Together Forever:

The Story of Two Chinchillas, a Broken Leg, and Many Kind and Caring People

A few months ago, two little, cute, furry guys in need of a new home arrived at The Pet Food Center. Initially, there wasn’t anything particularly special about these chinchilla littermates, and it was “business as usual” for employees at the store.

That all changed one morning when Vicki Butler, Animal Director at the Pet Food Center, discovered one of the little guys had somehow managed to trap his leg in the cage while playing; suffering a major break. The little fella was immediately rushed to the vet, but the news was dire. There were only two options: amputation or euthanasia.

“Since our goal was to find both chinchillas a good home, I immediately feared the worst for the little guy. There isn’t a large demand for chinchillas missing a limb,” Butler said, “I contacted Mike Stepto, the owner of Pet Food Center, and told him the situation. Luckily, Mike is an animal lover and immediately said ‘we have to save him’, so the leg was amputated and his life was spared. I’d also like to mention that Dr. Kilbane and the staff at Advent Veterinary Center did an amazing job throughout the entire life-saving and recovery effort.”

The road to recovery hasn’t been easy for Tripod; the name PFC employees gave to the adorable, fun-loving fur ball. He had problems with his stitches and, eventually, required staples for the amputated leg. His chance at recovery required special care and being placed in a cage by himself away from his companion chinchilla, Sebastian. Both chinchilla’s seemed to suffer from depression upon being separated, so the PFC staff made sure they had daily social visits with each other. “Their bond just makes this story so much sweeter,” said Butler.

Now Tripod is fully recovered and living with his best friend, Sebastian, again; awaiting that magical day when BOTH chinchillas have a new and permanent home. “They are forever bonded and we are only going to allow them to be sold as a pair,” said Stepto.

If you are interested in meeting or perhaps owning Tripod and Sebastian, please visit Pet Food Center West at the corner of Franklin and N. Saint Joseph Avenue.

Are Chinchilla’s for You?

So now you’ve heard The Story of Tripod and Sebastian! But we’re guessing you might have a lot of questions about chinchillas as pets. Read on!

Chinchillas have many characteristics that make them great pets. They are boisterous little animals with personalities similar to that of a park squirrel. They are active, playful and, when handled gently from a young age, become quite tame and can bond closely with their owners. They are very low-maintenance and easy to train. However, they are not well suited for younger children because they are small and fragile and if squeezed too tight – they will bite. They need to be handled and petted often when they are young or they grow up to be skittish and aggressive.

These cute little guys with beautiful soft, lush fur live about 12 to 22 years. Their bodies measure about 10 to 14 inches with a tail that adds another 5 or 6 inches. Another plus is that, unlike other rodent pets, chinchilla’s do not develop an unpleasant smell. Chinchilla’s also do not make any loud, obnoxious noises.

Chinchillas can be kept singly, but usually do fine as part of same-sex pairs– especially if the two chinchillas are littermates or introduced to each other at a young age.