Today I decided I needed a place. A place to talk, vent, discuss, and just work things out in black and white.
I have friends and family in the real world that I could talk to , but not many that care too much about what is going on in the chinchilla world. So, to fill that void, I decided to give blogging a chance. I am very new to this. Hopefully I won't be too boring.
I asked what my first entry should cover, so here it goes:
How did I start with chinchillas?
On the wrong foot - and I am still tripping up.
When I was 8 or so I was given my first chinchilla as a birthday gift. I wan't to keep entries short so I won't go into too much detail, but as you can imagine as an 8 yr old I didn't have the knowledge of the whole world in my hands... I trusted my parents, and grew to trust the breeders I met.
We had gotten Slim, then Maybelle, and I was breeding in no time. Then Darrell & Aurora... followed by Snow & Odin... I was being mentored by a breeder I met on - you guessed it!- Craigslist! She told me what animals to buy, how to breed them, what to expect etc. She even sold me some... and when things didn't go as they logically should I started looking for advice elsewhere... I learned the sad truth that I was in fact a Backyard Breeder and I was on my way down a rocky path.
I had 3 choices. Continue, Correct, or Quit. I chose to correct my problems by having Darrell and Odin neutered, and kicking the BYB out of my life entirely - which was easy since she disappeared when Snow turned out to be something totally different than what I paid for -oh well.
When I first entered the chinchilla community I was shown no mercy. People ripped into me left and right and had no tolerance for my honest mistakes. It continued for some time until I made friends who have truly helped me. Most of those friends are still around to this day, still, helping me improve on LLC and my own choices.
My motivation to do better was my pets - and maybe my pride. I didn't want to do ANYTHING that would cause my pets harm, nor did I wan't to be known as some monster. Of course I changed my ways and did what damage control I could. I made a mistake, it didn't have to define me for the rest of my life. If someone defines me now by my past mistakes, well, that's their burden to carry not mine. I've forgiven myself and have moved on.
My motivation behind creating the group is to help... to help owners like me who started off on the wrong foot to improve. I can understand because I have been there myself. Horrible feeding habits, terrible cage, poor husbandry, ignorance - I've been there. I don't have much tolerance for someone who's closed off to the world and won't consider advice or accept fact... I don't have the time to spend on a closed mind when there's 10 others with open minds ready to accept my help - but I do at least try.
If I can help at least 1 owner improve, or even save their pet's life ... then that's good enough for me. I want you to have what I didn't have - proper guidance.
Where do I want to go with this?
This is something I struggle with. Do I need what I want or do I want what I need? I love "special" chinchillas and I want to provide a safe haven for chinchillas in my area - Central CA lacks in exotic rescues. I'd have a true purpose and think i'd be happy caring for the animals others abandon or simply just don't want to be burdened by... But that may just be a fantasy. I am not sure I could handle the consistent heartbreak that is rescue work.
I've also been interested in breeding since I owned chinchillas. . . but stopped because I was obviously in the wrong... but I did purchase Mallie as a possible breeding option but as a pet first since I wasn't in a state to breed. ( pedigreed ) and later purchased Tony too. ( Pedigreed ).
I went back and forth considering breeding the pair for months with Tony's breeder, my mentor ( a real one this time ) and some friends who at the time didn't have much against it.
But as many of you know, I had to say goodbye to my beloved Tony about 2 weeks ago - So much more about this will be addressed in a later post.
I do however have an interest of breeding for TOV whites or Brown Velvets... but at this time, everything is at a halt and up in the air while I do some real soul searching.
That's pretty much it for our first Blog post - Hope it wasn't too boring. Leave a comment for a post suggestion :)