Sunday, February 18, 2018

List of Possible Donations

So... I have had people tell me, over the years, they'd like to help, but don't have a cage or whatever to donate.  Understood, not everyone has those sort of animal-specific supplies that we might find useful... but guess what, we use all sorts of stuff that either you may have lying around the house, or you could easily buy that won't cost a fortune.  I totally need to post this list somewhere on the website, and work to get a more exhaustive list, but off the top of my head, stuff we use all the time:

  • white vinegar
  • isoprophyl alcohol (70%)
  • simple green 
  • paper towels
  • printer paper
  • ziploc baggies (snack, sandwich, quart, and gallon size -- most needed are quart and gallon)
  • sharpies
  • note cards
  • food coloring
  • gift card to home depot (for wood)
  • dish soap 
  • scrubbies
  • kleenex
  • alcohol wipes / sterilizing wipes
  • packaging tape
  • wire clothes hangers (we use to make handles for shipping crates)
You get the idea.  You can get a lot of this at the dollar store.  I think sometimes when people think "donations," they think something big, like they want to donate a lot of money or whatever, but we had someone show up once with some rolls of paper towels, a tub of alcohol wipes, and a pack of note cards.  That's just as appreciated as a monetary donation, and it's stuff I can actually use right here at the rescue.... so it doesn't have to be some lavish donation, this other cheap stuff is great as well.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Festival of Trees

I know, I know, this is kind of late to post about this... but if you remember, the Hearts in Motion store where we usually had our rescue Christmas tree for the Festival of Trees is no more, so our tree was at the Schererville store instead.  Not the end of the world, but...

... most years we make like $40-50 in ornament sales.  This is useful, as often we get these ornaments donated from kind souls like yourself, so it's basically donations.

We made $16. 

I don't know if this was as a result of it being in a different location, or that our tree was on the second floor of the building and people had to walk up a flight of stairs to get to it (and I understand, this could be a problem for many people), or what... but this was sort of pathetic.

We did have a person or two donate a few bucks, saying they wouldn't be able to make it to the store to pick up ornaments, so that was good, so technically a few more dollars, but jeez... kinda crappy.

...and actually, that's how it's been going lately.  Not to complain, because of course, I'd never want to do that, lol, but we've had more no-shows than ever, more emails not returned than ever, less donations.  Now... we have had more ORDERS than ever before... but because there's still only one of me (unless one of you can clone me?  let me know...), it's taking longer to get them out, because now there's more of them, so a few people have cancelled their orders cause even though it says online that houses can take 2 weeks to ship... apparently people don't read and then after 3 days of no house shipped, they get all huffy.  But other than orders being up, everything else lately has been down.  Volunteers haven't been showing up.  In all fairness, it's cold / flu season and many have had that, and of course, they have lives as well... but just in general, things need to pick up.

So... if you have stuff to donate (I'll post a list of potential things another day), or know someone who wants to adopt a chin / geckos / guinea pig, or want to volunteer or all of the above... let me know!  We can use your help!

Friday, February 16, 2018

All Sorts of People

So, I'm always talking about how we run into all sorts of people, and some people have taken to asking about the people that I don't talk about.... what type of people are those?  So, over the last week (well, everyday, come on now), I've been answering emails, so I'll share some tidbits from today and the last few days...


I had one email, well, an adoption form actually, filled out from someone in Puerto Rico.  I emailed them, letting them know that we can only ship within the 48 continental United States (amazing how saying "we can ship in the US" needs qualifiers), and asked if maybe they had planned another alternative to come get a chinchilla?  I'd asked, because I've had people from New York and Georgia drive here... when I would have bet money that I'd be shipping to them, versus I've shipped to Indianapolis before.  So, you never know.  This was at least a week ago now, never did hear back.


I had another one email, their adoption form was good for the most part.  They mentioned using branches from their organic trees in the cage, so I educated them about how they would need to scrub, boil, and bake the branches before use, so that they are bug and bacteria free.  I then got down to the treat section of the adoption form, and here was the question and their answer:

How many times a week should treats be given? : We think it is dependent upon what the treat is and how old the chinchilla is. fresh fruit or dried fruit limited to 3 times per week, but certain dried fruit like raisins only 1-2 times per week. We would ask your guidance as to what Ash is used to and try to replicate that.

The first part -- yes, does depend on how old the chin is and what the treat is, but obviously, fresh or dried fruit is a no-no, so I educated them on why those should not be given, what would happen if they are given, and safe alternatives.  This was also about a week ago, never heard back.


I had another email today from Canada.  They filled out an adoption form as well.  It looked good, nothing out of the ordinary... so I emailed them back and asked if they are planning a trip down here, as we are unable to ship out of country due to permits that we do not have (and would not make sense to get, as there's not that many people wanting chins shipped out of country).  Never heard back.


Another email, they submitted an adoption form for one of our chins.  I asked if they wanted to ship or drive down here... informed them of the cost of shipping, and linked them the shipping page.  I actually got a response back rather quickly, saying that it would be selfish of her to put the chin through shipping.  No offense to this person, but... in other words... it's likely too expensive.  I sent back an email explaining (in short order) that shipping isn't hard on the chins at all, that it's usually easier than a long car ride because it's over so quick, and they usually sleep the whole way, and of course, wished her luck finding a chin by her.  In case you wanted to read the page that she did, which suggested that shipping is difficult on the chins, it is here -- everyone's got different opinions, I realize, but I just re-read that and am scratching my head on how it would be selfish to put a chin through that.  It's very similar to taking a chin home in a carrier... but by airplane.  Doesn't matter...  Anyway, got an email back, they basically said, oh but it won't be above 40 here anytime soon to ship.  In other words... she was reading my shipping page and looking for reasons why I wouldn't be able to ship to her.  People... just tell me it's too much money.  When you start making excuses, I can usually tell.


Phone rang... person asked if this was a rescue.  I said yes, this is a chinchilla rescue.  They start telling me they have a dog they can no longer care for, so I reiterate, this is a chinchilla rescue, and we only rescue chinchillas, guinea pigs, rabbits, those types of small caged animals, so unfortunately, we're unable to help that person, but I tell them they should give some other places a call and hopefully someone else can.


Someone called today and asked if I remembered them, they told me which chin they adopted years ago.  Turns out, the son (adult son) adopted the chin, has moved in with his gf, is going to be married soon, and hasn't taken the chin with, but instead, left it at the parents' house... which is the ones who called me, wanting to bring the chin back into the rescue.  I said that's fine, they're going to call back once they've talked to the son again to schedule a time.


I could go on and on about these cause I spend a few hours on email per day, and a good number of phone calls as well... but one more for the moment...

Got a text message from someone asking about Cass & Alf, some guinea pigs that were at a foster home.  They wanted to know if the guinea pigs could be brought to Hammond for an adoption, as we're closer to them than the foster home.  Sure.  I actually had the foster home coming here in a day or two after the initial email, so I messaged them and let them know that if I received an adoption form back, they could bring the guinea pigs back to the rescue.  So I tell the adopter, sure we can bring them here, but I need you to fill out an adoption form, and I asked for their email so I could send that to them.  The provide me with the email, I send out the adoption form.  Few days pass, nothing.  I get someone else inquiring about the guinea pigs, so I text the first person back and ask them if they're still interested and specify that I would need the adoption form back, in order to approve them, and so on.  They responded back, yes they are interested, they'll get the adoption form back to me that night.  Two days later, I get the adoption form back, and I couldn't have had it in my email for an hour, before they're texting me being all like "did you get it???"  So, I look at it... the spots where the adoption form asks, what type of food, what type of hay / bedding / leafy greens, what type / size of cage -- you know, all the relevant info that I use to base the entire adoption off of -- for every single one of those blanks, this person put "I haven't gotten supplies yet."  Ok.  So I thought, maybe they intend to get supplies here, and want to know what I'm using, and that's why they haven't filled this out yet.  Trying to give benefit of the doubt.  So I text that back, and they say no, they just haven't gone to the store yet.  And since they're not volunteering any info, I text back and say, ok, are you planning on going to the store sometime soon?  I specify, I can't hold the guinea pigs without a completed adoption form and a deposit, and they won't have the completed adoption form until they let me know about those supplies...  Their response is that they can go to the store Sunday.  So I text back for them to let me know when they go and tell me what they get, and we will go from there.  In the meantime, the foster did bring these pigs back to the rescue, where they now are chilling...

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Deposits on Orders

You ever wonder why some places make you put down a deposit to do this or that?  Want custom cabinets?  Deposit, then they will look at what you want.

It's because people waste their time.

I've had one custom order that has been pending since September.  They came over on September 20th, asking about me making scatter guards for their cage, and were coming over here to get some other stuff.  They said when they were here, they would show me what they wanted.  Apparently I had made this stuff before for them, and wanted new ones.

Ok, so they come over, show me.  Maybe a week or two goes by before I get to their order and cut the scatter guards.  We had agreed that I'd charge the same as what I charged several years ago, even though prices of everything else have gone up, with the thought that they would be using the same bolts from the previous scatterguards.  That alone would save them a bit, as the bolts and hardware are now about $1 per set.  So, I would just need to build the wood part and drill the holes, and they would use their existing bolts.

So, once I've cut the wood, I send an email asking how many bolts were there per piece of wood.  Some of the pieces were smaller than others, and if there was only one bolt, I didn't want to drill two holes (as this is a good size bolt, probably 1/4" or larger).  About a week passes, no response.  So, I send another email.  No response.  I have other orders, so I figure, I'll come back to this.  This is early October, mind you.  I keep working on my other orders, figuring I will get a response eventually, and we fast forward to December 7th, when I send another email, detailing that I've sent previous emails asking about the bolts, and that I can't finish the scatterguards without knowing how many bolts.  They respond right away, sorry sorry, they tell me, two bolts per piece of wood.  Ok, so I respond back, immediately, and tell them, I will have the scatterguards done that day (cause remember, I have the scatterguards done, I only need to drill the holes for the bolts), and ask when they'd like to come pick up their scatterguards.

No response, so I email again on December 15th, saying that I have them ready for pickup, and wanting to know when they're able to come.  The ask if I'm available Monday or Tuesday.  I respond (Monday early morning, the 18th) saying that I'm available both the rest of that day and Tuesday, and ask when works for them. 

Don't hear back, naturally.  I send another email, January 2nd.  I'm even nice about it:


Wanted to check in with you and see when you can come to get these, thanks.

Don't hear back, so I send another email, on the 10th, trying just the slightest bit to get a response... I explained, I'm trying to clean up the shop, and I keep running across her scatterguards (which mind you, one piece is like 3' long, so there's nowhere good to store the thing), and I need to know when she's going to come and get it.

I get a response (on the 10th):

Hey Ashley 
I’m so so sorry. I actually lost my job middle of last month like a week before Christmas. Things have been super hectic but most importantly it’s set me behind on every single one of my bills. I can come and pick them up I just need to figure out payment! I’ll let you know as soon as I can manage. Also what is the exact cost again? I really don’t remember. 


I responded, they're $21.  I have not yet heard back.  Every time I see those pieces of wood, I get irritated.  It's $21 not $2,000.

I should not, SHOULD NOT, have to chase anyone down for payment.  Either you want your order or not, and yes, I get it, she clearly doesn't care that much, or want her order anymore, to pay the whopping $21.

I just mention this, because I hate to be that person that requires deposits for every custom order, ever... but this is a perfect example of what happens when I don't.  I am now sitting on wood that I would not have bought (it's 4" wood... I usually buy 8"... so I had to even make a special trip to get it) and chances are, my best bet with these scatterguards is just to cut them up and use them for scrap... which is absolute bs, considering I took the time to measure and cut her scatterguards, and now, likely for nothing.

So, when you wonder why I'm in a perpetual state of irritation.... keep in mind, there's a lot of people like this.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Breeding Recessives

This is always an interesting one.  I had someone, awhile back, ask about breeding a blue diamond to a beige.  They wanted to get, more blue diamonds, of course.

Because blue diamonds are recessives, that's unfortunately not how it works.

When you breed a beige, you have the opportunity of getting beige or standard kits.

When you breed a blue diamond, depending on what you breed it with, you have the opportunity of getting blue diamonds, sapphire violet carriers, violet sapphire carriers, and standard violet & sapphire carriers.

Now, a beige is a dominant gene, so whatever you breed it to, you will get beige or standard (plus the possibility of additional colors, but at least those).  Since a blue diamond is a recessive, and a double recessive at that, for you to get ANY color other than a standard violet & sapphire carrier, you would need to breed it to a chin that at least carries (if not expresses) sapphire and violet.  That's because to get a violet, sapphire, or blue diamond, BOTH parents must express or carry the gene.  Got it?  Good.

So, since the beige chin in this example is just a regular beige and does not carry any other genes (and yes, we know this), there's no way for a blue diamond, or sapphire, or violet, to be produced.  In fact, the only options are a standard grey that carries violet and sapphire, or a beige that carries violet and sapphire. 

I often can explain this to people until I am blue in the face, and many people don't understand, until a few litters later, when they only get beiges and standards, and don't understand why the male didn't reproduce the pretty blue diamond color!  He's a blue diamond, come on, he should produce kits that color!  Not quite.  There needs to be an understanding of basic genetics to understand why this works the way it does.

Friday, February 9, 2018


  • standard grey + white = mosaic
  • beige + white = pink white
  • white + white = lethal white (don't breed this)
  • sapphire + white = white sapphire
  • violet + white = white violet
  • black + white = mosaic 
  • ebony + white = white ebony
Ok, so today's post will be an educational post, for people to learn about the colors.  There's only a few basic colors, but there's a variety of ways to modify them, so for educational purposes, let me go ahead and confuse you :D

There's the basic colors

  • standard grey
  • beige
  • white
  • sapphire
  • violet
  • black
  • ebony

Most of those colors become a different color if the white gene is added to them.  For example, if you add a white to the beige gene, you get a pink white.  So, additional colors

  • standard grey + white = mosaic
  • beige + white = pink white
  • white + white = lethal white (don't breed this)
  • sapphire + white = white sapphire
  • violet + white = white violet
  • black + white = mosaic 
  • ebony + white = white ebony

You can also add ebony to most of these colors:

  • standard grey + ebony = ebony
  • beige + ebony = tan
  • white + ebony = white ebony
  • sapphire + ebony = sapphire wrap
  • violet + ebony = violet wrap
  • black + ebony = TOV ebony
  • ebony + ebony = more ebony

You can also create a TOV version of most of these colors, by breeding a black velvet (TOV) chinchilla to these colors.  So...

  • standard grey + TOV = black velvet
  • beige + TOV = brown velvet
  • white + TOV = TOV white
  • sapphire + TOV = TOV sapphire
  • violet + TOV = TOV violet
  • black + TOV = black velvet
  • ebony + TOV = TOV ebony

Certain genes can be carried as well -- the recessive genes.  Ebony is a recessive, as well as sapphire, violet, blue diamond (well, a double recessive).  Not colors, but the curly / locken and angora genes are recessive as well.  For those genes, you need both parents to carry the gene, and both to pass the gene down to their offspring, to possess an animal that has that color.  I'll talk about that in another post at some point. 

A lot of these genes can be stacked as well, and can all be expressed at once.  Therefore, it is possible to have a TOV white sapphire wrap that carries violet and curly.  Not saying a good breeder would breed for something like that, but is is possible.

And of course, a few of these colors can be modified by other colors.  For example, a beige, as most people think of it, tends to be a hetero beige, which is the darker of the two beige colors.  If you breed two beiges together, you have a chance of having a chinchilla born with two beige genes, which would be a homo beige.  That would be a lighter, more champagne-y beige.  Due to the two beige genes, a homo beige can only pass along a beige gene when bred.

If you breed sapphire and violet together (well, more specifically, a sapphire that carries violet, and a violet that carries sapphire), you have the chance of getting a blue diamond, which is a chin that expresses both recessive genes of sapphire and violet, and has a powdery blue type color.

There are also recessive whites, such as the Lowe's recessive white, also known as a goldbar.  These are a gold-ish color.

To piggy-back off the last post just a little bit... you see the variety of colors that are out there.  Some of these are more unusual than others, and you don't see some of them so often... but there are quite a few colors or combinations of colors.  So, when people say they are looking for something unique... this is why I ask further what they are looking for... because there's just so much out there, a little more clarification can be useful...  

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Body Parts Growing Back

Odd title, isn't it?  People ask this all the time! 

Had someone the other day who got a second chinchilla from here, and wanted to intro it to their first. Of course, if you've read this blog with any regularity, you know that there's no way to know if two chins will get along without trying it, and no possible way to guarantee that any two chins will get along.  So, anytime you try to introduce two chins, you have the very real possibility that the may not get along, and they may even injure each other.

Even if kept in separate cages, there's several homes I can think of, where they let the chinchillas out for playtime, separately, mind you, but the cages are both in the same room, so the chin who is running around can go up to the chin that's still in the cage and potentially go after the chin. In the situation that made me write this blog post, the chin having playtime went up to the cage and bit off a finger of the chin that was in the cage.  You read that right.

Before you have a heart attack... It happens ALL the time.  I don't count fingers and toes of chins that leave here, but I'd be willing to bet that at least 1/5 or more are missing some.  Mainly because siblings will chew on each other, or another chin will chew on a finger when it's pressed up against the wire that separates cages... but fingers and toes (and ears) are the most common casualties of chins getting chewed on.  Not the end of the world, the chins don't even notice they're missing anything once it heals (and it usually heals really quickly).

But one thing I should mention, since people ask, all the time -- no, the finger / toe will not grow back.

Chins aren't lizards / geckos, to start with.  So when a body part comes off, it comes off permanently.  Did you know, there's actually very few species of lizard where a body part does grow back?  Even in the ones where the body part does grow back, it's typically a tail, and the new tail never looks quite the same as how the old one was.  But for most lizards / geckos, if they lose a body part... it's just like us losing a body part.  It's gone, not coming back.

Just to let you know...