Every Easter, gobs of stupid people go out and buy bunnies and chinchillas and such from pet stores in order to elicit a few squeals of delight from their own easily distracted offspring. A month later, the squealing has completely dried up and the critter is permanently relegated to its cage. When the smell from the cage gets too much because the parents have been too preoccupied with their lifestyle to do any cleaning, they decide to go for a drive to some quiet location where they dump the animal.

In the morning, the parents tell the offspring the pet has run away or some such bullshit and their superb lives go on without a thought ever again for the critter.

The critter's life goes on as well, at least for a bit. It's never spent any time fending for itself outdoors so it'll likely get run over or preyed on or just die of thirst or starvation. However, if it's lucky, extremely lucky, as in winning the jackpot in a major lottery lucky, it gets found by some compassionate soul who takes it home and saves its life.

The small domestics room at Toronto Animal Services is still overcrowded from post Easter animal abandonments so the next few posts here will be featuring some of those who are quietly waiting for a home. All the photos and descriptions are from Laura who is a most excellent volunteer working with the small domestics.

She's not as bitchy nor sarcastic as I am.

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Sir Nigel is a black chinchilla who arrived at the shelter about two weeks ago. He had been left on a street corner in his cage. It was over 40 degrees outside with the humidex. Nigel was found sitting on bare wire, with no hay and a little cup of birdseed for food. The water bottle was at the top of the cage, and by the time he was taken to TAS, he was too weak to reach it

When he arrived at the shelter, he was half dead and James and I weren't sure he was even going to survive. Chinchillas are not meant for heat, and they can die of heat stroke very easily. I put a bowl of water in for him and he just fell into it, he was so desperate for water. We gave him hay, a toy, proper food, and a dustbath, and moved him into the back where it was cooler.

This first photo is him when he first arrived:


I next saw Nigel four days later, and the change was amazing. He'd bounced back with no problems, and with a few good dustbaths and proper nutrition, he had turned out very handsome indeed.





Nigel is also the biggest sweetheart ever. Most chinchillas are very skittish, but you can pick up and hold Nigel no problem. He likes being scratched on the head and back, and he runs up to you as soon as you open the cage door. He's lovely, and I just can't imagine how anyone could bear to leave him outside in the heat like that

The problem we have now is that chinchillas are very difficult to adopt out. They have long life-spans and need specialized care, so they really need the right family. We're contacting rescues but they're all quite full, so hopefully more exposure will bring some chinchilla-lovers out of the woodwork! He's a gentle, sweet boy and he's just beautiful - he really deserves a good home after all he's been through.




The best way to check on the adoption status of this dog (and other dogs and cats and other small domestic animals) is to visit Toronto Animal Services adoption website or call 416 338 6668 for the Toronto Animal Services South shelter. If the dog is no longer on the TAS adoption website, it's probably because it's been adopted already.



4 Comments to “Sir Nigel - Chinchilla”

  1. OH!!

    I <3 Sir Nigel and hope he is well and found a good home!!!! :)

    I would love to bring him home however, I believe he has already been adopted. So, again I hope he found
    a loving, forever home :)

  2. so beautiful! I wish I could have chinchillas again - they are fantastic pets! but they do require the right environment. After my last one died at 10 yrs of age (got him when he was 3) I decided no more until I lived somewhere with air conditioning! Still too hot here, so no chinchs for me, but my heart breaks, and I also hope Sir Nigel has found a fantastic home; all the best to him!

  3. My goodness, he *is* a handsome boy. I'm soooo tempted to run out and add a couple of rodents to the zoo, but, with 3 cats of my own and 7 fosters, might not be the best idea. Hope enough folk step up to the plate to find good homes for all the abandonees after the Easter cutes wear off....

  4. Anonymous says:

    FRED: YOU ARE SUCH A GREAT GUY, WITH SUCH A MAGNIFICENT HEART. SOME OF YOUR POSTS NEARLY BRING ME TO TEARS, AND I RECOGNIZE HOW UPSETTING SOME OF THESE SITUATIONS ARE FOR YOU AND IT MAKES ME WANNA FIND THESE CRUEL MORONS AND BEAT THEM UP FOR YOU. TAKE PHOTOS AND SAY,SEE FRED, YEA, THEY GOT THEIR COME UPPINS.

    HOWEVER, I'M A SENIOR WOMAN, NOT ABLE TO BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF ANYONE NOW, LET ALONE SOME OF THE THESE CRETINS. STILL, I WISH I COULD, I REALLY DO. AND FRED, PLEASE LAUGH, FOR I AM HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE WITH ANY HUMAN BEING WHO CARES AND LOVES AND IS AS DEVOTED AS YOU ARE. DEAR DEAR FRED. YOU ARE THE GREATEST.

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A request

The reason for this blog is to help get specific dogs adopted from TAS but equally important is to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals. The single greatest stigma shelter animals still face is the belief that shelter animals are substandard animals. Anyone who has had enough experience with shelter animals knows this is untrue but the general public hasn't had the same experiences you've had. They see a nice dog photo in a glossy magazine and too many of them would never think of associating that dog with a dog from a shelter. After all, no one abandons perfectly good dogs, right? Unfortunately, as we all know, perfectly good dogs are abandoned all the time.

The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

So, here's the favour I'm asking. Whenever you see a dog picture on these pages you think is decent enough, I'd like you to consider sharing it on Facebook or any other social media sites you're using (I know many of you do this already and thank you for that). And when you share it, please mention that the dog in the photo is a shelter dog like so many other shelter dogs waiting for a home. If we can get even five percent of the pet buying public to see shelter dogs differently, to see how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are, and to consider shelter dogs as their first choice for a new family member, we can end the suffering of homeless pets in this country.
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