Hi! My name is Ashley Gajda. I've owned, bred, and rescued chinchillas for about 16 years now (since 2003). At the present time, NWI Chinchillas is run out of my house in Hammond, Indiana.
I bought my first chinchilla shortly after I entered college in 2003. I named this chinchilla "Winx," because he would often wink at me. At the time I got Winx, I did not know much about chinchilla care, and I did quite a few things wrong: provided him with bad treats, had plastic in his cage, and didn't give him hay. However, I wanted him to live a long and healthy life, so I started researching the correct care for chinchillas. I read chinchilla books and talked to some large-scale breeders and ranchers. As it turned out, I learned that most of the books and information available on how to care for chinchillas is either incorrect or outdated. When I started breeding chinchillas, I did not want the chinchillas I sold to go into homes that did not know how to correctly care for a chinchilla, so I wrote up my own chinchilla care packet. This care packet illustrates how we, here at NWI, care for our chinchillas. To make this information available to people coming across this website, the information contained in the packet is on the "Chinchilla Care Info." page. In addition, this information packet goes home with every chinchilla we sell (as well as with all of the rescues we adopt out to new homes), to ensure these chinchillas receive the best, most correct care available.
After we had Winx for a short while, we bought a friend for him and named her Moki. About this time, my mother realized she wanted her own chinchilla, so Jinx came into our lives. Shortly after getting her, we acquired Toby and Bailey from JAGS in Michigan. After that, Cody, Tucker, and Fuzzy (all rescue chinchillas -- now in their new homes) all found their way to us. Somewhere amid all of this, NWI Chinchillas was born.
Since then, we
have taken in and re-homed many rescues, and have expanded our own herd quite a bit as well.
NWI Chinchillas News & Appearances
April 2011 -- NWI Chinchilla Rescue has been listed on the Tails, Inc. website, under Other Rescues - see listing
July 19, 2011 -- the rescue was featured in an article in the Post Tribune - see newspaper article
July 25, 2011 -- NWI Chinchilla Rescue became an approved rescue on Petfinder.com - see NWI Chinchilla Rescue on Petfinder
February 17, 2012 -- NWI Chinchilla Rescue became an approved rescue on Adopt-A-Pet.com - Adopt-A-Pet website
January 2013 -- the rescue hosted a girl scout meeting. The girl scouts learned about the rescue, what we do, and helped make goodie bags for when our rescues go to their new homes. Pictures and more information here.
3, 2013 -- the rescue hosted a girl scout meeting for the daisies. The
daisies learned about the rescue, the type of pets we take in, and how
each pet is cared for. They also learned about the responsibility
involved in owning a pet. They helped make goodie bags for when our
rescues go to their new homes. Pictures and more information here.
In addition to the above listings -- every year, we attend numerous pet expos and chinchilla shows. These are not listed above, as they are yearly events, rather than the events listed above, which are more one-time events.
NWI Chinchillas Photos
Also here in May 2018, when I got the personalized license plate for one of my vehicles...
We do have other animals / pets here, other than the chinchillas. We have several shetland sheepdogs (shelties) -- Kailey, Misty, Sky, Dutch (co-owned), and Roxy (co-owned). We also have two black-tailed prairie dogs (Shani & Summer), four adult crested geckos (and usually several of their hatchlings as well), two corn snakes, a red tail boa, a pac man frog, and a pixie frog. See pictures below.
Here is our original sheltie, Kailey. She is a black-tipped sable. She was born April 23, 2008. She's now a senior with arthritis in her one paw / wrist, and on all sorts of joint & prescription meds, but we still love her to death! She's like my own kid! Kailey does all sorts of tricks, and when she was younger, she would often win the local trick competitions!
Here is another of our shelties, Sky. Sky is a blue merle and white sheltie. She was born February 7, 2014. She's a more recent addition, as we got her as an adult. She's the one that keeps the peace in the family, especially when Misty gets her trademark "attitude" haha. She's also attending agility classes and we can't wait for the day she can compete!
While Shiloh never was one for beind held, he did LOVE his scritches. Tummy scratches were his favorite, and people flocked to pet him at our adoption events.
We also have four adult crested geckos (no pics, sorry), two corn snakes, a red tailed boa, a pac man frog, and a pixie frog.
Our corn snakes include an amelanistic male (hatched 2008-2009) named Sizzle and a butter female (hatched 8/7/2017).
This is Sizzle:
Here is out butter female:
Here is out high red pacman frog that came home with us in Spring 2019:
...and last but not least, our pixie frog. We got him in mid-October 2017, when he was itty bitty. He's grown quite a bit since then!