Saturday, December 16, 2017

Vet Checks

I've increasingly over the years had a lot of people asking if all the animals are vet checked.... so I wanted to touch on that quickly.

Small animals -- guinea pigs, chinchillas, rabbits, etc -- are not cats and dogs.  They do not need yearly shots or even yearly wellness checks.  Quite the opposite actually -- you could bring a perfectly healthy small animal to the vet, and the vet visit could stress the animal out... and you could take home an animal that's now starting to develop loose poos or go off their feed... due to the stress of the visit.  Also, they could pick up an illness at the veterinarian's office (did you know that chinchillas can catch bordatella and other animal illnesses) and bring those home as well.  So, the critters will surely go to the vet if they are sick and need something that only the veterinarian can provide... but they don't just go for wellness exams.

We do have a health guarantee that comes with most of our animals.  The exceptions to the health guarantee are animals that have known health problems that aren't fixable with medication (think, cataracts) or seniors (chinchillas 8+).  Our health guarantee is available online, or the relevant part of it anyway.  It's under the "Guarantees and Returns" section on our Chinchilla Sales Policy page, you can find it here

What it comes down to is this... if I think an animal is sick, I won't be listing it up for adoption, and it sure won't be going home with anyone, at least not until it's well again.  If an animal has already been listed for adoption and becomes ill, despite people possibly contacting and wanting to adopt, the animal will not leave until it is well.  End of story.

By not doing vet checks, it's not that I don't want to ensure healthy animals.  Rather, it's the opposite.  Taking small animals to the vet when there's nothing wrong has the potential to cause harm, and of course, there are real-life horror stories of breeders taking a chinchilla to the vet, it picking up bordatella there, and that illness wiping out most of their herd.  Oops.  I'd rather that not happen here... so we don't take each and every animal for wellness checks, but rather have our health guarantee instead, to ease people's minds that the animals they are getting are healthy.

I'd assume, also, that people wouldn't adopt an animal and take it home if they didn't think it was healthy... but I suppose that could be a discussion for another day...

Friday, December 15, 2017

Scammers

I see these coming from a mile away, but in case you ever feel like listing something for sale online, let me share with you how these work, so you can spot them.

Say these are my ad titles that I use for hoobly or whatever: 

3.5 Year Old Standard Grey Male Chinchilla -- Ash
2.5 Month Old Dark Ebony Male Chinchilla Kit (Baby)

The first text will go something like this:

Hello, how you doing today, am texting regarding 3.5 Year Old Standard Grey Male Chinchilla -- Ash  OR Hello, how you doing today, am texting regarding 2.5 Month Old Dark Ebony Male Chinchilla Kit (Baby)

They always copy and paste your ad title.  Dead giveaway that it's a scam.  Never ONCE has anyone ever done that when it's a legitimate person interested in an animal, and mind you, I re-home 200-250 per year.  Not once has a legit person copied and pasted like that.

Doesn't matter what you say to them, the next text goes something like this:

Good, I would like to know if it's firm asking price OR  Good, I would like to know what the asking price is

Because you know, they found your ad, but they couldn't be bothered to actually read it, because... oh they're not really interested... they just want to scam you.

Again, no matter what you say (and I know this, because I've started messing with people and saying, "the price is listed on the ad"), they will say something like:

Ok, I am pleased with the asking price.  

... I didn't say what it was, and there was no way that in 2 seconds they found it that quick, unless they were staring at the ad (in which case, why even ask what the price was?).

Then they go on about how they want to mail you a certified check, they're currently out of town, so they need your name, address, phone number, email, etc etc, all your info to send you this check, but they'll pay you some extra for your troubles, yadda yadda.  Someone will come pick up the animal for them, but first, you need to cash this check....

That's about as far as I ever get, because I usually respond with, "we don't take checks" or even, "the animals have to be picked up by the person they're going to live with."  And like magic, I mean... certified check must be the ONLY way to pay for these people, cause that's when they vanish.

Today was an extra good one though....

Them:  Hello how you doing today, am texting regarding the 3.5 Year Old Standard Grey Male Chinchilla you posted for sale
Me:  Ok, you want to come see him?
Them: Good, I would love to know it's firm asking price
Me:  Yes
Them:  Hello how you doing today, am texting regarding the 2.5 Month Old Dark Ebony Male Chinchilla Kit you posted for sale
Me:  You just texted me about a different chinchilla
Them:  Actually my son saw the ad and tell me about it, so I would love to know the actual price myself okay
Me:  They're all on my website, nwichinchillas.com -- pics and info
Them:  Hello how you doing today, am texting regarding the 2 Month Old Silver Mosaic Female Chinchilla Kit you posted for sale
Me:  Any others?

I always respond back, as if I'm talking to an actual interested adopter, because I always think, I don't want to shoo someone away, in case I was wrong.  Never have been, but you know...

...and sometimes people wonder why I'm often aggravated.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Geckos, Adoption Fees, and So On

What I'm going to write about actually happened a bit ago, but recent events have reminded me about it, so I wanted to write a quick post.

I have had a LOT of people lately who've been sending me messages, telling me why they absolutely couldn't pay for an animal (whether we're talking the chins, guinea pigs, whatever, doesn't matter), but they will gladly take it off my hands, and they will make the best home, so I should totally give it to them for free.

Now, while it's not about the money... at some point it sort of is.  Here's why.

I got in those 20ish crested geckos awhile back.  I'm down to maybe 10 or so of them, so they have been steadily getting adopted out.  I had someone send me a long message a while back, assuring me they'd make an awesome home, they had all sorts of gecko experience, yadda yadda, but they wouldn't pay for them, because they'd basically be doing me a favor by taking them.  Gee thanks.

I can sort of see the thought process, but hold on a second.  Let's back up.

When the geckos came in, the previous owner brought enclosures for them, which had hides, plants, water bowls, feed caps.  Things the geckos needed right then, and I really do appreciate her bringing those things, as I didn't have that many spares.

Knowing they were coming, I went and bought crested gecko diet (CGD).  My geckos (I have... 7... 4 adults and a few hatchlings) eat the watermelon flavor, hers were eating the insect flavor.  So, as to not have to mix two different batches (it's a powder you mix with water, to create a yogurt like consistency), I bought two one-pound bags of the CGD (one watermelon, the other insect).  Mind you, these 1 pound bags are $35 (keep that in mind when you complain about 3 lbs of chinchilla food for $15 at the pet store, lol).  So, the first set of bags cost $70.  They go through them, so, so far, we've gone through two sets of bags, so we're at $140 for the CGD alone.

I feed every other day, and skip weekends, so that means I'm mixing up CGD Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  In addition to the chow, their enclosures get misted on those days.  When doing this, their water containers are filled up (and often, replaced with a clean, non-icky one).  I also remove the previous food, wash that container, and put in the fresh CGD.  About once a week, sometimes more often, I replace the paper towel bedding / substrate that's at the bottom of their tanks (basically, as needed... some geckos are more messy and icky than others).  When the paper towels are out, the whole enclosure gets wiped down, scrubbed if needed, and new paper towels put down.  As you can see, while this is not necessarily hard work, there is work involved in keeping these little guys.

So... when I get someone contacting me, suggesting that they will be helping me, by taking some of the animals off my hands... I do get where they are coming from.  Yes, less geckos means less work for me, on an every-other-day-basis and on a weekly-basis.  Yes, I will spend less (in the future, mind you) on CGD mix, paper towels, and cage cleaner.  

However... keep in mind... them taking the pet for free, this does nothing to lessen what's already been spent.  The adoption fees aren't in place for me to get rich.  Far from it.  They're in place for me to recoup money already spent, or money spent in the future.  Sure, a good amount of geckos have found homes.  That has put money into the rescue account.  But now that we're about done with our second set of CGD bags, this weekend I need to pick up two more bags (another $70).  As many of the geckos are $40 or so, that means two need to get adopted, just to pay for this week's food haul.  The food isn't free, the paper towels aren't free, the cage cleaner isn't free.  My labor... well, I'm not getting paid, but the time I spend on geckos takes time away from other animals, so of course there is some value to it.  Basically, I need to not go broke doing this... that is what adoption fees are for.  So, no, just because you are an awesome home, you cannot have the animals for free.  It costs to care for them, ongoing costs that do not end, and by paying the adoption fee -- even if it is not indicative of what you may spend in the future -- you show me that you are able to pay for the care of the animal.  That is all.  

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Chinchillas = High Maintenance?

So, I wanted to post about this really quick, because I've been reading on a lot of facebook groups lately that chins are high maintenance. 

Really?  This is news to me.

I spend more time and effort keeping the guinea pigs, rats, and rabbits, and prairie dogs alive / fed / cages cleaned, than I do the chins.  Combined.  Like right now, I have a total of about 10 guinea pigs, 13 rats, no rabbits (well, none here), and 2 prairie dogs.  So, "other animals" comprises 23 animals at the rescue, which account for a whopping total of 5 guinea pigs cages, 3 rat cages, and 1 prairie dog cage -- so 9 cages total.

Compare that to about 150ish chinchilla cages, which house about 175-200 chinchillas at any given time.  Yes, I have help cleaning those, but... the point I want to make here is this -- it takes me more effort to clean / feed / care for those 9 "other animal" cages than it does the 150ish chin cages. 

There's several reasons why, but the main two reasons are diet and cleanliness.  The guinea pigs need their daily veggies, which usually is broken up into a morning and evening feeding.  They also go through mountains of hay, also given morning and evening.  The prairie dogs have to have a variety of food, so their dishes take longer to replenish, just like the guinea pig ones do.  The food bowls for all of these animals (rats too!) get a lot ickier, a lot quicker, than the chinchilla bowls, and need washed more often.  For cleanliness, the guinea pig cages -- though they are (for most cages), AT LEAST 2x the size of most of the chinchilla cages, they are sopping wet if I wait 7 days to clean them.  If I clean chin cages at 7 days... eh, they could use a cleaning, but they're not bad.  They're not wet wet.

Compare this to the chinchillas.  They get their bowls and water topped off once a day.  Washed when needed.  They get hay twice weekly, and they only need it twice, because I put in enough to last a few days, and then repeat a few days later (if I was going to do this with guinea pigs, I'd have to stuff the cage with hay, so the guinea pig couldn't move.... and the next morning, there'd be a tiny pile of hay left, lol).  They get their cages cleaned every 7 days, usually on a Sunday evening, and are good until the next Sunday evening.  I don't have to cut up veggies for them on a daily basis, I don't have to pick off icky parts of the veggies if they're starting to go bad.  Most of their feeders are on the outside of the cages, so I don't have to open every cage to feed them. 

I do understand that a lot of pet people take out their chins for playtime, or take them out to handle them... and I do understand that that adds time.  However.... I still don't consider them high maintenance.  The guinea pigs, which I pretty much have to clean cages for 2x a week, plus 2x daily veggies and 2x daily hay... plus constant washing of the food bowl / pigloo due to it getting icky, plus nail trims, plus refilling those HUGE water bottles daily (which would last a chin probably 2 weeks)... that is high maintenance... sometimes I wonder what people are doing for their pets, that they consider them high maintenance.  Feel free to enlighten me, but I honestly do spend more time for the care of those 9 cages, than I do for all of the chin cages, on a daily basis.  So... not high maintenance to me. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Appointments, Deposits, and AHHHH-gravating People

So, I know I've blogged about this a few times, ok, MANY MANY times, before... but I think the new year is going to bring new policy changes.  My patience with people is on it's last thread right now, and either I'm going to stop rehoming the critters (unlikely) or I'm going to make a significant policy change (waaay more likely).

Case in point.  I posted some young guinea pigs up for adoption.  Two sisters that are like... 8 weeks old?  Babies.  Mind you, as of today, 4 days later, they are still here, despite a surprising number of inquiries (not a big deal, but wait til you hear why).  Anyway...  I posted them, and immediately had multiple inquiries for them.  I contacted the first person, and she emailed me back, asking if she could come see them the following morning.  The following morning was this past Saturday, when I was going to be at that local expo / craft show at Morton High.. so I told her that.  As that show is only like 3 miles from my house, not far... I told her, if I have a list of stuff you want (or even just the guinea pigs), I can bring them to the expo, but I told her, I would not be bringing them if I wasn't sure they would be going home.  Reason being, I didn't want to bring them and have them sit in a carrier for hours on end, especially if I wasn't sure that someone was coming to pick them up.  So, she agrees, and says, yes, bring them.  For reference, this is at about 2 pm on Friday (and I'm not leaving for the expo until 8 am Saturday morning), so I'm figuring, we have plenty of time for her to figure out if she needs supplies or whatnot.

So she asks for the address of the expo, I provide it, and she asks if we have a care packet, and also, if we have / can sell her a cage, supplies, etc or if she should go to the pet store.  So I reply back with a long email about yes, we have two different used cages, we also have houses, water bottles, food dishes, and so on so forth... everything a guinea pig needs, all broken down with prices and roundabout amounts she would need.  This is still in the afternoon.  I figure, since she asked about all of the stuff, the next email would be more or less the start of a list of what I needed to bring in the morning.  I should note, in my email to her, I listed, ok we sell Oxbow guinea pig food, it is $2/ pound.  If you get both guinea pigs, they come with 4 pounds of food, and that'll last x amount of time... so I gave her a basis to go off of.

I get an email back at like 11:15 pm.  Now, before you think it... I'm not saying people should check their email religiously, just because they are emailing me, BUT... surely I would think, if you want someone to bring you something the following morning and they are LEAVING their house at 8 am (which she did know)... surely you don't wait until close to midnight to get them a list of what you want.  But wait for it... the email wasn't any semblance of a list... rather, she asked for pics of the two cages, and pics of the used wooden hidey houses that I had.

So, with the thought that she would respond quickly as it was later at night (giving people the benefit of the doubt is really biting me in the ass lately), I went downstairs, turned on the lights, took pics of all of the used hidey houses.  Went into the garage (23 degrees), took pics of the two cages.  Sent them off to her within 10 minutes, and sent an email along with it with dimensions and cost of every item.

Fast forward to about 12:15... I still don't have an email back... and I am set to go to bed soon, as for us to leave at 8, I need to be up by about 6.  So I send her an email which nicely says (in so many words) that I'm not staying up much later, but that if she gets me a list no later than 7 am, I will do my best to bring everything she wants, but that if I do not hear from her, or she doesn't get me a list (which she would have to do, since she didn't have a cage and all that) or I don't hear from her, I reiterate that I will not be bringing the guinea pigs, just to have them sit there all day, without confirmation that she will be there.  Which I think is reasonable, again, figuring that if she wants them brought there, surely she will check emails and will be getting back to me asap.

I check my email multiple times before I go to bed.  No response.  I get up at 6, check my email.  Nothing.  Check my email shortly before 7, I have an email from 6:30ish, where the person says, hey, her 12 year old daughter just got up and she's super cranky and because of that, they can't decide on what to get (because she can't decide herself?), so they'll have to come out another day.  She wishes me good luck at the expo.

So, I head to the expo, baby-guinea-pig-less, and the expo goes on.  About an hour previous to the end of the expo, I email this person, and because she'd said, hope things go well at the expo, yadda yadda, I tell her in the email, things are going well, thanks for asking, and then I ask her, when else was she thinking of coming by?  This was maybe 1-2 pm on Saturday.

Mind you, I had, between Friday and Saturday, about 8 people who'd messaged about the guinea pigs, all of who I'd told, if everyone before them magically somehow backed out, I'd let them know.

So, I figure, this lady who had wanted them brought to the expo would surely email me back... but the entire rest of Saturday passed, and so we fast forward to Sunday morning.  Still no email back from the lady, so I emailed the first person in line after her, who had wanted to come see the guinea pigs.  They said they were still interested, but I was in Chicago for part of the day on Sunday, so we set up an appointment for 7 pm, as that was the first thing I had open that day, after I got home.  They said that time was great, they were excited, they'd text me around 6 for the address.

I'm home around 3, and have appointments every hour... and when the 6 pm appointment has left around 6:30ish, I realize... I still do not have a text back from this person, asking for my address.  So, I text them, asking if they're still planning on coming.  Their response:  no, can't make it (apparently weren't going to tell me), maybe tomorrow.

I nicely texted back, explaining that I needed to know whether or not they were planning on coming, as I had a lot of people asking about the guinea pigs, and I didn't want to leave them all hanging.  I explained to this person, if they wanted to adopt them, great, but we needed to set an appointment for that, and if they weren't sure exactly when, I explained I could always have them put down a deposit to hold them for 14 days for pickup.  I have STILL not gotten a text back.

So, fast forward to Monday morning.  Having never received a text back from either of those people, I started contacting the other people who had been asking about the guinea pigs, in order.  I emailed back two people who asked about how adoption worked and who mentioned being super excited to come see the girls -- have no return email from either of them.  For all the texts that I sent back, I had two tell me that they already found guinea pigs elsewhere.  I had one who asked for pics... I referred her to our website page that has the pics of these guinea pigs, for them to go look to remember which pigs we were talking about, and then get back to me for scheduling an appointment.  No text back after that.  I had another one who asked me to remind them what guinea pigs we had available, and so I told them, some babies, some adults, and asked them what they were interested in?  I told them, their initial text made me think they were interested in the pair of baby sisters.  Their response -- "do you have the babies left?  Are they free?"  Yes and NO (and really???).  I nicely explained, yes we do still have them, but they do have an adoption fee like all the critters do.  So they asked how much, I told them.  They asked if I was a shelter / rescue and I explained that this was NWI Chinchilla Rescue.  No text back after that.  All of this contacting these people and getting nowhere took ALL DAY Monday.

Got a call Monday evening from someone else asking about the guinea pigs.  They seemed super interested... they said they would call in the morning with a deposit, because they were out driving their kids home from something, and didn't have a card with them.  Fine.  Morning (Tuesday morning, today) comes, and they called... they're a little worried about putting down a deposit, because they've had issues with giving out their debit card number before (which I do understand), so they really really REALLY hope the guinea pigs are still here later, they're going to call back later in the week, and see if the guinea pigs are still here.

For the love of god, people. 

And for a shorter, but just as aggravating story, let's move onto Georgie.  He was adopted out, came back, adopted out, came back.  Had someone call a few days ago, asking about him.  They had a young daughter, and were interested in him, and because he didn't do well in the last home... not positive why exactly (if only he could talk!), but there was a lot of commotion and young kids and such, so now I have him listed as needing a quiet home.  Anyway, I asked how old the daughter was (11 years), to ensure that he would be going to a good home.  Fine age, no problem, not a young young kid, and we talked about the adoption form and how they needed to fill one out.  I explained, they could do it online, or could fill it out when they got here, whatever.  They wanted me to send them a link to the online form, so I texted that to them (this was Saturday), and we set the appointment for Monday night at 7.  They literally said, "OK thank you very much, I think I'm more excited than my daughter, he is so adorable."  So I was like, ok cool, entire family on board, always a good thing.  I even had someone put in a sponsorship for Georgie and I emailed them and was like, hey, he's going home tomorrow, who would you rather sponsor?  So they email back, tell me another chin.  Monday night comes... 7 comes and goes, 7:15 comes and goes... nothing.  About 7:25ish, I send them a text, asking if they're still planning on coming by, since I never did get an online adoption form submission from them, and obviously, they hadn't shown up yet.  No reply, and they never did show up.

Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of great adopters, and plenty of people who DO show up on time (or... within an hour of it... but I'd rather people be late than not show up at all)... but with the increase of numbers of chins finding homes, this is happening more and more often, and my patience with this sort of thing is really taking a beating.  I don't have hours on top of hours to chase people down who want to adopt... or say they do, and then don't show up.  And miss out on adoptions in the meantime, because I was holding the critter for them.  And what really boils my blood is that while some of these people were definite flakes and likely wouldn't have adopted anyway, even if I had immediately said the guinea pigs were available (like the person who asked if they were free), others definitely seemed like they would have been on-board with adoption... and COULD have adopted the guinea pigs, had I not been holding them for someone else.  And this is what happens, all the time, where I hold an animal for one person, with no deposit, and tell other people, "sorry, that animal is on hold"... and then miss out on the second person adopting the animal (usually, IN PERSON, when they could have taken it home right then)... and then the original person with the hold backs out.  I almost had our most recent curly go home TWICE with people who were at our place.. except both times, he was on hold (for two different people), both who later backed out.  He went home on Black Friday with a great adopter.  But... he could have gone months prior, had it not been for him being on hold for flaky people.  Not like there's any rush to adopt out animals, but there's always more waiting to come in, and of course, I'd prefer the critters to be in homes as opposed to here, and what often delays all of this (even more than normal) is by people doing this sort of thing.

While I've never been a super big fan of the rescues that are first-come, first-served... the more time that passes, the better and better of an idea that sounds.  I think what I'm going to change the hold / deposit policy to is this -- you can put down a deposit and that will hold the chin / animal for 14 days.  That will remain the same.  What will change is that there will be NO holds WITHOUT a deposit.  You're coming in 2 hours?  Great!   Credit card number / paypal for the deposit before you come, and the chin / critters will, FOR SURE, be here for you.  No credit card / paypal for the deposit?  Better rush here and hope you beat out everyone else!  You know why?  Because if you don't show up, and I had someone coming earlier that day (but after I said I'd hold the animal for you), undoubtedly.... the person with the appointment before you, would have LOVED to have taken home that animal... but didn't, because it was on hold for you.  Yet, it's still here.

It's kind of sad that, this time of year, more than usual anyway, people have to be so difficult as to make it so that I need to change policies.  But... it is what it is... and I honestly feel like, if you 100% want to adopt that pet, and plan to show up, then there's no harm in putting down the deposit.  Because then you're not losing anything.






Monday, December 11, 2017

Adoption Fees and Such

So, at the expo this past weekend, we ran into this one very nice young lady, who was looking to adopt our adoptable guinea pig, Hamilton.  (I should note, just in case it's not clear, this is not the same person who was reaching into the cage without permission).

She kept coming up to the booth, checking with her parents (she lived with them in an apartment for the moment), coming back to see him / pet him, and so on.  Back and forth.  I guess she never convinced them, but she did take a card, so maybe I'll hear from her.  Not sure if that's a good or bad thing.  Read on.

Anyway, I wanted to quickly talk about a few things that were said, because I feel that it brings up important discussions.

She had asked what the adoption fee was.  A single adult guinea pig is $25.

Later, I hear that she told my mom, "well, if he was $20, I'd just take him."  Followed by, "but I only have $10 on me."

Now, let me start by saying that there's nothing wrong with someone having a budget... but if $5 is the difference between adopting or not adopting, like if that's THAT important to someone... I want to know how someone is going to pay the upkeep.  Guinea pig food is EXPENSIVE.  Do you know why we feed Oxbow Cavy Cuisine?  Because quite a bit of the other foods out there are complete guinea pig junk food, and we'd rather not feed that... so for the good stuff, the cost adds up.  If you're getting it at the pet store, it's like $15 for 3 pounds.. and with how much the guinea pigs eat, that goes quick!  They're called "pigs" for a reason.  And of course, let's not forget the veggies and hay and all that, as well, that adds to the cost of keeping a guinea pig as well.  Heck, even if it wasn't a guinea pig -- for chinchillas -- food, hay, dust, chew toys, bedding.. all that is bound to run more than $5/month even if you're buying in bulk... so sometimes I cringe when I hear people that are like that with money, because I wonder if either they're either trying to budget (fine) or trying to scrimp, and then later may scrimp on the necessities, because maybe they just don't have the money (also fine.. but then I tend to think people should wait to get a pet, if money is really tight... better to save up the money in case of an emergency).

Now, about the $10 part.  I didn't hear it first hand, so I don't know exactly how it was said or how she may have meant it  However... there's been plenty of times where people see a chin listed for $200 and say, "well, I only brought $100 with me" (I would assume, suggesting I should take $100 for it, as they still want to see the chin).  My response is usually, "we take cards" (and nowadays, most people do pay with cards).  Does this really work for some people?  That they suggest they have less, and the rescue is like, "ah what the hell, sure, name your price?"  I mean... I would tend to think not...  At a garage sale, if there's a $15 end table and I've got $10, sure, then, I may ask, hey would the take less.  But at a rescue or adoption event, it just amazes me.  In case it's maybe not clear, the rescue (and most rescues) are not that dying for animals to leave, that we'll cut our adoption fees in half for you (or whatever percentage).  The adoption fees are set at an amount where we feel, if you can afford the adoption fee, you can afford the pet.

Now, that's not to say that someone couldn't splurge on the pet and not take care of it, or save up all year to buy the pet and then have nothing left over to care for it.  Of course, there's no way to know, and we can't possibly think like that or we'd all go insane.  I realize that saying, "well if they can afford the pet, they can afford the care," is sort of like dog rescues' arguments of "you need a fenced yard... because it must automatically make you an awesome pet owner or something..."  Which if you know me, despite my fenced yard, I tend to disagree with that blanket statement... so I do get it's one of those slippery slopes.  Can people not have the money to adopt a pet and still be a good pet owner?  Sure!  Can someone not have a fence and still be a good dog owner?  Sure!  But like the dog rescues, we have to draw the line somewhere, because there ARE other people, where if they can't afford the adoption fee, they can't afford care.  There's others where, if they can't afford the fence, they won't watch the dog.  What it comes down to is this -- you just never know.  So, we try to be careful, and we have to draw the line, somewhere.  Not saying everyone has to like or agree with all of our fees and whatever, but they are what they are.  That is all.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

People's Behavior at Expos

Maybe it's me... maybe I was raised differently. 

We had an expo the other day, and the second we were a few feet away from the booth and had our backs turned... we turned to look back at the booth, and had two people, elbow deep, in our guinea pig cage, trying to pet the guinea pig (who was, naturally, doing laps around the cage to get away).

Wait, what?  Did that just really happen?

Again, maybe it's just me... but I was not taught to randomly open other people's cages.  I was not taught to pet without asking.  I was taught to ask -- and in this instance, where we may have not been readily visible to ask -- I would have NOT TOUCHED ANYTHING.

I clearly remember my parents telling me, time and time again, before we'd go somewhere that they KNEW I'd want to touch something, "Now, remember, don't touch."  Words of wisdom.  I knew not to touch.  This isn't a bad thing, either.  Kids touch all sorts of things that they shouldn't.

Best part, these weren't even little kids, these were like teenagers.  Don't even get me started on how the newer generations think that they can do whatever they want.

This REALLY had my blood boiling, if you hadn't noticed.  My mom made the suggestion to lock the cages, but that wouldn't have even helped, as this person had lifted the wire off the cage base.  I mean, really? 

And don't get me wrong, it's NOT that I don't want people petting our animals.  Ask, and you shall receive.  I may or may not get a chinchilla out at an expo if it's a rescue that's acting stressed, but other animals usually come out, and of course, here, you're welcome to pet whatever is available.

But... for all they knew, I could have brought an attack guinea pig.  It could have been the rabbit from Monty Python, for all they knew.  It could have had contagious diseases for all they knew.  It could have had fungus which could have transferred to them.  Did they ask?  No.  Did they care?   Probably not.  Did they even think about any of that?  Probably not.  No, they saw no one around and thought, "I can open that cage and pet that animal."  How ridiculous that it's come to literally having to baby-sit people at these expos.

All I ask is that you ASK if you want to pet an animal.  Do not just reach in and do it.  Even if all is well -- maybe that animal doesn't want to be petted, and we know that.  So, please ask, and you will learn.  Thank you.