Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Pink whites vs. mosaics

Wanted to post a quick educational post on pink whites versus mosaics, as a lot of people have asked the difference over the years.

Both colors are considered "whites" for purposes of showing chinchillas.

A mosaic is a chinchilla with a white gene.  The base color of this chinchilla is white, and they can have grey / silvery markings over their body.  Mosaics have dark ears.  The chinchillas pictured below are all mosaics.

 A pink white is a mosaic with a white gene and a beige gene.  They also have a white base, and the have beige markings over their body.  Pink whites have light ears, which tend to look pink, hence "pink white."  The chinchilla pictured below is a pink white.

That pink white (above) has very little beige markings.  However, just like the mosaics, pink whites come in all sorts of markings, from almost all white, to dark beige markings.  For example, this picture (from chinchillas.com) is also a pink white.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Chins Watching TV!

Ever heard people talk about leaving a TV on for their chins?  Some people do! 

One of our adoptive homes told us that their chins like to watch The Simpsons -- their favorite show!  I replied, saying that I'd love to see a pic -- this is what she sent:

5 out of their 6 chins are at the front of their cages, watching.  Can you find them all?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

What Happens When Someone Emails With A Chin With Malo?

So, today's post is going to be about what happens when someone emails wanting to drop off a chin that has malo.  In case you were curious.  This is the email I received:

Message : Hi, we have a male (his name is Parker) and we think it best if we surrender him to someone/some place that will give him the care he needs. 

Here is his story: one of our daughters is an Activities Director at an assisted living facility and one of the elderly residents had an alcohol addiction problem. The resident lived alone at the facility so for companionship she would routinely get a pet of some sort. She owned a cat and then a dog prior to obtaining the chinchilla. Because she sometimes overindulged her drink, her cat or dog would get out of her apartment and roam the halls. The cat and dog had to be confiscated so the resident bought a chinchilla. 

She ended up going into rehab so my daughter and the facility management took away the chinchilla since he was unattended for several days. She asked my wife and I to look after him while they searched for a suitable home for him. They never did find anyone to take him so we gave him a home and purchased a ferret cage so he'd have plenty of room to jump around. The kids named him Parker. 

I think he's about 4 years old and about 2 years ago, I noticed that he would swipe at his cheeks when he ate so I took him to the vet who ended up doing dental work to remove "spurs" from his molars. All was well until 2 weeks or so ago when I noticed Parker had stopped eating so again he went to the vet. 

They removed pieces of some of his back teeth and said he may have other issues with other teeth and/or jaw bone, and that a vet that specializes in exotic animals would need to see him for further treatment. His recent issues cost us almost $600 and the vet guessed it would be over $1000 more at the specialist. I am retired and on Social Security so we can't afford the treatment he may need. 

We have been feeding Parker a special formula by hand through a syringe and giving him antibiotics and anti-inflammatory meds since he came home from the vet but he still doesn't take the food willingly and it needs to be administered several times a day. We can't continue in this manner and don't want to have Parker put down if it can be helped in any way, but we are also concerned about his quality of life. 

So, I searched the internet and found your website. Is there any way you could take Parker or, being that we are in Illinois, do you know of any facility like yours more local to us who would be willing to give him a home? I would provide his cage and the food and meds we currently have if they are wanted or needed. 

Thank you. 

And this is my response:

This is Ashley with NWI Chinchilla Rescue, I received your message about Parker and what he's been going through, health-wise.  I understand what you're saying about the cost of his care, and the quality of life.  Honestly, when the chinchillas have dental issues like what you described, the kindest thing for them is to put them down.  Treating the dental issues with the constant filings (they usually get to be about 1x a month or more frequent, as the dental issues progress) and constant feeding of the critical care is very stressful for the chinchillas.  The anesthesia is hard on them, as they are not an animal that does well with anesthetics, especially that often.  There's no research that specifically says how much is too much, but the research that does exist, says that they don't tolerate anesthesia well, and it is hard on their little bodies.  Further, the constant filings and handfeeding significantly reduces the quality of life of the chinchilla, and the best way I've come up with how to put it is it's sort of like terminal cancer -- you can extend their life, yes.  In the end, though, it will be what kills them.  Similar to how some cancer patients choose to forego chemo, because of the side effects and the fact that it doesn't always extend life that much, doing the filings has side effects and is painful in the meantime, and may not actually do much to extend life, or more importantly, quality of life.  

Think about it this way -- the reason for the handfeeding -- after filing, the teeth are painful for the chinchilla to eat on.  So, you get filing done, handfeed for awhile... but since the chinchilla is not eating the pellets, just the critical care mush, the teeth are not being worn down... so by the time the chinchilla does feel well enough to eat, the teeth are already overgrown again (and that's just the surface... nothing can be done about the roots), so you get a little time of the chinchilla eating on their own, but then you need another filing... and the cycle continues.

There's really no quality of life in that.  Don't get me wrong, I have taken in chinchillas and gotten their teeth filed, handfed, and repeat... many times.  Never was the outcome any different... the chinchilla always continued to decline and eventually had to be put down, due to the dental disease.  It's heatbreaking, and I wish there was another option to save these little guys, but I would rather end their suffering a minute too early rather than a minute too late.  When we get in a chinchilla like Parker at the rescue, or one that we determine has dental issues, they are put down to end their suffering.  I'm sure this is not what you want to hear, but I've been doing this now for 15 years, and after all the chinchillas that have come in with similar stories and unfortunate outcomes, this is what it's come to.  I'd rather them go out, without experiencing bad quality of life, and enjoying what time they had.  They all get lots of treats (if they will eat them) before they go, since at that point, it won't matter if they cause ill health problems... but there unfortunately is no "fixing" dental issues.

As far as other facilities like you asked about, the reputable facilities I know of have similar policies.  Quality of life comes before anything else, and unfortunately, even with a high quality of life, it is about impossible to find an adopter willing to pay $300/month (filing cost at the specialist vet in Chicago) for the rest of the life of the animal, for continued treatment.  There's one place that I know of that probably would take him (but I would not recommend -- I'm letting you know so you don't take him there), it's called FurryLovables in Wilmington.  I would, under NO circumstances, ever take a field mouse there.  They are basically known as the pond scum of the rescue world... They would probably take him in... but not treat him.  They are very money-focused, as they breed their rescue animals, without thought to health / genetics / etc.  I know of several people who have adopted out terminal chinchillas from there, that the organization said were perfectly healthy.  For the adopters, well, they took the chins to the vet, who told them basically that these issues did not develop overnight, and any normal person would have known they were going on.  Unfortunately, they were lied to.  One that I know personally (who I met long after this happened), adopted a chinchilla with such bad dental issues that her whole mouth was abscessed and filled with puss that was dripping out.  The roots were overgrown as well.  The vet found no traces of food in her stomach (on necropsy) and said the chinchilla looked dehydrated and starved... basically, that no one could have not noticed that she wasn't eating and wasn't doing well, but this organization not only adopted her out, but adopted her out as being in good health.  When this person contacted them after the vet visit (where the chin was put down), the organization literally said, "oh, sorry for your loss," and that was it.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not for badmouthing other organizations... but this one is one I wouldn't recommend for anyone.  They put on a good front, online and in person, but in reality, they have no concern for the welfare of the animals, and that's something I personally have no tolerance for.

If I can help you further, don't hesitate to let me know.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Low Ballers

I love you all, you know that.  But jeez people... there's not only a sale, there's a sale on top of the sale, right now.

So, when I get an email that references one of the chins, and it asks what the lowest I'll take on the chin is... pardon me when I email you and tell you (nicely, though), that that IS my lowest price.

One of the emails I got, for example, was on the blue diamond.  If you happened to read her ad (and even if you didn't, I'll tell you here), her normal price is $450.  She wasn't here for the Spring Fling Sale, but had she been, she would have dropped down to $400.  With our Summer Fire Sale (which, the prices are basically further discounts off the Spring Fling Sale), she's dropped down even further to $375.  This is a $75 discount in price...some of my chinchillas don't even cost that much to adopt, and this is a discount on a chin.

Now... blue diamonds are a double recessive, they require both sapphire and violet to be expressed, to get the powdery blue, blue diamond color.  With the genes required to create a blue diamond, you have a much better chance of getting a sapphire violet carrier, or violet sapphire carrier, for babies, than you do a blue diamond (statistically).  So, you could have a pair that could, in theory, produce blue diamonds, and go several litters, possibly even years, without producing one.  Because of that, they tend to be on the higher side, as far as price goes.  And... that's assuming you can even find one for sale.  Since there's not a ton of them born, if they're decent quality at all, most breeders will hang onto them and they won't be available.

So, I guess what it boils down to, is... when there's a sale, on top of a sale, don't ask for further discounts.  Especially for the chins that are down to $55-65.  By the time I feed the critters, I'm losing money at that point.  Which is fine, if they're finding good homes and enjoying life there, more than they would here... but keep in mind, we need money to run, and asking for further discounts doesn't endear me to you.  That is all.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Everything Happening All At Once

So, let me tell you about the other day.  I'm always talking with people and telling people, "oh something came up," and I wanted to share with you a good example.  Sometimes I think, maybe people think something really didn't come up, and I just didn't get back to them, or whatever... but quick story for you.

So, I had a potential adopter who wanted me to pair some chins for them.  We talked about it, and the night before, I told them that I would let them know how the pairing went in the morning.  In the morning, I sent them a photo of the chins snuggled up together.  They were happy, and through texting, they said they wanted to put down a deposit.  This was... 10 am?

I didn't get back to her right away, because I went over to my parents' house.  Drove my blazer the entire time... to their house, to the movies, to Lowe's, to Bath & Body, to Panera... everything seemed fine.  Go to leave from their house, the blazer won't start.  I figure it's probably the battery, as it had been acting up lately.  For example, it'd turn over, but the radio would reset to 12:00.

My parents have a trickle charger for their convertible (for the winter), so I hooked that up to my blazer and let it charge for awhile.  Still wouldn't start.  Decided to push the blazer back a bit, try to jump it with one of my parents' vehicles.  Still no.  Decided to leave the vehicles hooked up for a bit, to give it more juice.  Nope. 

Decided to rev up the rpm's on the parents' vehicle to start the blazer (bigger engine on the blazer vs. smaller on the car).  Who-hoo!!  It started!  Un-hooked, got about 10 feet backed up down their driveway, died.  Ugh.

My mom and I pushed the blazer onto the street and parked it near the curb, where it wouldn't be in the way.  Sat there, tried to think of who could call.  I could technically go get another battery myself, but I didn't have tools at my parents' place to swap it out, and even at my place, finding the tools would be the problem (I may not always be the most organized person in the world, especially for stuff I rarely use).  Finally, it occurred to me to call Roadside Assistance, through my insurance.  Went through that whole process, finally got a call that the tow would be there within 40 minutes.

In less time than that, the tow showed up.  I had put down that I wanted it towed to the address that was Autozone, as I could get a battery there, and they could put it in for me, and I wouldn't have to dig out any tools of my own.  The wrecker driver made sure that I understood that he was just dropping me and the blazer off, and leaving, and if I was wrong about it being just the battery, I was stuck there.  I told him, I understood, I had someone waiting by the phone in case there was a problem, but I really thought that it was the battery.  So, he tows the blazer to Autozone.

We get there, and there's like no one there, so the two employees in the store are watching out the window as my blazer is unloaded from the wrecker.  At this point, the battery has completely died, and the wrecker driver can't get it out of park and into neutral.  He has to pull out his jump pack, and gets it started just long enough to get it into the spot, reminds me that it could be my starter (no, replaced not long ago) or my alternator (better not be, just replaced within the last 1-2 years), but that he doesn't think it's the battery... and then he goes.

I go into Autozone, explain that I need to purchase a new battery and need it installed.  The guys are totally like, "oh we don't do that here."  Some people, who don't know, would have been like, "oh shit," and panicked, but not me, cause I know, so I said to them, "oh yes you do," and they started laughing.

They checked everything, was the battery.  Sold me, and installed, a new battery.  Started right up, all's good.  Would love to tell that wrecker driver, see, it really was the battery.  I don't have to be wrong, just cause I'm female...

I got home... at like 9 pm.  I walked in the door to a phone call from that person who wanted me to pair those two chins for her.  She was a bit curious about why I'd fallen off the face of the earth all day, and wanted to be sure that she really was getting the two chins.  I explained all of the above to her (and I should mention, my phone died somewhere in the middle of all of this) and she was super understanding.  No problem there.

The reason I mention all of this is just so you all can see how wildly things can go askew.  I intended to be home, early afternoon at the absolute latest, get a ton of chins listed, a ton of work done.  Versus 9 pm.  I still got stuff done that night, but not quite like I'd anticipated, and while of course, this sort of level of insanity doesn't happen on a daily basis, it's not uncommon for a day to take a twist, especially if someone calls about an urgent rescue, or something happens with a vehicle, or something.  I try to get everything done as quickly as I can, and get everyone's emails and questions answered in a timely manner, but I just post this to remind that life does happen sometimes, and just keep in mind, I do my best to work around it!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Going On's / GoFundMe

So, if you frequent our facebook page or our website, you have probably seen our recent GoFundMe campaign.  In case you haven't already run across it, you can check it out, here -->  Replenish Stolen Rescue Funds

It's sad, isn't it?  When you think you can trust someone, and then they not only betray your trust, but do so in a way that significantly affects your livelihood?

I do have a new worker, and while he's going to be leaving for college in the fall, in the meantime, he's pretty awesome.  We can knock out cleaning cages in record time, doing it together, and with his help, I'm trying to piece back together what I can.

I was talking to someone earlier about how I've had this guy here working, and they said, well, if I don't have a lot of money, how can I afford to have help?  Well, basically, how can I not?  There's a lot going on here on a daily basis, and while I don't need help at all times, and while certain things need to be done myself, there's a lot that can be accomplished with an extra set of hands.

The safe was stolen back in April.  I discovered it was gone on April 18th.  Since then, I've cleaned cages myself, and until about two weeks ago, I had almost no help here.  That's fine, don't get me wrong. but adding cage cleaning, on top of all the other work and responsibilities, got me a bit behind.  Not to mention, before all this, I had almost daily help from the guy who was stealing, and then went almost a month without anyone here working... it's easy to get behind in a situation like that.  Now, Issa and I are working on making toys and houses.  Organizing the basement.  We already did the garage the other day, and moved the used cages downstairs.  Those will soon be set up with shelves and available for sale.  We're working on knocking out orders.  Right now, we're down to just a few orders.

Yes, I agree, I'd rather do this all on my own, without help... or at least, without paying someone for help, as that would keep more money in the rescue fund.  However, to keep moving forward requires money (among other things, but the bills don't get paid with hopes and dreams), and the way to make money is to have toys to sell, have houses to sell, have the used cages ready to go if someone wants them.  I want to keep this place going, and I am doing everything in my power to do so.

Right now, every cent coming in is going directly into paying for feed / shavings / bills, and so on and so forth.  That's where the GoFundMe comes in, there's already been several donations (thanks to all who donated, and to all who left kind comments and well-wishes), and I hope some more keep trickling in.  Every little bit helps,  I'm trying to do everything in my power, and I hope that people can see that, and if they feel so inclined, can donate in one way or another.

Some people have asked about donating things other than cash -- sure!  We can always use stuff.  We actually have a list on our website of possible items to donate here,  As you may notice, there's not "chinchilla cages" or "dust" or "bedding" or whatever on the list... though people are welcome to donate those items as well... I just made that list to be sort of general, easier to find, not-necessarily-pet-related things, that we use a ton.

Other people have asked about volunteering.  Volunteering is something I can never get enough of!  If you want to help, I guarantee you there is something you can do to help out.  Whether you prefer donating to the GoFundMe, donating items, donating your time / volunteering, or heck, even adopt a chinchilla or purchase some supplies.  Every little bit helps keep us going!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


So, we all know, a picture is worth 1,000 words. 

Some of us know, lighting can affect these pictures tremendously. 

In my basement, I have a drop ceiling with those long tube bulbs, hidden behind those semi see-through panels.  But, there's some dark corners, and so there's track lighting on the one side. 

Someone wanted to see a pic of this one medium ebony chinchilla, and I thought, rather than get out my cage that I use for pics and all, I'll get a great pic under the track lights. 

Yeah, no.

Now, I should mention... those lights do NOT point down.  They point out and to the left, and the chin was right below them.  But you can see, looking at that photo, how yellow the whole thing looks (being on wood, which reflects the light, undoubtedly didn't help), and how the chin looks all off-color, and (at least to me), very unappealing.

Versus these photos...

... which are the same chin, in case you didn't catch on.  That's literally not 10-15 feet away from where the first pics were taken.  At least to me, the chin looks considerably more appealing in those photos (and with much better color!).

I've had many people ask, over the years, about taking good photos.  It's common to hear people say about how the chin is blurry or the color is off or doesn't look true-to-life, or something.  This is where something as simple as playing with the environment and the spot where the photo is taken can make a big difference.  I sometimes think... people must think I take one photo, and it's amazing.  No, I take like 200, and end up with 4 good ones.  Play around!  It's fun.  Just thought that'd be an interesting post for today.