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. 

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