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.  

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