NWI Chinchilla Rescue
Location: North West Indiana
Owner: Ashley Gajda
As far as a wish list of items to continue the work… #1 would be volunteers! As I’m sure you’re well-aware, there’s only so many hours in the day to accomplish everything that needs to be done, and there’s only one of me! It seems a lot of people have the idea that a small animal / chinchilla rescue needs very little help, whereas the humane societies around here are inundated with helpers… just because chinchillas don’t need to go for walks doesn’t mean there’s not stuff to do! For my rescue, we sell cages, toys, houses, and so on… all that goes to pay for the care of the chinchillas, and what’s left just comes out of pocket. Those toys and houses and such all need to be made by hand, which I usually do myself, but that’s where the help can come in. As far as more material things (cause I’m sure you can’t just hand me over some slave labor, haha), can always use pine wood, pine / aspen shavings, hay, chew toys, cleaning supplies (paper towels, sponges, dish soap, vinegar, simple green, etc). For the paperwork part, printer paper, sharpies, note cards…
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
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.
Around here, I try to communicate with the shelters and let them know that I’m here and can take in chinchillas and some other small animals. I hope that that helps keep some animals out of the shelters that the shelters, as you so truly noted, often don’t have the slightest clue how to care for. I think helpful with that, as well, would be working with shelter staff to educate them on correct care of the small animals. They don’t have to be experts, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to explain which small animals get veggies/leafy greens, which don’t, what animals can be in what temps… just basic care type thing.
NWI Chinchilla Recue WISH LIST