Pet of the Day

October 31, 2012

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Plume, the Pet of the Day
Name: Plume
Age: Nine years old
Gender: Female
Kind: Chinchilla
Home: Quebec, Canada
   Plume, my chinchilla has been living with me for nearly seven years. I named her Plume (Feather) because she is as soft as a baby goose. When I was little, I always wanted to have a dog. My family being allergic (to dogs as well as to cats), I was obviously never able to get my wish. The only animals that I was allowed to have were fish. While I find these creatures to be splendid, (what being isn't?), I always wanted to have a real connection with an animal. My aunt had me walk her dog for two years. My summers with Melody were really fun. I taught her to do a number of tricks, like putting a treat on her nose and waiting for my signal to eat it, or like playing dead. Training has always been one of my strong suits, even later with my chinchilla.

    One day, my father was annoyed to see me depressed about the death of another betta fish. (Unfortunately, they only live to be one and a half or two years old. I also taught three betta to jump out of the water. You are going to say that it's impossible, but I swear to you that it can be done and that it is even pretty easy. I even have several eye witnesses of this feat. A co-worker of my mother wanted to get rid of her chinchilla. She had found it outside in the middle of winter. The poor thing was freezing and even lost almost all of her little "fingers." She only has three left on her two little paws ... But I assure you, she gets along just as well as all the other animals of her species. It was not a carefully considered decision, but rather one imposed on the little family who adopted the young chinchilla. According to them, Plume must not have been very old because she grew a bit since their first encounter. After two years, the family realized they needed to find a good home for their survivor. Their schedules and family changes no longer allowed them to take good care of the animal and above all, despite all the family's efforts, no taming of the animal had succeeded. To clean her cage, they had to trap Plume with a thick work glove to avoid getting badly bitten.

    And so, my father decided that a chinchilla could join the family. You cannot imagine my joy! Finally, a mammal in the house! Once the cage and everything was set up for her arrival, I spent my entire evening seated in front of the cage watching her. After a few hours, I took a chance and extended my hand toward her. She sniffed me and I was even able to pat her without gloves! I had done what they had not been able to over two years! I had just achieved a great victory. I spent the following days by her side. After a week, I opened the gate and sat as usual in front of the cage. She didn't even go out and was afraid of my every move. Her cage was her sense of security. Much later, she took a chance and poked her muzzle out. Our connection, over the course of months became closer and closer.

    She is now a domestic chinchilla and no longer a wild ball of fur that shares my life. She even learned some tricks and rules of behavior. No more rummaging around under the furniture, no more gnawing on furniture! She even knows how to escape and return to her cage with the promise of a little piece of dried banana (unsweetened, of course). In short, our relationship has flourished and I already fear the day when she will leave me. She isn't immortal, the little honey bun, she is already around eight or nine and I expect her to reach fifteen years old. I love her very much.

Plume, the Pet of the Day
Plume, the Pet of the Day

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