After my chinchilla Caesar was euthanized, I missed him and continue to miss him terribly. My room felt empty without him watching me do my homework or climbing over my pillows. While I knew I could never replace him, I started looking for a chinchilla breeder.
Caesar had been bought from a pet store, and I didn’t want to support the cruel business of mass-bred animals any longer, as I had done so unknowingly with Caesar. I loved him, and I still do, but it is always best to go through a small breeder rather than a pet store. I can’t say that what Caesar suffered from was caused by his birth in a small animal mill, but it could have contributed to it and I didn’t want to make that mistake again, or support an inhumane business.
I started looking online at shelters and breeders, and none of them had any chinchillas available. A furry friend would come along when it was the right time, I was sure, but it was still disappointing to receive emails from breeders saying that they wouldn’t have any chinchillas up for adoption for a long time.
I finally found a breeder in Keene, New Hampshire, and we sent her an email asking what she had for chins available. She got back to us and said she didn’t have any babies, but she did have two 2-3 year old chinchillas, one being a mosaic and the other a pink-white. She said that they had been housed together for a year and a half, and were adopted out, but the man who adopted them couldn’t take care of them any longer and returned them. I had been looking for a baby chinchilla, and only one of them, but I decided to go to New Hampshire and check them out.
I thoroughly cleaned out Caesar’s old cage, which, coincidentally, is the recommended size for two chinchillas, and my mom and I headed up to Keene. It was a two and a half hour drive, and when we slid up the snow-covered dirt driveway, we were greeted by an arsenal of angry geese. The breeder had an array of animals on the property, but the geese were certainly the most fearsome.
We were led inside a garage by Kitt, the breeder we had been communicating with via email. The two chinchillas were in a box, and my mom and I each held one of them while we talked to Kitt about their temperaments. She said they hadn’t been held since being returned to her, and that they were docile and shy. They seemed to be content to just be held, and I already knew I wanted to take them home. The pink-white chinchilla had a mangled ear that Kitt said he had injured when he fought with another chinchilla he was originally housed with, and the mosaic chinchilla had a missing toe that I presumed he got from whatever cage he was housed in before.
Unsurprisingly, I adopted the chinchillas, thinking of names the whole way home. As a nod to my little pal Caesar, I named them Octavian (mosaic) and Marc Antony (pink-white) to continue the Roman name legacy I had started with Caesar. While I knew I’d never be able to replace Caesar, Marc Antony and Octavian nosed their way into my heart, and I love them very much. It’s been a little over six months since I adopted them, and they have been great from day one.
When adopting a new pet after another one’s death, it is important to remember that you can never replace the bond or the pet you had before with a new one. It is best to wait for a little while to give yourself time to properly address the loss of a pet before hurrying into adopting another one; the bond you have with your pet is special, and it is different for every person and pet. If you are expecting to replace a beloved animal, you are going to be disappointed and miss your old companion more than ever. The best thing to do is give yourself time, and when you are ready, invite a new furry friend into your home with the expectation of a different but valuable human-animal bond.