So, it's been brought to my attention that this blog's been kind of dead lately. Yeah, I know. In all reality, the rescue's been kind of dead lately. I've seen way more people for supply pickups and considerably more volunteers than I've seen adoptions. Couldn't really specify why, just the way it's been lately.
So, for lately, we had the girl scouts over. I know, pictures, but they're on a different computer, and it's already 3 am, so those pictures will come another day. It was great, they learned about the rescue and about chinchillas, and made goodie bags, and everyone got to take a picture or two with a critter, so it went well.
Then today, I was over at Meredith's. Brought the grooming combs but we never did groom. Lately it seems like I go there and I'm like internal affairs or something -- I go there and discover things wrong that need to be fixed or need to be observed. Like Meredith was wanting to put two chins together, and wanted a second set of eyes to observe, and they were sort of getting along, but would clearly need some time to work it out... but in the end, I told her, she wanted to show the one chin at Nationals and 2 months before a show is not the time to accidentally get fur pulled out in a scuffle. So the chins were separated.
Then, she'd noticed that one of her chins wasn't eating as much, so she pulled her out and asked me to check her teeth. Well, through some amazing stroke of bad luck, the chin's collar was too loose and had started to come off her head -- only it got lodged between her front teeth like a bit (on a bridle) for a horse. Ouch. So, the collar had cut into the corners of her mouth already and had to be peeled off slowly, but the actual wound didn't look too horrible. So the collar came off, we blu-koted the wound, and I saw her eating some hay in her cage shortly after. So she'll probably be fine.
The last time I was at Meredith's place, I discovered that one of her females needed a bigger collar, as the collar she had on had started to embed itself into her neck. Internal affairs? Yeah.
Don't get me wrong, Meredith cares for all of her chins just fine. Collar issues are something all breeders deal with -- there's only four spots for the rivet to go in on a collar, so effectively four settings. You need larger? That's gonna cost you like 3x the cost of a normal breeding collar and you gotta order it. There's no just picking up an xl collar from the nearby breeder, no one has them except one or two ranches. And there's no easy way to make sure the collar's an awesome fit without just putting it on and letting time pass -- because that chin with the partially-digging-in collar -- I helped put that collar on, and I checked it and could get a finger under it -- so it was fine when put on, and not pressing on her neck, but then once it was on.....
I have had a chin with a partially embedded collar. I also had a chin, within the last few days, with a loose collar. She could have easily gotten her collar stuck between her upper and lower incisors like Meredith's did. Instead, mine chose to take off her collar, go into the run, and go terrorize another female. While Squishy looked on all confused-like. Now, it's possible Squishy (male) took off her collar, but it's also possible that it was simply too loose, so I had to pull her out, readjust the collar to the smallest setting (the rivet moves to one of two settings, and can go into an additional 1-2 holes -- hard to explain if you can't see it) and then put it on. Now, I don't think it's too tight, she just has a small neck... but we shall see.
Collar issues are not fun. For those breeders successfully using colony cages or runs without collars -- kudos. The rest of us have blu-kote handy and hope we catch any problems early. Which is pretty easy to do, as its pretty easy to tell if a chin stops eating in a run and the first check is teeth/collar-problem.
But back to rescue stuff. So, this morning I had this one person stop by with one of her friends. The first person had been here before, had adopted several critters with her family, and then dropped off several other critters to be re-homed, and at the same time, bought a used cage and shavings for one of her critters. I shouldn't complain. I'm and getting animals and getting sales all from one person. Lol. So then today she wanted to get some treats, so she got her treats and then she had a friend with her who wanted a hamster cage, so they picked out a cage. So, another sale, always good.
Another cage I've had on hold for this one person forever. Normally I wouldn't do an indefinite hold, but this was an adoptive home who'd come back several times, so I trust they would be back again. Got an email today that they are hoping to come this weekend to pick it up, along with some other items. Always good.
So, the degus are back up for adoption. The person literally fell off the face of the earth, as they are tending to do lately. I need to move the girls to a bigger cage -- I had put them in a smaller one as they were supposed to be picked up the following day, but when that didn't happen -- well, I'd already cleaned the HUGE cage so I could sell it, so they're going to be staying in a smaller one, but it definitely doesn't have to be the little one they're currently in. So they'll probably get moved within the next day or so.
Now that it's February, I need to re-list all the critter ads, and I will have some new ones to list, the new rabbits and I think I'll put up ads for Joker maybe cause I think she's ready to go on 3/1.
Oh, so I was going through pictures on my phone, and I have an iPhone (which in reality, I probably do "need" because I do so much stuff for the rescue on it) and I take screenshot photos all the time, and I came across this one screenshot, that reminded me of something. Anyway, I probably got this phone, at the very least, last summer, so not long ago, but it was sometime last year that I had a few people see the rescue and say they wanted to start one of their own, but say that they probably wouldn't be able to handle the emotionally/physically traumatized critters and they basically asked, how do you do it? And you won't hear me go on and say it doesn't bother me if we get in a chin that badly needs to be put down, or one that's leg is 3x the size and oozing and swelled purplish with infection because someone didn't want to pay for its vet bill, or if we get in a prairie dog with no fur from the shoulders down, and multiple puncture (bite) wounds because the people let their hunting dogs play "tag" with him. It bothers me, it does. I do feel like, at some point, you do become somewhat calloused to all of it. It doesn't make it better, or easier, but it allows you to look at the critters that come in that are healthy as a sort of blessing. It's almost like you can look at a chin with a respiratory infection and say, "you think this is bad, you should have seen this other chin...." But anyway, this screenshot, I thought explained it well. It has nothing to do with rescue, in fact, I don't remember what it has to do with, but it totally applies. If this is from a book or something like that, and someone knows, let me know so I can credit the proper person. And because my email on this computer is being a butt, I can't just paste the screenshot so I have to type it:
How do you do it? - he asked.
A good question....a one I had to ponder.
Is there any one good answer? Is there any advice I might find within me to offer?
It's really not that complex - I said. It's about showing up. It's about regularity... repetition... routine. It's about returning day after day and again and again. It's about feeling that something new and different in the same ol'... same ol' way.
No - it's not easy... no one ever promised that. No - easy - it's not....nor ever will be.
But simple? Yes - simple... not complicated - I think it's that.
I think that really says it all. I'm no one special, I'm sure I don't have a knack for running a rescue any more than the average person does. It's a learning curve. The people who know me from way back when remember different forms, heck, no forms/applications, different cages, different treats, things change over time. Anyone can learn.
But the real "difficulty" in running a rescue is (as noted above) simply showing up. It's repetition, day after day. Feed the critters, water the critters, medicate the critters, let the critters out to play, clean the critters' cages. Get in the throwaways critters that are seen as disposable because they live in a cage. Handle the critters, help them realize nice people really do exist, and so do chew toys and playtime. Watch some of the critters blossom and go into new homes. Sanctuary the critters that will never find new homes. Watch the critters try their hardest to survive, but give them their peace if it's time (or long past time). Over and over. The critters themselves change, but their stories are mostly remarkably similar.
There's nothing magical about what goes on here. Sure, I love seeing critters go to their new homes, but the majority of the stuff I do is simple -- anyone could do this. I think the difference is having the resolve to keep showing up, keep helping the critters, keep striving for a better life for them. It's not easy, and I don't think anyone can ever really "get used to" seeing animals in pain or animals mistreated. I know I've talked, many times, about closing the rescue. In reality... I don't think I could.
As another rescue-owning-friend once said to me, "What would happen to the animals (in the future, that would have come to the rescue)? Who would've been there for Fuzzy, or Rochelle, or Shiloh? Who would have spent the money on them that your rescue did?" I wouldn't want to think of what would have happened to some of these animals had they not come to the rescue. While I don't know what the outcome would have been, I would tend to think it wouldn't be very good, based on how I see people care for their pets when they come into the rescue. What I can tell you is that Fuzzy ($1,000+ spent), Rochelle ($500+ spent), and Shiloh ($3,400+ spent since he came here, and we're not done fixing his teeth) sure wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the rescue. I'm not positive whether Fuzzy's still around (he was older when we had him, and that was years ago), but Rochelle is still under a year old and Shiloh's just now about 4-5 years (prairie dogs live 10-15 years). Rochelle has her whole life ahead of her and a new home waiting to take her home, and Shiloh has the rest of his to live out in the lap of luxury -- neither one would have had any life had immediate vet care not been undertaken. Of course, there have been other expensive rescues as well, these are just the ones that are more recent and people know about.
I care too much. I would wonder what's happening with the critters that don't have a rescue to go to. So I likely couldn't do it. It's not easy working with the critters day in and day out, but it is simple, and just takes someone who wants to make the effort.