Bella, Waffle offer unique adoption opportunity

Waffle, a 3-year-old guinea pig, is held by Clarke County Animal Shelter kennel attendant Brittany Fewell. Josette Keelor/Daily

BERRYVILLE — Bella and Waffle are not typical residents of the Clarke County Animal Shelter. They aren’t cats or dogs, and they also aren’t hamsters, rabbits or the other sort of occasional animals that find their way into the Berryville shelter.

Waffle is a guinea pig, and Bella is a chinchilla.

Waffle is sweet and loves to hug, but asked to describe Bella the chinchilla, kennel attendant Brittany Fewell was short on words.

“I have no idea,” she said. In her six years with the shelter, she’s never seen one before.

Chinchillas are native to the Andes in South America, she said. They look like a cross between a rabbit and a giant, adorable mouse. They eat pellet food and yogurt treats like rabbits and guinea pigs do. They also enjoy cages similar in style to those of other small critters, and some of the same types of toys like exercise wheels and plastic huts they can hide in.

Bella, a 3-year-old chinchilla, is available for adoption at Clarke County Animal Shelter in Berryville. Josette Keelor/Daily

“We give them toys or things to chew on,” Fewell said.

But Bella’s food and bedding needs to be specific to chinchillas.

“They cannot have shavings of a rabbit because they tend to eat them and it’s not good for them,” she said.

Waffle and Bella are 3-year-old surrenders who came from separate homes.

Bella is shy about who holds her and nervous enough to bite, so Fewell believes she wasn’t socialized enough in her previous home.

Waffle got along well with a rabbit who was recently adopted, but Bella so far has not been around other animals and will need patience from a new family.

Though unusual, a chinchilla isn’t the shelter’s only interesting boarder. Ferrets, goats, horses and emus have also found their way to 225 Ramsburg Lane, Berryville, and been adopted, Fewell said.

“We had a pair of love birds,” Fewell said. Recently the shelter also had two sugar gliders (similar to flying squirrels) and a pot-bellied pig.

Chinchillas are expensive at pet stores, but Bella and Waffle are free to the right homes. They also come with supplies.

Waffle can clean herself with her tongue and teeth, like cats do, and Bella cleans herself by rolling in a bath of Blue Cloud Chinchilla Dust.

It’s “the coolest thing about her,” Fewell said. “It’s hilarious, I love to watch it,” she said. The dust is important, “because they’re not supposed to get wet.”

But adoptive families should be prepared to clean the animals’ cages on a weekly basis.

They also should not adopt small pets on a whim, said Fewell, who thinks Waffle was meant as a gift for a child who couldn’t manage the responsibility.

For more information on adopting Bella or Waffle, contact the shelter at 225 Ramsburg Lane, Berryville, by calling 540-955-5104 or visiting http://tinyurl.com/n93h5lc.

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com