Canadian Chinchilla Rescue

Canadian Chinchilla Rescue: The Fuzzy Underground Railroad

A true story about the Canadian Chinchilla Rescue about the love and care for chinchillas in the Canadian territory.


Patty is not someone from the 1800s evading slavery with help from the underground railroad. Patty is a black velvet chinchilla who, through the work of her foster mom, Tanya Campbell, and a dedicated team of drivers, made it to her forever home in New Orleans.


The story behind Canadian Chinchilla Rescue

It took Patty two weeks to travel nearly 2,000 miles down the East Coast. From Toronto, Canada, to Pennsylvania, to Virginia, to North Carolina, to Florida, to Louisiana, Patty was met night after night with a warm bed, fresh food and water.

Patty is not someone from the 1800s evading slavery with help from the underground railroad. Patty is a black velvet chinchilla who, through the work of her foster mom, Tanya Campbell, and a dedicated team of drivers, made it to her forever home in New Orleans.

“It was the ultimate story from a rescue perspective,” said Tanya who founded Canadian Chinchilla Rescue. “I’ve seen chins in horrific situations too, but the positive side of all the stories is that someone found them and they made their way to me.”

Nearly a 12 years ago, Tanya started an online store where she sold quality chinchilla products including hammocks and treats that were expensive or hard to come by in Canada. Her niche virtual storefront captured the attention of someone who needed to rehome a chinchilla, and as they say, the rest is history.

“From there, I realized I could take in one at a time, and then it kept growing,” said Tanya. “I have seven chins of my own now, and the most I’ve had at the rescue is around 38. We get babies and different colors. We have lots available for adoption.”

Of the dozens of chinchillas that come in and out of Tanya’s life, she does have a “permachin” named Jasper that she plans to keep at the rescue for good.

“When I got him, he only weighed 80 grams and his front leg looked like it was rotting,” recalled Tanya. “With the help of a vet, we were able to amputate the leg. Now Jasper’s five and nearly 500 grams. He’s my baby.”

During his recovery, Tanya fed Jasper goat’s milk by hand nearly every hour. While her level of dedication may seem extreme to some, it’s a standard of care she expects from those who adopt from Canadian Chinchilla Rescue.

“My adoption process isn’t easy,” she said. “It includes about 30 questions to make sure they do their research. It also includes a visit. They have to set up their supplies and send me a photo to approve before they’re cleared to bring the chinchilla home.”

These strategic steps help weed out owners who aren’t dedicated and even those who don’t take into consideration potential allergies from the dust or hay vital to a chinchilla’s livelihood. Tanya knows that if an owner doesn’t have the patience to make it through her rigorous adoption process, they won’t have the patience to own a chinchilla of their own.

“Patience is absolutely the key with chinchillas,” Tanya emphasized. “Their life expectancy is up to 20 years. You don’t need to rush the bond. The more time you give them to adjust to you and their new surroundings, the stronger the bond will be.”

Aside from patience, there are a few tangible tips Tanya has up her sleeve to ensure a chinchilla is happy and healthy in their environment, starting with a metal cage, wooden shelves, a hay-based diet and a proper wheel.

“It’s better to have no wheel than a bad wheel,” she said. “The Chin Spin Chinchilla Exercise Wheel is like the Cadillac of chinchilla wheels out there. I bought my first one about 12 years ago and it’s still going.”


If you're in need of the best wheel for Chinchillas we make it!



It’s better to have no wheel than a bad wheel

— Tanya, founder of Canadian Chinchilla Rescue



Final Thoughts


Whether it’s a shiny Chin Spin, the “Underground Railroad” or new process for encouraging successful adoptions, the wheels at Canadian Chinchilla Rescue have been turning for nearly 10 years, and Tanya hopes that’s the case for many more to come.



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