A NEW HOME FOR GIZZY
It’s not a very good picture (I’ll replace it when I can), but my regular readers know that I have been stressing about either placing my chinchilla with new owners OR moving her to California to a yet-to-be-chosen retirement home.
Either was going to be stressful for her and for me (and for my very patient husband). From New Jersey to California, especially when we don’t have a new place yet and haven’t sold this one, would be … complicated.
But re-homing a pet is a major challenge in life, as anyone who has ever had to do it knows.
The search is over. A good friend, and former assistant, had mentioned a month ago she was interested in Gizzy.
And today Gizzy and her trousseau moved further south in NJ, to what is really the PERFECT home for her: younger, healthy people with experience with small mammals and large ones, and definitely pet people.
I’m not really a pet person
Everyone laughs at me when I say this, and points to the spoiling of the little grey furball by yours truly.
I’ve had Gizzy for over five years, and enjoyed most of it.
She only had to sit there and look at me for my heart to melt. Because she is so beautiful (note to self: must post better picture) and I’m a sucker.
When she did additional things, like sit on my lap, touch noses for a treat, or give me her paw (if you don’t melt when an animal does this…), it was gravy.
‘Owner’ is a misnomer – expect to be more of a zookeeper
But chinchillas are problematic as pets, since they are not really domesticated (disregard Youtube videos) because they are awake for very short periods, generally dislike being picked up or petted (Gizzy chose to sit on my lap), and run entirely on their own timetable. They are overproduced by unscrupulous breeders who sell them to people who don’t realize the chinchilla can live TWENTY YEARS under the right conditions.
They are wild animals, and as such, chinchilla shelters are overwhelmed by mistreated, ignored, or badly understood chinnies who are confined to cages forever. You are given the role of zookeeper when you get one, for relatively little return of affection (the stinker loves my daughter better than me, and behaves – for treats – much better).
You can’t return them to the Andes. And they won’t remain alive, like feral cats, outdoors. They can’t get too hot or survive much humidity. Go look all this up if ever tempted to buy one; if you want a chinchilla, please rescue one.
All of the above is understood by her new family/keepers, and I am so grateful they took her, today, in spite of all this (and have another family member with a chinchilla who told them the exact same things). There were many boxes – hay, treats, housing materials, the pieces to an enclosure, child-proofing gates, a roomy cage, volcanic dust, water bottles – all the stuff that either came with her (like the roomy cat carrier) or we acquired.
So Gizzy is squared away, and I can have the spare bedroom emptied, cleaned, and repainted – and will have to get used to that door being open, as it was unless a child was closeted away, until Gizzy became the rodent who lived under the bed.
I will miss her, but I am not really a pet person. She was my little love, and my responsibility, and I took that very seriously. This will be better for her. I literally can’t do the things she needs – each day it was getting physically trickier, even as I loved to have her walk on my back – when she deigned to.
Changes are unrelenting in moving us forward. There is no going back any more, only savoring everything for the last time here. It is upsetting after 37 years, and high time.
And I am proud of myself for figuring out how to take a picture with the iPhone, and email it to myself in a blog post. I guess the old brain still works a bit. I even put in the alt-text.