FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Local dietician Audrey Green has perplexed her friends and family by developing an obsession with chinchillas, the small, furry rodents said to make great pets. The 36-year-old has taken to Facebook to remark how cute and cuddly chinchillas look, and to ask for advice about getting one.
“It’s so bizarre that at her age, she’s suddenly all about having a little creature to hold and take care of,” said Mimi Ponce, Green’s neighbor and friend. “I mean, you’d think a childless woman in the middle of her life would have other, more normal concerns, like participating in roller derbies, or watching an entire season of ‘Girls’ in one stretch.”
Green’s brother Michael is also baffled by the show of interest in the adorable, warm creatures that are said to be fragile, yet develop strong, almost human-like personalities.
“I just don’t get it,” he said. “As children, we weren’t deprived of pets. We had a dog, two cats and a parrot, so what’s up with this sudden need for a chinchilla?”
Janelle Gerbis, Green’s best friend who gave birth to twin boys earlier this year, says while she cannot be sure why Green — who broke up with her longtime boyfriend last year due to a major fight about clocks — so badly wants a chinchilla, she has a pretty good idea.
“Audrey’s thing for chinchillas tells me her biological instincts are sending her a strong message, that she actually wants something else,” Gerbis said. “What a woman approaching 40 really needs is a dog.”
“Dogs offer protection and companionship, and what woman a decade or two away from menopause doesn’t want that?” she added.
Sources say Green went through a similar phase nearly a decade ago, when she spent weeks researching ferrets, even making a day trip to rural Wyoming to visit a man who bred the animals. Green’s interest in ferrets waned, however, upon getting creeped out by the young, robust breeder’s flirtations and offers to take her out.