The Surrender Process
First and foremost: are you sure?
The decision to give up a pet can be an emotional experience for everyone involved. Therefore, we encourage owners to take all the available steps possible in order to keep their beloved pet before making the final decision to surrender. Here are some common reasons and possible solutions:
Usually, owners are not allergic to the chinchillas themselves, but to some of the items associated with chinchilla ownership. Loose hay, dusty bedding, and irritating bathing dust are all suspects of an allergic reaction. Whimsy suffers from allergies and asthma, and so has found some alternatives:
Hay cubes, though they don't provide all of the same tooth-working texture, can help combat allergens found in loose hay as a partial replacement. They are available for purchase by the pound in our store, and are also incorporated into some of our hanging chew toys.
Fleece liners can be used in place of pine bedding. Keep in mind that fleece should be washed often for the sake of your chinchilla's health, and to combat smells that develop from old urine.
Whimsy's Allergy-Friendly Dust is a special formula developed specifically for owners who suffer from allergies and/or respiratory problems. It is substantially less irritating than Blue Cloud or similar dusts, and will keep your chin's fur clean. It is available exclusively from our store.
Can no longer devote the time and attention they deserve.
This is the most frustratingly weak excuse ever.
Most chinchillas are able to adapt somewhat to their owners' lifestyles and schedules, and although daily out of cage playtime is ideal, it is not absolutely necessary. Whimsy and crew are much less able to provide individualized attention to every one of the approximate 100 chinchillas in our care. We are able to provide the basic care required for a happy chinchilla: fresh food and water, clean cages, healthy treats and chew toys. Some rescue chins are with us for months, if not years before they are adopted to their forever homes.
Moving, don't want to upset the chinchilla(s).
Moving to a new home will be just as stressful as moving to Whimsy's. In actuality, chinchillas travel quite well (especially in the cooler winter months), and likely will sleep most of the way. As long as the new home you are moving to allows pets, by all means, take them with you. They'll be happier staying in a familiar cage with familiar smells and familiar people.
Got a new puppy/kitten that pesters the chin.
Whimsy has four words to address this: Train the new pet.
There are professional dog and cat trainers that can assist if you are incompetent in this matter. It is not fair to the old pet to replace it with a new one.
Child has lost interest.
It is the parent's duty to oversee the responsibility a child takes in keeping pets. This includes proper care and attention. Encouraging a child to give up a pet because of loss of interest teaches them that pets are disposable. Treating an animal in this manner sets the stage for other disposable relationships, including divorce. It is a vicious cycle.
Rather, encourage the child to find new ways to enhance and enrich their pet's life. This can be achieved by decorating the pets cage with new items or rotating the living space, adding fresh chew toys, making cardboard castles for out-of-cage playtime, or taking pictures of the cutest poses. Enjoying a pet can be a family bonding time.
Can't afford the upkeep.
After the initial purchase of an exotic pet and their habitat, maintenance costs are actually very low, especially if you get your supplies from Whimsy's co-op type store.
The Bottom Line
If you are absolutely certain that you must give up your chinchilla(s), please be aware that surrenders are final. WE ARE NOT A NO-KILL SHELTER. Animals that are proven biters or reactive urine sprayers are unadoptable and therefore subject to culling.
Additionally, we require that all surrenders come with their cage and supplies.
Please fill out the Chinchilla History & Release Form and email Whimsy to schedule a drop off time when you are able to accommodate the transfer of the chinchilla(s) and their belongings. We are located in the greater Richmond area of Virginia. We serve Virginia and surrounding states. Surrendering parties are responsible for transport.