Hello! Just got my first chin!

Jawramik

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Nov 3, 2021
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61
Hello everyone! I already posted a question about cage flooring in the other forum, but I just realised that I haven't properly introduced myself.

My name is Jennifer and I live in California. My roommate and I are both animal lovers (like, to an extreme degree) and maintain a small menagerie of rescued animals. At current count, we have 1 dog, 3 cats, 4 pigeons, 2 lizards, 2 rats, and a chinchilla, all crammed into a 2-bedroom condo. It's a little crazy and is certainly a lot of work, but we adore all our animals and can't imagine life without them.

We got our chin, Margaret, less than two weeks ago. She was returned to a local pet shop because she'd bitten her first owner, so the pet shop couldn't re-sell her and was planning to euthanise her. We heard about the situation and offered to take her as an alternative (the pet shop manager was thrilled, she was very upset by the prospect of having to put down a perfectly healthy animal). We were told she was "aggressive," but we've yet to see any aggressive behaviour actually materialise. In fact, exactly the opposite. She's actually incredibly sweet, and just in the short time we've had her, she's already happily accepting pets and scratches, takes food from our hands, and will hop into my lap and let me cuddle her. There hasn't been any barking or biting at all. The worst she's done is spray urine, but that's always been when the dog or one of the cats is nearby, so it's understandable (and even then, she seems to have mostly adjusted to their existence by now, and we always shut them away upstairs when we take her out). I suspect that she's a perfectly sweet, normal chinchilla, and that her first owner just didn't know what to do with her. They probably reached in and tried to grab her as soon as they got her home, and she reacted defensively to what seemed like a very real threat to her safety. Then they declared her "aggressive" and abandoned her. :(

Having a chinchilla is something of a childhood dream come true for me. I was OBSESSED with chinchillas when I was a young child (like 6-7 years old). I thought they were absolutely the cutest critters in all creation and just had to have one. I would have literally traded my future for a pet chinchilla. However, my parents, after doing some of their own research, decided that rats would be a better pet for 7-year-old me, and got me a pair of rats instead. And in hindsight, they were completely right. I think I would have struggled to bond with a pet as skittish as a chinchilla at that age. And I adored my rats (I still have rats and I still adore them), so it's not like I was deprived or anything. But getting Margaret has been especially fun and exciting for me. It took 25 years, but I finally got my chinchilla!

Because we had to take her in so quickly and didn't have much time to prepare for her arrival (that's often the case with rescues), we've been scrambling to get her everything she needs. She spent a couple days in a too-small cage that was all we could get on short notice (it wasn't too tiny or cramped, it was just too small for the long-term), and then we were able to get what I'm now pretty sure is a Feisty Ferret cage for free second-hand. I'm now in the process of modifying it (replacing the plastic ramps and platforms and covering the wire floors) and making fleece liners. The Jespet playpen I ordered arrived yesterday, so I'm looking forward to trying that out with her today.

I've become a little obsessed with Margaret. It seems like I've been spending every spare moment since her arrival researching and/or ordering things about/for her. I'm completely in love with her. I spend a lot of time just sitting by her cage talking to her, and my tactic in bonding with her has just been to let her come to me. I don't try to grab her or chase her around her cage. I just sit on a stool right next to the cage, open the door and put my hand in there, and let her come to me and check me out in her own time. Now she usually comes right up to me as soon as I open the door and will hop right onto my lap. She doesn't like to be picked up and grabbed out of her cage, but once she's on my lap she'll let me scoop her up and cuddle her a little. I feel like she's made amazing progress in such a short amount of time. There have been times where my roommate and I have wondered if the pet shop gave us the wrong chinchilla, because she's nothing like the vicious little beast that was described to us (but again, I suspect that her first owner just didn't know what to do with her and that there was never anything wrong with Margaret).

Anyway, I'm glad I found this forum! It's nice to have a place where I can ask specific questions and get answers from knowledgeable and experienced people. All our animals, including Margaret, have already been abandoned at least once by humans who didn't understand them. I always want to be sure that when an animal finds its way to me, I'm giving it the best possible life I can.

Thanks for reading! Sorry this got so long.
 

Angie

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Oct 23, 2019
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24
Happy for your first Chin. And for saving Margaret to finally find her new home.
Thanks for posting!
 

Jawramik

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 3, 2021
Messages
61
Here's a couple photos of Margaret from her first time in her new Jespet playpen this weekend. It was a little tricky to get good pictures because she was running around! I'll try to get some of her in her cage later, she'd probably be a little easier to photograph in there. But in the mean time....
 

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