The following is an email that we received from one of our clients. It is posted here with his permission, in hopes that the passing of his little buddy won't be in vain. It very clearly illustrates the possible dangers associated with keeping a chinchilla in a home with small children, or even homes where small children would visit. Oscar was a rescue who was with us for well over a year before finally finding a great new home. He was only in his new home for a few months before this tragic accident happened.
I have some really bad news. Oscar very unexpectedly passed Monday night.
We found out why after the fact. A friend of ours came over with their daughter who loves animals. My niece and nephew were also over. We found them in the room with the chinchilla, which is off limits, but sometimes children dont always listen. So we quickly got them out of the room and closed the door, thinking nothing of it.
Well Sunday night he wasnt quite himself. He wasnt eating the way he normally did, but was still active and running on his wheel. So obviously I thought nothing of it. Well, when my wife found him Monday, it raised some questions. He had lots of food. Hay in his bin, water in his bottle. I even gave him some new wood on his little chain thing I got him from pet products by nature. So we questioned my niece and nephew. Which after some tears they admitted that the girl who came over with her parents fed him plastic, tape and some cloth. And he was dead in about a day and a half. So I am assuming, as the vet does, that his intestines got plugged. And in looking at his cage, there is almost no poop, all these signs I somehow missed, since he was acting ok.
The vet told me there was little that could be done even if we had taken him in since they are so delicate and not commonly worked on.
Now let me tell you, I grew up on a cattle farm. I am used to animals being born, taking care of them and killing them. Never bothered me much. I feel like a family member was ripped away from me. He was like the brother I never had. Whenever I went over to his cage, he was right there by the door waiting for a pet, a raisin or some attention. He was finally starting to trust me completely. He definitely was the best pet I have ever had. He even watched Red Wings games. I would hold him in my arms and he was glued to the TV.
Im not a guy that cries a lot, but burying him by myself the other night, Im not ashamed to say I shed a few tears. Partially out of anger because I cant help but think its my fault. Partly out of guilt that I let a friend down. And partly out of shame because you trusted him to us and something terribly unfortunate happened to him. His shoes will be tough to fill by anything. He was a great friend and will be sorely missed. I guess I didnt realize how attached I was to him.
I can't bring myself to tell the little girls parents what happened either. I'm sure she didnt mean it and it would break her heart. But I certainly learned something. Chinchillas are not for kids. I guess I just trusted them to leave him alone like I told them to, but I shouldnt have, and it cost me dearly.
So thank you for the experience. I have some things I need to change by way of the storage of his cage, so this doesnt happen again if I decide to someday get another one.
I would completely understand if you didnt want to trust me with another one, but if you do, rest assured this wont happen again. Im not going to have my friend, a harmless little ball of fur, pay for it. Im not ready right now, it still hurts to bad to even think about another one, but sometime in the future I would like to try another one. I had so much fun with him, I would hate to go through life without a little friend like that.
Like I said before, if you are interested in giving me another shot, I certainly would accept, because I love how attached you are to them, and now I can relate.
We miss you little buddy