Saturday, March 30, 2013

Rochelle update

So, as many people know, Rochelle went home over the Nationals weekend.  But I got a call today from her previous owners.

They wanted to say thank you for rehoming her and raising the money to save her leg.  And then asked me to never contact them again.  I told them, I just had emailed them to let them know that she had found a good home.  I can't imagine what else they think I would want to say in the future.

Then they went on to yell at me about how horrible I was for posting all those "horrible things about them."  I told them, I posted that they didn't want to pay the vet bills -- true.  I posted that they left the chin for a week to suffer because they thought it'd get better, even though the condition worsened by the day -- true.  I posted that they wanted the chin back after I spent money "fixing" her -- true.

Horrible things?  Sure, I guess, but they're all.... TRUE.  They went on to tell me how they've had chins for years -- and somehow this is supposed to excuse them from paying a vet bill? -- and how I didn't know the whole story.  That's true, I have no idea what else is going on in their lives, but the truth is the truth -- don't like it?  Tough shit.  They did it.  If they didn't want me to post about how they neglected their chin for a week, and then asked a rescue to take it in, treat it, and give it back to them -- then they shouldn't have told me all of that.  Because it'd be one thing if I made them out to be something they're not, but all I did was tell the truth.  Apparently they don't like the truth -- but it's what they did!  Not my fault if they can't face the truth of what they did.  I don't deserve to be treated this way because of that.

I think the part that still gets me most about all of this is that they wanted me to treat it and give it back.  Um, excuse me?  With a pet comes financial responsibility.  This is not a 5 year old where mommy and daddy pay for the vet care and the pet stays here under the kid's care.  These are grown people who wanted someone else to take financial responsibility for their pet.  What were they going to do, call me up the next time something happened? and I'd treat it again and give it back?  I mean come on.  With a pet comes responsibility.

The best part is that they said they saw how I raised the money and all that, and they saw my website and my blog, and it was through all of that that they saw "all the horrible things I wrote about them."  They said they understood that I have to say what I have to say to raise the money -- but it's not like I was lying!  I just explained the situation, the truth, as I saw it.  I really don't care if they read this about them.  I do not feel it is right for someone to call up me and yell at me after taking in their chin, treating its injuries, finding it a home -- and they don't like cause I told the truth about them?  Well, shit, they wanted to be portrayed in a better light, maybe they should have brought the chin here the first day instead of waiting a week until all the fur'd fallen out, the leg was swelled to 3x the size, and infection had set in.   Better yet, maybe they should have taken responsibility for the pet they decided to own (it didn't ask to be owned by them), and took it to the vet themselves.  Sorry, just telling the truth....I can't help if they'd rather me sugarcoat it. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"Buying" Chinchillas

So, I've had this question asked several times lately -- does the rescue buy chinchillas.  The answer -- no, we don't.  I've run across a variety of rescues and humane organizations that have a dropoff fee.  Last week, I saw one that had a "special" where the drop-off fee was *reduced* to $75 (per some sort of sale).  Now, my eyes bug out at the $75 dropoff fee, considering their chinchillas start at $100.  Not that that would imply that that rescue is rolling in the dough, but I would imagine a lot of people would tend to not drop off their chinchillas there once they see the $75 (or higher, once the sale's over) dropoff fee.

Which makes me think that this rescue, and the others that don't have drop-off fees, are really a bonus to those people who need us.  Because you want to drop off your chin at the other place, you pay $75.  You drop it off here, I don't ask for a cent, you keep your $75.

.... but you want me to pay you for that chin?  Excuse me?

No.  Sorry, but no.  When we take in a chinchillas, we have to care for it until it gets adopted.  All the animals stay here 30+ days to ensure they're eating/drinking/healthy.  That's not free.  For those 30 days (minimum), the chinchillas has to be fed, watered, have hay, chew toys to chew, clean bedding, dust for dust baths, and so on.  Not to mention, most chinchillas aren't adopted at the 30 day mark.  Oh that'd be nice, and it happens sometimes when we have young chinchillas or colors other than the typical standard grey.  But for most chinchillas, they stay here an average of 3 months.  During that three months, I wouldn't doubt I spend more to care for the chinchilla than I make back on its adoption fee.  That's beside the point, as the goal of the rescue is not to make money.

The point is, if I was to pay out money, to purchase chins to come into the rescue, I'd really be digging the rescue into a hole.  The rescue doesn't support itself without selling supplies, chew toys, everything under the sun.  Just caring for and adopting out animals is nowhere near a breakeven, like it's several thousand away from a breakeven, without selling all the supplies.  If I was to expend more money getting those animals, it'd be even more ridiculous.

And the best part is that these people never want like $50 for their chinchilla.  I had someone awhile back who kept pestering me to buy their $300 ultra rare white mosaic chinchilla to come into the rescue.  I nicely explained that if the chinchilla needed to come into the rescue, it would have a home here until we adopted it out, but we would not be paying $300 for it.  That ad was up for months for that chin.  I wonder if they ever sold it.  I feel like there's people out there who either (1) think that by paying money, this ensures a good home.  Problem with this?  I've seen people pay a ton of money for animals and then not want to expend a cent to get them vet care.  Money does not always equal good home.  It doesn't hurt -- because if they don't want to spend anything on the animal, I don't feel that always bodes well for medical treatment -- but just because they spend money, or don't spend money, does not automatically mean good home or bad home.  Or (2) the people who haaaaaaaave to have money for their animal.   I've seen a lot of cases where it was the kid's pet, kid went to college, left the pet with the parents.  Kid never expressed interest in getting the pet back or anything, so parents decide the animal needs to go to a good home.  That's fine.  No problems there...but it always seems these type of people can't let go of the pet without some sort of monetary compensation.   I get it, it's an animal, still considered property, sell-able at will, but... I feel like isn't a good home worth more than the money they're asking for?  To me, the peace of mind would be worth more than whatever amount they're asking for.

So as for the real life people -- I tell them, if they're set on asking money for the pet, by all means, but they should know that money doesn't always justify a good home, and I suggest that they ask about how the animal will be cared for.  What it will eat, how often it will be taken out, how big the cage is going to be.  Good homes have no problems answering these questions.  The people that do have a problem -- do they really need the pet anyway?  Because really, if you have the correct sized cage for a rabbit, then by all means, let me know.  If you don't want to tell me, my first instinct is to wonder, what type of cage do they have?  Are they going to use that's too small, or not appropriate?   That very well could be a wrong first assumption, but if there's nothing to hide, then by all means, tell me about the cage.  Just my thoughts.  The good homes know what I mean -- they're very forthcoming, have no problems sharing what type of home they will provide, and, in the process, letting me know what type of pet parents they will be.  Finding a good home isn't about how much money someone will pay for your pet, but what kind of life they will provide it.  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Nationals! (more in depth)

Ok, yeah, so Nationals was last weekend, but anyone who knows me knows that I procrastinate everything.... and in all fairness to myself, it's been a busy week here.  But let's get back to Nationals.  So, we got there Friday reasonably uneventfully.  Signed the forms that would sign our lives away if the critters chewed up our rooms, and went in.  Between fast food, a run to Walmart, a drive out to the show hall, and grooming chins... we were in bed at like 3 am.  Again.  So much for "we will get to bed earlier this time."

Unlike the last show, where Gin (one of Meredith's chins) had gotten out, this time we had prepared and had used a spring latch to hold the carrier shut.  All was good and well... til Gypsy got out.  Twice.  I'm not sure how she did it, but she did it.  The second time, by the time I'd even made it off the bed and towards the carrier, she'd hopped back up into her hole.  Evil little turd.  I moved her to a different hole in the carrier, and I guess the latch must have been more secure, cause that's where the problems ended.

Though I kept hearing her messing with it all night, which didn't help at all for sleeping purposes.

...and so much for getting up early.  We were probably up around 7:30, which really wasn't a problem, as we'd groomed the chins the night before and only had to do touch-ups and tails.   So, we got our numbers and got the chins groomed, tails clipped, and in cages.  We were asked by Brent (Walter, of B&B Chinchillas) to go through and write the birthdate on the back of all of the cage cards, so we did that.

I managed to find someone to talk to during the pelt show (which, in all fairness, I've seen plenty of times, and, with the pelts being, well, dead... there's not much going on), while Meredith helped out by bringing pelts to the show table.  I'm sure there's a term for that but I don't know it off hand.

When the live animal show started, then most everyone sat down to watch.  We had seats in the third row behind Firebaugh and some other tall people, so we spent most of the show maneuvering ourselves so we could actually see the chins.  Couldn't tell you much about the show itself, it's a lot of repetition.  The animals are divided by color, and then colors are divided by classes, which are further divided by class based on age and sex.  So, the colors would be white, beige, standard ("naturelle" in show terminology), and so on.  For the color white, it's further divided into white with dark guard hairs, predominantly white, pink white / white with beige guard hairs, and mosaic.  Standard is divided into light, light medium, medium, dark medium, dark, and extra dark.  Within those color classes are four further divisions:  1 (males under 7 months old), 2 (females under 7 months old), 3 (males over 7 months old), and 4 (females over 7 months old).

So, the show starts with whites.  So they first do predominantly white, go through all four classes (assuming there are chins entered into all four), and then move onto white with dark guard hairs, and go through all four classes, and then move onto pink white / white with beige guard hairs, and go through all four classes, and then move onto mosaic, and go through all four classes.  And amid all of that, the top chins from those classes go head to head to become class champions or reserve class champions, to later compete for the possibility of becoming color phase champion, which is decided at the point all the whites have been shown.

And that's just one color.  There are seven recognized colors: white, sapphire (includes colors such as blue diamond), violet, beige (includes colors such as goldbar/recessive white), naturelle, black, and ebony.  So, there's a lot of repetition going on.

I had brought a pink white female to show, as well as two chins that I had pulled from breeding -- a male hetero beige reserve color phase champ, and a female homo beige.  The pink white (Gypsy) received a 2nd place, which is reasonable, considering she is still on the small side, though she did get nice comments about being very blue and having good fur.


The male and female both received 3rds, which I pretty much expected, knowing I had only recently pulled them from breeding and knew they were not in tip-top shape.  Breeding animals never look the same as an animal that has been living alone, been growing out, and such.  The judges noticed the collar lines on the female, and on both of them noted that they had likely been in breeding, but they had likely been nice looking chins at one point.  Neither had clarity issues, which is really what I was listening for, as clarity of color is something I still sometimes can't "see" very well, so since they both have good color, they can stay.  As I'm still working on developing that eye for clarity, I don't want to be keeping chins in my herd that have clarity issues, as that will only further increase clarity problems, but also, would not be benefitting anyone to be bred.  Breeding bad to bad never makes good.  

So, the female doesn't have a name yet, but here she is:

....and yes, her eyes really are a jelly-bean red... though NOT as red as that picture makes them look.

The male is still sort of un-named, but he's tentatively named Benji:

Unrelated to the show specifically, but these two chins were in the carrier holes next to each other on the way home, and I got the cutest picture:

These two lovebugs are currently in a run together.

...besides just being cute, I think the picture shows a good example of the difference between a heterozygous beige (left) and a homozygous beige (right).  The hetero beige is the expression of one beige gene, which results in a darker, more tan-colored beige.  Because a hetero beige only has one beige gene, they can throw beige or standard kits.  A homo beige is the expression of two beige genes, which results in a lighter, more creamy colored beige.  Because a homo beige has two beige genes, they can throw only beige kits.

So Meredith's chins did reasonably well.  One of her black velvet's didn't win the class, but was noted for having the whitest belly, which is definitely something worth striving for with bv's.  Most of her other chins did well.  She picked up a standard male to bring home from the auction.

So, while the show had been going on, in the pink white class was this stunning pink white -- beige except for its face, which was white, and it's belly, which was white.  Stark demarcations as well, making this one of those chins that got people talking.  They pass out a list of what numbers are whos chins, so if you see a chin up on the show table, you can look and determine who's chin it is.  So, we found out that the chin was Mish's chin, and I wanted to ask if it was for sale.  Well, Meredith somehow found out that Mish had sent pictures of this chin onto Jim Ritterspach, who is like *the* person in the chin world.  Jim is the guy behind, which has all the herd improvement amazing chinchillas and the rare mutations and all.  But, we figured it couldn't hurt to ask.  So, as seems to be the tradition at Nationals, Mish was the one announcing the placings of the chins, and placing the stickers (denoting the placings) on the cage cards.  Which meant, unlike just about everyone else there... I couldn't bug her until the entire show was over.   You all know my patience level is not known for being high, that was a long 8-something hours.  Cause whites go first.

So finally, the show's over, and I go over and ask Mish, and she said yeah the chin was for sale, but was already sold to Jim.  Well, Meredith had this idea of talking to Jim.  Now, to me, I'm like, "you gotta be kidding, you want me to ask someone who just bought a chin to sell it."  And Meredith, being, well, Meredith, was totally like "yeah."  At that point, it was kind of like well, what's the worst that can happen, so I went over by Jim, waited until he had a free moment, and told him that I was interested in this chin that he'd just purchased.  Well, he ended up telling me that his wife was doing the negotiating, as he had been judging, and so he said let's go talk to Mish.  So we find Mish and it turns out that Jim's wife was still going back and forth on if she wanted the chin or not.  So Jim asked what she wanted for the chin, and she said $300, and he turned to me.  So I said that I was fine with that and then he said if I really wanted the chin I could have it.  Awesome.  So I thanked Mish and she said something about "well, you asked Jim" kinda incredulously, which, I still look back and think, I can't believe I asked someone who I thought had just bought a chin to sell it.  But then... it's Jim.  He can have his pick of chins anywhere in the world.  The rest of us have to fight for what we want.  So I got my money, paid Mish, got my chin.  Mish asked if I wanted her ribbon (she got a 1st), which I did, I think that's cool.  I don't have a lot of ribbons at the moment, so to me, I'll take what I can get, haha.

So here's the cutie:

And totally not even evil!  Amazing.  Not so true of the other chins I came home with.  I tell ya, if I'd known at the time, this might have been named Psycho Chinchillas instead of NWI Chinchillas, as I know how to pick the nutballs!  I got a female 1st place standard in the auction from the Lemlers, she managed to take a bite out of me before I even got her in her carrier.  She may very well be named Diva, as this girl thinks very highly of herself and is a very prissy girl.

Also got a Hendryx standard.  Meredith started to compliment Juanita Hendryx on doing well in the show, when someone (Cheryl?) commented to us that Juanita was deaf and couldn't hear us, we had to speak directly to her and loudly.  Ah ok.  So, we got to talking with her, very nice person, and I ended up taking home one of her female growers who also placed 1st.  Very nice chin, tad bit psycho.  Wanted to take off my fingers as I got her collar on, and she actually managed to grab the collar and throw it several times.  Once, she even grabbed the collar and took the entire thing apart before I could get it away from her.  Hope she doesn't do that while in the run.

Meredith and I both got raffle tickets -- she won hay and a wine basket, and I won a small animal treat basket.  Luckily for me, I have the rescue, as most things in the basket weren't chin safe, but my other critters will love them, so I came home with something for everyone.  :)

So, after definitely learning my lesson at the last show, to never, EVER come home the same night if at all possible, we headed back to the hotel.  Got some nice relaxing in at the pool and hot tub, and omg like melted into bed.  Drove back around mid-day on Sunday.  Detoured off the toll-road to stop in Bristol, IN, where we picked up an owner-surrender -- a beige female chinchilla named Critter.  They were right on our way home, so we saved them probably an hour and a half drive to Munster.
Got back and had everything unpacked just in time for one of my adoptive homes to arrive to pick up their guinea pig.

Originally, we were supposed to go Meredith, her husband Brandon, and me.  Which would have been fine, had we not been anticipating picking up so many supplies.  Originally, we were supposed to pick up 13 pounds of wood, but that was canceled prior to the show date, as the wood person wasn't going to be there due to a medical issue.  So one thing less.  But, we were going to have two 6-hole carriers (mine), then we were going to pick up another 6-hole carrier (for Meredith and them), as well as three bags of dust, two boxes of Ryerson water bottles (so 80 bottles), plus a box filled with the metal water bottle holders, stoppers, and sipper tubes, plus some breeding collars.  Plus we had our bags, the chins, my grooming toolbox, some food/snacks....and let's not forget, she won the hay and wine basket and I won the small animal basket, which also took up more room... and then the stop in Bristol gave us an additional box of chin supplies, a chin in a carrier, and a chin cage.  So here's how it all looked when we pulled up back home:

That's with both back seats down and everything stacked and triple stacked to make everything fit.  There is NO way we would have fit a third person in there, even if we hadn't had the cage and extra rescue chin that we hadn't anticipated.   I had actually brought my rachet straps with me, in the event we'd had to put something up on the roof rack, because I'd been really iffy that three people AND all that stuff was going to fit.  And that was just figuring on the ryerson supplies, not counting the baskets we won and the other extras.  So in a way, Brandon's bowing out at the last minute worked for the best, because we never had to figure out how to fit everything and a person behind the front seats.

Well, since the show, had 6 animals go home.  Oh and Rochelle went home at the show, she went home with Tricia, one of our breeder friends, as a pet.  I have pics of those, but it's already late, so that's for another day.    

So with the addition of the new critters, the runs are full.  We have Myshkin (white ebony) with the two new standards and Dreamz (std).  Then Benji (hetero beige) is with Mish's pink white, Gypsy, and the un-named homo beige.  And then Squishy (std) is with Lexi. (hetero beige)... and assuming the two chins recover, he will also be with Nikki (hetero beige), and Jessie (mosaic).  Then we have our pair of holding cages, which are now being used for our retired pairs that just sort of breed once in awhile, rather than having a whole run to themselves.  The one has Nytro and Puff and the other has Bailey and Shimmy.  So hopefully four months from now, we'll be hearing the pitter patter of tiny little chinny feet.

I've heard from several other people who wanted to get Mish's pink white, which makes me feel even better about spending the money to get her.  When you're fighting over a chin, it's typically worth having.  She still doesn't have a name.  My mom said she looks like an owl, and I suppose she does look vaguely like a barn own, so she's been termed "the owl-chin" at the moment.  So far, out of all the males, I've only seen Benji trying to cuddle up to Gypsy (of all chins!), who has practically made herself into our new Dreamz.  Dreamz has seemed to tone down the attitude a bit... now, the barking and kacking coming from the runs is coming mostly from Gypsy.  Lol.

Anyway, will post soon about the recent adoptions and other goings on at the rescue.  Had to post this stuff as time had been passing.  But will update on the rescue front soon.

Friday, March 15, 2013


So, we are going to Nationals tomorrow!  I'm driving and Meredith and her husband are coming.  I just got my chins groomed tonight.  Last minute as usual.  Still haven't packed though, and I want to say we're leaving in 10 hours?

But other things, that normally wouldn't be done yet, are already done.  All the cages that needed to be cleaned are now cleaned.  All the chins are dusted, all the animals had their bowls topped off for food, and extra bowls and extra water bottles added to the cages that go through the food and water like no tomorrow.  The one rat cage, I was adding a second water bottle, and I'd just filled the first, and as I'm adding the second, I see the water slooowly pouring out the first.  Well no wonder I was thinking those rats were so thirsty!  So I pitched that one, just left the one big one on (which is like 4x the size of the other one, so they'll be good for a few days).   I left the chin and pig food out so I can top everything off again in the afternoon before I leave, but I should be good for water with all the fillups today. 

I have my 6-hole carrier ready and labeled.  Have the two girls separated so they don't decide to somehow kill each other through the metal.  Got a nice complacent boy in the middle who looked very pretty after his grooming.  With my luck he'll sit under his water bottle or sleep on his back in wet shavings tonight.  Hopefully not, but that's happened before.  I have literally had chins get pen stained in their carrier the night before show and I'm always like AHHHHHH.

So we will see.

The chins were... ah.... fun to groom.  Before I even got Gypsy out of her cage, she sprayed me in the face.  Then I groomed the boy without a hitch, and see, this is why I like males.  Then I pulled out the other female and I was almost done, and I had her down on the ground holding her by her tail, so I could rest my arm (I groom with em dangling in the air, versus the people who do it on their lap -- I can never get em to hold still enough).  So I had her down on the ground so my arm wouldn't fall off and the stinker just nonchalantly scuttled over to my leg and took a HUGE chomp out of it, like through my jeans, into the skin, everything.  The little turd! 

Anyway, they should be relatively easy to groom tomorrow, as I went through with all the combs today, but no doubt they'll go romping around in their shavings and leaning up against their water bottles.  I swear, every time I see the boy he's up front leaning on that water bottle.  It's like ahhhhh there's so much cage to sit in and he plunks himself down and lets it drip on him.  He's probably doing it right now, thinking, ha! this'll serve her.  We'll see.  He got reserve phase champ at his last show.... course, that was before I got him, so I want to see how he does, but he's a pretty boy, so hopefully good.

So the show's actually Saturday, but because I'm not a morning person and don't want to be up at the crack of dawn to drive there, we're driving over tomorrow night and then will be staying Saturday night as well, so we're not driving home late.  I remember driving home from the last show, which was the only one I've ever gone to where we haven't stayed the second night, and I remember poking Meredith and telling her that she needed to stay awake so we could talk and I could stay awake, but that won't be a problem leaving in the morning.   Plus, more time at the pool.  Yay.

So in non-show related news, one of the students from the high school has been here several times now, they're looking to adopt GiGi.  Dropped off their cage and I need to make shelves for it, so they will be coming back Tuesday.  Then, let's see, I have another student wanting to come next Friday I believe, need to email him back.  I need to set the date for when some of the other chins are leaving.  I need to email some people pics of the chins they've asked for pics of.  Business is booming for once.

Oh and Punkin, one of the rats dropped off yesterday, was adopted today.  She went home with the family that currently has Amber, one of our other rats they adopted.  She was adopted without a health guarantee, as being here one day isn't enough for me to go out on a limb and say that she's healthy, though the home that she was in -- they originally adopted her from here, and I've seen them spend several hundred on a rat before, so I'm not really worried that she isn't healthy.  Really, any of the animals can go early, but no health guarantee means that I won't be responsible for, or reimbursing for, any vet bills occurring within the first week after adoption.  Which some people are fine with, some not.  In reality, the health guarantee rarely comes into question.  Recently a guinea pig was adopted, and developed some sort of dry skin around her face.  She was treated and was fine.  And upon notification, I preventatively treated all the pigs here for mites/parasites (which it wasn't, but better safe than sorry).  Also had a rat awhile back that I adopted out early, and I (stupidly) gave the health guarantee, even though she'd barely been here two weeks... she started walking in circles within a few days, was treated, but by the time she started showing symptoms, the infection had progressed to her brain, so there was no fixing that.  Course, the death was after the family racked up a few hundred dollars in vet bills, more than I'd honestly spend on a single rat had it been here at the rescue, which is why now, they can still go early, but they're not going with a health guarantee if they're going early.  The whole point of the 30 days is that the incubation period of most illnesses is less than 30 days.  So if the animal's sick, it's going to show up, considerably more likely than not, in that first 30 days.  And when it does, it gets treated, hopefully gets well, and is often still up for adoption at 30 days. 

So, I currently have two people wanting female guinea pigs -- at the moment I only have one female baby, and it's going to the first person to contact me.  I called them a few days ago and they called back yesterday saying they were interested, so I'm going to email them pics in the morning and they're coming Tuesday.  Currently Pixie's getting a bit round, so I may have some more piggies soon.  We will see.

Anyway.  Going to bed now.  Will have my netbook with me (cause I can't live without it... or my phone) so may very well post updates during the weekend.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Why I Don't LIke to Ship Large Cages

So, I've gotten into heated arguments with people about shipping cages.  Right now, everyone and their brother wants me to ship cage #40, but no one wants to pay what it would cost to ship.  So, I've actually put on the website that I will not ship this cage.  And the reason being -- if someone was willing to pay shipping, that would be fine, but what invariably happens is that I get the cage taken apart, packed in a box, shipping calculated... and then the person says, no I don't want the cage. 

Or like the other day, I had someone who thought they wanted their (different) cage shipped, until I figured out that shipping would be $69, which, completely understandably, was too much.  So they said they'd come and get it and wanted it still taken apart.... well, until they got here and actually saw the size of it.  It's 24 x 24 x 41, but in their head, they thought it was going to be smaller than their 30 x 20 x 30 cage (which was too big)... the fact it was significantly larger was clear when they saw the size of the cage and the box I still had it in.  Course, the whole thing could have been solved by them actually reading the dimensions, but I digress.  The point is, the entire cage is still taken apart, still in its box, so I'm going to have to put it back together if I have any hopes of selling it.  Which I could have avoided had, first of all, they read the dimensions, but more importantly, had shipping not been so high.  So, my time taking apart the cage, packing it, all that, and now, having to rebuild it, is all basically a waste of time, which I honestly don't have enough of as it is.

Which brings us to today.  Text messages from today:

Them:   Love the cages the big one!!!!  Can I have mailed?? Or shipped

Me:   It's like at least 60 pounds and large, it'd cost a fortune to ship.  Like I had a smaller cage that was 25 pounds that someone wanted shipped and it was gonna be $60 to ship.  I can't imagine how much this cage would be.

Them:   Well, I need to find out because I'm committed to getting and purchasing one of your cages or that cage in particular!!!  And since I live in New Jersey I can't pick it up.  And just the whole setup and craftsmanship well I just got to have it

Me:   It actually says on the website the cage listing that I won't ship the cage.  Assuming it's 60 pounds, which it very well be more, shipping to Hoboken zip code would be roughly $75.  The cage itself is only $65.  In the off chance its over 70 pounds, it's not even shippable through USPS.  Not to mention, even if you wanted to pay the $75 to have it shipped, I may not have a box this big.  Even folded down its at least 30 x 36 x 12

Them:   Okay I get what you're saying I got it, I wouldn't have a problem spending the money but I respect what you're saying thank you

**** let's take a pause shall we?  "I wouldn't have a problem spending the money" -- to me, that meant that he wouldn't have a problem spending the money to ship, since I quoted shipping in the previous text, and I think my interpretation is a reasonable interpretation of what he said -- which leads me to this thought: if he's actually gonna pay the $75 shipping, I can ship the cage ****

Me:   If you're willing to pay, I can pack it up and ship it out of town.  I can look at it when I get home.  In the meantime, if you haven't already, maybe read over the whole description on the website - I've been getting a lot of people lately who get here and think the cage will be a lot smaller/bigger than it is and when they actually see it, don't want it.  So dimensions, any problems with the cage, etc., will be on there. 

Them:   Ok, I will call you later if that's okay with you.  In the meantime I'll do a little research on my own and figure out what's the best way to ship this and can I have the measurements or you could give me definite measurements I won't be disappointed if I know them

**** pause again:  anyone who knows me knows that a pet peeve of mine is people who don't read my ads and ask about things that are clearly stated in the ad.  Like, what color is the chin, when the first line in the ad says "GiGi is a standard grey female chinchilla......"  Another pet peeve of mine?  People who don't read my texts... cause I'm pretty I sure that I said, in the previous text, that the dimensions are listed on the website ****

Me:   The measurements are on the website.  Calling is fine.

**** few hours passes, I'm still not home yet to check on if I have a large enough box ****

Them:   Just to make sure and confirm it's cage 51 that I need!  I could probably downsize a little bit
 Me:   Ok so 51 instead of 40?  That's like double the size of 40.  I can almost guarantee I don't have a box that will hold that cage, but I won't know until I get home.

Them:   Well, do you think I should downsize its for only one ferret

Me:   It depends on how much you want to spoil the ferret.   I mean it's a good sized cage, that would be a happy ferret.  That cage would be ferret heaven haha.  You would have a lot of room to add toys or beds or whatever you wanted.

Them:   I know and I so want that change because I ordered a cage set up to go inside of it all handmade tunnels etc.  But I cannot pick it up because you live in another state than I do, correct?
 Me:   If you want to drive here to get it, be my guest, but it'd be quite the drive, I'm in Indiana

Them:   Oh my goodness, thanks but no thanks.  I can speak to UPS I can speak to FedEx and find out how items like this get shipped!!!  And don't you get requests for cages this big, how have you sent them in the past?

Me:   I don't typically ship cages this big.  I almost never get in ones this big.  I'm looking online to see if I can find a weight on this cage before I dismantle the whole thing.  I don't believe I have a FedEx near me.  I would prefer to ship USPS as I typically don't ship things this large, and in the past, UPS has always been more money than USPS (for the smaller packages that I ship, anyway)

Them:   If you never get a request for a cage this big why would you even have it on your website if you could never ship it??????
 Me:   People come to my house on a weekly basis to adopt all sorts of small animals from the rescue that I run, and those are the people who buy 95% of the cages (in person, they take the cage home with them in their vehicle).  I have the cages listed on a variety of classified ad sites, but they're all in the Chicago area.  People seeing them outside the area happens, but usually no one wants to pay to ship them.  They think its gonna be like $20 to ship and when it's not, they're like "oh forget it." 

Me:   Ok, so its 43 pounds, so definitely within shipping rate.

Them:   All I'm saying is why put up a picture up and advertise that I will never be able to ship and if you have to ship your customers should know that its going to be pricy.

**** pause again:  how hard is this to understand?  Most people buying the cages are local so I do not have to ship 95% of them ****

Me:   I'm telling you, the ads are in the Chicago area.  For the people in Chicago, they can drive here.  All the ads say "pickup in Munster, IN only."  Some people email anyway and ask to ship, but I don't promise anywhere that I will ship.

Me:   And yes I agree they should know its going to be pricy.  But often these are the same people who want a chinchilla or rabbit shipped to their door.  I don't ship pets, but even if I did, they ship through the airlines for $250+.  The same people wanting the cage shipped often ask, can you ship a pet inside the cage?  I'm not kidding, I end up talking to a lot of idiots.  And those people, I kid you not, think I can ship a cage, fully assembled, with animal inside, for $20-30. 

Me:   I think shipping is a tad ridiculous, especially as prices have risen lately, but it is what it is.  I can't change it, I can only quote prices.

Me:   The cage goes together with screws tightened by an alan wrench I believe.  You would need one to put it back together.

Them:   Okay so how would you like me to do this?????  This way I can get what I need and you can get what you need. 

Them:   I know exactly what type of cages because I've seen them in person and I also have assembled one all by myself!!!!!!!  

Me:   Well if you're positive you want the cage and want to pay the shipping, which I estimated earlier at $75, I can break it down and pack it up when I get home.  If shipping was less, I could refund you the difference in shipping, but that is what the shipping calculator is quoting me based on the weight and size of the box.

Me:   It would be $195 including shipping.  And I want to say I may have an extra shelf or two not hanging in the cage in the picture I took.

**** note: cage 51 is $120 + $75 shipping = $195 ****

Them:   No thanks, I'll find something somewhere else but thank you for your time.

Me:   Alrighty, good luck.

--------------------------end of convo-------------------------------------

Now.... wait....what?  This is the same person, that hours before, said they would pay after I quoted them $75 shipping for a cage HALF the size of the cage they decided they wanted.  So $75 was ok to ship the smaller cage, but for a cage double the size, forget it?  Those texts, though there's not a ton of them, went back and forth all day, only for this person to finally say, no thanks?!?  Mind you, this is after this person asked why I would list cages if I couldn't ship them, so I said, fine I'll ship, and then this person turns into another that doesn't want to pay the cost of shipping... after this person said that my customers should understand that shipping will be pricy for large items.  Oy.

Just as a sidebar -- I have someone purchasing (like, I have their credit card info and need to run their card in the morning, so they are definitely buying) a medium cage (our NEW medium cage).  To ship THAT cage, with wooden shelves and an extra, light-weight, item or two, is costing them $27.50.  Just as an example, so when you look at those bigger cages, all of a sudden it makes sense that if a cage barely 30 x 20 x 30, with a lightweight plastic pan and thin bars, costs $27.50 to ship, then one that's 32 x 21 x 50, with a metal frame and metal bars, is going to be a tad bit more. 

...and now you understand why I don't even bother with shipping the large cages.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cage Prices.

This will be very short as its very simple - every place that I have cages listed, on every picture, it says the cage number and a price. That price does not change because you call/text and ask what the price is. The price is what it says on the picture.

I'm not willing to halve it because you need it yesterday and can only afford $20. Maybe you should have waited to buy the pet until you had enough money for the cage you want?  That cage is $115 at the pet store, I hardly think $40 for a like-new one is horribly too much.  Not my fault that you never learned patience cause your parents gave into every tantrum by buying what you wanted when you wanted it. I'm not them. Whine all you want that my prices are too high, be like the person this morning and throw a hissy fit. I really don't care.  I'm not halving them. They can stay here til they sell.

That is all.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Highland HS Career Fair and Quotes

So today was the Highland High School Career Exploration Day.  It actually turned out better than I expected.  It was even, should I say, a sort of clarifying experience for me.  People asked about things that I suppose I didn't really think about before. 

The rescue was the first table on the right, when you got in the door of the building, so there was very little walking to do.  This was the first event I'd been to where I didn't have someone with me, so that in itself was a new experience.  Because of that, I opted to not bring with me our usual chinchilla cage, but rather, brought a smaller travel-sized cage that some people had donated awhile back.  I remember getting the tray powdercoated, thinking maybe eventually I would find a use for this.  Well, for the one-day events, or the smaller gatherings, this cage will work just fine. 

So, getting there, I took 45th to Kennedy and drove north.  My dad said it was around 40th, 41st, and I did see the high school, set back from the road... right after I drove past it.  Ok, well I was early, no big deal.  So, I turned around, drove in, and eventually found the main entrance.  I parked and went to walk in, and they said we could pull the vehicle up to the doors (normally busses only area) so I did.  They had some students help to bring things in.  I didn't have much, but the two cages, two carriers, and two bags with the other various stuff that I'd need.  So the students helped bring all that in, and I set up the table.  Pictures:

So, it was better than I thought it'd be.  The students were pretty friendly.  Shiloh decided to be a crabass, for the first maybe 30 minutes, during which he bit several people.  So of course, I'm thinking the school's going to kill me AND they're probably regretting allowing me to bring animals, but he did calm down and then was fine for the rest of the day.  That didn't stop the kids from saying, for the rest of the day, "don't touch the prairie dog, he bites!!"  But, once most of them saw me pet him and him not have a cow, they'd pet him as well.  I kept to myself that I can usually pet him even if he's really upset, because the jerky movements and the hovering hands were scaring him, so the people who would literally just reach in and pet him, without all sorts of hesitation and jerky movements, were fine.  Some of them were just making him nervous. 

For at least a good half of the day, Shiloh, Myshkin, and Lexi were out of their cages and being held by other people.  They did pretty good.  At one point one of the chins let out a sound I'd never heard before, but neither of them were being held awkwardly or were being hurt, so I'm not sure exactly what happened for a second there.

The kids seemed interested in the rescue and in what goes on.  I stumbled over trying to explain how I run the rescue but I don't get paid and no one gets paid, and then finally someone said, "so its a volunteer based organization."  Thank you, yes, it is.  Good way to put it.  The students actually had lists of questions they could ask, a lot of them asked how the rescue started and so I told them the story of how my mom wanted a chin and so we put an ad up on craigslist, and we had people respond to the ad, but they had males, and my mom wanted a female, so we said no.... but then the people called us back Christmas eve saying that if we wanted the chins, we could just have them, cause they needed to get the chins out of the house before their Christmas party the next day.  So, we drove out there, they'd already put the cage and everything by the dumpster, we loaded those up, got the chins (Cody and Tucker) and eventually re-homed them, and then people started hearing that we'd take in chinchillas.  The first few years were slow, not much going on, not many rescues, but as more time went on, more people knew about the rescue, we got in more animals, and eventually I "gave in" and created the website and got us listed on PetFinder and all of that kind of stuff.  Some asked about what would happen to these animals if I hadn't given in, like if I'd just taken that first pair in, rehomed them, and said ok, that's it, no more.  You know, at the point when we took in those two chins, I was completely oblivious to all the animals that needed a rescue in place.  I don't know what would have happened to them.  Looking back with the experience I now have, I can tell you, some of them would have been released outside, others would have been dropped off at pet stores, and others people would leave in their cages, barely caring for them, throwing food in their direction every so often, because they couldn't find a good way to get rid of them.

I had a lot of the students ask if I liked my job.  If I had to break it down to a barebones yes or no, yes, I do.  I don't like everything about it, but my "job," in its most basic sense, is taking in, caring for, and adopting out these animals and finding them good homes.  That, I like.  Of course, in reality, it's not really that simple, because doing that means cleaning cages, tending to sick animals, dealing with idiots (which, with my experience in this field, I should start putting this down as a marketable skill on my resume, lol), those things aren't quite so enjoyable.  But there's good and bad to everything.  One of my favorite quotes is "Nothing is inherently good or bad by itself.  Rather, it becomes that way through the meaning we attach to it."  I feel like there's several ways to look at everything, a lot of things I could get mad about, I could just as easily roll my eyes and laugh about -- it's all in how you take things. 

One good question, I thought, was how much effect this "job" has on my social life.  They probably didn't realize it at the time, but it's a good question, and I think so because it's one of those things no one thinks about.  What I told them was that when I had a day job, the rescue took up pretty much the rest of my free time, leading to very little other social situations.  Even now, when I don't have a job and have considerably more time to devote to the rescue, the grand majority of adoptive homes, people picking up supplies, what have you, want to come on Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays.  I'm not complaining about that, that's just reality.  That's when the average person is free.  The only downside of that is that that means that those days/times are when I am likely at the rescue handling adoptions or supplies transactions.  I have friends, and they are understanding, but if I was the type of person to always want to party or go out with friends on the weekends, the rescue would not be the type of organization for me to run.  It was actually kind of funny, because I told one of the students that often I'll have a weekend "off" where I have something of my own actually "going on" and so I don't schedule people to come by the rescue -- then I promptly realized -- those weekends off?  Yeah, those are the ones that I spend either at chin shows, pet expos, or something else related to the rescue.  There's no escape, haha.  But it is a break from physically being at the rescue all the time.

A lot of the students seemed interested in volunteering, went through a lot of business cards today.  We'll see if any of them call, you never know I suppose.  One girl seemed really intent on adopting, even went as far to say that she wanted to come over this weekend -- I told her (and everyone else wanting to volunteer/stop by) to call and if I was home and was not doing anything that couldn't wait, they could probably come by.  So we'll see what the future holds.

At the end of the day, I was going through some stuff in my room -- in my apartment I used to have a quote wall, where I'd paste post its of quotes I liked on the wall -- now those are all sticking to regular sheets of paper, I was going through them, and I think some of them kinda go with questions that were asked today.  I had one person ask me, how do I know I'm doing it right?  How do I ensure that the animals are going to good homes, that the animals are being cared for well, and so on.  There's a quote that says, "it's not about getting it right, it's about knowing when it's wrong and doing something about it."  And I think that's the case.  I can't say every decision I make is the right one.  I can't say every adoptive home is going to keep their animal forever.  That'd be nice, but that isn't reality.  When I started the rescue, I didn't have a chinchilla care packet.  I didn't have any of the various animal care packets.  I didn't have adoption forms.  I didn't have our adoption contract that I had to write up in order to get on PetFinder.  I didn't have the various connections with the other rescues that I have now.  What really caused the changes to come about though, was literally, realizing something was wrong and needed to change.  When I didn't have the forms, I used to just talk to people, get a feel for them and how they were going to care for their pet.  But in all reality, I didn't know what they were going to feed it, what type of cage they had, anything like that.  I remember when I was adopting out Fuzzy, I had his adoption fee at $50 because he was special needs, and I was going back and forth arguing with someone, basically saying that if they couldn't afford the $50, they couldn't afford him, as he'd had some ongoing medical problems, and he would only eat Oxbow food, which is one of the more pricy chinchilla foods.  They were trying to convince me that they could save up the money over a few months, and that's when I realized, you know, something's wrong here.  Sure they could save up the money, but I had no idea if they were going to house him in a fishtank or a chinchilla cage.  So, the adoption form was born.  I'm still not sure I've got it right -- I'm not sure there's a way to idiot-proof adoptions, but I feel it's better now. 

Same with the downsizing of the rescue this past year.  Same concept -- I'm not positive that a rescue can be small enough to treat every animal as if it's an "only pet," but I was able to recognize when things had gotten too out of hand, and needed to be downsized, so that I could spend more time with the rescues, socializing them, interacting with them, and less time cleaning cages and doing the grunt work that was taking away time from the important things.  The problem stemmed from the fact that I had more and more people wanting to bring in pets, so I'd buy more and more tables and set up more and more cages.  I think my dawning moment came mid-2012, when I started buying up the Ferret Nation cages to switch over the rescue, as the first step to consolidating and downsizing.  Going back to the sayings, I found a saved/printed out horoscope from early August 2012, and it really applies.  It says:

If you have got too much on your plate, the solution does not necessarily involve getting a bigger plate.  You may just need take something off it.  You are keen to avoid disappointing someone.  You have made a promise that you would like to keep.  But what if the only way to keep it, is to break yet another promise to someone else?  Better that than to break a part of yourself by striving too hard to achieve the impossible.  The person who will least understand your predicament, is probably the one you most need to put off.

I think this is very true, and basically, it's parallelling what I shouldn't have been doing -- getting a bigger plate.  Sure, downsizing would mean possibly having a waiting list for animals to come into the rescue, but better that, than me being so swamped and overwhelmed with animals that they wouldn't be getting the attention and care they need.  At the end of the day, I'm one person and can only do so much.

I had someone else ask about if some people think that a rescue makes a ton of money.  I explained how last year, we brought in roughly $16,000, but had expenses of roughly $14,000.  That's a lot of money, on both sides, but it's not ending up in anyone's pocket.  I explained that a lot of people see a rescue for what it is on the very very surface -- getting animals for free and adopting them out for money.  Sure, that's what happens, but there's so much more to it than that.  I once had someone comment about how we have all those happy customers pictures, we adopt out so many animals, we must be swimming in the dough.  And I remember commenting about how that's the stuff we take pictures of, because that's the happy times.  Same with if we have volunteers -- earlier I had a picture of a pile of toys that myself and a volunteer made.  Again, something good.  Which brings me to the quote (and I don't know what these are from, movies likely), "you never see the hard days in a photo album... but those are the ones that get you from one happy snapshot to the next."  I feel like that's very true.  When I'm handfeeding a sick animal, no one takes a picture.  When an animal dies, or I have to take one to get it put down, no one takes a picture of that either.  Just like there's no pictures of anyone cleaning cages or vacuuming or anything like that.  But it's the actual work that goes into the rescue which is what allows us to have customers, to have adoptive homes.  The people who think that the rescue makes a ton of money -- they're oblivious to, or ignorant of, the work that actually goes into it.  I used to horseback ride when I was younger, and there's a saying, "how do you make a small fortune with horses?  You start with a large fortune."  The same is true of the rescue.  If you're doing it right, there's no money involved.  The only way to have a profitable rescue (moreso than having a few hundred or a thousand or two in the bank account at the end of the year) is to care for the animals badly.  Here, we keep animals a minimum of 30 days.  That ensures that they're healthy, that we catch any illness that could be hiding or in an incubation period, and it also helps me learn personality, quirks, likes/dislikes, all of that.  What that 30 days also does, for every animal EXCEPT chinchillas, is cost me more than I make in adopting the animal out.  Chinchillas are one animal, where, if they do not require vet care, the rescue may actually make money off of them.  Every other animal?  Forget it.  The guinea pigs eat more in veggies in the first month than I make off their $25-30 adoption fee.  A profitable rescue would be one that takes in only healthy animals and immediately adopts them out for the max money possible.  They'd have to ignore sickness.  They'd have to ignore suffering.  Here, if we get in an animal that is suffering and no amount of treatment is going to cure it, I will pay the money to have it put out of its suffering.  A profitable rescue would not want to spend $50 on an animal that will not generate any income.  So basically, a profitable rescue is one that shouldn't be running at all, for the sake of the animals. 

A few people asked about getting attached to the animals.  There definitely is that possibility.  The more recent examples would be Frito and Tallie -- chins that were here a good while, long enough t get attached.  Tallie was here for years, as she was one of our pedigreed breeder chins.  Frito was a rescue that we had around a year's time before he was finally adopted.  And you do get attached, no doubt.  I don't feel bad, per se, when they go to their new homes, because people have done their adoption forms, I have looked them over, seen their cage is good, their food is good, and so I know they're going to a good home -- but it can still be sad to see them go.  I had someone else, along these lines, ask about animals that die or animals that need to be put down.  It doesn't matter that we've had a handful of malo chin that didn't make it, that either died or needed to be put down.  It doesn't matter that we've had animals that seem fine one day, keel over the next, likely the result of a stroke or heart attack.  It doesn't make it any easier to deal with.  I still feel bad, I still cry.  There's a quote that says "be glad that it hurts; it shows that you still care.  The day you no longer feel any sorrow for a loss, you are in it for the wrong reasons."  I think that's very true.  I've had people say they get immune to animals passing, and I admit, you definitely get somewhat desensitized over years and years of dealing with animals passing.  But it doesn't get any less sad.  Maybe you learn to hide it better, that sounds more realistic.  My first chins are getting up there in years.  Moki passed last May, she was 8-9 years.  Winx is around 9-10 years, Toby and Bailey are 7-8.  Then I have Nytro, who's 13 and still kicking.  It's definitely going to be rough when the remaining three (of the top 4) pass.  I've pretty much decided that I'm not going to have any chins that are strictly pets, once these pass.  That will free up cages for more rescues.  Squishy has worked his way into my heart as sort of like a friendlier Winx #2, and he will never be sold, even if he never breeds.  But short of him possibly becoming just a pet (which will be determined, in time), I will be focusing more on the rescue and on showing the pedigreed chins once my actual pet-pets die. 

Anyway, so the event ended well.  I pulled my car up, had help loading it again, and went home.  Stayed awake just long enough for some recent adoptive homes to return their rats.  Turned out, their rabbit had just died, and rather than replace the rabbit, they got the rats... which weren't the same as a rabbit, so they brought the rats back, and went out and got a rabbit.  So now, we have some of the rats back. 

Then, because I'd only gotten like an hour's worth of sleep since I was putting together the powerpoint slide show until the wee hours of the morning, I went to bed for a few hours.  Wake up to find that the rat people had called (they had been looking at possibly buying a cage), but no message, so I didn't call them back.  The person who was supposed to pick up their chin yesterday who never showed emailed back saying they did still want to get the chin, just forgot to email.  Somehow, I feel like this isn't going to work out, but I will email them in the morning when I have my planner in front of me. 

And I think that's really it for today.  Put the critters back in their regular cages, brought Nikki back upstairs.  She managed to lose like 100 grams in the past two days, I dunno quite how, so now she's being watched even more closely.  Her scabs are literally falling off her body, which you would think would be good, but I almost wonder if she's not like rubbing her body on her fleece liner or on shelves, because not all the scabs are completely healed at the point they're coming off.  The scab with the stitches, on her head, is half off.  She has a literal divot in her head where that piece came off, I am praying it doesn't re-open, or else we will be back at the vet again.  We will see.  Still giving her her antibiotics as these partially open wounds are not looking promising, and will end up switching to baytril in the next day or so, as I knocked over her meds and now only have enough for the next day or so.  Joy. 

Tomorrow should be a good day though.  Have a donation dropoff (food, food bowl, hanging vegggie thing) at 2:30, and then David's new owners are coming back around 4:30-6:30 (sometime in there, I have it written down) to adopt Chunk (chinchilla) and Apollo (chinchilla).  And she's bringing a friend with her who is potentially interested in a hamster cage or two.  So that's good.  So we'll see how it all goes. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mostly Uneventful Day

So, not much going on today.  No one stopped by for anything, so I was just working on various things.  Worked on some orders.

This one cage has been on hold since January 11th.  Notice, it's March now.  So, we set days for them to come here and pick it up, they canceled, re-set days, canceled, and so on so forth.  This week I got an email from them asking about shipping the cage.  Well, I said I thought it'd be around $25-30 to ship.  So they said that'd be fine, and I said I would take apart the cage and pack it up.  Well, turns out the only box I had that would fit the cage was like significantly bigger than the cage itself.  Well, it fit the cage, but it really did take up most of the box, because it's practically impossible to re-pack the cages in the box the way they originally came.  So, the box was roughly 44" x 26" x 11" -- BIG.  Weighed 24 pounds.  Turned out it would cost $63 to ship -- well, the cage is only $60.  I sent an email with this information, and letting them know I could have a new one to them straight from my supplier for $100.  I imagine that's still more than they'd want to pay, but this is why I rarely ship cages -- cause even the light ones cost such ridiculous amounts, it's a waste of my time.  Cause I feel like there's no way, short of a miracle, that these people are going to ship this cage for $63.  Since they already said they don't have time to come get it, that means that they're likely not going to get it -- so I'll have to unpack the entire thing, re-put it together, etc etc.  Pain in the butt. 

Moving onto the next order -- the one with the 36" shelf -- got that cut today, and packaged that up.  When the person originally purchased their items, the total was around $93.  Well, $50 of that was shipping, which I'd told them, the excess would be refunded (which is the case for anything that gets shipped).  Well, in the meantime, they added so many things to their order that their total ended up being $60-something, and with shipping being in the high $20's, their total actually adds up to $93 now.  I emailed them to let them know and to get the okay to mail this out -- course, at this point, I would not be happy if they decide they don't want the stuff, as everything is all packaged up nicely.

Had someone wanting a mixture of several of the herb treats in a sandwich baggie, so I mixed that up, got them the food they want.  They should be stopping over tomorrow if everything goes good.

Spent a good amount of time taking the cages that we cleaned over the weekend and going over them and writing down dimensions, cost, all that.  Taking pictures.  Now to just put them on the website (tomorrow). 

Cleaned up even more at the rescue, organizing things.  Found a paper bag FULL of hammocks (as if I needed more), put those in the tote with the rest of the hammocks.

The fridge is still defrosting.  Will be so happy once that's done, so I can put the veggies back in there. 

Rescheduled Apollo & Chunk's pickup for Friday.  Got a text and email (same person) about the rabbit hutch, they're supposed to come in the morning.  We will see if they do. 

Have some drama going on in the chin world.  Apparently I was "not nice" to some people at the last show, and they felt the need to whine about it to one of my friends....who was nice enough to share what was said.  There's more to it than that, but I'm not going to stoop to the level of this person.  I know what I did and didn't do, Meredith was there and could vouch that I was not "not nice" to the two people in question, so I know it's not just me making it up inside my head.  I know when I'm being an ass, or even when I'm just crabby and treating others worse than I should be.  Neither were the case that day.  I know it, I know this person's just making up bullshit, and I'm not stooping to their level.  And that's that.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Last lil bit

So, I know I've been majorly behind in posting.  In my defense, it's been busy.

I actually had hired help come in to help get my pile of cages down and to make houses and sand toy parts.  Over about a total of 9-10 hours (over 2 days), we got a lot done.  We also took my box pile, which has been threatening to fall over, and has fallen over, time and time again, and broke down all the boxes and arranged them.

And I tell ya, today when I went to put orders together, having those boxes in some semblance of order... omg SO much easier to find the sizes I needed.  I'm going to have to start going to Meijer early mornings to pick up some more boxes, I'm getting low.  Well, not low low, but I have a lot of HUGE and tiny boxes, and not so many mediums.

So I got maybe 8-10 orders out the door today.  Have one order which involves a 12" wide, 36" width shelf to fit the back of a critter nation.  Haven't tackled that one yet, but I believe I have the rest of the order ready to go.  Probably could have done that one as well today, only I could barely carry all the boxes I had, much less an additional 3' long one.  So I have that, then another smaller order, and then I have this one person who's had a cage on hold for eternity -- decided she wants it shipped.  Hasn't gotten back to me with her zip (and I hate to be difficult, but I refuse to dig up her adoption papers to look for it, much easier for her to respond with it in an email), but when she does I will get that packaged up and ready to go.  And that may be it for orders for the moment.

As for adoptions -- Melon went home, we had some rats go home, David went home, and now we have a few pets on hold.  The person who adopted David is going to be coming back for a chinchilla (Chunk) and another guinea pig (Apollo).  She's bringing a friend with her who wants to look at some of our cages.  The person who adopted Melon is going to be coming back mid-month to adopt Joey (rabbit).

Was super busy today -- besides packing up all those orders and getting them sent out, I managed to spend the entire day either on the phone, with people, or sitting in front of the computer.  Had a call in the morning about people wanting to come by and see cages.  They came later, didn't get anything, but said they might be back.  We'll see.  Spent all day going through and responding to emails.  Found out that the place that was supposed to bring wood to Nationals no longer can, so we're gonna have to get it mailed (they will pay for the postage -- awesome!).  Arranged pickup of Apollo & Chunk, made arrangements so they can go together rather than one being picked up now and the other a month down the road.  With incoming critters, I'd rather be flexible and let the animals go home now rather than wait a month.  Hope that doesn't come back to bite me.  Arranged for pickup of Joey.  Arranged for pickup of our 17 week chin kit -- assuming the person gets their adoption form back to me.  Getting some people to get back to me lately and actually answer questions/get back forms has been like trying to nail jello to a tree.  Emailed everyone with their estimated dates for package arrival and tracking numbers.  Emailed the most recent order to find out what egg they wanted (blue sparkly in the middle).  Got responses (yay) from the two people on etsy I contacted about custom orders.  The one will be sort of like nameplates for the cremated chins that we have.  Would love to get those for every animal that's ever passed here, but money-wise, that's not do-able.  The other one... I can't say what it is, cause I'm getting two of them, one being a gift for a friend.

Heard back from someone who'll be dropping off chins on Saturday.  She got a chin, friend decided they didn't want their chin, which they said was a neutered male... yeah, lets say that was incorrect information. The two mated, had a baby.  I asked about how these chins are caged, so that I could prepare the right amount of cages.  Apparently the baby is still with mom because dad would hump him when he was put with dad.  And the baby is... about four months old.  Which means mom will be here at least four months.  They said they didn't want to give up the chins until the baby was old enough to be moved... I think they may have confused gestation period with weaning time.  Cause that baby is definitely old enough to have mom pregnant.  So, they will be separated upon arrival.  We will see if the baby (if it really is a boy.... at least 50% of chins coming in are sexed wrong) can get along with dad.

Finally read through all of the stuff for the high school career day.  I won't bother to say what high school.  About time I got to looking through things, considering it's Thursday.  So, the first layout, they had NWICR between the other companies.  They re-did the layout.... now I am like gobs away from everyone.  See for yourself:

Before, I believe we were in position 15.  Now... we are 26.  Really?  Not to sound a tad paranoid, but I'm betting either (1) someone complained about being next to an animal rescue, or (2) this is what happens when a school employee petitions administration to allow the rescue to bring animals... which they agree to, but then make sure it won't upset anyone by placing me far far away from anyone.  Just my thoughts.  I shouldn't complain, but I just feel like they couldn't possibly have stuck me further away from the group.

Anyway, I emailed them (I was nice!  I didn't say a word about the layout) and asked how big of a table I have and if I have electrical access for a laptop.  Waiting to hear back on that.     

Oh, and I almost forgot.  Yesterday I had told someone, who has been here several times before but has a problem with respect (for lack of a better word), that they could drop off some rats.  Now, I have told this person SEVERAL times before that before they come, they need to contact me, and I need to actually respond to their contact.  As in, if you call, and I don't answer, that doesn't mean come over.  If you text, and I don't text back, that doesn't mean you come over.  Two times ago, they called several times, I didn't answer, they showed up.  The time after that, she didn't know what time she was going to come, and so she texted me at like 10 am, saying they were leaving.  Well, I was asleep, I didn't hear the phone, but there she is, pounding at my door.  Today, I wake up at 9:30 to the dog barking her head off cause someone is absolutely wailing on the door.  From the pounding I was actually starting to hope that maybe a murderer was after her and she wanted to be let in.  I mean, you'd never guess this is a pet dropoff.  So I looked at my phone, and sure as shit, I have texts saying they're coming.  As nicely as I could muster up, I texted that she woke me up, and she needed to give me a minute.  And I told her, yet again, that she needs to wait to hear from me before she comes.  Though clearly this all falls on deaf ears.  So I let her in and got the rats and she left.  Rather quickly, I'm betting because I was not in the greatest mood when yanked from nice peaceful sleep.  I mean, initially, I thought, did I forget that I had someone coming?  It's happened before, or I've overslept, but then I saw the text, and it was her.  I tell you, next time, I'm not answering the door.  She won't know if I'm home or not, and she's just gonna have to leave and come back at a scheduled time.  This is ridiculous.

Which reminds me, I'm going to change the sales policy to reflect that pets need to be picked up within two weeks unless a deposit is down.  No exceptions.  And I need to add to the 5+2 day policy that if that person does happen to respond in the two days, they need to either put down a deposit or pick up the pet in a week, or its forfeited.  I don't know if anyone remembers what the policy was, long before I had a blog, but it used to be 7 days, then they'd get an email, then they had another 7 days.  Was I nuts or what?  I didn't want to be mean.  Well tough shit, I got walked all over, and now it's going to be a policy that is going to be intentionally strict.  The people who really want the pets will have no problem with it.  I have people coming from 2.5 hours away in a few days.  They can make time.  So I find it hard to believe that the people that are 20-30 minutes away can't steal away from whatever they're doing for long enough to stop by and want the pet on hold for umpteen weeks on end.  Ooooh no.  The policy's the same for everyone.  We had someone come from Minnesota once.  It was over an 8 hour drive for them.  They actually drove up the night before and came here in the morning, then drove back.  Now, I believe they did need to wait more than 2 weeks, but they had no problem with a deposit, and we had no problem with their pickup.  If they can arrange to get us a deposit, and then find a time to make it here and back, in their busy schedules, then I expect no less from anyone else.  If you really want the pet, you will find time to come. 

I know there's probably some people reading this who are like, "but she made the exception for this person or this person."  There are exceptions to the rule.  Not just for the sales policy but for everything.  I have someone who picks up supplies and asks if they can paypal me when they get home (which I let them).  They always pay.  There's another who picks up supplies and pays in installments.  There's another person who actually has a running tab (well, currently they have a credit, but that's beside the point).  There's a few people who can take animals before they finish their evaluation, and I will still honor the health guarantee [normally, pickups before eval. is done = no health guarantee])  Here's the thing though.  These exceptions are made for people who I've typically known for years.  Every once in awhile I'll get an email saying "well someone told me that you let this person pay later" or something like that.  Yeah, cause I know them.  I hate to break it to the general population, but if I've never met you... you're paying on pickup.  The humane society isn't going to take $50 now and the other $50 later, they're going to say all of it now, cash/credit card/however, or no adoption. 

And no checks.  We don't take checks.  That's another "big deal" here. I've had so many people tell me that I should be more flexible.  I think I am.  I can take cash, credit cards, paypal, money orders, just NO checks.  I've even done partial trades, like if someone has a cage and wants to get a bigger one, they bring their cage, I'll take off some money off the bigger one because I now have the smaller one to use or sell.  Flexible.  I hate to (again) sound paranoid, but I feel like the people who are dying to write those checks.... are dying to bounce those checks.  Why else?  Seems everyone has a debit card nowadays, you don't need that check.  Or go to the ATM... no, they want to write a check.  Just seems suspicious to me.  So no checks. 

But flexibility, yes.  I had someone, awhile back, they went and bought a bag of mazuri cause they knew that was what I feed.  They had put a chin on hold right close to when it got here, so it wasn't switched to Mazuri yet.  Well, when I tried to switch the chin, she got loose poos, so I switched her over to Oxbow.  Well, the lady now had this bag of Mazuri that she paid like $10 for that she didn't still have the receipt for, cause she thought she was gonna feed it to the chin when she got it.  Traded her $10 worth of toys/goodies for the bag.  It didn't matter that 2.5 pounds of Mazuri is not worth $10 to me, it was what she paid at the petstore, and I didn't want it to go to waste.  And I suppose, in every situation, I want people to feel like we can work with them if they have something we can use.  To an extent of course.

I'm ending this rant here, with a few more sentences, but I have to say this -- I think that having stricter policies and not accepting checks is hardly not being flexible.  I would love to find another rescue or another humane society or similar organization that will hold animals with no deposit, email reminders when people fall off the face of the earth, deal with taking to 5 year olds cause mommy doesn't want to talk to the rescue lady, and so on and so forth.  A lot goes on here that causes me to bite my tongue.  If some people knew what I really think of them, from a rescue standpoint based on how they treat their children/animals, I don't think they'd bother me nearly so often.  Not to talk myself up, but I put up with a lot, and it's done to find the good homes among the sea of bad ones, so that these animals can get a second chance at life.  I hate to say it, but you don't like the way I run my rescue?  Find another one.  The people who really want to adopt the pets and will really make good homes -- they don't have a problem with these sort of things.  

Friday, March 1, 2013

Quick post

Ok, so this is gonna be quick, cause I have to be up in just a few hours.  So, last few days have been mildly eventful.  Had someone come and adopt a female rat.  Tried to get them to adopt two, not just cause I want two gone, but because, really, rats are social and you should have two.  That didn't happen though.  The mom said about how it'd be more food and cleaning and all.  Really?  It's a rat.  How dirty can it get?  And how much can it eat?  Though, in all fairness  to them, the other day I came home from a supply run with 250 pounds of chin chow, 50 lbs hay cubes, and 20 lbs apple/oat cookies, so I guess to me, what two rats eat is really inconsequential compared with what all the chins eat. 

Moving on, today we had a couple come over.  They bought Jim's critter nation and he referred them to us to get some more rats.  So thank you Jim.  So they adopted two boys, that will be spoiled to no end.  Seemed very nice.

I've had a lot of emails about the rats, even someone who was talking about wanting to adopt 3 and wanting to come by on Sunday, but it seems like I email these people back and then never hear back.  Ah well.

So, that person who had the 12 week (now 17 week) chin on hold never did email me back.  Surprise.  So I went through my wanting chins folder and emailed the person who'd wanted to know if the original person backed out.  Let em know they have 5 days to get back to me, if they don't, the chin's going up for adoption to the general public.

Packaged up some orders today and worked on some as well.   I marked down 5 days from when I emailed the people asking them to pick an egg - if they haven't emailed back/picked by then, their order is going out egg-less.  Sorry, but I can't wait forever, and I know you all want your orders reasonably quick.

I was supposed to have some people come and pick up Lucy today, but they ended up saying they wanted to come on a day when the weather is nicer and not so windy cause they don't want her to get chilled/sick.  So that didn't happen yet, but they will be coming eventually.  Was really hoping she would go today, only because I could clear off the table she's on, and make it back into my work-in-progress-table, but in all reality, I can move her to another table and clear it off, so no biggie.  She'll go home soon enough.  :)

Tomorrow, I have David's pickup, and also have lunch with Amber.  And on my return trip to the house, I need to pick up wood and rubberbands (the big ones -- to hold the houses together while they dry).  Will be having paid help come by tomorrow and Sunday to knock out some really big projects that have been on the back burner since forever, and hopefully catch the rescue back up to where it needs to be.

Took all the fleece to the laundromat today.  And by all, I mean, like all the FNs and CN and guinea pig cage and all actually have the shredded paper bedding in them, no liners, cause they are all clean!  Yay.  I need to pick up some totes to store the clean liners in, but that's for another day. Maybe for tomorrow between all the other stuff I need to accomplish.  We'll see.