Sunday, June 3, 2012

What a Rescue Is vs. What a Rescue Is Not (aka Rude People)

So, today, I got an email in response to my ebay classifieds ad listing all of the used cages we have for sale.  Opened the email, and it said:

hey do you think i could get your biggest cage for free because i have a bunny but she is pregnant and my cage is too small for her and we need a new one fast please and thank you write me back 

I would rather not even respond to emails like this, but I thought, I'll at least respond.  I didn't want to go into the why and all, so I just said, "Sorry, no."

Email I got in reply:

whaqt the fuck ever goodbye bitch 

Excuse me?  Ok, I am not playing this game.  I am not going to "feel bad" because of someone's bad situation.  Which brings me to the question of what a rescue is, and what a rescue is not. 

In my view -- a rescue is a place that can take in animals in need, care for them, make them better, house them until they find homes (if ever, if not, then house them until they pass naturally), find them good homes, and help people out when they can. 

A rescue is NOT the place where you come to beg when you need help.  Just my opinion.  Let me explain.  I am more than happy to help people out who need it.  By that, I mean, people who get into situations they can't handle and are unable to keep their pet.  Or people who need something minor that I can help with, that isn't going to break the bank.

Not that giving this person a cage would break the bank.  However, note that she wanted the largest cage.  In looking at my cages for sale... the "largest" cages would not be at all appropriate for a rabbit, and the ones that WOULD be appropriate for a rabbit would only be appropriate for maybe a dwarf rabbit -- surely not a pregnant female.  Which makes me think she didn't even look at the cages, she just saw the ad and emailed.

I'm sure this is going to sound heartless, but I really feel -- how is it MY problem that her rabbit is pregnant and she doesn't have a large enough cage?  Pets are a luxury, not a right.  If you can't afford them, and whatever care, including caging or other things, that they require, then I honestly do not feel you should have a pet.  Period.  Now, I'm not talking about the people who have a chin with malo who've just been quoted $2000 for surgery by their vet.  Been there, done that, it would be hard for me to afford it either.  But a larger cage?  The biggest rabbit cage you can buy in a pet store is, guaranteed, under $100.  A used one on craigslist - bound to be even less, probably not even half that.  If she can't afford the $100 for a larger cage, then what if the rabbit was too small to deliver the babies, and needed a c-section?  Well, she surely wouldn't be able to afford the HUNDREDS that that would cost.  Now, I don't think people should have to be ready for every medical expense that arises... I have credit cards for a reason.  My dog gets sick or we get in 20 sick rescues, I can charge it.  But the point is, I WILL charge it.  This person, on the other hand, is asking for handouts, because they are not prepared.  Again, not my fault, and not my problem.  I have no problem lowering prices of things, helping people out if they're not able to pay what I'm asking.  I've lowered adoption fees of chins, threw in extra food, extra chews, extra lots of stuff, because I know the people could use it and I know they WOULD charge vet bills if the time came.  But in this case, she makes it sound like her rabbit clearly needs this larger cage, and, rather than asking, hey, lower the price a bit, no, she wants one for free.  And not just any one, the "largest one."  You see, this is why I left it at "No, sorry."  Cause I could go on and on about the responsibility of the pet owner.  As a rescue, it is my responsibility to care for the pets in my care.  That means that my pets and my rescues will get the care they need, including any special cages, special accommodations, etc.  Some people remember how we converted part of the floor in the chin-area into a makeshift home for Cadbury a few weeks ago.  She was clearly meant to be a house rabbit, and showed it.  We couldn't actually let her run around the house, so we sectioned off an area of floor as her new cage.  Completely willing to go the extra mile for pets in my care... but everyone else's pets?  I will help if I can, but there comes a point when I have to say no.  I've given away hammocks and chew toys to people surrendering some chins, but keeping a few for themselves.  That's not my "highest limit" for what I'll do, but my "largest cages" are all over $100, and that's the used price.  Giving one away for free?  Sorry, no.  At the end of the day, here's the thing - I have to have money to run the rescue.  Hate to break it to all those who think it's just a party over here, but the rescue doesn't pay for itself.  I spend way more caring for chins than I do adopting them out.  People find that impossible, considering we get the rescues "for free" yet charge for them, but it does cost money to care for them while they are here.  That part's not free, and a lot of rescues are here for several months.  That requires food, water (we use Pur3 filtered), shavings, hay, treats, chews, cage cleaners, vinegar, electricity... it's not pennies a day, and that's fine.  But don't ask me to care for your pets.  Had the girl wanted to drop off the rabbit, saying she knew she didn't have the means to care for it cause her cage was too small, we have a one of our two rabbit cages empty at the moment.  And they were donated by a dear friend, so I can't even say that they cost me money, but at the same time, I need those two cages for when we get in rabbits.  I can't sell them, much less give them away.  I have to think of the animals HERE and the ones that will come here in the future.  Shit, if I was going to give away free cages, why don't I already give away the chins with entire setups and everything?  Oh yeah, cause while people would snatch them up, those same people wouldn't have the money to pay for them when the animals needed vet care or needed anything that actually was going to cost them some of their hard-earned money.  The only way the rescue "pays for itself" is through the fact that I sell products.  The sale of food, dust, shelves, hidey houses, etc... all of that, which takes time for me to make the wood products, helps the rescue pay for itself.  Last year, the rescue broke even, with a little left over.  First year ever to not be in the negative at the end of the year.  But here's the thing - no one's paying for my time, gas, effort, nothing.  That's fine, I'm not asking for it.  But don't ask for handouts and giveaways.

Does that make me a bitch?  Maybe.  If it does, it makes me a bitch that cares more about the critters in my care than helping out people who don't feel like helping themselves.  

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