Keeping Chinchillas Out of Shelters
By Ashley Gajda, NWI Shelter
As far as what needs to happen for animals to not end up in shelters… much of that, I believe, is education about the animal, preferably prior to purchase. A lot of the chins I get in… someone got them, then realized, oh they’re not that friendly, oh they’re not that clean, oh they’re this or that… but whatever it is, it’s not what they thought. Even with the air conditioning… in the summer, I make sure people are very aware of that, as every year, I’ll hear about a handful of chins that die when someone tries to take them home on on a 90 degree day with no AC in the car. Often, the person just has no clue that they’re temperature sensitive like that. Of course, if I knew how to better educate people on getting a pet, before they get the pet, that would be awesome, but I do what I can, which is providing a care packet for people who adopt (also available on our website, so everyone can look at it) and when we go to expos where I have the chins, we have that toned down into a one page care sheet, which is sort of like cliff notes chinchilla care, which touches on all the important stuff.
Another preventing-chins-from-ending-up-in-shelters thing would simply be if there was some way to get people to buy pets as family pets, and not “for the kid.” I know, changing the world would be nice. But really, I get so many people that say the kid wanted the pet, now the kid is tired of it, so they’re giving it to a shelter. Don’t get me wrong, that’s preferable to letting them outside (happens with a LOT of rabbits around here), but that’s where teaching people / kids that you get a pet, you get it for the life of the pet, I feel like would go a long way. What happens when that kid grows up, has kids, and gets sick of their kids? Pretty sure you can’t give those away.