Appreciating the new us

*yawn* good morning!

I only slept four hours last night BUT, because I’ve been ill the past few days, I slept soooo much. At least I should be caught up on sleep now 😀

Looking forward to some big dog walks today without me feeling like death warmed up. Raiden’s walk yesterday was hell and I spent the rest of the day sleeping, even though it was sunny – phooey!

Last night at 9pm our friend M came over. Him and my partner took Kasper out for a quick walk whilst I woke up from a day of sleeping, then they all came into the house.

This is the same friend I posted about towards the end of this post. Because it was a planned visit this time we were able to intro Kasper to him on a walk, and M also hadn’t been drinking this time – the difference was night and day!

Kasper wasn’t afraid of M at all, just excited 🙂 He ran and sat in front of M for fuss with a loose waggy tail, and brought him toys to play with. He didn’t go into his crate once and he only got over-excited and humped M just the one time…when we first adopted Kasper this was almost constant!

(humping is not a sign of dominance, it just means Kasper is either over-excited or overly anxious – or both!)

After a while we put Kasper in his crate with a frozen Kong and it was Raiden’s turn to come play. This was Rey’s first time meeting someone indoors in a few months (couldn’t really have people over with Zoey) and he did so well 🙂

Rey adores M (well okay, he adores most people) so he turned into a mad little wiggle-butt!! He came away every time he was called, did tricks around M and, after about twenty minutes, he settled down with an antler and later enjoyed a Kong full of rice.

Earlier in the day we had our new furbabies dropped off, the two chinchillas we have been waiting to adopt ❤

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We’ve had this awesome empty cage waiting for them!

First photos of two confused little chins 🙂

They’re two female seven years old chinchillas that have been well loved by their previous owner. He actually drove the chinchillas to us for free, and when we tried to give him the listed £30 adoption fee he refused it and said he had just wanted them to find a good home…that is the sign of someone who has truly put the pets’ needs first 🙂

They also came with a few accessories, including a metal chinchilla wheel (these usually cost about £95!) and a glass water bottle.

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We’ve named the chins Chilli and Bandoose 😀

Chilli is more nervous (as in: cold to warm up to strangers = Chill-i!!) and Bandoose is just a name I thought up and that stuck haha.

For the first few minutes both chins huddled in the cage and didn’t move, but within five minutes of being dropped off Bandoose was up exploring, and within ten minutes Chilli had joined her!

They’ve now explored all their cage and I cannot say how smitten I am with them. It was my partner who has wanted chinchillas for years, yet here they are and I think they are absolutely amazing!

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Chinchillas aren’t really a cuddly pet; some happily accept handling, some hate it, and most fall somewhere in between. Bandoose is supposed to be friendlier than Chilli so I am hopeful that with time and treats she will ask for cuddles during her free time, if I sit on the floor with them 🙂

* ~ * ~ *

Our days activities might not seen like much to most people, but previously even before Zoey’s anxiety rocketed we could not really have people visit our house.

For one Zoey was incredibly excited with people. I don’t just mean like Raiden, where he’s jumpy and licky but can be calmed down, I mean total over-the-top leaping at faces, mouthing hands, tugging sleeves, scrabbling to climb up their bodies and just such intensity.

This was incredibly hard to work with. Zoey was so extreme in her focus on people and other dogs that she would focus on nothing else even if they were 50ft away, on the other side of a river etc. Cooked meat could not break her focus.

We have done *so much* work with this for very, very little progress. We found that giving her toys meant she couldn’t mouth people and allowed her to exert her excitement on the toy. Separating her from the person by a pen meant she was just able to focus on us and could briefly settle with a Kong.

However then there was the whining.

Being from a pet shop previously Zoey was constantly rewarded for whining as a young puppy, and even though we tried never to reward her for it, it’s something that stuck with her.

If we put her in her crate / pen when we had visitors she would *scream* the entire time. No matter if we gave her a Kong, usually she would ignore it. If we gave her something like a chicken foot she might stay quiet for the few minutes she wolfed it down, but then she’d be right back to it.

Even when Zoey was in the same room as a visitor but on one side of a barrier, with me, she would randomly stop whatever she was doing and run to the pen and begin her piercing whine.

Add to this the fact that a big clean stressed Zoey out and, well, having people over became impossible. On the rare times we did invite friends in, it was stressful for us all and most times me and my partner were keeping Zoey busy!

Zoey’s anxiety also affected Kasper. When she got stressed when cleaning, so did he. When people came over and Zoey was whining and being miserable, we noticed Kasper was also much more het up and freaked out.

Yesterday was the first time we have had a visitor since rehoming Zoey.

M came over for four hours and the entire time he was here not one dog whined. Both dogs were excited to see him but totally comfortable entertaining themselves too, and they could each easily be called away and perform tricks right next to him. When we cleaned the house beforehand to try help M’s allergies the dogs didn’t even react!

I can’t describe what a huge deal this is.

It means we can have M over regularly, and we could even have friends from Yorkshire come up and stay for a night or two! When family visits they could come inside the house for a while and those family members who haven’t looked around our house in the 2 years we’ve lived here, because it was too stressful for the dogs, could do so now 🙂

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Lookit us having stress-free fun!

Although we are heartbroken we had to rehome Zoey, I appreciate some of the things this new life has brought us…maybe that makes me a bad person, but we haven’t been able to enjoy company at home for three years.

Sorry this blog is longer than most essays…it wasn’t supposed to be!!

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7 thoughts on “Appreciating the new us

    • Thanks! They seem to have settled in really well and are utterly adorable – I really hope Bandoose lets me stroke her in the future, chins have the softest fur 😀

      They eat chinchilla pellets, from the research I’ve done you have to be careful what you feed them and treats should be fed sparingly. They also need hay daily.

      They live for around 12 – 14 years, but some have been said to live up to 20!

      I plan on replacing most (if not all) the plastic levels with wood or steel levels, but the ones I ordered didn’t arrive in time. Plastic shouldn’t really be used in a chinchilla cage, but I’m hoping as these two have so many other things to chew they won’t want to nibble the plastic!

      • Hehehe!! When I was in high school, I bought a sugar glider (flying squirrel) (hmmm possible blog post…). They have the same coats as chinchillas. 🙂

      • Ah man, so cool! I know virtually nothing about sugar gliders, I’ve only seen them a handful of times. I always check rehoming sites local to me, and they had some sort of squirrel the other day…a ground squirrel? I’d never even heard of them before but was so tempted 😀

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