DELHI TWP., Ohio — They’re tiny, but they’re big on star power and love for the Cincinnati Bengals: We met the Delhi Township woman with four very popular chinchillas laying the smackdown on our rivals in Pittsburgh and looking for a little love from Joe Burrow.
But let’s start at the beginning: Shelby Alfredson says she was far from an expert on the little animals when she bought her first one.
“I didn’t know anything about chinchillas. I thought it was going to be an easy pet,” said the Chinpals creator.
It turns out they weren’t easy – a limited diet, pricy vet bills – but very, very cute. So Shelby Alfredson’s impulse pet wasn’t alone for long.
“They are really cool, so one thing led to another and I got Chip and I got two more, so now I have four and they have their own bedroom,” she said.
Now, there’s Henry, Chip, Knox, and Linus. With a little nudge from friends at the onset of the pandemic, this Delhi Township kitchen became the site of something for the world to enjoy.
“I thought 'It’s not a big thing. They’re not going to care.' And, well, it turns out that people really liked it,” said Alfredson. “Sometimes we do like the Titanic, the movies and stuff and it’s been really fun to do it that way.”
WATCH: The Titanic as told by the Chinpals
With more than 3.7 million followers on TikTok, the account also attracted the attention of the Pittsburgh Steelers who asked if one of the chinchillas could hold a football. Could he be their next quarterback?
WATCH: Chinpals take on the Steelers' challenge
“I had no idea that they were going to comment because it was not a sports-related video, but it blew up so quickly that it started reaching these big accounts,” Alfredson said.
It turns out little Linus could hold a football, but to the Steelers dismay, he could also hold a “Who Dey” sign because the Chinpals cheer for the Bengals. That was first hint any of us at WCPO 9 had that these superstars were in our own backyard.
“I was totally shocked and I thought ‘Oh my gosh. I have to go and make a Bengals video because we are such fans and the chins also have to be fans.' They live with us,” she said with a laugh.
Now, these members of the animal kingdom have a humble plea for the king of the jungle: Joe burrow, are you listening? If the quarterback comments, one of the chinchillas will don a tiny orange and black jersey.
“That would be totally, totally crazy and insane,” said Alfredson. “We would lose it if that happened. It would be really special, but as someone who gets tagged in a lot of things we are totally understanding that it’s impossible to see everything. It’s impossible to get back to everybody. But, if it did happen that would be really cool. We’d make an awesome video about it.”
Alfredson doesn’t want to get ahead of herself, but already has Super Bowl content in the back of her mind if they beat Kansas City this weekend. You can see the current Bengals video on TikTok and Instagram under @Chinpals.”
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