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Monday, March 15, 2010


Born Jarvis Tolkacz, Chewy earned his name by chewing through my cheap semi-wooden dresser and leaving a pile of dust on the floor. When he ran out of dust bath, he would roll around in the shavings. In the span of his short life Chewy managed to destroy a television, my phone charger, my laptop charger, and all wooden things in his immediate vicinity. Sometimes at night, he and lady friend, Sadie, would bounce up and down on top of my and chew on my belt. When I covered myself with the blanket, he would get pissed and bite my eye brow. Then he'd run away. Not as hard as he could bite, not hard enough to hurt. Just hard enough to let me know that he was unhappy. But I needed to sleep, and it just so happened that that night, I fell asleep in my pants. Anyway, that's another thing he destroyed, my belt.

Chewy, as you may have already guessed, was my pet chinchilla. I haven't seen him in a week. Whenever he would run off and I couldn't find him, I always knew that if I waited long enough, he'd be back for food and water, and that's how I'd trap him. This last time it didn't work. He hasn't been back. And now a week as passed and I'm afraid it's time to accept the fact that he isn't coming back. I've searched everywhere, mind you. I can't even find the place through which he escaped.

In Chewy's short life he accomplished many amazing things. His favorite place to hide at the old house was in the cupboard. He would crawl up into the top drawer and sleep there till it was time to eat. Eventually, he chewed a little face hole in the drawer so that he could pop his little head out from an elevated position and therefore have advantage over the cats. If they batted at his head, he would pop back inside, safe and sound. When I moved out, he stayed with my ex-girlfriend, and she reported horror stories about being peed on and nibbled at night. Apparently, he would keep her up. She would frighten him away, but ten seconds later he'd be nibbling on her. I tried to tell her that this was a display of affection, but sadly she believed that Chewy was fucking with her head, and that he'd taken over control of the house. She was both happy and sad to see him leave.

I took him to Plankton, the housing co-op where he had new people to drive insane. The first day I dropped him off he escaped his cage and headed for the hole in the wall, getting into the floorboards where the scary newness of the environment was offset by the feeling of safety one gets when enveloped on all sides. A frantic call from roommates later and I informed them that he would return for food and he was okay. It wasn't a heating duct he had entered.

Now the thing was that the hole had a grate in front of it, and Chewy knew enough to move the grate so that he could expose the hidey hole. My solution was to put a box in front of it. A box that he and Sadie would eventually chew through and expose the hole again. I'd wait at night for the pitter patter of little chinchilla feet scampering out across the floor, and then I'd close off the grate and they would be pissed.

Now, my roommate Granger was certain that Chewy was screwing with Hera, his dog. He eventually figured out how to escape my room and he would run around the house at night when everyone was asleep. He would poke his little head into their rooms and when he noticed that they had noticed him noticing them he'd run off. Hera, however, would chase after him (never successfully) but it would wake Granger up, and he wouldn't know why his dog was flipping out. Eventually Hera would come back his bedroom but so would Chewy. One night, when Granger was investigating Hera's excitement, Chewy, who was hiding in the stairwell “flew at my face” and “scared the shit out of me.”

Indeed, Chewy was a badass little Chinchilla. The house cat, Wolvie, would invade his territory from time to time, but Chewy didn't scamper to any hidey hole. He had a woman to protect. One night, I heard a great yelp and a hiss, and then a cat ran out of my room. Another time, he ninja kicked her in the face and he went in one direction, while she ran out of the room in the other. Chewy lived with two cats who would work in tandem to corner him. Chewy was not afraid of cats.

He was however afraid of Sadie. But Sadie got pissed at his furry little ass because he took off on her. He was always a rambler. He happened to find a hole in the bathroom sink that was on the side of the toilet. In order to get into this hole, he would have to jump about six inches from the toilet into a crack roughly two inches flat. He would spend all day in his little hole, poking his nose out every so often, scarring the shit out of people while they sat down to relieve themselves. What better place for such a game?

Anyway, when he tried to get back in at night and eat from their communal food dish, Sadie would chase him away from the bowl and protect it. She wouldn't let him eat. Eventually, I had to bring the bowl to him and Sadie backed off. Relations were tense for about a week but soon after they began snuggling again. Still, Chewy needed time away from Sadie and often would sleep in a plastic crate. From here he was protected, and it also ensured an angle of visibility toward the door so he could alert Princess that the cat was in the room.

Chewy hated being caged. I suppose all creatures do. It fills them with intense dread. Consider how being buried alive would feel. When I was about to move him out of the co-op, I kept them both in a plastic pet carrier so that they couldn't get out of the room while I was gone. We were in the midst of moving and while we were gone Chewy managed to chew his way through the pet carrier and escape.

All the things that made Chewy a terror, for me, accentuated his cuteness. When he eventually let me pet him without flipping out, I felt elated. Playtime with the chinchillas consisted of me sitting on the floor (very still) and watching them hop around until they came up to me. They would jump on my lap, and consider me for a second. I would hold out my finger and they would nibble on it.

A couple days after I moved I had a dream that Chewy died. It was not at all in the same fashion as simply disappearing. It was violent and bloody. I don't claim to have premonitions, nor did I have any real reason to be anxious over Chewy's safety. I'd been forced to confront the possibility that he'd run outside the day we moved, when he chewed through his carrier. But it was slim, and we found him shortly thereafter. I don't know. I miss him though. And I remember waking up the next morning from that same cruel dream and seeing him there and breathing a sign of release. He was worth the trouble.

1 comment:

  1. Chewy is actually still alive, we found him, I guess I forgot I posted this.


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