My journey to fostering
My name is Miranda, and animals are my number one love! I have two chinchillas of my own, Genghis and Teddy - known around here as "The Boys." They have stolen my heart and rule my house!
When I was in first grade, a group of animal educators did a presentation in our classroom, and one of the animals they brought along was a chinchilla, which we all got to pet. I remember them telling us that they had the softest fur of any mammal, and they explained their dust baths to us. Completely fascinated, I promised my six-year-old self that I would have one of those adorable little furballs one day.
That one day came a few years ago. I was browsing around a pet store feeling lonely, and I came upon a small chinchilla being kept in an aquarium. I asked to hold him, and when I picked him up, I fell head over heels in love. I decided to name him Genghis (because he was so shy - he needed a warriors name!) and though I knew next to nothing about taking care of a chinchilla, he came home with me. It was one of the best decisions I ever made, and I learned more about chinchillas than I ever imagined I would!
I knew I wanted more chins, and after Genghis got a little older, I wanted him to have the opportunity to have a friend. I also knew that I wanted a rescue chin that needed a home, and through chincare.com, I found the Second Chance Chins website and put in an application to see if we could find a chin that Genghis got along with. Genghis met several males that Mya and Jim had, but he didnt really mesh well with anyone. But when I held Teddy, my heart absolutely melted. Teddy was four months old at the time. He was born on a ranch, and due to the fact that he was born without ears, he was at-risk for being pelted, since he couldnt be sold on the pet market. He was part of the Pet Homes for Ranchies project. When I was holding him, he looked up and rubbed my nose with his, and I just knew that he should come home with us, even if Genghis wasnt all that crazy about him yet. So, I got a separate cage for Teddy, and Genghis still isnt crazy about him, but I love him to pieces!
In January, I was browsing through the classified section of my local paper, and I came upon an ad: "2 chinchillas, free to good home." The whole idea worried me, so I called the number in the ad. The owner of the chins told me that she had already promised them to someone else (who had multiple other pets), but I convinced her to give them to me instead. She had intended to breed them, but they hadnt produced. She also informed me that they were mean and hateful, but the female seemed very upset, and shed rather that I had them. After I had spoken with the owner, I talked to Mya, explained the situation to her, and asked for her help. She agreed to take the pair and find good homes for them. I got them from the former owners within the week, put them in two separate cages, and they stayed with me for a week before they went to stay with Mya and Jim. The female, Laila, had pulled quite a bit of fur out of her tail due to stress, and she and Stitch, the male, had apparently never had hay before. Contrary to what Id been told, they were both very sweet, and they both visibly relaxed every day they spent with me in peace, being loved and showered with affection. Laila ended up being pregnant, and she gave birth to an adorable baby boy while in Mya and Jims care! Every chin should have a responsible, loving home, and it was such an amazing feeling for me to know that I played a part in three chins finding just that. I want to do everything I can to help chins in need, and I greatly admire the dedication of everyone at SCC, so I decided to become a foster mom! It is a wonderful feeling to know that you made a difference in the lives of these adorable animals, and Im so glad that I got involved!
(photos of Miranda's chinchilla family to come!)
RIP Genghis ~ February 22, 2010
Miranda is currently fostering:
Foster Mom Notes:
Allegro looooves scritches! He will stand frozen in one spot with his eyes closed for ages if you are scritching his chin and chest. He also loves to run on his wheel, chew on toys, snooze in his hidey-house, and eat hay, and he is always ready for treat time or some love. Allegro is a bit crabby about getting used to new surroundings, but settles into a home very nicely just as soon as he gets comfortable and knows he can trust you - he just needs a little patience and TLC. Slow seems to work best - I think things are scarier for him because he can't see clearly. He's very good about letting you know what he likes or doesn't like when he's getting used to a new place or person - just follow his lead!