Chinchilla, Please!

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“Mom, I want this thing.”

“Hey, please can have a chinchilla?”

“Don’t bother me now. I’m talking to my new friend. Chinchilla.”

“Don’t make me leave yet! Not done staring at chinchilla!”

“For birthday, no pork chops. Chinchilla, please!”

Brady made the acquaintance of a chinchilla this summer and has been intrigued ever since.

Actually, make that obsessed.

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But in a sort of okay way. I actually don’t think he intends to hurt it.

Nonetheless, this chinchilla creature – I call him Chin (I actually have no idea if it’s a him or a her, but in my head it’s a him) must be studied intently. Very intently. Also very closely. Preferably from about an inch away, although even closer would be nice.

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Surprisingly, Chin is not very offended by Brady’s interest. He usually comes out of his little house and hangs out with Brady. I’m guessing that in some inter-species way, Brady is communicating that he really doesn’t want to eat Chin. He just wants to be close friends. Very, very close friends.

Chin doesn’t want to be close friends with Youke. Youke also likes to stare intently at Chin. This has proven a little bit difficult though because mostly Brady won’t move out of the way to allow Youke a better look. Since Brady is the bigger dog, and the more growly dog, Youke relinquishes the staring to Brady. Unless Brady doesn’t accompany me to Chin’s residence, which also happens to be the residence of two favorite characters, “Jack Lemmon” and “Walter Matthau.”(For more on this, read Sexy Senior.) Then Youke feels free to do a lot of staring at Chin.

However, Youke’s intent is clearly not quite so benign. I’m fairly certain that Youke would like to bite Chin. It’s pretty hard to make friends when you bite them first.

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The funny thing is that Chin seems nearly as fascinated with Brady as Brady is with him. I’ve caught them more than once nearly nose to nose, mesmerized by each other’s presence.

Brady’s newfound desire to be friends with a chinchilla reminds me of when he first came to live with me and his feelings about cats.

When I adopted Brady, I had two cats. Spencer, my elderly male orange cat, and Satan- or Satie-Cat as she’s more commonly called these days since as she’s aged her satanic tendencies have diminished.

Spencer preferred dogs over other cats. This was because he was tormented by the two female cats I had at the time when he fell from out of the sky and to my feet. Okay, really he fell as a kitten from out of tree, knocked the wind out of himself and I picked him up and brought him into my house to revive him. He never left. Remarkably, dogs liked Spencer as much as Spencer liked dogs. He was adored by my first dog I had as an adult and converted my husky mix that thought cats were horrendous and were solely good for chasing to worshiping the ground he walked on. As the years went on,  Sylvie the dog and Spencer the cat would actually play with each other. Spencer did much the same for Jasmine. Jasmine was actually a bit afraid of cats when she came to live with me, but Spencer taught her that some cats are wonderful. And Spencer was there as Youke grew up. I caught them many times playing on the bed and then falling asleep cuddled up against each other. Sadly, Satan had nearly the opposite effect and she is the reason why Jasmine and Youke no longer want to have anything to do with cats.

When I adopted Brady, it was highly suggested that he not live with cats as he seemed a bit too interested in them. That’s code for, will chase down a cat and hurt or possibly kill it. However, since I have a good track record for taking the message of Rodney King to the next level among four-legged critters, I decided that he could eventually learn to live with a cat.

Indeed, it started on day one when Spencer greeted Brady at the top of the stairs and did not run away. In fact, he rubbed up against Brady’s face. Brady was confused. What sort of chicanery was this?

As evil as Satan used to be, she always started off by being deceptively nice and friendly. This further confused Brady. Whereas Spencer would rarely take a swing at a dog, Satan though nothing of it when Brady got too pushy. Hence, Brady learned R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

For the first few months Brady was with me, he though the cats should be not only closely watched – as in with his eyes crossed and his nose being tickled by their fur – but they should also be herded. Spencer wasn’t troubled by this at all as at the time he was pretty elderly and didn’t really move much. Satan was another matter. With time, and many, many helpful suggestions from me and even more helpful messages from Satan that involved unsheathed claws, Brady learned that while incredibly hypnotic, cats were often not very nice or very, very boring. Cats sleep a lot.

Spencer died about a year after I got Brady. Satie-Cat still likes to rub herself against the dogs, but only Brady and Camm. She knows Jasmine and Youke dislike her for her prior mean unpredictability.  Youke dislikes her so much that he gets this odd little twitch in his lip if she tries to be friendly with him.

Nowadays, Brady still occasionally has to watch Satie-Cat very closely, usually sitting on the couch with his nose a centimeter from her curled, sleeping body, his eyes boring into her and willing her to open her eyes. He also sometimes still follows her from room to room and even will cut around the kitchen to head her off from the living room where she likes to perch on the back of the couch. Then he’ll helpfully suggest she go a different route. This would be useful if she was a sheep. The cat’s savior is usually her bestie – Camm. Camm adores Satie-Cat and Camm will tell Brady off when she thinks he’s being too obsessive. Then she’s gently place Satie’s head in her own mouth. While this looks frightening to the uninitiated, I’ve actually seen Satie solicit this behavior.  Satie tolerates this well, even the pawing, although I’ve suggested on many occasions that she doesn’t have to and have also helpfully suggested to Camm that this is inappropriate. Oddly, Satie just goes right back up to Camm for more.

Perhaps when Brady first met Chin he though Chin was a cat? Upon closer inspection, and whiff, he likely realized that this was far from true, but he also knows now that Chin isn’t a bunny either. Chin does sort of resemble a cuter looking rat. Chin is clearly some sort of exotic creature – perhaps half cat, half bunny – that Brady is convinced he should have in his life.

So much so, that I seriously have wondered where a chinchilla would live in my house.

Is it wrong to get a chinchilla for your dog?

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“Here to see my friend. Open the door NOW!”

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