Happy December!

For the month of November, six (6) chinchillas were surrendered and ten (10) chinchillas were adopted. It looks like the bio pages for the adoptables are working well.

Of the six chinnies surrendered, two pairs were ones that were previously adopted from us. It seems that 3 years is the average span of time a newbie chin owner keeps his or her pets before deciding whether they are the right pet for them. It is unfortunate, but even with careful consideration sometimes you just don't know if a human/pet relationship is a permanent one. It is disheartening to think about...

*shakes melancholy feeling off depressive mind-scape*

Ok, so on a more positive note, we know many, many more fantastic chin moms and dads who totally spoil their fur babies. When people submit orders to our web store, it's easy to see which people truly give their pets everything they would possibly need. Funny, but it seems that those who simply provide only the bare basic necessities are the first ones to give their chinchillas up....

G'ah! Back you depressive thought!

Ok, we're going to offer some mutual support for those who support our rescue. We like to be a part of the "pamper your pet" crowd. So in honor of Cyber Monday, with every order of $50 or more, Whimsy will include a special surprise. Now wouldn't you like to know what that is? But we'll let you in on a little secret, we do this year round, not just as a silly marketing gimmick. ;)

Happy November!

For the month of October, three (3) chinchillas were surrendered and one (1) chinchilla was adopted. November is looking good though as far as a sudden upward trend in adoptions. We learned the hard way that having pictures and biographies of the adoptable chinchillas is really important.

Some months back Whimsy decided to delete all pictures and information about the available chins thinking that the extra work was worthless. Boy! Were we wrong! The adoptions plummeted. (Except for lots of local chin friends looking to add on to their personal herds). So in an effort to resurrect the bios pages, please keep in mind that we're doing our best to have the information up to date. Any available chins are shown on the website, but we usually have several others here who are either on maternity watch, still undergoing evaluation, or who represent behavior problems too drastic for the general adoptive population. Please, do not email Whimsy asking for pictures and information about unlisted chins. If we have the time to answer that email, we have the time to post them.

On a more positive note, did you know this is the anniversary of the creation of Whimsy's Menagerie? Yup! We're now in our 7th year and going strong. Our humble beginnings have led to some pretty major growing pains, but has been worth it. During the past years we have devoted a special room just for the chins, expanded that room, removed and replaced some major appliances to accommodate them, expanded again with a second room, reclaimed massive amounts of storage space in the attic, planted a small orchard, and built a workshop. And still, we're forever fighting for more space. It may be time soon to think about expanding again. Because, hauling hay to a climate controlled room upstairs is just sooooo last year. 

Happy October!

For the month of September, two (2) chinchillas were surrendered and two (2) chinchillas were adopted. The number of chins adopted has significantly decreased lately. Fortunately, so have the number of surrenders.

Someone asked us recently if we are a no-kill shelter. The answer: not quite. On occasion we do receive a chinchilla with severe medical issues that are not treatable. Malocclusion affecting the tooth roots is one of the more common ailments. People also bring chins to us on the verge of death. A vet visit early on could have saved those, but when an animal is lethargic and showing signs of agonal respiration, there is really nothing more that can be done to save them. But for those who are treatable, we treat.

As a rescue shelter we also take in chinchillas with varying degrees of behavioral issues. Sadly, many of the behavior issues are human induced. One chinchilla came in recently whose former owner clearly did not know how to handle the poor thing. It became so cage aggressive that it actually learned to strike out at the hand that was feeding it-- literally! With many of our potential adopters being families with children or first time chinchilla owners, we make it our policy to NOT rehome aggressive biters unless someone is specifically willing and able to take on a huge challenge. 

Like toddlers, chinchillas are natural nibblers, and we understand that an exploratory nibble is not a bite. However, there are some chins that have learned to use their teeth in a way that is more than one of curiosity. We do our best to rehabilitate and allow even the most extreme cases to stay as long as we have space for them. We have, however, expanded our chin room to two rooms and long ago gave up our clothes washer and dryer to accommodate the rescues. Sending chinchillas over the rainbow bridge is not something we regularly do. Rather, it's an act of desperation. Ours and other rescues constantly battle for space and resources to care for waves of unwanted animals.

Our support store has been our primary means of operating the chinchilla rescue. Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in unscrupulous, copy-cat vendors making our original products for their gain. Some have even started fake "rescues" as a false pretense. Many try, but few succeed in the long term. Know who you support and support who you know. For those of you who have remained loyal customers: Thank you! For those of you who are new to our website: Welcome! How may we serve you and your fur babies?  

Happy September!

For the month of August, five (5) chinchillas were surrendered and eight (8) chinchillas were adopted. We had one rescue chin here for hospice who passed over the rainbow bridge. Now her cagemate is in need of a new friend.

Our summer and now continuing autumn has kept us so busy that it looks like the new standard for posts is nearly a month behind. :s We've been harvesting and processing wood to carry us through the winter. Not only have we completed the scheduled trims, we also managed to cut, harvest and process a whole pear and mulberry tree!

We've even had to catch up on some toy making at home since the student-crafters have been on summer vacation. Fortunately, school started back up this month and our schedule for working with the special needs students making our chinchilla chew toys is back on track. We have lots of new faces, names, skills and personalities to learn. It's always exciting to see how the students grow in their chew toy making skills from the beginning of the year to the end. We are fortunate enough to have some more seasoned students to help guide the newbies.

This month we also had the pleasure of having another booth at this year's Virginia Beach Pet Expo. Since this isn't our first cakewalk, we learned a few tricks to implement this time. The arm protectors went over well to protect our delicate forearms from scratchy chinnie nails. We also kept a tally count of how many times we heard people say, "It's so soft!" (385 times) or, "It's so cute!" (101 times). It certainly helped pass time. The voluntolds (AKA Whimsy's clan, not necessarily "volunteers") were all good sports about the event. Thanks kids!

We requested a corner booth near the Mega Adoption Area. Although we did not allow adoptions at the actual event, we did bring a couple of Critter Nation cages and 4 bonded pairs of chins for outreach. Our primary goal was to let our community know we exist, serving multiple states, and that we have countless chinchillas available for adoption (always). We did get a healthy handful of individuals who expressed interest in adopting, but time will tell. We also wrapped up the event having only made one enemy. One of hundreds, that's pretty good odds. The person in question made the mistake of telling an animal rescue worker that she lets her pets breed without restraint. That's akin to admitting to a police officer that you just committed murder. This confession doesn't go over well with Whimsy. 

On a more positive note, as a bonus, the people at the Pet Expo invited Whimsy to speak on stage about chinchillas! Silly Whimsy, what she thought was supposed to be a 30 second mini commercial was in actuality a 30 MINUTE allotted speech time! Piece of cake. Whimsy winged it....and nailed it. It certainly helps knowing your subject. ;)

All in all September has been quite eventful. With that being said, our apologies to those who have waited more than 24 hours for their online orders. 

Happy August!

This summer is just flying by! Already it's more than half past the beginning of the month and my update is very, very late. :s

Anywho....for the month of July, nine (9) chinchillas were surrendered and eight (8) chinchillas were adopted.

We had one situation where the surrendering family was obviously distraught about the decision to give up their chinchillas. After a heart to heart chat, we discovered the root cause was one more of guilt than anything else. Guilt over not spending the "time and attention they deserve". The raw truth of the matter is, if a chinchilla has a cage buddy with whom to snuggle, plenty of food, water, appropriate shelter and a clean cage then spending one on one time with them is icing on the cake. Yes, interacting with your pet will serve to enrich theirs and your life, but life is not always absolutely stable.

Even our human friendships suffer when going through a major (or minor) life change. Just because we have little time for our human friends does not mean we ditch them altogether. A good friendship will resume where left off. This is very similar with our relationships with our pets. Unless yours is a situation where there is abuse or damaging neglect, please do not fall victim to the mentality that you are somehow not a good chinchilla owner if you can't play with them every day.

This guilt inflicting mindset has been circulating around the forums for years now and has caused more damage than good. The results are people who come to resent their pets rather than cherish them. While I do agree that having a pet means having a relationship, the guilt involved in spending time with them is counterproductive. Chinchillas do not absolutely positively have to have a specified amount of out of cage time each day. It is ideal, but not a diehard rule. Unless your chin is caged in a shoe box, they should have enough space and environmental stimulation provided in their habitat (cage) to keep them secure and content.

We received a promising email from the people with the change of heart. The following message sent me sailing happily through this post:

Hello again! :)

First, I want to thank you again for changing my mind about surrendering my little ones: now that we are settled into the new house, my schedule really has allowed more time to spend with them and they seem much, much happier. They transitioned very well through the move, and even seem much more relaxed than before. The new cage setup has been fabulous, and I'm looking forward to being able to open the two levels now that I work with an exotics vet who is willing to neuter Cashew. They have LOVED the new diet and all of the different treats they've gotten to play with, but now I am almost out! That must mean it's time for an order! ;)

So it looks like a happy ending, or a new beginning for all.