Thursday, August 3, 2017

People Delaying to Get Back to You

For once, I'm not complaining about my own people!  I wanted to share an experience I had, and use it sort of as an example.

Someone had an item I wanted for sale on hoobly.  Hoobly has their own messenger system, sort of like how facebook does.  Anyway, so I message them, because they only have one picture of the item, and I want to see more pics.  So I ask, do they have more pictures.

Week goes by.  Finally get a message, the message basically says, sure, and if I provide them with an email or cell phone number, she will send me pics.  (in hoobly messenger, you can't attach anything)  So I reply, that day, with my email address, so she can send pics.

A week later, I get a reply... "you may text message me at [number]"

Um... no.  I've already bought this item elsewhere, cheaper in fact.  But that's beside the point.  This is now two weeks after I asked for pics!

The reason I wanted to bring this up is because this is what I try to avoid doing, here at NWI Chins.  If you email me and ask me something, it may take a day or two for me to get back to you.  If you write a book in your first email, maybe a little bit longer, since I may need to type out a book back, in response to your questions.

But I sure wouldn't wait a week to respond, then have someone provide a way for me to send pics... and then wait another week to basically tell them... oh, let's use the other way.  What do you bet, if I texted them, they wouldn't text the pics right away?  Maybe they would, I don't know... but I don't get the feeling they're dying to sell the item, or else they'd be responding right away.  I want my chins adopted, I want my products sold... so I try to respond as quick as is reasonable.  And... just like me, having bought my item elsewhere... many other people will too.  If you want to see pics of a chin today, or tomorrow, or whatever, and I don't even respond with, "hey, I'm working on it, will get pics soon!", it doesn't surprise me in the slightest when people move on.  I get it.  But what I don't get is the people who "want" to sell their items, and then delay delay delay when people ask about them... it's frustrating.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Does The Chin Come With...

Not sure if this is the same person or not (cause some have been emails, some texts, some through hoobly messages), but times lately it has been asked, "does the chin come with a cage and a dust bath?"  Why those two specific items, I don't know.  Obviously, both are needed... but there's other items needed as well.

The most recent was... would you provide a cage and dust for a dust bath.  So, slightly different, but same concept.

I just want to quickly re-iterate that most of the chinchillas that we get in, at the rescue, do not come with any supplies.  People bring the critters in, in a box, sign the required paperwork, and leave.  We do not often get cages in with chinchillas.  Even when we do -- the last few have been guinea pig type cages, which would not be appropriate for chinchillas.

Without the cages coming in with them, we do not have cages to send out with them.

Also, keep in mind -- when you adopt a dog, it might come with a collar and a leash.  Might.  Many places specify that you need to bring these with you, when you come to pick up your new adopted pet.  But... the dog will most likely NOT come with a crate, or with food / water bowls.  Some dog food, sure.  A toy, maybe.  Moreso if you're buying a puppy from a breeder, you might get the collar / food / blanket / etc.  However, I used to volunteer at a humane society, and they would wash the dog before you came to adopt -- but you had to supply everything.  So... this is across the board, that when you adopt an animal, you typically adopt just that animal, not including its things.

For us, most of our animals are in our double ferret nation rescue cages.  We are unable to give those away, as they cost a fortune, and we need them to be able to take in, and rehome, future critters.  Therefore, unfortunately, no, we will not be providing a cage and a dust bath.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Driving To The Rescue

So... I wanted to share with you the reasoning behind the fact that we rarely deliver.  While yes, I'm sure I've posted about us bringing chins with us to expos, or driving to Chicago for people who don't have vehicles, or whatnot, for the most part -- we do not deliver.

This comes into play, not all the time, but now and then.  Just today, I had an email that asked if we could deliver the chin, or if the people had to come pick up.  Then yesterday, I had another... wanted to share this with you, as it's (to me) a good example.

Hi I was wondering how big Snowy is? and can you drive or transport her to me? Snowy would be really important to me. I did a crazy amount of research on chinchillas. I would really love Snowy as my amazing pet but I live a bit far away. So it is really hard to drive 100 miles to get her but if you can transport her that would be the most amazing thing. Thank you for reading this please Email me back 

So...  sorry, but the answer is no.  The short reason is this -- not saying 100 mile isn't far, but... if the chin needs a vet... is the vet going to come to them?  No.  Perform surgery in their living room?  Also, no.  I acknowledge that a vet may be closer than that... but more often than not, when you run into people who can only adopt if they get the chin delivered, in talking with them, you find out that they either can't afford the extra expense of the travel to get the chin, don't have the time for the extra travel, don't have a car, and so on.  Not to paint everyone with the same brush... but 14 years of doing this, and that is 99% of the reason why they need it delivered... and then I worry about vet care.  If the chin gets sick, should I also drive back and be the chin's personal chauffeur to take it to the vet?  Some people might think so!

Little aside... I had one person, awhile back, who asked about our health guarantee.  I told her, 7 days, replacement only.  She asked, well, what if something happens on day 8?  I told her, I'm flexible, and that would likely be fine.  Well, what about day 10?  I told her, probably not, but it would depend what happened (for example, if chin started declining around day 6, vet care was sought, etc).  Well... what about if she had the chin two months and something happened?  Can't make this up, I tell ya.  I told her, the reason for 7 days, is because it would be pretty difficult to kill a chin within 7 days, assuming you're feeding and watering it.  You take it home and it keels over day 2... short of you stepping on it, if you just woke up and it's dead in its cage... probably nothing you did.  But after about 7 days... if you started, day 1, giving it unhealthy treats... using a non-safe type of bedding... etc etc... it could die after a short period of time, and it wouldn't be our fault.  Two months, definitely not under the guarantee, unfortunately, this is not a dog where we can do genetic testing to guarantee health.  Anyway, the point here is... this lady basically wanted a lifetime guarantee that her chin would never get sick or never have any health issues, and if it did, she wanted us to pay for them, throughout the entire life of the chin.  Hate to tell ya, but that's not quite how it works.  I nicely informed her, I didn't think she'd find what she was looking for, as no one that I know of offers that sort of guarantee for their chins, but hey, if she found it, more power to her!

The thing is... you can't guard against everything.  Even in well-bred, pedigreed chin lines, things happen.  Hence, we have our health guarantee.  But, as mentioned above... we can avoid problems waiting to happen... which I tend to see as people who can only adopt if the chin is hand-delivered to their doorstep (in most cases).

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Literally Could Not Make This Shit Up

So, if you've been around in the last few days, with the expo being moved from last weekend to this weekend (well... more on that later), you know I've been all chicken-with-head-cut-off, trying to catch up with what's been going on and re-schedule everything from this past weekend to this week, and for this upcoming weekend.  So, in case you've missed it, let me recap.

Friday.

I was set to go to a Toby Keith concert with Jim on Friday night, at the Porter County Fair.  Because of this, I had to setup extra early for the Windy City Pet Expo (Saturday / Sunday), so that we'd make it back to the fairgrounds in time for the fair / concert.

Because I'd expressed such a desire to leave early and get there RIGHT when the the setup started (11 am), Jim showed up the night before, at like midnight.  We unloaded the van, and re-loaded all the stuff for the expo.

So that Friday morning, we drive out to Schaumburg, getting there just after 11 am.  Get there, no one knows anything, there's no hall set for the expo... we're all like... what?  But nothing's going on.  I look through emails, and find an email from the expo saying there's an insurance hiccup, so we have to wait to setup.  Ok.  The email says to reach out with questions, so I call... no answer, no return phone call.

We go to Culvers, have lunch.  Wait around at Culvers for an hour or two, and then I think to email the pet expo, and I do get an email back, saying they called and left a message (not saying they didn't... but it has yet to show up in missed calls, and I still don't have the voicemail), and that they'd have an answer "right away" and that setup would be either later that evening or in the morning.

So we waited around til about 3 pm, at which time, we decided, we better head back, or else we're not going to get back in time for the concert.

Get home, let the dogs out, leave for the fair.  Traffic all the way to the fairgrounds, and my phone keeps popping up thunderstorm reports, but the areas are sunny and dry.  Whatever.

Halfway through the drive, about 5 pm, the phone rings, and I ignored the call because it was an 800-number.  They left a message, which I listened to, saying that setup for the expo could begin in the morning, and they'd hire more people to help load.

My immediate response, to Jim, was that he was going to be staying until the morning anyway -- rather than leaving immediately in the morning, while I left for the expo, could he take the van back out to the expo and unload, and leave from there?  The reason being, that if he didn't, we'd have to unload the van, and then re-load it into my vehicle once we got back to my house.  He said that was fine.  Yay.

Get to the fair.  Now, me and Jim like the farm animals, so of course we want to see the critters, and... no cows... no pigs... no chickens... just a handful of goats and a few rabbits.  What the heck?  Ok, well, there's still the concert.

So we go to the concert and the opening act plays... and then there's a delay... and it's about 45 minutes between the opening act and when Toby Keith starts.  To the point that we're starting to wonder if they're going to cancel the concert, for one reason or another.  Toby starts playing.  About 5 songs in, I turn to Jim and ask him if he noticed a few random raindrops.  About that time, the sky opens up and it absolutely downpours.

Now, if you've never been to the Porter County Fairgrounds, they're not set up for concerts, they just have a stage and the bands set up scaffolding and whatever needed for the lights and speakers and all, but there's no roof, and with this sort of downpour (and raining sideways, at that), the concert was rained out.  Boo.

So, we ducked into one of the animal-less buildings, and went building to building trying to not get any more wet... if even possible... as even my bra and underwear were soaked... complete drowned rat status here... anyway, we eventually made it to the car, and went to Wendy's on the way home, to get a snack.

In the drive-thru, the phone must have rung again, but I missed it as it was in my pocket, so when I pulled it out and looked at it, while sitting in the vehicle eating... another call from the 800-number.  This time... oh, expo cancelled!  Rescheduled to next weekend!

My immediate response was -- well, I have stuff going on next weekend!  I had two volunteers set to come all weekend.  I had another who routinely comes, now and then, for school, and brings a few friends with her, set to come Sunday.   I'd miss Pierogi fest.  I'd miss something else we had planned.  But... this was a good expo, one of our best every year, so I figured, what the hell, we would go.

But... for the following morning, I had planned on being there... and that was a problem, now with the expo cancelled... cause I was bringing animals and supplies for a variety of people... who now, were going to be like... wtf what happened?  So, in the Wendy's parking lot, at around 10:30-11 pm Friday night, I am madly texting / messaging / emailing the people who were set to get animals and supplies from me at the expo.  Most of them I got ahold of.

Saturday.

However, I still had to drive out to Schaumburg the following morning, to deliver two chins and supplies, to their new adopter.  With it being an hour+ drive there, and even more back... with construction, I left around 8:30 am and got back early afternoon.   Ugh.  Day shot.
 
Saturday was pretty quiet other than that.  I had one person who was supposed to drop off their chinchilla, and didn't show, and later responded to my texts saying they decided to wait a bit... but that was about it for that day.

Sunday.

Sunday was when all those people who were supposed to come to the expo, made appointments to come to the house instead.  Started off with a 10 am appointment, people who wanted to adopt two guinea pigs, and OH! how convenient, they'd pick up the guinea pigs at the expo this upcoming weekend.  That was followed by Euphy getting adopted, another guinea pig getting adopted, and some supply pickups.

In the middle of one of the supply pickups, I noticed Toby (my 11-ish year old mosaic pet chin) go up to his fleece tube and stretch out.  Paws allllll the way stretched out, like when a chin's yawning and then taking a nap.  I saw him stretch out and sort of roll on his side, thought it was cute, and didn't think anything of it... and neither did the next two appointments.  After they left, I went to pet him cause I thought he looked oh so cute in that post... yeah... my pretty white boy passed away.

Oh wait, this gets better.

Monday.

Not much notable went on.... saving up for...

Tuesday.

Now, to bring you all up to speed, at this point, I had:

--cancelled the volunteers for the weekend
--made it possible for myself to go to the pierogi fest and still setup on Friday
--decided ok fine I could not do the one thing I was going to do during the weekend, boo
--posted on fb saying yes we'd be at the expo
--posted on my website, and updated both listings for the re-scheduling of the pet expo
--scheduled to have two guinea pigs picked up at the upcoming pet expo
--told several people, yes, we would be there, yes, we could still bring their supplies
--re-started (and mostly completed, for that matter) the 8-page pet waiver for the expo
--emailed the expo people multiple times about various this, waivers, etc.

... and at 11:12 pm... I received this:



I tell you, I could not make this shit up.

So... I emailed the one volunteer.  I doubt I'll hear back, or they'll be able to come, on such short notice.  Messaged the other... her kids must have the phone, because I got all sorts of interesting messages back... will try again tomorrow and hope I get her.  I now get to email the guinea pig people and tell them, haha, SORRY, I cannot bring your guinea pigs to the now-cancelled expo.  I now also get to call all the people who were hoping to get supplies from us at the expo, and tell them haha, cancelled, again, nope, NOT kidding!  Lord almighty.

Not that they really care, but I do plan to email the expo and let them know about how much effort I'm having to spend re-scheduling all this shit, not for one, but for TWO weekends, cause of all of this!  This is ridiculous... but for sure, couldn't make this shit up...  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Package Deals

So, I wanted to write a quick blog post about package deals, mainly... why we're not able to do them.  I had someone call today, saying they added up the costs of everything, and they have to save up some more, and we got to the discussion of the fact that the chins may not be on sale, when they are ready.

So they asked if we could do some sort of a package deal for a chin, cage, supplies, for a discount. I told her, unfortunately, we are unable to do that.  It sounded like she was starting to cry as we hung up the phone.

Not that I don't want to be nice, but, I wanted to explain why this is incredibly difficult (and, moreso, not really possible, on a cost perspective) for me to do.

Let's ignore the cost of the chins for a moment, cause those go on sale from time to time, and let's focus on the supplies.

Food:
Here -- Tradition $0.75 per pound
Oxbow -- 3 lbs -- $8.92 (not including shipping) -- here at Petsmart -- comes out to $2.97 / pound

Dust:
Here -- $1.25 per pound
Blue Cloud dust -- 13 oz. for $6.29, or 3 lbs for $10.49, here at Petsmart -- that 13 oz. is 3 oz SHORT of 1 lb... for $6.29!  The 3 lbs for $10.49 is still $3.49 per pound

Hay:
Here -- $1.00 per pound
Oxbow hay -- 15 oz. (1 ounce short of a pound) for $4.39, here at Petsmart.  Other sizes include 40 oz. for $9.77, or 90 oz. for $18.69.  Those work out to over $4.39 per pound, $3.90 per pound, and $3.32 per pound.

So, for a direct comparison, let's say you get 3 lbs pellets, 3 lbs dust, and 40 oz (2.5 lb) hay.  From the pet store, this would cost you $28.46 (plus tax and shipping).  From here, that would cost you $8.50.

How much more of a discount would you really like?  That's 70% discount from retail price, and, it's literally the same stuff that you are getting, just not always in such fancy packaging.

I used to tell people, I wish I could do more and help them out more... but what it honestly comes down to is this -- if you can't afford the $8.50 for basically 1-2 months worth of pellets, dust, and hay... a chinchilla may be too expensive of a pet for you.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fun Fact for Life: Chin Age

I've had a lot of people over the years tell me, their chin is 2 years old, they want to find another 2 year old to go with them.  This is fine, of course, if they want to match ages, it doesn't matter.... however... the chins don't know they're the same age.

Now, if you pair up a freshly weaned kit with an adult -- yes, they know that they're different ages.  But when you're pairing up a 4 month old and a 6 month old, or a 1 year and a 3 year old, or a 2 year old and a 10 year old... they have no idea.  It's not quite like people where someone who's 20 can recognize the look of someone who's 60.  To chins, an adult is an adult is an adult.  You may want to give them an exact-same-age-buddy... but they have no idea whether the buddy you gave them is their age, or could be their grandma's age

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fun Fact for Life: Curly Fur

I was asked a bit ago, since curlies are, well, curly, doesn't all the shavings stick to their fur?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  For the ones that have looser curls, which are more rounded, yes, shavings get caught, sometimes, but not at all times.  For the ones with more of a dreadlock / wooly consistency to their fur -- these chins feel more like sheep, but they tend to get matted (dreadlocks on a curly chin!), yet don't get nearly as much shavings stuck to them, as the shavings don't seem to work their way in, past the top layer of fur.