with an express ticket. The aggressive biters stay with us until a knight in shining armor comes along, or if we are called upon to take in mass numbers of adoptable chins all at once. We operate as a home-based shelter affiliate. So it's not unusual for entire herds to be sent our way.

We have become much more strict regarding our surrender policy. So we have not had to deal with chins overflowing into the living space again. We have also managed to pairbond larger groups of same-gender chins to save on space.

Another exciting bit of news is we now have contact with a local vet who is willing to spay and neuter our rescues....for a fee, of course. We feel it is well worth the cost! This will allow us more flexibility when it comes to pairbonding. The highly alpha boys typically (but not always) get along fine with a female who can put them in line with a well aimed stream of urine. That seems to settle them down fast whereas another boy would simply attack.

At any rate, we covet your continued support! With the added cost of surgery this was never designed into our budget. Fortunately we have a large following of great folks who have learned about our fabulous chew toys and cage accessories. These sales make it possible for us to continue with our mission. So, spread the word and keep coming back! *cough* And a special thank you to those who round up their order total. ;)

Happy April!

For the month of March eleven (11) chinchillas were surrendered and six (6) chinchillas were adopted.

The eleven incoming chins were, in fact, the mixed herd I spoke of in last month's post. We have 7 girls and 4 boys. The transfer party tossed all the chinchillas together into one cage for transport. Picture to the right shows the transport cage after we sexed and moved the girls. 

What were they thinking???? This decision made the history forms absolutely useless. We were then forced to start at ground zero with regards to grouping them according to compatibility. Of course we would have had to separate the sexes anyway, but still.

Six of the seven girls get along well enough to share a triple stack Critter Nation cage. The one loner was exceptionally anxious. She lashed out at every chin who came near her. She has her own penthouse next to her former housemates and seems to enjoy the special attention. She also seems to be the only one showing signs of pregnancy. *sigh*

Of the boys, two began to cause trouble and had to go into separate cages. A pair of boys was adopted later in the month.

When we take in surrenders, we require the cages come too. Most of the time unwanted chins come in typical pet store starter cages. You know the kind. The small two level cages with plastic ledges? We've even had chins surrendered housed in hamster cages! One of the chins incoming lived in a tiny carrier with barely enough room to move in a circle. This was evidenced by the amount of protein buildup in the urine spots on the cage floor. Of the various cages, we were able to salvage a two part Critter Nation cage. We cleaned that up, gave it brand new pan liners and accessories and added a third level. The other cages were just too rusted and broken or too small to use. They went for scrap metal.

The pictures below are from surrender day.  This is where the term "rescue" comes in. Several of the chins had pretty bad fur mats and grease balls despite the transfer party telling us they had a dust bath the night before. This little girl had a virtual turkey tail. Someone from our Facebook page said she looked like a peacock. The matted hair was long as dreadlocks. Surprisingly, the grooming session only took 6 minutes flat to remove. It's amazing what one can do with a proper show comb and some experience. ;) You're welcome.

Happy January!

Happy January everyone! And Happy New Year!

As has become the new norm, my monthly post is very late. So I cramming in a quick update before February hits.

So....for the month of December, zero (0) chinchillas were surrendered and zero (0) chinchillas were adopted. Once again, surrenders and adoptions near the holidays are bad news. The good news is we've been getting a ton of inquiries for adoption in January...but that is news for February *tease*.

2016 recap gives us thirty four (34) surrenders and thirty (30) adoptions. I am happy to announce that we are finally back in a position to start taking surrenders in again. I'm probably going to regret making this announcement as we are making tentative plans to (hopefully) move some time this year. But with the sudden explosion of adoption of single chins, we have several empty cages just staring gape mouthed at me every time I breeze through the chin rooms. Who would have thought 60 chinchillas would seem like such a small number?

Happy March!

For the month of February, five (5) chinchillas were adopted and four (4) chinchillas were surrendered. 

Fairly often we get in cases of chinchillas who chew their own fur. Barbering, as it's called, is a stress reaction. RARELY is it actually a genetic cause although chins who are genetically inclined to chew their fur are more likely to do so when under stress than those who come from genetic lines that don't show this behavior. Let me clarify, the genetic component is a trigger, not a cause. Anyway, I want to share with you the causes and cures for fur chewing as we have come to understand it.

We actually love getting in fur chewed chins. They put the "rescue" in Chinchilla Rescue and make fantastic cover stories. ;) Here is one of our more notable before and after situations. 

This trio of girls came to us in this condition:

They were overcrowded in a cage too small for even a single chin, with all metal ledges, ramps and a wire cage bottom. They had no place to hide and the height of the cage was too low to allow them to survey their area. We upgraded their cage, gave them one more than twice the size (especially in height) included wooden ledges, lots of places to hide, and unlimited access to a wide variety of chew toys.

Fur chewing chins tend to be nervous pickers, so the best chew toys for them are the soft, shreddy type. Giving them all hard chew toys "that will last longer" actually makes the problem worse. Fur chewers are showing their need when they pluck and shred their fur and that of their cagemates. If you only listen, they will tell you what they desire!

With this particular group, we learned that they loved vine products and fibrous hays. Our Edible Cage Garlands, Hugs & Kisses Garlands, Herbal Bunnies, Spiders(!) Chinchworms and Pinata chew toys were very popular with them.

We also learned that they viewed their food bowl as half empty, not half full. A half empty bowl caused them to become nervous and start chewing again. Since their former home was inconsistent in their care, they never knew when their food supply would run out. Within a few weeks of steady, regular care, their fur began coming back in again. When chinchilla fur grows back, it comes in patchy and uneven, like this:

Some people advocate that daily, out of cage playtime as mandatory for chinchilla well being. I'd like to debunk that. Interaction with our pet chinchillas should be a pleasant one, not a daily chore! In actuality, chinchillas view their home as their safe haven. (Assuming their cage is large enough and properly equipped). Obviously a small cage does not afford them the necessary exercise or stimulation. OVERSTIMULATION can contribute to stress that leads to fur chewing. Some chinchillas thrive on out of cage playtime, others become nervous wrecks. Once again it's very important to know your pet and their individual preferences. In the case of the three girls, they had zero out of cage playtime while at our rescue. They did, however, have basic care with particular attention to their particular needs. After a few months, the girls fur was completely grown in and they were ready for adoption. How's this for a happy ending?

Happy January!

For the month of December, three (3) chinchillas were surrendered and three (3) chinchillas were adopted. For the entire year of 2015 that brings us to 32 chinchillas surrendered with 36 chinchillas adopted. We do have 4 chinchillas expected in this month, but we finally have carved out enough space for that elusive clothes washer and dryer.

After the holidays we've spent as much time as we can muster toward fixing up the secondary chin (laundry) room. We'll still have space in there for four triple stacked cages, but now we're going to take back one wall for combined use. ;) The primary chin room holds 12 triple stacked cages.

In our space saving venture, we've had some wonderful success with pairbonding and larger group bonding with our own chins as well as with those who seek to find a friend for their own fur baby. Which has really helped consolidate the little space we have. The latest success story came with a male who had spent his life with a female cagemate who accepted a male friend with no issues. *cue all kinds of social agenda jokes*

But the point is, just because a male and female chinchilla "love each other" is no reason to keep them in a situation that could lead to the procreation of more chinchillas... who will eventually need more homes.

We have paired mothers with daughters, fathers with sons in an effort to keep the snuggle factor, without the risk of pregnancy. Of course the bonding has everything to do with compatibility. We have also pairbonded chins who have never been in the company of another chin since weaning. We've pairbonded a 17 year old chin with a 10 year old, breeding chins with same gender chins, babies with unrelated adults, so there is really no "magic" age or indicator that a single chin will or will not accept a friend. (Although pairbonding weanlings is by far the easiest).

The degree of friendliness a chin has for humans or even the family dog or cat is NOT an indicator of whether or not a chin will pairbond. The only way to know for sure is how they react to other chinchillas. Keep in mind, chinchillas do like to choose their own friends, so just because a chinchilla hates another chin does not necessarily mean they will hate all chins.

We do, however, know how to recognize an alpha. Those are the ones who are simply too aggressive to pairbond and have proven aggressive towards their own kind as a general rule, not as a single episode. We have on occasion met with chins who were too aggressive to pairbond. Our own mascot, Titus, is one of those. So while we will always push for keeping chins in pairs or groups, realistically speaking, it's just not always possible.

We could only hope that if this is your situation, it's with the chins best interest in mind that he or she is single and not simply for convenience or cost.