Friday, March 16, 2018

Hair Rings

Hair rings in males.  Fun fun subject.

If you're unfamiliar.... male chinchillas can get hair rings... basically, hairs wrapped around their penis, inside the sheath.  Usually, they remove them themselves, but the hairs can sometimes get so wrapped around that they require our help to remove them.

I get asked all the time how often I check.  Honestly?  Almost never. 

You know why the answer isn't literally, "never"?  Because I get people who, on occasion, ask me to show them how to do a hair ring check.  In the last, oh, 10 years... that's been the only time I've done hair ring checks.... to show people who have asked for a demonstration, this is how it's done.

Let me tell you why.  For the most part, chinchillas can remove a few stray hairs on their own.  Sure, there's the chin here or there that has a hard time with it, and gets consistent hair rings... but that's sort of the exception to the rule.  If you read stuff online, it sounds like they get them all the time, and OMG, you MUST check them all the time, in case they were to get one, and you didn't notice. 

Years ago, I used to check all my male chins every month.  If we assume maybe 1/2 the chins are male, you can imagine how much fun this is on 100ish chins.  I think I found one or two, over the course of 10 years.  They're really not all that common, and even the times when I found them... the male was paying particular attention to that area, enough that it made me check them (outside of my usual once-a-month check), and sure as shit, there was a hair ring.

Usually, they can clean off any hairs themselves, and this is what you see... I get emails allllllll the time about someone's chin pleasuring themselves, with its mouth on it's penis going up and down.  Yes, I know what it looks like, but he's cleaning himself, and no, he's not doing it to make you feel awkward.  Remove mind from gutter. 

The thing is... think of it this way.  If we get a wood splinter under our skin, and we don't have tweezers to get it out... we will keep trying to get it out cause it's bothering us.  And if we leave it alone, chances are, it will bother us again, and we'll again try to remove it... whether or not we can.  This is how hair rings are.  You notice when they're paying too much attention to that area... and that's when I would check, and that's when I would recommend that anyone checks.... if you see too much attention being paid.  Otherwise, I leave it alone.  You're welcome to check all you want, and I'm happy to show you if you'd like... but just not something that I feel has to be done all the time....

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Chins Causing Hospital Visits (aka Rabies in Small Animals, Part 2)

Ever wondered what happened with the post where I talked about how we got a call from a hospital about chinchillas carrying rabies?  this one --

Let me give you an update.

Maybe a week or so ago, I get a text from one of our adopters, telling me that it was her with the hospital phone call.  Turns out...

She was carrying the chin in her arms to take the chin to playtime.  Randomly, the chin bit her, breaking skin.  Not a horrible bite, but she immediately felt like something was wrong, and put the chin down.

Her finger swelled to 3x it's normal size and she developed hives up her arm.  She started having a hard time breathing, and called for her husband.  Her husband immediately recommended that she go to the ER, so they went.  By the time they got there, she had passed out.  It took two epi-pens to get her conscious again.

She was in the ICU for 3 days treating this allergic reaction.  When she was set to be released, for some reason, her doctor was changed.  The new doctor wanted to hold her on a rabies quarantine.  This person was all, hell no, and the doctor said that if they could verify that chins didn't get rabies or whatever, they would then, not do the rabies quarantine.  That's when they called me.

I guess what I said was alright, cause they released her.  Now, she has epipens to carry with her....and a $12,000 hospital bill to pay.

I asked if they found out what she reacted to... they did all sorts of infection and bacteria tests and those all came back negative... turns out, she is allergic to chinchilla saliva.

I couldn't make this up if I tried.

She did return the evil furball chinchilla, Nora, who you will see is up on our website under the Upcoming Chins section.  She didn't want to take another chance with her, since the result of getting bit is such a severe reaction, though she is keeping her other chin, and the family actually wants to adopt another chin in the future.  Once the hospital bill is paid off.

But anyway, we welcome Nora back to the rescue.  This is her:

If anyone wants an evil furball biting chinchilla (joking, joking), that's 3-5 years old, we have the chin for you!

If it was me... I honestly don't know, if I had this severe an allergy, if I'd even want chins in the house... but, if she and her family aren't fazed by this and all, more power to her.  I just hope she never gets bit again...

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Cage Pictures

Wanted to share a quick story with you all.  I had a potential adopter who was all set to come by.  They were emailing / texting / fb messaging back and forth, trying to set up an appointment, all excited.

Well, then I was waiting for an email from them, wanting to set up a time to come by (like once we'd nailed down some potential days), and I got another excited email from them, asking if they could come later that day, and also sending me a pic of their cage that they were so excited about. 

The cage itself was fine as far as size, though it had plastic shelves and a few other unsafe items.  I mentioned to her, hey, watch for chewing on the plastic shelves, and replace with wood shelves if /  when (WHEN) she noticed chewing, and she had this... I guess you could say a hanging fabric tube, and so I told her, I'd stay away from anything fabric other than fleece, plus the fact it was hanging by four thin cords... all the chin needed to do was chew the cords, and it'd dump itself to the bottom of the cage.  Might have been one other thing I mentioned, but all in all, I wasn't crucifying her cage.  It was decent, just a few things to watch out for.

I never heard from her again. 

Part of my message was saying that she could come later that day, and probably the best thing as far as that would be to send me a text or call me, as emails pile up, and I'll see a text or call way faster than an email, which gets quickly buried.  Didn't hear from her... about a week later, ran across that email again, and so I sent her another email, basically saying, hey, I didn't hear back from you after I sent you some tips on your cage, let me know if you're still wanting to set up an appointment.

That was at least a week ago, if not more.

Which is fine. 

But here's the thing... if you send me a pic... of anything... I want the best for the critters.  So, if you send me a pic of an unsafe cage, I will tell you, and I will be helpful and try to advise ways you can make it safe (if possible).  If you tell me (like in a current email in my inbox) that you are feeding nuts and dried carrots, I will tell you that that's a bad idea and why, and what treats may be better for the chin's health.  I'm not here to sugarcoat and make everyone feel like happy rainbows and unicorn smiles.  Rather... and I suppose this may be surprising to some (considering this is hardly the first person who doesn't respond back after I advise that things aren't safe)... I WANT YOUR CHINS TO LIVE HEALTHY HAPPY LIVES.  It gets old when people show up all the time and tell me their chin died of old age at age 5, and you find out it ate fresh fruit daily and walked outside on a harness and played with the family cat (who it loooooved, even when the cat used to swat at it).  It gets very old.  I want you to come back in 15 years and want another chin, not in 5 years.  So, you have to understand, when I advise that something isn't safe... it's not because I want you to feel bad (and honestly... I'm awfully nice about it, so some of you need to grow a pair if MY constructive criticism is offending you)... it's for the health of the chin.  That is all. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Events We Are At

People are always emailing and asking, hey, will you be at this event or this event.  While I acknowledge that I may not always be super on top of things, one thing that I do my absolute best to keep updated is the "Come See Us" section on the website. 

In case you missed that section, it's on the home page, on the right hand column.  It is basically a list of expos and other events where you can come see us.  Mostly, we will have a booth at these events, but I've also started listing chin shows where I will be, because of course, I can also bring supplies and chins to those as well.  It is noted if we will not have a booth, so unless it says something along the lines of, "we will not have a booth but can bring chins / supplies, contact to schedule"... assume we will have a booth there.

It is currently up to date as far out as May.  I'm not positive as far as what's going on beyond May, and actually, there is one weekend coming up, where I'm not sure if I'm going to be here, at the AAE, or at a chin show.  So that one's currently left off... but the others up there are current and we will be there.

If you're wanting to come to the house and see all the chins, as usual, we will schedule appointments, but I do my best to keep the Come See Us section updated, as I understand that not everyone can find easy time to make appointments and it may be easier for some people to show up, at some time, while an expo is running.

Just never hurts to check that section and see if I have an event listed.  If I don't, you can always ask if we'll be there, but common sense -- I can't be in two places at once, so if I've already got an event for Saturday and another event you're thinking of is Saturday... probably only gonna be at one.  Email if un-sure though.  Thanks!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Interesting Phone Calls

So, I know I've posted before about some interesting phone calls we get.  Typical ones involve people thinking we're either animal control or the humane society... and telling them that we're not does NOT prevent these people from telling me why they need to drop off their dog.  Usually takes a few times of explaining, we only take in small animals, and those must be small, caged animals, sorry, your chihuahua, while a small animal... is not what we specialize in.

Plus, explaining what a chinchilla is to a lot, and I mean a LOT of people.

But today's takes the cake.

Just got off the phone with someone who asked... do we sell baby chickens??  😆😆😆  Sorry, no.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Shipping Fees & Refunds

So, I think I've talked about this before, but I try to keep shipping as low as possible.  The shopping cart isn't the greatest (to say the least) about figuring out shipping.  On large orders, especially ones containing several houses, it's not uncommon for me to be refunding $40-60 in overcharged shipping fees.  These fees are refunded after the order goes out and I see what actual shipping costs are. 

In addition, if you order something that's in a flat rate box, and I can squish the other items you ordered in that same box, I will, and I will try to save you shipping.  Sometimes this is possible, sometimes not, depending on what is ordered.  For example, someone last week ordered a box of Tradition and 3 oz. rosebuds.  Undoubtedly, those rosebuds will fit in the box with the Tradition, so I am able to refund any extra shipping charged for the rosebuds. 

But that isn't always the case.  I had someone else who ordered a flat rate box of Tradition, several toys, and a water bottle.  Mainly because of the water bottle (which is too thick for the skinny flat rate boxes), I had to ship these items in another box.  I actually calculated shipping to determine if it'd be cheaper to send the Tradition box with some of the toys (they wouldn't all fit) and then ship the water bottle and remaining toys separate, but since this person was on the east coast, it would actually be cheaper to send one big box, than a flat rate box and another smaller box.  But that meant shipping went up, and I had to use some of what this person paid in their extra shipping charges, to ship all of these items to them.  So, they'll get a refund, but it won't be all of those extra shipping charges.

Also.... I try to get the orders out and get emails out to customers, saying when the package shipped, estimated delivery (for priority mail... first class doesn't give estimates), and let them know about their refund.... I try to do this all as soon as possible.  Often, delays happen, but sometimes, even like this past week... I shipped out the items 3/8, and I still have not done the paperwork.  I'm working on it now, so it will be done today and everyone will have their emails and refunds soon, but I did get an email from one of the customers who received the shipping notification (paypal sends one out when I print the label) about their order, and noticed I hadn't refunded the extra shipping they paid for their extra item, and wanted to check if this was new policy or what.  I told them, sorry, just haven't gotten around to the paperwork part yet, but they would be getting their $4 back as soon as I did.  Never hurts to ask! 

Honestly, it drives me insane when I order something from a company that weighs less than a pound, and I could fit in half-a-shoebox... and shipping is $15.  Come on, now... it's a ripoff.  I found something on ebay I wanted the other day, economy shipping (ha!) was $12.  I ship stuff all the time, I have an idea how heavy this item is... shipping ought to be no more than $6-7.  Yes, I know, we all gotta package and use labels... but if I can manage with charging $0.75-$1 packaging / handling for every package, they don't need $5-6 packaging / handling for theirs.  I even asked if I could pick up the item (cause they're in Valpo) and they said no, but they'd lower the price of the item by $1 to offset the shipping.  Bullshit.  Sorry, but I feel like if you want to make more money, up the price of the item, rather than try to make money off of shipping.  I just won't buy from them, because I know that the price of shipping is way inflated, and honestly, I'd rather see the item itself be $6 more, as opposed to be ripped off on shipping.  Especially since they say economy shipping.  PRIORITY for this item should be $6.  Economy shipping, HA!  It might be light enough to go first class, and if that's the case, it might only be $4 to ship, and they'll make $8.  Oh hell no, they won't be getting my business.  And this is why I will always refund the excess shipping, because I hate it when people try to rip off customers like this, and so I won't do it. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Gargoyle Gecko

I apparently was not aware how much everyone seems to want gargoyle geckos!  Granted, you don't see a ton of them at the expos I go to, so maybe that contributes... but jeez!  I posted the new geckos up for adoption, and four of them have gone to their new homes...

... but in the meantime, I've had at least, AT LEAST, 20 emails about the gargoyle gecko.  I had no idea they were popular!  When you go to the expo, for geckos, you see 95% crested geckos and leopard geckos, with those split pretty equally between the two... so I would have thought a gargoyle gecko would have had less of a following... but I've gotten so many inquiries... maybe not.

At this point... everyone's out of luck, as one of our previous gecko adopters is scooping him up... they put down a deposit on him (and they were the first one to contact us about him... checking and re-checking the website for animals you want does have some benefit), and right now, we're just working on scheduling a time for her to come get him. 

This is the gecko, for people curious what the little guy looks like: