Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Waiting List -- Again

So, I talked a few days ago about our waiting list and how the different responses we get.  Wanted to share a few more with you, as we have some open cages, so I've been going down the list to get chins in to fill them.... and this is a perfect example of how I tell people, sometimes I'll have a long list, and it can sometimes whittle down quickly...

First person -- emailed the person on the waiting list.  They emailed back within the hour, thanking me for reaching out, but letting me know they'd found another rescue with space to take their chin in.  Crossed off the list.

Second person -- emailed the person on the waiting list.  They emailed back later that day, saying they did want to bring the chins in.  They scheduled an appointment for a few days later, showed up to their appointment, and surrendered the chins.

Third person -- I didn't have an email for them (if I have email and phone, I'll call and email if I don't get them on one or the other), so I called them.  Second ring, they sent the call to voicemail.  Called again, just to check I had dialed the right number, first ring, sent to voicemail.  So, I sent them a text, saying who I was and that we had room for their chinchilla at the rescue, and that I would appreciate if they could let me know, either way, if they needed to bring in the chin or not.  Now... I have an iPhone, and so do they, and they had read-receipts on... so in looking at the text, I can physically see that they read my text message... I let it sit in my messages for about 5 days with no response before I deleted it and crossed them off the list.

Fourth person -- emailed (and in all the emails, I tell people, they have until the end of the day on a certain day (usually 2-3 full days later), to get back to me), no response.  The day I told them passed... moving along.

Fifth person -- had a phone number, and had actually been texting with this person when they were added to the list, which was only like 2 weeks ago (see, sometimes the wait isn't super long... though of course there are people after her), so I texted her to let her know that we had room.  She responded back, she does want to bring in the chin, but needs to coordinate to get him here (she's going to college and can't take with), so she said she'd get back to me within a few days with when she can bring him in.

Sixth person -- was on our waiting list before... I didn't read through all the messages to find out exactly what happened, but must have been removed for some reason.  They contacted about a week and a half ago, asking to be re-added to the waiting list.  Re-added them... more recently, reached out to say we have room for their chin.  It's a facebook message to our NWI Chins page... she hasn't read it yet and it's been a day or two...

Aside from these people, there's still two people on the list... one which is in Ohio who wants to bring the chin to Jim's place (when I'm there of course), so that's sort of special arrangements, and the last one wants to bring in chins.. but I need to officially hear back from these other people before I can reach out to her.  Also, I believe I have 2-3 more emails in my inbox about people wanting to bring in their pets.  The waiting list goes down... but there's rarely not one anymore...

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Rabbits & Turtles

By the time this posts (as you may or may not know, I write some blog posts and post-date them so I don't have a super super ginormous blog post one day, covering 60 different topics, and then nothing for two weeks), our last adoptable rabbit will be in his new home.

He will be the last rabbit that we take in, except for possibly (and that's a very iffy possibly) special circumstances.

See, here's the thing.  Years ago, we took in a bit more of everything.  We still do, but within reason.  You see how we often have guinea pigs and right now, a bearded dragon, crested geckos, etc etc etc.  But before... we used to get so many "other animals" in, I couldn't focus on chinchillas, and at the end of the day, this is a chinchilla rescue, primarily.  When I say that we had so many other animals... we once had 40 adult rats in, all at the same time.  We once had in the 20's for guinea pigs.  Of course, I'm happy to take in other animals... but they just can't take over.

In the past few years, I've limited the other animals that come in.  Not that I won't allow them to come in, but if someone calls with 40 rats, I try to pass that off to a rat rescue, instead of taking them on.  After all, they are better equipped to handle that many of that sort of critter, versus where I would be better equipped to handle 40 chinchillas.

When we did have the higher numbers of the other animals, we got a lot of calls that asked, hey, do you have this, or that?  Some of those calls were asking about rabbits, so when we did have them in, they got adopted within a reasonable amount of time.  Also, before the last 4 years that I've lived here in Hammond, all the other places that the rescue was at, we were allowed rabbits.  I moved to Hammond, and some concerned soul called animal control and reported that I had rabbits (which are illegal in Hammond), because they were apparently bothering someone or something, and they all had to go to foster homes.  You may recall, one of our less adoptable buns actually went to Red Door in Chicago, which adopts out a ton of rabbits.  The rest were adopted out from our foster homes.

However, while foster homes can definitely be a good thing, what they typically don't provide is exposure.  I have one foster home (out of... 4-5?) that will occasionally post pics of their foster animals on facebook, but usually, the foster homes send me a few pics when I ask for them, and if someone doesn't just happen to run across the animals' ad, no one physically sees them.  This isn't the worst thing ever for the chins, since people are coming here for the chins anyway, and may peruse the website, and decide they like one that's in a foster home.  But now, with less of the "other animals," those calls asking about if we have rabbits (or other critters) have died down considerably, and with the rabbits not physically here for people to see, say "oh how cute!" and think about adopting... they're not getting attention and not getting adopted the way they should be.

The most recent rabbit... we got in him and his littermates at 14 weeks old.  14 of them.  They were all adopted out by the time they were 4-5 months old, if I recall correctly.  Three of them went together, a red male and two white w/ red spots males.  A few months later, that home was unable to keep them, and returned them.  The two white w/ red spots males were adopted out together, shortly after, but the red male is the one that, as of the time I am writing this, is still at the rescue, hopefully to be adopted later this week.  He is now over a year and a half old.  Yes, he's in a foster home, so he probably has no idea that he's in a rescue.  However... with the exception of the time of his life before we got him in, initially... he's spent most of his life with us.  To me... that's not fair to him.  At some of these other rescues that focus more on rabbits, they can get their buns adopted much quicker than we can here.

So, in thinking of the buns and putting their welfare first... we will not be taking them in, absent super special circumstances.

On a related, but side-note... I have learned that turtles are illegal in Hammond as well.  While we've only ever had one turtle at the rescue (and he was fostered, so probably no one except myself and the foster knew he was here... and the foster adopted the turtle)... we will unfortunately not have others, due to many of the same factors as the rabbits (not able to have them here, etc etc).

Monday, July 16, 2018

Adoptions -- Location!

Lot of people have been asking about this lately, so I'm going to add it as an FAQ and also wanted to post about it here shortly.

Some rescues / breeders only adopt / sell in a small geographic region.  Many people have heard of this when they are on a facebook page (or something similar) of a rescue and they ask about adoptions, and find out, they only adopt "in state," or "within a few hours of [city]."

Now, there are reasons for this.  If they do home checks, they would likely prefer not to go cross country to do the home check.  Of course, living in a border city like Hammond, where our next town west is Lansing, IL... it would make sense for some border cities to do more like, within a few hours, due to the location factor.  Anyway, I've also heard that the location concern is due to, if they need to take someone to court, there is a big difference between in-state and out-of-state.  Actually, if you remember my blog post from last year about that one cage of ours that I borrowed back in January 2017 and made it's way back in Fall 2017 after me pestering the crap out of the lady (as she was 4 hours away, in Ohio)...that's what these rescues want to avoid.

But here... it's not that I don't care... but we don't do home checks.  I don't plan on suing people.  I just want good homes.  That's what it all boils down to.

So, if you're in Pennsylvania and want to adopt a chin, and we can find some way to work it out -- great!  You're not denied, JUST because you're in PA.

That said, with United's change to their PetSafe program, where they no longer ship small animals, and the cost with other airlines being over double, you may be aware that we no longer ship.  Most people balked at $200-250 to ship... I'm not even going to waste my time quoting people $400+ just to get their animal to them.  Most won't pay it and most animals sell for considerably less than that, so it's just not worth it.

That does mean... wherever you are in the US, if you want to adopt, you can... but you will have to find a way to either get here, or meet somewhere like a chin show (somewhere I am already going... so if you don't show up, it's not a wasted trip).  So, you can adopt from anywhere... you just may need to travel to do so.  That is all.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Vacations! What To Do?

I got a really good question from someone the other day... and I thought it might be an interesting little tidbit for the blog, so I'll post what they emailed about, and my response to them, so you all can get some insight.

Their email:

Hey Ashley,

This is [name]; my partner and I adopted a chinchilla through you back in November. She is doing excellent and has grown into her own personality. 
We are taking a trip from July 22nd to July 29th and want to know what the best option for Viola would be. Should we take her with us, have someone stay in our apartment to accompany her or, if you still offer house sitting, would it be best to have her be around other chins and in the care of someone who is experienced? Our biggest concerns are making her feel like we abandoned her and causing too much stress in her environment.

My response:

Glad to hear she's doing well, she looks great!  

As far as what is the best option for your trip, that varies depending on a few things.  For the options of taking her with versus bring here here (or somewhere) for pet sitting, assuming the trip is more or less, drive there, stay a few days, drive back (versus a different hotel every night).. those two would be relatively the same, because there's be about the same amount of travel involved, and chins generally do well with traveling (though of course, it depends on the chin).

The best option can be (keyword: can) if someone can come to your place and care for her.  The reason I say it can be is because the chin stays in her own cage, so there's no moving around.  However, of course, the difficulty can be finding someone who's reliable and will show up and care for the chin.  While of course, they may not necessarily have to care for her in the exact same way that you do, it may be more limited to feed, water, etc, that sort of thing, they do need to show up.  If you know someone like that, great!  That would be the option with the least disruption to her daily life.  My difficulty (and granted, I have a lot more animals than you do), is always finding someone who will actually show up.  

I hope this helps, let me know if I can help you further! 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Freak Accidents

Some injuries for our furry friends are preventable.  Some even easily preventable.  These are the ones where you hear me preaching about using wood shelves instead of plastic, or wood bedding instead of carefresh.  Switch to the safe product, and sure, there's always some risk of injury, but it can be significantly less with the right product.

But... some injuries are just accidents.  Sometimes something seems fine, but there's that one person or one animal who somehow gets injured.  Sometimes unsafe items are used, without injury, for a long time!  Sometimes, those unsafe items result in injury, possibly even death.

If you've been on facebook recently, you've probably seen the article about the woman who's chinchilla got his leg caught in the bars of the ramp, had his leg amputated, and was ultimately put down.  If you haven't, it's available online here

The cage she's using is a Ferret Nation cage.  I love those cages, and so do a ton of people in the chinchilla community.  Her sad outcome from all of this doesn't make the cages unsafe... but it does make the ramps unsafe.

If you've ever talked to me about bar spacing for wire floors, you'll know that they're not inherently bad (as you might read online), but rather, that you want the space between the wire to be small enough that a leg cannot fall through.  That is not the case with the ramp bars in the FN cages.  A chinchilla can definitely get a leg through them, and when a leg falls through, sometimes they panic, and as you can see in the article... this can have major consequences.  Some people choose to cover the ramps in the FN cages, or simply not use them at all.

For me, I replace all the plastic shelves and plastic pans in there, put in wood shelves, and there's no need for the wire ramps or any plastic really.  Compare these pictures, of bare FN's (plastic pan, plastic shelf, metal rung ramp):

To these pics of some of my cages:

And I suppose you can guess for yourself which is likely safer.

This all said... still, nothing is 100% safe.  The outside bars of a ferret nation (and pretty much most cages on the market) have wide spacing.  I've actually heard stories of chins that bounce off the walls, get a leg through the outer bars, and break a leg that way.

So, then you say, ok, maybe smaller bar spacing is better!  They can't get a leg through!

No, they can't get a leg through... but again, nothing is 100% safe.

Below is a picture, looking from top down (so basically, the chin is upside down), of a chin that somehow hooked it's teeth in 1 x 1/2" bar spacing (yes, he passed).  When they hook their teeth in such a manner, they panic and thrash around to get free.  They almost always break their neck (I know of one instance where the chin got itself off the bars... but pulled out it's front teeth by the roots [at another breeder's ranch]... it was put down), and thankfully, it's usually almost an instant, painless death.  But see, nothing is completely 100000% safe.

This, and heck, even the chin getting a foot caught on the side of the cage... these are freak accidents.  Do these type of accidents mean these cages are unsafe?  No.  Some things, there's just no way to prevent, which is why we do our best to prevent the things that CAN be easily prevented... so there's less losses all together.  RIP my sweet white sapphire boy.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Rabbit Adoption -- Yaya!!!

Real short post today, but just wanted to update and let everyone know that our last rabbit has found his home today!  After spending most of his life at the rescue and in one of our foster homes, this bun is now in his new home and being well spoiled!

Meet Cheyenne... and... wait for it... Cinnabun!  What a precious name!

May they enjoy each other for years to come 💗💗💗

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Munchy Crunchy Toy!

You may have seen on our website or our facebook post, but in case you didn't... we have a new chew toy!

Ok, ok, I know we've had this at an expo or two, but now it's official!  We have the toy up on our website and up on the webstore, and it is available for purchase!  We also have made a stock of them over the last few days and they are ready for you to come stock up! 

We call it the Munchy Crunchy Toy, and it looks like this:

This is the toy for the finicky chin.  There's pine wood, for the harder chewers, vine balls for the ones that prefer the softer stuff, and apple & oat cookies for those that prefer their sweets!  Little bit for every chin!  Fun fun.  They are now available for $8.00.