Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Another Busy Day at the Rescue

So, yesterday was another busy day.  Got the wood cut to finish most of the hidey houses, and put together the remaining two that I still had in pieces.  Got those all glued and rubberbanded, and tonight they will be set and ready to be put aside.

Made more of the muncher's delight toys -- now there's an entire bag of them on the side. 

Started putting together some orders, and emailed people totals for the orders that I'm waiting for payment on. 

Weighed all the chins, everyone looks good.  Winx even gained 10 grams. 

Made some of the pinesical toys.  I made like 3 -- they're not popular, but it never fails that I don't have one on hand when someone wants one, so since I was already making toys, made 3 of those.

Dyed some wood pieces red and blue for the 4th of july/memorial day toy.  Also dyed some wood pieces black, in anticipation of the halloween toy that will be debuting later this year.  Had Sumera's "paint it black" playing in my head, lol. 

And just some general clean-up and putting things away at the rescue.  The table that is used for orders and for temporary placement of things that need to be put away is marginally more clean than it was before I started organizing. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Busy Day at the Rescue

So, today was a busy day.  Had people set to come by at 10, 11, and 12, with Meredith and her husband coming to work off a run that they were taking home. 

My 10 am was the person who had adopted Ember awhile back.  She was getting a hidey house, chin chiller, some food, treats, and those two liners that I had been putting off and putting off doing.  So she came, maybe around 10:30, and we got to talking, so by the time she left, it was almost time for my 12 pm (as Meredith and her husband were running a bit late).  So I went down, vacuumed, and had my stuff ready for my noon appointment.

They came and adopted our last remaining guinea pig baby.  They wanted to see Shiloh, so we went upstairs and I pulled Shiloh out for them to see.  So they petted him and then left.

Then we really got to work.  I'd spent the previous day cutting up wood in preparation of making hidey houses.  I had intended on cutting out all the cut-outs the night before, and in preparation of doing so, I had built two boxes to use to "hold" the wood while I cut the cut-outs.  You see, to cut the circular cutouts in the wood, I used drill attachments.  Well those attachments must go completely through the wood board in order to create the cutout.  So the board has to be suspended in a way that allows for an opening underneath the board for the drill attachment to pass through.  Previous to yesterday, I was using two small metal crates to prop the wood on top of, though this was the 2nd set of small crates I was using, as the metal isn't strong and eventually they bend under the weight of pushing down the wood.  So, I made two boxes out of wood, to replace the metal crates.

Well, it turns out, wood against wood is slippery.  Oops.  So I will need some grip strips or something of the sort for that.  But in the meantime, I had to go back to using the metal crates.  Even with the slippery, I tried to do them last night, even though it was taking me way longer per cutout, due to the piece of wood slipping  but on the third one, the entire piece of wood slipped off and split in half, and I was done. 

But I still had all the hidey houses cut.  So, when help came over, they got to sanding and rasping the hidey houses, and I got to cutting the remaining holes.   After about 6 hours, all the hidey houses were all sanded, maybe 1/4 of them had been put together.  We had also gotten quite a few of the anything goes toys made (pieces drilled, sanded, strung), as well as a good amount of the pine rectangles sanded and drilled (for the other toys, which they are a part of every single one except the anything goes toys).  Finally, we pulled out the dust masks and started making some of the muncher's delight toys.  Meredith and myself are horribly allergic to hay (not to mention, I have asthma), and when you start drilling it, you end up with hay powder everywhere, and all up in the air.  So, no dust masks =  two heavily wheezing people.  With the dust masks, we made the toys.  It eventually became time for my help to leave, but not until after they helped me get 50 pounds of guinea pig chow and 50 pounds of lab blocks into their respective containers.  As well as the run they were buying up out of the basement and into their car, and my holding cage out of my blazer and down into the spot where the run had previously been.  That freed up the back of my blazer to haul the cages and other stuff for the expo next weekend.  But that's for later.

I took a break for a bit, then went back down and put together the remaining hidey houses, save for one where the two sides were about 1/2" different in length.  That's enough to make my pretty rectangle houses more of a weird shape, so I left that for tomorrow.  Put on the mask, drilled more hay cubes, made some more of the muncher's delight toys, and cleaned up the the rescue a bit.  I have someone coming tomorrow, but no one for any adoptions or anything like that, so a little mess is ok.

Still need to put up the hammocks, and start getting ready for the expo.  Hopefully will get some of that done tomorrow. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Winx, cooking, grommets, and some random other stuff

On a positive note, I weighed Winx about a week ago, and then weighed him again like a day or two ago... both times... he weighed 484!  I'm not jumping up and down over that weight, by itself, but by the fact that he MAINTAINED it!!!!!!!  Happy happy joy joy.

Moving onto today.  Slow start to the chin-part of the day.  First....

I'd said that I would help clean the garage.  Which seems simple enough, except that my dad brings home paper ream boxes in droves.  On top of that, we've gotten enough that we've started a little herd of boxes and I think.... they're breeding.  Our garage is a 3.5 car garage, and we do fit three cars in there... but every other inch is cluttered.  So, I spent the morning cleaning that, moving things around, stacking the boxes, and sweeping the garage.  Fun fun.  Ended up with four 7' tall stacks of boxes and two smaller stacks.  They're breeding, I swear! 

Moving on, I was on facebook checking for messages on the NWI page, and I ran across a recipe for funnel cakes.  Cooking, in our house, is very, ah, how should I put it -- don't-dirty-the-dishes/pots/pans,-buy-it-frozen-and-thaw-it-in-the-microwave.  Lol.  That puts a damper on my cooking desires at times.  Well, we'd already figured we were going to have mac & cheese for dinner, and that required milk.  Well, us not being a milk-loving family, we just about never have milk in the house.  I was willing to volunteer a can of goat's milk (which is on hand for the chins), but not for 1/4 cup (the can has to be mixed with another can of water, so I'd have at least 3-4 cups and need 1/4 cup? no).  So, we decided, we'd make four boxes of mac n cheese, as that'd use more of the milk.  Well, the funnel cake recipe also called for milk.  Which meant, dirty dishes or not, the day to make the funnel cakes was the same day we had milk for something else.

For anyone not aware, canned goat's milk has a shelf life of, oh... 2-3 years when it's canned (making it perfect to have on hand for the chins, since if you don't use it, no need to continually buy replacements).   Open it, and you have 2-3 days to use it.  

So, we pulled out all the stuff to make the funnel cakes, mixed me up a can of goat's milk, and had our fun.  My mom had the idea to try to make rosettes with the batter, as we were already going to have our hot oil, so we pulled out the rosette irons and gave it a shot.  That didn't work out so well.  Not having the right batter mix (likely, as I was going for funnel cakes), and having nothing other than a 40 year old memory (my mother's) of making rosettes, our effort was a horrible fail.  The fried dough would not come off of the rosette irons.  So, we went back to making our funnel cakes.... with a funnel with maybe a 1/4" opening.  Lol.  Hey, I never said we are ever prepared to cook, just that I try.  The funnel cakes actually turned out pretty good.  We started out using powdered sugar to sprinkle on top, but then decided, we preferred ours with cinnamon & sugar (like when we'd get elephant ears at carnivals).  So, I dug out my snickerdoodle recipe (which is one of the only things I ever make from scratch), found the mixture for cinnamon and sugar, and dusted the funnel cakes with them.  Few minutes prior to finishing frying up the last of the batter, my dad came home, and we went from two trays of funnel cakes to something like 3 left.  An hour later, we had one left.

Which led me to the time when I was able to do chin stuff.  I have an outstanding order for some chin items including two liners.  But I had hammocks upon hammocks that needed to have their open end sewn in front of the sewing machine.  So that was today -- sewing up hammocks.  I sewed up most of them, then had this nice huge pile-o-hammocks.  So I went and put the labels on my totes that the hammocks go in, and put grommets and hardware in most of them.  Still need to take the pictures and get them up on the website.

As I was getting ready to put the hammocks in the totes, it occurred to me that I had a whole huuuuuge tote downstairs of hammocks of my own.  Seems I'd gotten into the habit of keeping a hammock every time I would buy another fabric to make hammocks, so I had quite the pile of hammocks.  So, I went through all my hammock, picked out the ones I couldn't live without, and came out with another whole bag of hammocks to put on the website.  So, when I do get these up, you all may see patterns/designs you remember.  Anyone hoping to see that orange plaid from a few years back or the spiderweb skulls or the rainbow leopard -- sorry.  I still like those too much, even if they do sit here in a box.  But there are plenty of other patterns that haven't seen the light of day for a long time.  One of each, but still.  I will have a lot of hammocks to put up soon.

As I was putting the grommets on the hammocks, I was whining (I admit it) about the stupid company that makes the grommets.  There's supposed to be 15 pairs in the package, but in reality, it'll be like 13 pairs, and the last four pieces will all be bottoms.  And the extras are ALWAYS bottoms, so eventually I end up with a pile and a half of bottoms, with no tops to go on them.  And you need both.  Well, at one point, I actually contacted the company and told them about this problem.  They sent me a package of grommets -- 14 pairs... and 2 bottoms.  And I was like AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

So, I decided to look up the company that I had written down for grommets for sale, but it's one of those companies where you have to call in the order, and there's no prices on the website, so it's a guaranteed long phone call.  And as much as I like my friends, in ordering things... I am not a people person in any sense of the word, I like to be able to order things by clicking buttons, paying with paypal, and not having to deal with a live person on the other end.  Not to mention, when you don't know prices, I would need to sit down and decide if it was a good price or not, which would require hanging up, figuring it out, calling back....

Moving along, for my snap clips, I was talking to my parents how the company had charged $15 in shipping, and shipped the package of snap clips in a small priority male box... which cost $4.95 (at the time I bought the snap clips).  This was aggravating, as while the price for the snap clips was decent, the company making an additional $10 on shipping... not so much.  There is such a thing as handling -- I know the concept well, as I add it into shipping costs of my own when I'm mailing out packages for the rescue store.  However, when a company sticks a ziplog bag of snap clips into a self-sealing priority mail box and makes $10 extra for doing so.... it makes me not want to purchase from that company in the future.

I am not yet out of my 1000 snap clips, but I figured, I would get on that website and see if they had the split rings I use as well.  Normally, I would just get them at Joann's, but they only come 40-something to the package, so I'm constantly buying more and more and more.  Same with the grommets.  So, I went onto the site where I had gotten the snap clips.  They did have them, but to get as good a price as I normally get at Joann's.... I would have had to buy 50,000 of them.  Ah... that might last me several lifetimes.  Not to mention, if shipping 1,000 snap clips cost me $15 to ship, imagine what 50,000 split rings would cost to ship.

So, I was set on finding these items cheaper elsewhere.  And I did.  Very happy.  I found them the grommets first, and found a grommet setter with them, which should make my job easier.  Plus, free shipping.  So now I have 2000 sets of grommets coming in.  Found the split rings next.  Got them at a fraction of the price I was paying before, and free shipping.  Had a harder time finding the snap clips.  Turns out, I may be one of the few people who calls them snap clips.  Apparently snap clips are hair barrettes, not craft hardware.  I tried again, calling them spring clips.  Clearly not, next to no results.  I tried spring hooks next, as that's what they were called on the site where I originally ordered them.  Found a few, and finally ran across a place that listed them as snap hooks and as lanyard clips.  Bingo!!!  Lanyard clips it is.  Apparently that term is a blanket term for a variety of craft hardware, but it definitely found a lot more of the clips I was looking for.  That site only had them by like 10, 20, 30, versus me looking for like 2000.  But, searching for lanyard clips, and I found them.  On sale, for a few bucks cheaper than what I was paying before... but... FREE SHIPPING!!!  Heck, they could have even been a little more than the other place, if the shipping had been reasonable (and the total cost less than the other place).  When not on sale, they are right around the same price, but I'm ok with that.  So, those will be on their way as well.

So I think 2000 of each should last me awhile.  2000 grommets + 2000 split rings + 2000 snap clips (cause darn it, that's what they are to me) = 500 hammocks.  I will be set for awhile.  In case it's not obvious at this point, I like to buy something and be set for a looooong time before I have to buy again.  So once those arrive, I will be good.  Until then, I have a very small amount of everything except the snap clips left.

So, that all said and done, tomorrow is still going to be a busy day.  I made an entire list of things I plan on accomplishing.  The stuff not on the list isn't getting touched, as the stuff that IS on the list pertains to things going on Sunday.  All the other stuff can wait.  But tomorrow should be packed with fun fun loads of stuff.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Items and Animals on Hold -- Policy Enforcement Starts Today

So, I have been super lenient in the past, regarding holding items/cages/animals/whatever, but this is where it stops.  This day has been coming for awhile now.

I have said, I don't know how many times, that for anything to be on hold for more than 2 weeks, I require either prepayment or a deposit (in the case of an animal).  I have been pretty bad about enforcing that, because I never want to feel like the bad guy.  But you know what?  People walk all over and take advantage.  So that ends today.

The latest case in point is some water bottles and mouse balls that have been on hold.  They were originally on hold starting the middle of March, and they had asked if I could wait til the 1st for payment (this was after I figured out a shipping quote for them).  I said sure, as I sometimes put items on hold for people knowing they will pay usually when they get their next paycheck.  This hasn't come to bite me too much, usually people pay.  Well, the 1st came and went, and she said something about her check hadn't cleared the bank yet.  Few more days, still hasn't cleared the bank.  Few more days, the bank is having issues with her check.  So she asks me to wait until the 23rd.  Stupid me, I said sure.  Few days later.... well, she's a friend of a friend, and my friend saw her post on facebook that she's had her check for awhile and went and got a tattoo among other things she bought on a shopping spree.  So, she had the money to pay for a tattoo, but not for a $12.50 order (including shipping)?

But, I had told her I'd give her til the 23rd, and so I did.  She emailed me on the 22nd saying she would pay me tomorrow (the 23rd).  Well, today was the 23rd, and no paypal emails, no texts on my phone saying I'd received a payment, nothing.  So I emailed her, telling her usually I only hold items for two weeks, she's had the items on hold for a month, that there are other people asking about the items (which there are), and that I would give her until tomorrow night to pay for the items.  She told me, "Sorry ash haven't been able to email my grandma is really sick and I won't have the money for them because I bought her medicines."  I hate to call bullshit on anyone, but sometimes, they deserve it. 

....and I was right with the bullshit call.  I contacted my friend, and this is what I got -- "well part of its true and part of its not. her grandma is sick and had trouble getting her meds BUT [the girl -- name removed] did NOT pay for them. she told me yesterday when i saw her that she only had $10 to her name and she spent that on pizza last night. if i were you, i wouldnt hold jack shit for her and never do business with her ever again."

So, I contacted the person who was interested in the water bottles, letting them know they'd become available again.

But see, this is why I'm less trusting of people.  From now on, holds for anything, are 2 weeks.  That's 14 days.  So, there will be no more, oh, it's 16 days, I can let that slide.  No, if it's going to be anything more than 14 days and if they want more than that, I need $50 or 50% deposit (whichever is higher), for a chinchilla, and full payment for any other animal.  For items, it'll have to be some form of deposit.  Half payment or more sounds good to me. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

...this is not a garage sale...

Ok, so this has been happening a lot lately.  Today, for example, I got a phone call asking if we had any male chinchillas.  I said no, we only had a beige female available right now.  "Oh, ok, what color is she?"  Now, those of you that know me, knows that right there, that would aggravate me, because it shows that people aren't listening.  Anyway, I said that she was beige, and they're like, "Oh, is that like white?"  No, it's like beige.  My passenger in the car said, "it's like tan," so I repeated that, and they were like, "oh, ok, so no males."  I told them, not right now, but within the next month or two I should have some becoming available.  So, they said ok, they'd call back then.

So, about 5 minutes pass and they call back, asking about the beige female.  So they're like "are you still asking $100 for her?" and I told them yeah, that's what we're asking, that's what it says on the site.  "Oh, well would you take $60?"  I told her no, and she asked why not.  I told her, $100 is already less than what people pay at the pet store, and they can live 15-20 years, the purchase price is going to be the cheapest thing they will ever have to spend on the chinchilla.  I got an "oh, ok, bye," and that was it.

Now here's what I find amusing.  I have someone who will be getting two chins, a cage, and food/accessories for $500+.  Well I wouldn't say that's cheap, it's definitely less than the $700+ this all would have cost new from the pet store.  But the point is, for some reason, the people who spend that much never seem to ask for a discount.  Usually, it's the people who only want to spend a few bucks that ask for the discount.  And don't get me wrong, I've had people who aren't spending a ton of money ask for discounts, but it's no big deal when they're asking for $5 off.  I had someone, awhile back, who said she wanted to get a guinea pig and a chin, but didn't have the money for them right then, so they wanted to know if I could hold on to one of the animals until they had the money.  I asked how much they were going to be short, as I told them I could give them a discount so they could get them both at once (note, this is someone who had adopted before, who I trusted would be taking good care of them).  They asked for a $5 discount.  I actually emailed back telling me to give me a number I'd actually have to think about.  $5 off for a chin and a guinea pig, that's nothing.  In the end, she ended up being one of those rare people that I let take the animals partially on credit, and they ended up paying me for them when they got the rest of the money, minus the $5 discount. 

The problem becomes when someone wants to halve the price.  It's not uncommon for me to have a cage for sale for $200 and someone ask if I'll take $100.  Same with this chin.  She's for $100 and they wanted to pay $60.  Not that money is everything, but there is a point at which I wonder, if you want to only pay $60 for a chin, then are you willing to pay more for a cage?  Cause I've run into a lot of people that think, if the pet is $20, the cage should be $10, cause a living thing should cost more than the cage.  Believe me, there are people who think like that.  And in reality, the cage often is as expensive, or more expensive, than the animal itself. 

But what it all comes down to is this -- this isn't a garage sale.  People wouldn't go into Petsmart and ask them, how bout $100 for their $150 chin.  Likewise, they wouldn't go to the Humane Society, and say, "hey, I know your adoption fee for a puppy is $175, but I'd like to only pay $100, how does that sound?"  I feel, if they wouldn't do it there, they shouldn't do it here.  At a garage sale, sure, haggle all you want to get the best price, but this is a rescue, not a garage sale. 

....and even more rats & other yappings.

Almost forgot, with the last post.  I had someone who was all set to come Sunday (today, er... I guess that's yesterday now), and I told them I already had a 1 pm appointment, so the earliest they could come was 2 pm.  So I dunno if it was just bad guess/bad luck or what, but from the email I received, I guess this person thought that I had someone coming for rats at 1 pm.  Which I did not, I had someone coming for hay and hay cubes.  But anyway, so the email I got from the person who was supposed to come said to let her know what I had left after my 1 pm came and picked out their animals, and then she'd decide if they were going to come or not.

Well, I emailed in the morning (Sunday morning) and told her that I still had three females left for her to pick her pair from, and that the appointment wasn't for rats.  Well... I have not heard back.  So I had thought I'd be minus another two rats by the end of Sunday (yesterday), and here I am with two still here, and two more coming in the morning.  Oh joy.

I didn't re-turn on the computer to say just that though.  This brought up what I think is an interestijng point -- picking out your pet.  I've had a lot of people lately that call me up and want (for example), a white, creme, and black guinea pig, abyssinian, with enough rosettes to make it show-quality for 4H, female, oh, and no more than four weeks old.  Gee, could they get any more specific?  It's the same for the chinchillas.  I was joking around a few weeks back when I had someone looking at pairs, and I asked them if they wanted anything specific.  Now, in my head, I (stupidly) asked the question thinking that they'd tell me if they preferred males over females, young over old, etc.  Like vague characterizations.  I want to say they said they really would like a pair of beige and black velvet chins.  Ok, let me put that onto my wish list...

Not that I wouldn't love to grant everyone's requests for their ideal pet.  But.... this is a rescue.  Just like you don't go to the humane society and ask for a purebred cream colored chihuahua that doesn't bark like a loon at strangers and is potty trained, I'm not sure why people hone in on the exact animal they want.  I was talking to a friend of a friend awhile back and she had someone ask her for a guinea pig that (I believe) was all black with four white feet, so they could name it Socks.  That was all.  Now, with that kind of requirement, they could end up with a Monty-Python-rabbit-o-death guinea pig... that is all black with four white feet.  You get my point?  I feel like, when people are looking for pets, they should think about the type of pet they want.  And by that, I don't necessarily mean the breed.  Sure, the species of animal they pick makes a difference, but even within species, there's a lot of variation.  I feel like sometimes, people are so focused on what it looks like that they'll pass over a very friendly animal just because they don't like the color, or something of the sort. 

In the rare times where the rescue is full of chinchillas and I have them coming out my ears, I have asked people, what are you looking for in a chinchilla.  And it's a tough question to answer, because often the younger ones are hyper, which people aren't super crazy about, but the calmer ones don't have as much personality, which people also aren't crazy about.  So you have to meet somewhere in the middle.  Personally, I'm ok with animals that have some aggressive/territorial issues, so long as I'm not becoming swiss cheese because of it.  Which brings me to another point -- animals at the rescue aren't always (in fact, aren't a LOT of the time) ideal pets.  They're just... not.  They're rescues.  Sometimes that's through no fault of their own -- their own moved and couldn't (or wouldn't) take the animal with, or the person got a second job and had no more time, or whatever.  It happens.  Those animals usually are ok.  No serious baggage, no serious trauma, no serious issues.  Then, we have the chins that come here eating snickers bars and drinking beer.  The former was one of the sweetest chins I've ever met, the latter, one of the most psychotic.  It's like with people -- what one person can tolerate will drive another to madness.  But the point is, the animals here aren't always babies that have had wonderful lives to start with, so they're not always ideal pets.  Should they still find loving homes?  Well sure.  With people who are open and understanding to what the animal has been through and what they can expect to get from a rescue.

We've had an unusual number of baby animals in 2013.  Several baby rabbits, a slew of baby rats, and even some baby guinea pigs.  But usually, what we get are the pets people get tired of.  If I had to pick the top reasons we get animals, they would be (in no particular order) -- people getting tired of their pet / losing interest, and people not having the time they thought they would.  Notice similarities here.  In both these situations, the pet likely was ignored or cared for, in a half-assed manner, before it ever came to the mind of "let me take the animal to the rescue."  While these pets have been left alone, often they are in unclean cages, barely have any food/water, and obviously aren't being given attention/socialization while they are sitting in that cage by themselves.  Few things to note:  people don't "grow tired" of pets when they're 6 months old.  Usually, it's more like 2-3 years old, by the time they make it here.  That means, the average animal at a rescue (any rescue) is older than most people want.  Chinchillas are sort of the exception here, because their long life span makes 2-3 years seem like nothing.  But for a rat, if we get in a 2 year rat, I would venture to say that it may very well be here til it naturally passes.  Why?  Because most people want to adopt a baby rat, and have it for 3 years, versus adopting one at 2 years that may live, at most, another 12 months.  It's understandable, sure.  For the animals like that, if they are able to be put up for adoption, they are offered more as sanctuary pets than as rescue animals.  The distinction isn't really noted except for in my head, but the main difference is going to be the policies in place and the adoption fee. 

For example.  We just adopted out Albie, an 8 year old dwarf rabbit.  He was adopted out for $10, with no health guarantee, as the lifespan of the average rabbit is 8-10 years, and he could keel over tomorrow with no wrongdoing on anyone's part.  These types of pets are offered up to the special homes that reach out to these types of animals.  Most people don't want to adopt a senior, but there are a few that do, that want the senior pet to live out its last days in a home where it will be loved.  While we don't have a ton of sanctuary animals, only a handful of the ones we have had have gone to actual homes.  The lady that adopted out Albie said that she liked adopting out seniors and spoiling them for the rest of their lives.  And I suppose, in thinking about it, that by doing so, she's actually helping more animals than the average person.  Think about it. If she adopts an 8 year old rabbit, and it lives 2 years and then passes, and then she adopts another 8 year old, and it also lives 2 years.... in 10 years she could have provided loving forever retirement homes for 5 rabbits.  Versus, someone buying a baby and providing a home for that one rabbit.

Now. don't get me wrong, I don't wish anyone to get pets with short lifespans and make themselves nuts over their pets dying every 2 years.  There is a reason that the animals I have with the shortest lifespans are guinea pigs, which can still live 5-7 years.  But there is something to be said about the people who can manage to take in the ones that need retirement homes and provide the animal with some last good days.

But back to what I was saying -- people wanting to cherry-pick their animals.  I think, if somehow there could be a memo sent out, saying that adult pets have set personalities, likes/dislikes, are generally a bit more mellow, and so on, I think that would be a start.  That, coupled with the fact that a good pet can come in all shapes and sizes, would help as well.  I've had a lot of people lately asking for fancy colored chins.  Someone asked if we ever get in violets.  Ah, no.  Whites and black velvets are about as "exotic" as we get in terms of chinchillas, and those don't come along very often.  I hear a lot of people saying, "well, I don't want a grey."  That's fine, but then, they will likely need to go to a breeder.  The average rescue chin is likely a pet store chin, which is, likely, you guessed it, grey.  So, that's what we tend to get in.  When people have other colors, often those people know the color is not super-common, so they sell the animal and try to get more money out of it rather than bring it to the rescue.  Which, that is their right, but because some people would do that sort of thing, we tend to get in grays.  In fact, many with a story that goes something like this -- "well, I had him up on craigslist for 6 months, but no one emailed, and we really need him gone...."

Good pets come in all shapes and sizes.  While Nytro (our 13 year old chin) isn't for sale, he would make a good chin for someone.  He's mellow, calm, and would be a good chin for a kid, because he's pretty relaxed.  However, the average person would pass him over because of his age.  But in reality, he'd make a great chin.  I think, if I could pick one thing for people to have when they come into the rescue, it'd be an open mind.  Maybe what they end up with won't be the "perfect animal" they had pictured in their head, but it'll be a good pet regardless.  For, though we can see if a chinchilla is grey or black or white, and we can place a higher demand (and a higher price tag) on one color over another, the chinchilla itself has no idea that any of this matters.  All he asks for, and any rescue asks for, is a good home.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Rats and More Rats

So, in the past bit, we've been adopting out several rats lately.  Some of which were rats that Jim had brought to the rescue.  10 of those rats were ones he found on a craigslist ad listed as free to a good home.  Jim wouldn't want any rat to end up as snake food, so I received an email (back when) asking if I'd be able to take them in.  So, he told me that he would pick them up, see if a few of them would get along with his rats, give some to his son, and then bring the rest to me.  Which he communicated to the people giving away the rats as well.  At the time, they said they were fine with this, no problem.

Well, his rats didn't get along with the new rats, so that didn't work out.  Then, his son's wife decided that she wasn't going to allow any rats in the house.  Ok.  So I ended up with all 10 of them.

Well, time passed, they'd been here long enough to put up for adoption, so I had them listed.  Apparently during this time, the previous owners emailed Jim and asked how the rats were doing.  He said they were doing fine, and sent them pictures of the rats -- the same pictures I had used on my ads.  So, these people had seen the ads, and later that day I got an email saying that Jim had lied to them, saying he was going to keep all the rats, complaining about how the rats had ended up "homeless" (at the shelter, I assume?), and basically just ripping into myself and Jim.

So, I called Jim and had a chat with him, verified what I thought about him saying he was only going to take a few rats, if they worked out, and if they didn't, he was going to bring them here. And I've known Jim for some time, so I'm bound to believe his word over the word of people who I've never met.

So, the people basically wanted to come and pick up their rats, and they wanted me to call them up.  So I called them up, and it basically turned into a screaming match.  I'm usually pretty good about keeping my calm with people on the phone, but they turned everything I said into "well that's not what we heard."  So, he-said, she-said.  Which doesn't solve anything.

But yet we argued back and forth, them saying that Jim said he was going to keep all 10 rats (which I knew he didn't say, based on the conversation I'd had with him prior to him picking up he rats), and me saying he didn't even have 10 of his own, he wouldn't double his number just randomly.  Back and forth and back and forth. 

I hate using the whole animals-are-property thing, but when they started in on what Jim could or could not do when they gave him the rats, they were really starting to drive me nuts.  They were basically trying to say that, in addition to Jim lying to them, he didn't do what he said he was going to do.  Which, like it or not, once they gave those rats to Jim, he could have eaten them for lunch if he wanted.  Ok, that'd be weird.  But the point is, animals are property and once the previous owners gave the rats over to Jim, they no longer had any say as to what was done with the animals.

They went on to tell me that because me and Jim had caused them such stress, what with rehoming their rats, that we should give them the cage and everything in it that the rats were using.  Jim was actually debating that, just to shut them up, but I was like "no, they want their rats back, the least they can do is bring their own carrier to take them back."   

Needless to say, we didn't end the phone call on a positive note.  It basically came down to me saying, if you want them, come get them, with your own carrier, and they said what time they'd be here.

Oddly enough, things went a tad bit more smoothly when they actually got here.  They walked in the door with printed out emails proving (so they said) that Jim would take in all 10 rats and keep all 10.  Glancing at them, they basically were taking his one sentence, "I will take them all," completely out of context, and saying that that meant that he would take them all and keep them all, even though his discussions with them, in person, were in direct conflict with this. 

I had brought the rats upstairs and I told them, if they wanted to argue, they could just take their rats and leave, because neither of us had anything to gain from a continued argument.  I wasn't going to let up on my belief that Jim didn't lie to me, and they wouldn't give up on their belief that he lied to them.  So I told em if they just wanted to argue, here's the rats, go.  They changed their tune a bit.

Apparently that knocked some sense into them and they stopped arguing and asked me about some of the items I had for sale.  They wanted a wheel so I showed them the silent spinners I have, and they pointed out one of the feisty ferret cages and they said bought one of those cages today from someone who had to rehome rats cause they were allergic and then were selling the cage, for some of their rats cause they wanted to upgrade.  They decided to get another cage for two of their boys to upgrade. 

They seemed a bit naive about the fact that all their rats were going to pet homes, but hey, if they want to think that, nothing I'm going to say is going to change that.  Fingers crossed that at least some don't end up as snake food.  But the reality is, the average person, rehoming rats for free.... is bound to have some of those rats end up as snake food.  Cause come on, the snake people are smart enough to not say, "hey, I have a huge python, how many rats can I take home for midnight snacks for my snake?"  But, that was another part they weren't budging on, they were absolutely positive that all of their 40-something baby rats had gone to pet homes, even though they mostly only spoke several sentences with each of the new homes.  Anyway....

To condense the hour or so they were here into an email that isn't pages and pages long, it boils down to this -- once they stopped arguing, they wanted to know how they could best feed their rats, so I told them about the lab blocks and the oxbow regal rat, and I told em about the dry mix, and I wrote down where they could get the stuff.  They got some lab blocks to try, and I wrote down the name of the lab blocks (my feed store just switched to carrying Mazuri Breeder Rodent 6F which is what the rat people say to use if you're on Mazuri lab blocks, yay!), and then they wanted input on caging, and they wanted to know about if the rats could breed through the bars (which sounds like that's how their last two litters happened), they asked if they could have a rat care packet, so I gave em one, and I showed them the links I have on there and explained that the sites had really good info.  Basically, they turned from the people-from-hell to people who really seemed to care about making sure their rats had the best care, and somehow (still not sure how), they figured that I could help them with that.  So I told them what I knew and provided them with resources for where my knowledge left off.

They wanted me to email them the rat care packet so I did, and I emailed them some more info about finding the right types of food and such.  Once they stopped arguing, they did seem sincere about caring for their rats right, and it sounded like they were making some headway but were still learning.  I hope they continue their research and get their rats to a better food.  They told me bout how they had originally been feeding sunflower seeds but had learned that those weren't good all the time cause of the high fat content, so they said they'd tried a few different things, and they were going to try the stuff I suggested.  So, I hope they do.  I tried to cram as much good rat care into the time they were here, so hopefully that will make a difference to their rats.

So they ended up taking their 6 rats back.  That was Friday night. 

This morning, I got a phone call from someone who adopted rats about a week ago.  She basically said that the rats "weren't coming around" as fast as her daughter wanted.  She had told her daughter that it would take the rats time to get used to her.  Apparently when the mom was younger, she had rats, which she had taught to do tricks and all, and her daughter said they weren't learning, and the mom (kudos to her) had told the daughter that this type of stuff doesn't happen within the first week, that the rats had to settle in first.  But long story short, the mom said that the daughter said she just wasn't a rat person, and she wanted the rats gone while she wasn't there.  And that she didn't have time for them.  Um, ok?  Funny cause she had time the week before.  But anyway, so the mom said she was sorry, several times, and I do believe that she is, but the daughter is now set against wanting rats.  So, we will be getting our two black hooded boys back tomorrow morning.

Aside from that, I got several packages packaged up and mailed out today.  I have several large orders that are taking longer than usual, due to custom houses, custom shelves, etc.  Those I haven't gotten out.  I'm in the middle of dyeing a birthday cake the colors desired.  That's the last piece of one of the orders.  Another order has a house with the door switched sides.  Yet another order is one where the houses needed bottoms, which can only be glued on in two pieces, over the period of two days.  Those were glued on today, which means tomorrow will be the day I likely cut off the excess and package up those orders.  But today, I got probably 6-7 orders out, so I was happy about that.  A lot of them were super basic, like I had one with just 8 ounces of rosehips.  Another was several ounces of different herbs.  Another was a cuddlebuddy.  Stuff that's quickly packaged up and mailed out, so a lot got accomplished today.

Also went through a pile of paperwork, so I should be able to work on finishing a few orders tomorrow and then working on getting the hammocks finished and up on the site.  Cause I have a ton of them sewed but not up on the site.  So maybe tomorrow. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Shiloh and Winx's vet visit, Chicago Pet Shows, and more

So, Shiloh and Winx went to the vet today.  Shiloh looked good, they said to continue the CC mixture until he's eating more on his own, and continue the metacam for another week-ish.

Dr. Clarkson looked in Winx's mouth, didn't see anything serious, one little tooth point.  So she did smooth everything out, but she said that she didn't think the one point would cause such weight loss.  So they ran his bloodwork -- everything looked good.  They said his liver, heart, lungs, etc were all good.  And she said he definitely is eating something and has poo production, so no worries on stasis (yet, at least).  So I opted to stop there and see if anything changes, now that the teeth have been filed.   If he starts regaining his weight, then we'll probably be good.  If he continues to loose, he'll need to go back in for urinalysis, x-rays, more texts.

So fingers crossed that now that the teeth are filed, he will pick up his eating again.

So then, I got an email a day  or so ago from the Chicago Pet Show about their events.  One of which was listed as April.  Well, my first thought (and apparently, the first thought of many other rescues/exhibitors who received this email) was that it was April 2013, accompanied by "holy hell is that soon!!!"  So I had emailed my contact at CPS and asked if they had any sponsors for this year, and she said not yet, but that I could make an effort to find a sponsor as well.  So, fine, so I called up Munster AH, who said to talk to a certain lady who would be in on Friday, and to bring with the information about sponsoring.  So I will be doing that Friday.

Well anyway, when I heard that I needed this information, which all I had was an email with dates, I called up CPS and talked to someone else and she sent me the packet that explained everything.  So now I have that, and just need to wait until Friday.  And during that phone call, I was corrected that the April show was for April 2014 (as a response to my asking why there was so short notice), and they told me that I was one of many people that called thinking the April show was this April and wondering where the rest of their packet was.  Ahhh.  In the words of my parents, "why didn't they just wait until next month to announce this?  Then no one would have been confused."  Which is actually a very valid point, because the "first" show isn't until September.  So, getting it out either April or May wouldn't make much of a difference regarding preparations, but it would make a difference, in that, if it was May 2013 and I read that there was going to be a show in April, I would assume 2014.  But not the way it was presented.

Anyway, it's all sorted out now.

So then I had someone come to adopt two ratties today.  He has a very nice cage at home for them, bought them a wheel, a hammock, some food, chews, and so on.  So now we only have 6 of the initial 10 males that Jim brought over.

I have someone coming tomorrow to get 1-2 of the females, and then I had someone else email about the females, so we'll see if that goes anywhere.  Also received an email about the baby female guinea pig that we have available, and got as far as pictures, requirements, adoption fee... and so far I haven't heard back.  So I don't know if they were expecting a lower adoption fee, or what.  Maybe I'll hear from them later on.  Also had someone email about Sammy, so we'll see if that pans out. 

Today was supposed to be the day I worked on orders, but somehow that didn't go quite as planned.  I did build a hidey house that I needed for the one order, and I did manage to bring another order upstairs, only to realize I don't have a shipping address for it.  I have another order or two that needs to be worked on, so maybe I'll get a chance to work on that tomorrow. 

Had  someone call asking about getting a cagemate for their chinchilla, and we talked about the various chins we have and what's available and whatnot.  They said they were going to talk it over with their husband and get back to me, so we'll see.

Had a few people email asking about custom things, I emailed back asking for more information so I could give them a better idea of what it'd cost.  So time will tell there. 

Ohio Trip


So, it was brought to my attention that I never blogged about the trip when Meredith and myself went to Ohio.  So, here goes....

So, we left for Ohio in the morning, arrived at the Ritterspach ranch after 4ish, local time.  Met Jim and Amanda, got to peek into the breeding barn, got to see some of the chins they had for sale, and of course, get some to take home.  Also got to see some of the royal persian angora chins, as well as a locken (curly) chin.  Jim showed Meredith some nice standard females and she decided on a darker standard female out of the ones he had.  Then we went hunting for my herd improvement male.  I imagine there would have been more "choosing" involved, only by the time we got to the second chin, Amanda was saying, "I can't believe you're going to sell that one."  That pretty much sold the chin right there.  Turns out, while this male was smaller than I would have liked, he was very blue, which is harder to come by.  As Jim explained it, it's hard to get the genes for size and the genes for blue in the same animal, so it'd be better to have a smaller, blue animal, than a larger, not clear animal.  Alrighty.  And when the male was held up side by side with another animal, it was easier to see how he was more blue.  So, that settled me on him. 

So, then we went outside, got to play with their dogs (they breed miniature australian shepherds, though Jim used to breed rotties), chatted some more.  Had clarity explained better to me, and got questions answered, and it was great.  Learned lots of new things.  We must have been there a good four hours or so, but we had to leave because we were staying at a little motel-like-place, and we wanted to make sure we'd get in before they'd close the office and then we wouldn't be able to get in.  So that was the end of day 1.  And some pictures:

Royal Persian Angora Chinchilla
Locken (curly-coated) chinchilla
Jim & Amanda and the chins we picked out (Meredith's on the left, mine on the right)
Pandora, Meredith's female Ritterspach chin
Ace, my male Ritterspach chin
Amanda & Jim Ritterspach and me
Amanda and Jim Ritterspach and Meredith
 So, we got up in the morning, to a phone call from Hummel that he had to be out in the fields today, so our visit there would have to be rescheduled.  So we drove over to the Ryersons.  Hummel had called them as well, so that if we hadn't gotten the message they left, the Ryersons could have told us that it wasn't a good day for us to stop by the Hummel ranch.  We thought that was nice of them to do and to make sure we got the message.

So, we actually were going to Ryersons as the main reason for the trip, as we were picking up holding cages.  So we got those loaded in the blazer, and then, since I'd never seen the ranch, I asked if we could see the chins and such.  So, Rich and Jan showed us their breeding chins, answered our questions, explained how their watering system worked (which was super helpful, as I am going to set one up someday), and were super helpful.  They explained the use of dyne for chinchillas, and gave Meredith a bottle for use with it.  Somehow, the story of my Hendryx chin dismantling a 3 prong collar before I could get it on her came up, and Rich rivited together a three prong and gave it to me (super helpful).  So then once we were done there, we thanked them and left for home.  

Some pictures:

...and I think *I* have a lot of dust.  Those are all 50 pound bags of Blue Cloud.
the Ryersons' license plate
holding cages at Ryersons
a mosaic (white) chin -- see the white on the back legs and tip of tail?  this is not a standard grey
breeding cages at Ryersons
Rich Ryerson and Meredith
Rich Ryerson and me

And then I got a nice snapshot of the Ohio flag while on the Ohio Turnpike (while stopped at a rest stop, not while driving):

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shiloh (& Winx) & my pile-o-doom

So, I know I have been slacking off (badly) on posting lately, and I'm trying to get myself caught up, so several posts in succession so I don't end up with a 100k word post.

So, bout Shiloh.  He went in for his dental work last Wed/Thurs (I don't remember which).  They were supposed to remove his two bottom teeth, well... that didn't go so well.  Both teeth broke off below the gumline and needless to say they couldn't get them out.  Wonderful.  So he was back home the next day, considerably more perky this time, but on metacam and not eating (other than his critical care mix).  So, the doc said we can give it another shot, in several months, if I want, which ideally, we will be doing.  Like with the top teeth, it's possible that the trauma to the teeth will cause them to reabsorb.  That actually would be the best "solution" (for lack of a better word) in this situation.  If the teeth reabsorb.... this whole surgery thing would be over and done with. 

If the teeth don't re-absorb, we need to wait for them to grow out past the gumline enough that the surgery can be attempted again.  This past surgery was $618, so it'd be at least that to try again.  Hence, why reabsorption would be best.  In the event that reabsorption doesn't happen and the second surgery doesn't work, not only would we the rescue be out another ton of cash, but we'd be stuck with monthly teeth trims for the rest of Shiloh's life.  Now, we are talking about incisor trims, not back teeth.  For prairie dogs, there is no feeling above the gums in their teeth, so there's no need for sedation for the trims (though, my vet would love to charge me ~$200 per month to put him under and trim).  So likely, I would be sweet talking the local vet into trims at a more reasonable cost, where there's no sedation, so considerably less cost.  But, regardless... he could live another 10 years, so even at $20/month, we're looking at another $2500 worth of trims, and that's on top of the the roughly ~$5000-6000 that this guy has cost at the vet already.  And that's assuming he doesn't ever get sick and need any extra care. 

I think, if people knew what Shiloh cost us to care for, vet wise, they wouldn't be so "omg I WANT him."  Maybe some still would.  Cause, like a dog, you grow attached and then you spend the money.  And apparently not all prairie dogs have this many medical issues, just the one I end up with, of course, lol.

Anyway, Dr. Clarkson wanted to see Shiloh in a week, so we're scheduled to go back for his recheck on this upcoming Wed (in two days). 

Well, I weighed all the chins the other day, and Winx (my first chin, like ever) dropped down to 485.  He was in the 615ish range in mid-Feb, so while it hasn't been a fast descent, it's been a descent regardless.  When I think about it, I don't recall the last time I added pellets to his bowl -- though he definitely is eating something, as there are still poos everywhere.  So, when I called to schedule Shiloh's appointment, I set up Winx to be seen at the same time.  I'm hoping it's something simple like teeth spurs.  He isn't sneezing, no runny eyes, no bumps on his jaw, so I'm really hoping teeth spurs.  That would be the simple solution.  I will be hoping for it to be something simple, because he's really become bony feeling in the last 15 days, and he needs to be seen.  He's 10, and he's a pet store chin.  I'm hoping he'll do fine under the anesthesia (to trim the teeth, as that's what Midwest will go for first), as I would die if he didn't wake up.  He acts fine, just feels really thin, and if I wasn't weighing as often as I do, I'm not sure it'd be this noticeble.  Which is why I feel like it's important to weigh often (I do twice a month).  Keep your fingers crossed for him, I want my boy to pull through.

On that note, I have that one wall-o-junk (also known as the pile-o-doom) in the basement where all the cages that I'm cleaning, all the items that need to be sorted, worked on, whatever, all end up against that wall.  Well, I finally was starting to go through that the other day.  Sanded off two hidey houses that would be alright for piggies, got some cages cleaned out, and went through my used-hidey-house pile.  There were a few I pitched.  I talked to Joann (one of my volunteers from way back when) a week or two ago, and we had a long discussion about hanging onto things that we don't need, and about not being able to let go.  Well, apparently that was a helpful discussion, because my pile of carriers that I was keeping I was able to reduce down to less (and I may still get rid of one more), I've decided that I'm selling all my glass aquariums (10 & 5 gallons) with the exception of the 10 gallon that Rex (rescue pac man frog) is currently residing in.  If anyone's interested, the 10 gallons will be $5 each with lid and the 5 gallon will be $3 with lid.  I don't know if they hold water, as most of them have been used exclusively for small animals, though I do believe the 5 gallon holds water, as Rex lived in it for awhile and we never had any floods in the kitchen.  We will be keeping the two 20g long tanks that we have (mine and my mom's), for if we need, but there's no real need to hang onto all the others.  We also have some of those plastic critter keepers that there is also no reason to hang onto, so those will be going as well.  Going back to the hidey houses, I actually pitched a few that were beyond saving.  Ones that wouldn't stand up because of chew patterns, ones that weren't worth the effort required to clean off, and so on and so forth. 

I went through more of the pile, and several things staying that I need to work with are the two saucers and the chin spin that I removed from the QC that's for sale.  Oh and I had a donated chin-spin-look-alike that I put in the critter nation.  I put it in the bottom -- if Winx gets better, I'll open up the cage so he can get down there and run on it.  He always enjoyed his wheel, when he had one.

That wheel wasn't bad to put up, as I just needed to remove one shelf, but the others are going to take some actual cage modifications to get them in the current cages.  So that's for another day.  Though I did get a wooden tunnel put up in Winx's cage and in one of the other cages as well.  I want to say I maybe have 1-2 more tunnels to put up somewhere.  I need to get on the stick with this stuff, as it sits and sits and sits, and if I'm not going to use it, I might as well sell it.  I intend to put it up, but sometimes I feel like I need a fire lit under my ass to get stuff done to the actual rescue cages, as I'm usually so busy with adoptions and filling orders that the current cages I have don't get as much attention in terms of modifications.  Toys stay filled, of course.

So, when I get around to it, I will have more cages to put up on the site.  Mostly small ones, like hamster and guinea pig ones, and then I'm debating selling one of the two cages we use for the trial run, as I just don't need two 99% of the time.  And I need to go through my wood pile as well.  Eventually it will all get done.  I've decided that I need to split up my days -- like say, one day working just on paperwork (when it piles up), or a day just on orders or a day just on sorting through my work table... because what invariably happens is I try to work on orders, and sort out the boxes on the work table, and clean cages, and so on... all on the same day, and I end up getting not all that much done.  But when I sit down and focus and say today I'm only doing orders, then I'll crank out a few.  So, that's how it's going to be.

Few "new" things at the rescue.  I bought a clock for the rescue.  I know, you're all like "and why is this news?" but I tell you, anyone who has spent time here cleaning or volunteering knows how quickly you can lose track of time, especially when there's no clock to go by.  I routinely go down to the rescue in the late afternoon, feel like a few hours have passed, pull out my phone, and learn it's like 3 am.  Ah, oops?  Not unheard of in the least.  So, I bought this clock that basically looks like a block of wood, but you snap your fingers or tap the clock and it shows you the time/date/temp in LEDs.  Mine is a black block with blue led's.  Like this:
 ...and of course, it's shipping from the U.K., so we'll be timeless at the rescue for a bit of time still, but eventually we're going to have a cool clock. 

Second new thing -- I bought a "paid" stamp.  Ok, ok, I know, but when you run a rescue where you're not getting paid for anything, you gotta be happy over the little insignificant things.  It looks like this:

My mom pointed out that I had one when she saw my "paid" notation on some of my orders, designating which ones I should be focusing on (as compared to the orders that want quotes, which, when time is of the essence, can wait another day or two).  So, I went and got the paid stamp.  And I know the picture isn't the best, but that's two bills with the $ sign on them to the left of the PAID stamp.  And it stamps them and it looks so neat!  Larger stamp than I would have liked, but I don't need a date designation. 

I actually considered this multi-purpose stamp that had like "received," "paid," "shipped" (and like 7 other words that I can't remember now) and then the blocks where you could change the date and year and all that.  And in a perfect world with time to spare, that kind of thing would be perfect.  Cause I could stamp the date I received the order, "received x/xx/xxxx" and then stamp the date I was paid, "paid x/xx/xxxx" and then stamp the date I shipped, "shipped x/xx/xxxx".... and then it dawned on me... I barely have the time to write "paid" on my orders.  Much less pulling out the stamp, changing the date every time, changing the word that went along with the date every time... ah, no.  In a perfect world where I had nothing better to do, I really liked it.  But in reality, with the time crunch being what it is.... it was a luxury I didn't need to mess with (though it was cheaper than my "paid" stamp, go figure). 

I do like my paid stamp though.  I had someone put in an order a few days ago that I just got around to writing out on an invoice today, and I got to stamp my paid stamp, and it looks so nice!  Love it.

Well, I think that's it for now.  Not a ton has gone on at the rescue lately... some rat adoptions.  Had two of the 10 boys adopted out, they went to a lady who had a critter nation on order (but a cage ready in the meantime), and then had another person come and adopt our two black hooded boys.  Still have the four black hooded girls, the blue girl (Amy), and 8 of the agouti hooded/agouti split capped boys.  And a million guinea pigs.  Just listed four of them today.  Will be listing Critter tomorrow, when I get some pics of her, and then no one else is ready to go until the end of the month.  Oh!  And Aubrey and her female baby will be going home with a family that is getting them one of our used feisty ferret cages with wooden shelves and a ton of other goodies.  They'll be leaving around the first week of the month, depending on how the baby progresses between now and then.  Oh and Ponyo and Munchie went home a few days go.

Ok, and I really do think that's it for updates, despite how long it's been since my last one.  I need to work on staying more up to date on this.  For now, toodles. 

Shipping to other countries/Canada

So, I've been getting a lot of emails lately about people wanting items shipped to them in Canada, and they seem to think shipping will be reasonable.  Which, it used to be.  I can't say I've ever shipped gobs of items out of country, but I have shipped my fair share, and as I remember it, it was never ridiculously outrageous to do so.  For example, it used to be, if it would cost $12 to the U.S., maybe it'd be $15 to Canada.  Not bad, right? 

Boy has that changed.  Apparently, since USPS has upped their prices earlier this year, as that's when I noticed the ridiculousness.  Just recently I've had a few people from Canada ask about shipping things.  First, I had someone ask about me shipping a cage with wooden shelves.   I just recently shipped one out in the U.S. for $19, though usually it runs about $25 for farther U.S. destinations - I checked on Canada for this same item -- $85!!!  Holy hell.  So, I thought, well, it weighs ~25 pounds, and it's a big box, that could be why.

But then I had someone ask about two hidey houses, so, we're talking a significantly smaller box, not even 8 pounds.... and shipping would be $45.

Needless to say, I'm sure I won't be having either of these people purchase these items for me, as the shipping would be considerably more than the cost of their items.

Just for kicks, I thought I'd check out how much it would cost me to ship a regular hidey house ~3-4 pounds, <12" box on all sides, and I came up with $27.35.  For a $10 item.  Ouch.

Went back, adjusted a few things, and I learned, I can ship anything under a pound (<12" box) for ~$11.  If I can get it under half a pound, it's "only" $9.15.  If I could somehow manage to get a package that weighed 1 ounce to Canada, it would be ~$6.55.  *eyes bug out*  I can't even express how ridiculous I find this, considering last year shipping was only slightly higher.

So....I actually posted this dilemma of mine on the forum, because it seems to have become completely ridiculous to ship anything out of country.  Heck, even a hammock can weigh maybe 3-4 ounces with packaging, and who's going to pay $8 to ship an $8.50 hammock?  Unlikely.  I know some people immediately jump on the UPS/FedEx bandwagon, but I even tried that -- both those carriers were even higher for these out-of-country packages.

So out came the thought of flat rate boxes.  Granted, 90% of the products I sell with any frequency (the hidey houses and the food being the best sellers) will not fit in them, but I thought, let me check.  Turns out, a DVD flat rate box (which has to be tiny tiny, think of the size of a DVD box) to Canada is $19.95.  A flat rate medium box is $40.95. 

I asked on the forum if people have any cheaper way to ship out of country, but I'm betting there's not one, and this is just how things will be.  It's kind of sad, though, considering I just bought a CD from Europe with $6-7 international shipping to the U.S., but a DVD flat rate box to Canada, which doesn't even have to cross an ocean, is ~$20. 

It's not like this is going to take away a ton of money in terms of orders that I won't get or anything of the sort, but I find this just a tad bit ridiculous.  So I had to share. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Latest Happenings and Daisy Girl Scouts at the Rescue

So, I know I haven't written lately, but it's already late and I need to be up in 5 hours, so this will be quick.  But I do want to update.

A lot of rescues have gone home recently.  Joker found a new home, she is now named Peanut Butter.  As did Nylah and Snowball, the mini rex rabbits that went to their new homes.  Gulliver and Chunky (chinchillas) went home, as did Dash (the cage-aggressive black variegated rat).   Who-hoo good days.

Jim managed to more-than-double my rat total, by adding 11 rats to the rescue, making my total in the mid-20's, before I told him he needed to wait until I adopted some out, before he showed up with any more.  Nice, friendly rats, so I really can't complain, but I need to work  better on sticking to not bringing new animals in if the cages are already full.

Got in two other rescues -- when I was living in Indy, I got a phone call from the Hobart Humane Society about two chinchillas they'd gotten in.  I drove up here to pick up the chins, and back down to Indy to work later in the day.  Those chin were adopted out in Indy.  Well, turns out the person who adopted one of them just had a baby 5 weeks ago, and felt the animals weren't getting enough attention and she didn't have time for them anymore.  So we got our chin back, who is now 8 years old, and we also got their rabbit in, who is also 8 years old.  He's a very sweet dwarf angora rabbit named Albie, who is definitely showing his age.  I do believe his owner stated that she knew about clipping nails, yet I clipped off severely curled nails today on Albie, so that had been left a bit too long.  His fur looks like it has seen better days, and I think we need to work out some mats, but mainly I think it's just, well, cause he's old.  Rabbits only live 8-10 years, so he's already up there in years.  He's just not gonna look like a spry spring bunny.  But he is sweet.  He'll be a good boy.  Now, just to find a home that wants a pet that's not going to live more than another 2 years at best.

He came in with an ok rabbit food, which I mixed with our rabbit food, and transferred him to our ginormous rabbit cage.  He took a bit of time to figure out how to get on the shelf, and I stayed with him to check he could get up there before leaving him without access to his food.  But he did figure it out on his own.  He came with a ton of cheerios and some of those berry flavored yogurt drops.  Which aren't nearly as bad for rabbits as they are for chins, but I wouldn't particularly recommend them... that said... he's 8.  So he can  have them, one every other day until they're gone (which won't be very long).  And of course the cheerios are fine.

So today, we had the Daisy girl scouts come over.  We talked with them about the responsibility of owning a pet, and went over the various types of animals that we have here and how they are cared for.  Did the pictures like last time, with all the kids holding the pets.  Winx was tolerant, as usual, as was Albie (rabbit) and Amy (rat).  The kids made a TON of goodie bags, we are going to be set for quite some time.  Actually went through a ton of supplies, but I was ready this time.  I'd cut up a ton of tubes so I had a whole huge bag full of the cardboard bagels, and then for the other supplies, I'd set the extras out, so there would be no hunting for them when we ran out.  And then for some of the ones I was low on, like the shredded wheat and oats, I went and bought some extras, which we ended up needing.  It went really well.  I think the kids enjoyed helping out and they definitely liked being able to hold and get pictures with the pets.  And definitely good for the rescue... I set out a box of 100 ziploc bags (again, better prepared than last time, where I had two 20-count boxes)... it's gotta be at least half gone now.  It's awesome I will have goodie bags for a long time.

Mildly amusing -- back when I got the last hay cubes, I got the bag of mini hay cubes as TSC was out of the regular size (and it's too far away -- with the exception of the summer when we go to the St. John's farmer's market every week -- to go there and not come back with something).  Well the little ones are so darn tiny that I was hoping to not run out of muncher's delights toys until I'd used up the 40 pounds of hay cubes.  Well, usually a bag of hay cubes lasts months upon months....like I rarely buy more than 2 bags per year.  I looked back in the blog... I blogged about getting the hay cubes "the other day" on March 1st... and we used all but the last few of them today.  I don't know where they went!  Lol.  I didn't make any toys with them, we definitely used maybe 8-10 pounds today, but I have no idea where the other 22-30 pounds went!  Lol.  They are an included item on our chin care pack and chin value pack on the webstore, but I only sell a few of those a year, so that wouldn't account for that many pounds.  But somehow they got used up, and I didn't even have to try to make toys with the mini cubes.  Yay.  On the downside... I just made the trip all the way out to TSC a month ago!  Lol.  Still only getting one bag when I go, as I'm sure wherever they went will slow down and I'll have the next bag for like 6 months.  Not to mention, 50 pounds of hay cubes does take up storage space that is limited.

One last thing, then I'm going -- had another person ask for loofah, so I ordered several of those, and I also ordered whole hibiscus petals.  If it's halfway decent that will likely replace the hibiscus c/s that we have, as it's mildly hard to feed something that tiny, short of sprinkling it on petals or offering it cupped in your hand.  I need to check prices though and see that I'm not paying like triple for the regular, as it's from a different company than I usually use.  But we will see.  The loofah will be available... ah... when it gets here.  I have never ordered from this company before, so we will have to see how long it takes.  The other company has the stuff on my doorstep by the like the second day (so fast that I'm always like... I just placed the order yesterday...how did they get it together and out so fast?), but we will see how this one does (my usual company only has the c/s hibiscus, but since I was already ordering loofah from the other one, I figured I might as well order the whole hibiscus petals to try).

So that's it.  We're (me and Meredith) are going to the Ritterspach, Ryersons, and Hummel chinchilla ranches over the next few days, to pick up some holding cages and tour ranches, so the 7ish pending orders sitting in my inbox... will remain pending til Saturday.  If yours is one of those, please be patient.