Saying Goodbye to my Furry Little Friends

Last week I did something hard – I said goodbye to my two chinchillas.

Seven years ago Kat and I drove to Sylvan Lake, about 1.5 hours away, to pick up Brisco and Elby from a chinchilla breeder. I had wanted chinchillas since I was in Jr High and a magician brought one to our school as part of his act. They were cute, furry, and weren’t a common pet. While I was living in my condo I considered getting a dog, but realized they required more attention than I could give at the time, so I did some more research and decided on chinchillas. The cage was already ordered from the States and was set up and ready for them when we got them home. I had a really awkward spot in my condo; to this day I don’t know what it was intended to be used for, but it was the perfect size for the chinchilla cage. They were the centre of attention, right off the dining room table. We’d say “hi” to them when we got up, and “goodnight” when we went to bed. I played with them, took care of them, and loved the little furballs.

When we moved into our house, we didn’t know where to put the chinchillas. Their cage was huge, and there wasn’t a good place to put them on the main level. We were also getting a dog, a Shiba Inu, and they were bred to hunt small mammals. The dog and the chinchillas weren’t going to be friends at all. So they went to the basement, in my office, because they like it cool, and quiet, and the office was both. The problem was that the office wasn’t used very often, and the chinchillas, which used to be the centre of attention in the condo, were now in a room that hardly was used. The dog, and the cat which we got a short time later, took up more time, and less was available for the chinchillas. Then, the baby came, and the free time I had  almost gone. The chinchillas were never completely forgotten, but they weren’t getting the attention they should have, or deserved. It took me a long time to make the decision, but I knew they had to leave our house.

It was a tough decision to make because I was having to say goodbye to my little friends, but also because I was admitting I was a bad pet owner. When I picked them up from the breeders I was almost entering into an agreement with them, agreeing that I would take care of them, and love them, and I felt as though I was letting them down. It was upsetting to say goodbye to them, but I was also doing it knowing that this was the best thing for them. I found their new owners through Kijiji (like Craigslist, for those that don’t know what it is); two girls in their early 20s who didn’t have any other pets. The chinchillas would be the centre of attention again, and that made me happy. While they could have a decent life living with us, they’d have a good life at their new place. It was hard, but I had to say goodbye.

Their cages are gone, and a bookshelf sits in their place. The room has more stuff in it now, but it feels more empty than before. I miss my little friends, but I know it’s for the best.

The Chinchillas - Elby and Brisco

My furry friends, Elby and Brisco

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5 Comments

  1. Dave

     /  October 9, 2012

    Awwwww, Gordo…sorry about that. You’ve talked about them often enough; I had no idea that they were getting short shrift since the move to the house, and then when Brody came along. It’s for the best.

    As far as uncommon goes, my sister-in-law gave my niece something quite some time ago, and I believe it’s a chinchilla. It could be something else, like a hamster, but I’m pretty sure it’s a chinchilla. I wish I could be more sure, but their place is something like 90 minutes away from us, so we don’t go there all that often. :/

  2. Kateryna

     /  October 9, 2012

    Aww! Such lovely and sad post. I miss them too, but it’s better for them to be in a home where they get lots of attention.

  3. Diane

     /  October 12, 2012

    Sad to hear. But glad that you’re (finally) such a responsible owner. If they got lots of attention, then they are used to lots of attention, and it’s great that they’ll have it again. Cute little guys!

  4. Theresa Shea

     /  October 26, 2012

    Our two “male” guinea pigs, bought by my daughter’s lemonade stand money, promptly reproduced. The joke was on us. I now know that “piggers” can be impregnated immediately after giving birth. So we had two batches of pigger babes and populated Mill Creek. We kept one from each batch and at one time had four pigs. The cage was big and the kids were delighted. For a time. We are down to two pigs now (time does take care of these things), but they are basically unloved as the kids rarely pay them any attention. I’d love to give them to a home in which they’d be cuddled and played with, but I’m also feeling like you, Gord, that I’d be a crappy pet owner. Aren’t we supposed to keep them for life? I figure we’ve got at least four more years to go and more than anything I feel sad for them. The kids are okay to give them away as they realize they have lost interest. They’re sweet little things (the pigs).

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