Thursday, August 29, 2013

Labeling cages

More changes.  Exciting, right?  So, currently our cages are labeled by colored clothes pins.  Which some critters like to remove from their cages, others take joy in eating them, some just enjoy taking them apart.... the system is not working as well as I'd like.  Plus, they get dirty and my to-wash pile already is never ending without having to scrub little plastic clothes pins.  And the magnetic ones I thought would be better, still not thrilled.  They also make the name cards stick out at weird angles (because they clip on and then make the card stand out from the backing) and I was looking for a solution, and came across my show folder... and for those that have never been to a chin show, you wouldn't know, but they use colored dots to denote placement.  Blue is first, red is second, white is third, green is fourth.... ok I could potentially be wrong or mixed up on 3rd and 4th... but the point is, colored dots mean different things.  Bingo.

So, I purchased myself some colored dots and that is going to make up the new system (when they arrive).  New colors:

Blue circle --> under evaluation
Bright green circle --> available for adoption
Bright green circle & bright orange circle --> available for adoption with special needs
Blue circle & red circle --> under evaluation with medical concerns
Silver circle --> on hold

The clips are going bye-bye for the most part, I will hang onto some to help designate things on the runs, if necessary, but the whole clothespins overrunning my one drawer --> no more.

I think this is going to be good.  Rather than have to pull out the whole bag and change em (like, pull off blue, put on green), I will just be able to layer them.  So, an animal going from under eval. to available?  Blue sticker will get covered with bright green sticker.  And so on so forth.  No chance of these being eaten or anything of the sort.  Should have done this ages ago.  Much preferring this already....

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

cutting back / lack of volunteers

So, due to my recent saw accident, I think the store is going to stay closed for even longer.  I can't do 90% of the stuff I should be doing right now, making this a completely nonproductive time for me at the rescue.

Add in that I'm typing with 9 fingers, so, v.e.r.y. slowly, that I had a total of 2.5 hours volunteered after literally posting on facebook for an entire week and emailing just about everyone who had said they'd "love to volunteer," along with sending out an email to the adopt-a-pet volunteer list -- people who, mind you, signed up specifically to volunteer -- and received no emails/contacts back.  And only so much can get accomplished in 2.5 hours.  Exactly 14 toys, some boxes broken down, and a litter pan full of toy parts sanded down, to be exact.  In other words, not much.  I appreciate the help I get, but where are the volunteers when I need em?  I have 72 -- get that, seventy two, animals here right now.  I am one f-ing person.  It's all I can do to keep them fed and watered and clean, and some of ya'll have been bitching I'm not letting your precious pet out to play.  Guess what?  The animals at the humane society are fed the wrong food, given the wrong treats, and are never let out to play, even if they only have one bunny.  And there, there is a paid staff, umpteen volunteers, and such.  Again, I am one person, and frankly, I'm sick of it.  You don't like that your animal's not getting let out?  You can come back and take it back then.  Cause until some people start stepping up to help, I am only one person and can only do so much. 

I never promised anyone that I'm special and have 48 hours in a day.  I work 40+ hours a week and my commute isn't 5 minutes.  I come home and I'm tired.  Currently I have a finger wrapped up and out of commission and it's all I can do to keep food down due to antibiotics and two other new meds that I shouldn't, undoubtedly, be all starting at once.  But guess what?  I still make time to feed and water the animals.  Granted, they sure aren't coming out of their cages.  But I'm getting tired of it.  I come home and I have to do this shit for the rest of my night.  I want to watch tv, but I can't, cause I need to list the animals.  Need to feed em, need to clean em, so on and so forth.  If I could get some help, it'd be fine, but everyone promises to help and in reality, no one helps when I ask.  Which would be one thing if these people wouldn't be like "ooooooh I want to help!!!!!" and then fall off the face of the earth when the time comes, but I can't do it myself. 

I dunno if I've posted on here bout what I'm planning for the other animals, but I'm going to get rid of all of the "other" cages and devote one FN to the other animals.  Will still have the rat stack as well, but due to the overwhelming number of rats that find their way back here, I'm going to only keep 2/3 of the cages filled so I have room for take-backs.  If it doesn't fit, tough shit.  You don't see rabbit rescues saying, "oh yeah, we'll take in your rats! and guinea pigs!"  Why should I make it so convenient for people?  I try to help everyone and end up pulling my own hair out -- no more.  Not worth my sanity to help all these animals when there are other rescues that specifically deal with them. 

I don't know whatever gave me the idea that it's my responsibility to take in everything.  If I tell people, "hey, there's a rat rescue in LaPorte," and they say, "that's too far...," how does that become my problem?  By taking in every animal that's "too far" to take to another rescue, I'm just relieving those people of the responsibility to actually have to take some time out of their day to get their pet to the appropriate rescue.  And for what?  So I can give myself a headache?  Not anymore.  I have limits just like everyone else and I have been a doormat for too long.  People choose to get a pet, I can't help em all.  Especially now when I'm not well myself, have waaaaaaaaaaaay too many animals and no one helping. 

I had someone suggest I pay someone to help me.  First, I dunno where I'd find that person, but second....I feel like... why should I?  All these other rescues have volunteers that they have to schedule so they don't have too many per day and I can't even find one person to help every week or even every other week for a few hours?  But by all means, if you know of someone who wants a few hour job per week run by a slave driver for minimum wage, by all means, send em my way.  They will be scrubbing and cleaning cages and sanding to their heart's content.  Funny, I don't think anyone will send anyone this way. 

I realize this probably sounds like a lot of whining and complaining, but ya'll gotta realize, I work too.  A lot of people who own rescues either do that (1) as their job, or (2) are on disability and are home 24/7.  I'm not.  Especially now when I'm not well and on way too many meds, I want to come home and sleep since I don't feel good and I'm dizzy all the time.  As my mom says, she doesn't know anyone else my age with as many health problems as I have.  Plus, I have 70-odd animals to care for, and a job.  Heaven forbid I ever want to have a life or get married.  When would I have the wedding?  Oh no.  Short of me winning a publisher's clearinghouse $5k per week for life, I am cutting back.

I wrote up that list awhile ago of the local rescues who can take in the "other" animals.  I am going to stick to that with the exception of the FN thing (which, again, need a volunteer here to get that switched over -- can't do that with only, basically, one hand working).  If the people can't make it out there, I can't make it my headache, because sooner or later, my patience for all of this is going to run out and then there will be no rescue and then everyone will be out of luck, not just the rabbit, rat, and guinea pig people.

And you know what?  This partially comes down to lack of volunteers.  If I could get some help and didn't have to spend every waking moment with the animals, it'd be different.  Heck, I will trade food, toys, something for help if someone really wants, but all of you that donate money -- that's great for vet bills, but that money doesn't help me one bit when I need someone here to help clean cages or build houses.  I can have $5 or $5000 in the bank account but it doesn't change that I'm still one person.   

Monday, August 26, 2013

Waiting List People

I know some of you all know about my injury last night, but this currently takes precedence.

Yet another aggravation.  

Them:  hello I am looking for a breeding quality female chinchilla , which comes with a pedigree. I am undecided on the color, I have a medium tan beige and a violet both males.

Me:   How soon are you wanting to get one? I would assume you're wanting to get an adult?

Them:  I dont mind if its a baby or adult. Its better if she is young that I can grow her out.  Which colors do you have up for sale.  I live more than 1hr away. Your website isnt updated. If I come I dont want to leave empty handed

Me:  My website is completely up to date, actually. I just don't have any pedigreed chins or babies for sale at the moment, that's why you don't see them on there. I'm a small breeder, I usually don't have more than 15 babies a year, and I want to say we're only on #6 so far. That's why I was asking how soon you're wanting to get one, because at some point I'll have babies up for sale, just not at the moment.

Them:  I can wait

Me (July 28):  Ok. I can put you on our waiting list, so you're wanting a pedigreed female -- have you decided what color, or would you just like to know when something pops up that I plan to sell that's female? Let me know, thanks. Also, will need your email so I have a way other than facebook to contact you when I have a baby.

Me (August 26):   Hey, I have a pedigreed beige female that I'm going to sell. Bout four months old, out of a hetero beige reserve phase champ male and a dan rolfe bred homo beige female. Asking $140. Let me know if you're interested, I can get pictures. She's roughly four months old right now.

Them:   Thankyou , i have alreally got a female. I would love to see pictures though

Few things.  First... they couldn't be bothered to respond to my July 28 message asking what color they wanted and for their email.  Second, "they can wait," yet a month later they have one.  Third, "my website isn't updated."  Excuse me?  Just because I don't have babies up for sale doesn't mean the website's not updated.  Granted, right now, it's not updated.  But just because the chin they want isn't listed doesn't mean I'm hiding it from them (but secretly have it).  People seem to think that though.  I once had a couple who I spoke to on the phone - told them I had no male chins available.  So what do they do?  Drive the 2 hours here, thinking I do have a male, just didn't tell them about it.  Um... what?

Now, I will get this person pictures, and who knows what could occur.  But this, along with the fact that when I emailed the people on my waiting list, only half responded -- all to say they'd either gotten the animal they wanted or were no longer looking, and the other half ended up off the list by default since they didn't contact me back.  So, there's like currently one or two people on the list (the ones I didn't email cause they had just been put on the list super recently).  See to me, this would suggest that having a waiting list is completely pointless.  They want to be on the list yet can't be bothered to wait more than a few days... if it was only going to be a few days I wouldn't even mess with a list.  I wonder if other people with waiting lists have this same kind of turnout?

    Saturday, August 24, 2013

    Adoptions, Dropoffs, More Dropoffs, and Common Courtesy

    Ok, so lots been going on.  But, let's start with common courtesy.  I feel like I talk about this a lot, but I was raised when, you're going to be late?  Call.  You're going to not show up?  Let someone know.

    Ok, so I was supposed to have two adoptions today.  One was supposed to be someone coming from Anderson-area for one of the guinea pigs.  They'd said, earlier in the week, hey, let's wait til Thursday to set a time, because they didn't know their weekend schedule.  Fine.  So Thursday comes and goes and I don't think about it, but I email them Friday asking if they still wanted to come tomorrow (which was today).  Nothing.  Like, not a, "hey, we decided to not drive 2.5 hours to come get a pig..." or anything, just nothing.  So, 5 days from my last email will be the 27th and she will get a 2 day email.  Now, if something came up, I can understand, but not just... not emailing at all.

    The other adoption didn't happen either, but that's a long pointless story that leads to this end:  she's going to come by another day.

    Moving onto a food pickup that was supposed to happen at noon today.  Noon comes and goes, it's like 12:30, and I text and ask if she's still coming.  Like 3 hours later, get a text back saying family emergency *rolls eyes*, can she come at 3.  Now, the reason for the eye roll, is cause what you don't know, is this person has never once showed up on time, and it's always a "family emergency" as to why not.  So, 3 pm comes and goes.  She's still not here.  4-something and she's texting asking if I'm still home.  Was, so she came, got her food, left.  But like... couldn't have texted prior to noon saying she wasn't going to make her time?

    Now, my one group of people today did have common courtesy.  Said they'd be here between 12-1.  Call before noon to tell me, going to be closer to 1 pm.  It's about 1 pm, call to say, hey, just got off the expressway.  Now, they wouldn't have had to even be that specific, but for the people who are several hours late.... ok you should let me know.

    But back to dropoffs.  Today, had a mom, dad, baby, and two other babies dropped off.  Hold on, lemme back up.  Knew I was getting in a mom, dad, and baby.   Was told, mom could be pregnant again, cause they're all housed together.  Wonderful.  So, when they called to let me know they were just off the expressway, they said, oh, btw, mom had three babies the other day.  Ok.  So they bring em all in this tote with air holes drilled in.  Which wouldn't have been a bad idea except for the cedar bedding.   Anyway, so they tell me, she had 3 babies on Tuesday, but one died yesterday.  So, we get all the chins in, they're all in the same cage, and they ask if I'm going to keep them together, and I tell em, no, but until I get a cage set up, 5 more minutes isn't going to make a difference.  So, they leave, and I have one cage that is good for mom/babies.  So, I get some bedding in that, water bottle and toys hooked up and we're about ready to go.  Turn back to the cage... mom chin is all bloody and there is another baby.  Dead, mind you, and cold, so stillborn, but it was a halfway decent weight, in the higher 40s.  Ick.  So, mom and living babies go to the little cage, and now I think, ok I am going to check on the other female (the daughter), and I can't even find nipples.  So the thought that she might have been the mom to some of the babies went out the door, cause they'd at least be somewhat prominent if she had just had babies.  But nope.  So, then mom and babies are settled, I find another cage with small bar spacing for the female.  Dad stays in the original cage (which, while not baby-safe in size, does have baby-safe bar spacing).

    So, a picture here would be worth 1000 words, but I really don't feel like going downstairs at the moment.... the toys in the cage (that all the chins were in) are about 18" off of the cage floor and not directly above any shelf.  How were the chins supposed to chew them?  In all fairness, there (for once!) were plenty of toys, and they are chewed, so somehow (apparently chins can fly?) the chins got to em.

    So, those chins were taken care of.  Going back to yesterday.  Drove down to the Bourbonnais area of IL to meet people for some chins.  A foursome -- mom, dad, two babies, no idea of sex of babies, of course.  So, turns out it's mom, dad, female baby, male baby.  Cage chewed to all hell.  So, mom and daughter went in the one spare run hole, and dad and male baby went into the last open FN half.

    So that's four females that will be here four months, at least, to ensure they are not pregnant.

    Other than dropoffs, today was halfway decent.  Got a call yesterday about someone interested in Eeyore.  Wanted to know how low I'd go on him and I told her I'd go down to $30 (from $35).  Which I feel is reasonable.  Well, she said she would have to go buy a cage and food and everything else.... mind you... just like everyone else who adopts, and wanted lower.  So she said she'd talk it over with her fiance (?) and get back to me in the morning.  But here's the kicker.  She told me, when asking for the discount, she knows rescues aren't in it for the money, just are looking for good homes.  *taps fingers angrily/impatiently, counts to 10*  Yes, however, there still has to be money to care for the pets while they're here and to keep the rescue running.  If that was totally true, rescues would just give animals away.  Like if she couldn't afford the $5 extra, she was going to have quite the shocker when she saw what a rabbit cage that size would cost her!  And really, I hate when people bring that stuff up, because it's basically like they're trying to call your bluff, like, if you really care about the animal going to a good home, what's a few bucks less?  I always want to tell these people, "do an experiment for me.  Go to the humane society and ask for the dog for less.  Or Petsmart.  When/if they say 'yes,' come back and we can talk."  Cause you know what?  They would NOT say yes, come on people.

    Anyway, temper had cooled down by today, she and the fiance turned out really nice, came by and ended up adopting Eeyore.  Discounts just tend to boil my blood because the animals are cheaper ANYWAY, and the people asking for discounts are never the ones who are spending $500, they're the ones who are spending under $50 and want to see how cheap they can go.

    So, spent a good portion of today washing stuff.  You might be amazed at the pile I'd amassed of stuff that needed to be washed.  So, several times washed stuff, filled up the drainer and let the stuff dry.  Stuff's drying now, other stuff is soaking with vinegar.  With the garage sale coming up, some of the stuff that would be $1 or so will be put out there to try to get rid of the stuff.  So we'll see.  Cause at some point this stuff starts to pile up, and I can sort of predict what is going to sell and what's going to sit here for all eternity.  Water bottles, food bowls = will sell.  Hay holders = sit here for eternity.  Small playpens = sit here for eternity. And so on and so forth.

    Moving along to more stupid people.  If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know my feelings on people who call/text without reading the ad.  I absolutely hate having to regurgitate the info that I took time to write out in the ad, so that people wouldn't have to contact me for the info.  So...gotta tell ya about this one person.  Ok, so I get a text like a few minutes ago, and its almost midnight, ok, and they ask if the rat on cragislist is still available.  Now, first off, I would NEVER text someone (note: someone who is not a friend) this late, cause, well, first, its late and, second,  they might be sleeping, but also, just common courtesy.  But, I figure, I'll be nice, so I text back and say that I still have him.  So, they say: ok how much are you asking and will he have a cage to go with

    ...and now... blood is boiling.  I actually said:  it says right on the ad that his adoption fee is $10. He comes with some food, but no cage.

    So they're like ok thanks.  And in reality, I want to be like *strangle, strangle, strangle* because if they'd READ the fucking ad, they'd KNOW that shit.  I have enough to do without having to regurgitate the entire ads for people.

    That might be it for today.  And for the past few days.  At the moment, I seem to have chins everywhere, but Meredith is coming tomorrow, so we're going to load up the last set of run and holding cages onto one of the tables so I can condense a bit.  I have two more chins coming in tomorrow (two females), and then I had a friend give me a heads-up that another person might be bringing their chins by, and surprise surprise I got a text from that other person today.  So, the first person may be coming tomorrow as well.  And someone from KY later next month.  So the rescue is officially closed to intakes.  I really do need to update the website to reflect that, but I already have so much going on that that can wait until I get  few more things crossed off the list.  But the runs will help condense a tad without using up too much space, until either I get pairs made up or until some are adopted out.  And partially I need them due to the baby-safe-ness.  Cause I don't have a gazillion baby-safe cages but the runs are all baby-safe. 

    Think that's about it for now.  Going to go tuck in all the critters for the night (food and water) and try to get some paperwork done. 

    Tuesday, August 20, 2013

    Volunteering & waiting list

    So yesterday, had some volunteers come over.  The girls who adopted Isis & Eowyn (now Taffy and Toffee) came by for about an hour and we made the pumice and triangles toys.  I didn't have all the pieces sanded or the pumice drilled (remember, the drill died and I had to go get another) so most of the time was spent sanding and drilling.  Which, really, is about right.  Making toys is like 98% sanding, drilling, cutting the wire, etc, and only about 2% putting the toys together.  That's the "quick" part.  So in a way, I would rather people help from the beginning to the end, so they can see what all goes into it.  The few people who have ever come and put together toys from nicely sanded and drilled piles of toy parts -- they think the toys are really quick to make.  In reality... it took 3 people an hour or so to make 14 toys.  I know that sounds like a lot, but think, that's three people.  If it was just me, I'd still be making those toys.  When it's one person, it takes forever.

    So, they left and I stayed down to make some more toys.  Made 10 of the fun chewies toy.  Spent awhile going through the already-sanded toy parts to pull out the triangles, drill those, and put those in a separate bag (so when I go to make toys, I can just grab the bag with triangles instead of fishing for them).  Since my current bags of sanded toy parts had already been raided for the triangles and little square pieces (which are used in like almost all toys on one spot or another), decided I need to make some of the anything goes toys to use up the "extra" toy parts (aka the rest of the bags) that don't fit with any other toys.  So, I drilled those and made one of the anything goes PLUS toys before I had to call it a night.

    Went upstairs, worked on more paperwork, and went through emails.  Two more people are vacating the waiting list -- one is deciding to wait to get another chin, the other got one elsewhere.  See, the list is shrinking already.  I'm actually liking this whole contacting people every so often thing -- granted, some of these people have been on the list for awhile, like the one that just got off was from January 2013, but then, one of the people who got off the list the other day was from the end of June.  So.... long, and not-too-long.  Which is why I've been telling people who've been lately asking about the list, hey, it could be months, potentially quite a few months, depending on what they're looking for.  And people still say, yeah, they want to be on the list.... but I almost think they are just assuming that their dream chin will come in the next day and they'll only have to wait a month (for quarantine/evaluation) for it.  But in reality, that's not what happens. 

    Just as an example.  I'd have to look at the list to see what the people (still-on-the-list) are wanting, but for awhile (and potentially still), I had like 5 people on the list looking for a female chin under 2-3 years old.  Well, this year is apparently the "male" year, cause I have been getting males on top of more males.  Which makes no difference to me, but in terms of people on the waiting list wanting a female--- they're still waiting.  And with rescue chins, you just never know what you're going to get.  First, maybe 2/10 people that call saying hey, I want to bring my critter in, actually show up.  So, I don't promise any animals to anyone until they are physically in my possession.   Second, of the ones that I do get, often sex is wrong.  They are positive its a girl and in reality its a boy.  Or people just don't know what they have.  I have someone coming this weekend to bring by a mom, dad, and baby.  They thought they'd breed for profit (ha!), but they can't even tell what the sex of the baby is.  And mom might be pregnant again.  And it sounds as if the baby might be old enough to be pregnant as well (if its a female).  So, the male will be ready likely in a month, but the females could potentially be here for four months.  And four, let's repeat, I never know what I'm getting.  Someone wanted a white female under 5 years old, well, I've had people call me and tell me they have a white with some gray chin....and its standard.  Typically I get in standards with some beiges thrown in for good measure, but the people wanting "fancy" colors -- gonna be waiting awhile.

    Sunday, August 18, 2013

    ... it never ends.

    So, moving along the ride that I call running a rescue, yesterday (Saturday) we had two dropoffs.  First, my 2 pm, who is known for showing up unannounced, or hours early, or with more pets than agreed upon, shows up BEFORE my 1 pm.  She brings her three rats and says her mom says she can only keep females.  Mind you, if you've read this blog for awhile, you know this girl as the one who's mom says she can keep the rats... can't keep the rats.... keep the rats... can't keep the rats.  So, I ask her which rats she has left.  So she names them.... one which was originally from here... and then she tells me, oh, the other rat (from here) got tumors so we fed her to our snake.  Um.... EXCUSE ME???  you WHAT?!?  I cannot even express the level of pissed off that makes me.

    I understand that people feed live to their snakes, but I hardly think of that as humane.  I have a pacman frog that is special needs and literally has to be handfed (open mouth, stick fuzzy in... hope he starts to eat it, if not, pick up fuzzy, open mouth and repeat)... but even if he DID eat like a normal frog, I would buy him frozen and thaw them out.  But to feed a rescue rat, with tumors, to a snake?  I have nothing against snakes, but I tell you, I hope that snake gets infected from whatever that tumor was and dies.  There's this weird thing called humanely putting animals down, and that's what people are supposed to do.  Or bring it to a shelter or here and we can do that.  Not, oh, its sick, lets feed it to the snake.  *pulls hair out*

    Anyway, also got in a pair of chins.  Two males (well, I haven't checked, but she said two males), Louie & Mr. Jingles.  Seem like sweet boys, should adopt pretty quick I'd think -- a mosaic and a standard.

    So that was Saturday.  Moving along to today.  Got veggies the previous day at the Chesterton European Market, so got to sleep in today (yay!).  Got up just in time to go outside and scrub down lots of stuff.  Had a donated cage that'd been sitting in the garage since.... October?  Sometime when it was cold, and had never brought it in cause this thing was dripping with rust and grime.  Finally took it out today and scrubbed it down.   Looks halfway decent again.  Brought that inside.  Also took out some hidey houses that will likely be for sale (used hidey houses), and scrubbed those down.  And the shelves from that cage.  So, lots of stuff is still sitting outside to dry and be bleached by the sun another day.

    Had a flying saucer that was just caked with.... well, I dunno.  Something that no amount of scrubbing would get off, so my guess would just be "grime."  Filled up one of those huuuuuge sterilite containers with water, added the secret ingredient (aka white vinegar).  Scrubbed a few times, let it soak some more, scrubbed some more, let it soak some more.  Over the course of the afternoon it looks worlds better.  Still not perfect, but for my intentions, it's good enough.  Also scrubbed down some toy parts and started going through my pile of "wood things."  Some stuff made its way into a pile of "sand only" (stuff not needing to actually be washed), so that's for another day.

    Washed a crapload of other stuff outside, came in, fed, and watered the critters, weighed all the chins and prairie dogs, and took stuff that was upstairs and in my car downstairs.  Put more stuff away.  Decided that my two beige females are spending too much time on their wheel, and swapped them (and Tazzie) into one of the FN's that has no wheel.

    Then came upstairs and the fun began.  The other day, I'd sorted all my chin paperwork into piles.  First pile was invoices.  That is, invoices for people who just purchased supplies, not adopted.  So, went through all of those, input the purchases into the spreadsheet, input donations into spreadsheet, input donations into page on website.  Moving on.  Next pile was surrenders.  I have three places surrenders go.  Chins Past & Present, Chins Past & Present Excel, and Chins Past & Present Stories.  I know it's all chins, but in all reality, I will be getting down to mostly chins again at some point.  So, the first Chins Past and Present is a listing of all the critters and what's happened to them.  So let's take Sugar for example.  His says Sugar and then has "adopted by [person] on [date]," but he was returned so then "returned to NWI on [date]."  That's just adoptive info.  Chins Past & Present Excel is more info info on the critters.  We have name, sex, color, disposition (adopted/sold, died, etc), birthdate, date arrived, date adopted, date of death (for those weird instances).  That's like the master doc of my chin rescue.  Then the Chins Past & Present Stories is the page that has info on why they were dropped off.  For example, Louie and Mr. Jingles were dropped off because the lady had 5 kids and a very small house and didn't have room for the chins, nor the time with all the kids.  So, that's down on that page, so when someone asks me 2 years from now, "why were they dropped off?" I have more than just my memory to go on.  So, all the recent surrenders were input to those pages.

    Then I started on the adoptions pile.  The adoptions pile has a 9-step checklist.  In no specific order:

    • 7 day letter -- after critter is adopted, adoptive home gets sent an email 7 days out asking how the critter's doing, if they have any questions
    • happy customer page -- adoption is listed on happy customers page
    • happy customers page - picture -- picture is listed along with happy customers listing
    • past & present excel -- animal is marked as adopted with date adopted
    • past & present word -- animal is marked adopted with adopter info and date
    • email previous owner -- previous owner is sent an email with pictures and info that their pet was adopted
    • expenditures/sales -- adoption fee and any supply sales marked down on expenditures spreadsheet
    • wanting chins folder -- any emails from previous owner, as well as emails from potential adopters wanting to know if the adoption fell through, are responded to and moved to respective folders
    • folder close -- each critter has their own adoption folder, with their best pictures and a blurb about them -- these pics and docs are moved to the critter's normal folder.  Once all files have been moved to the normal folder, that folder is moved into the "chins no longer at NWI" folder (so that the main page has only current animals listed on it, but, so I can still access previous animals if returned or for any other reason)
    I suppose there's even a step 10 -- pull surrender info from manila folder -- all surrender info (the two pages surrenders fill out) is kept (along with current adoption forms, current vet bills, etc) in a folder upstairs, for ease of access when I am on the computer.  when an animal is adopted, the surrender info for that animal gets pulled from that folder and moved to a binder upstairs.

    Typically, those are done in no specific order, just depends on whether I have the pics ready at the beginning, or if I don't have the pics until I'm ready to email the previous home, or what.  Today, I just went through and did the expenditures part.  The rest is for another day.

    Ok, so what else did I do today.  Went through most of my emails, responded to the ones that weren't going to take lots of time to mess with.  Emailed someone pictures of all up-and-coming adoptable chins, emailed someone else pics of guinea pig cages.  Emptied out the dehumidifier several times.  Still having issues with humidity (though, granted, not quite as badly as the rest of the house that doesn't have a dehumidifier going).  Washed loads of chin stuff in the kitchen sink (much to the displeasure of everyone else).  Probably more stuff too but that's the main gist.

    Still looking for volunteers for this week.  I have someone coming tomorrow for an hour or two, but was hoping to have several people come by this week.  Went on adopt-a-pet and did a volunteer search and sent out an email blast to those asking for anyone who can do this week to email me.  We shall see if that actually generates anything.  Anyone else who wants to help, feel free to contact me.  Can use help cleaning cages (used by pets), sanding toys/houses/etc, cleaning cages (outside, hose & soap) to sell, making toys/houses... believe me I can find something for everyone to do.  Now, just to get the people here... that's the difficult part. 

    Oh, and I'm not sure if I posted about this before, but I decided that I am going to go through my waiting list every few months and email everyone, just to check if they're still wanting a chin (or whatever critter), since there's such a poor response rate when I actually do email and say, hey, I have a pet for you.  So, I sent out those emails last night.   Had one person email, who I was pretty sure no longer was getting a chin here (they were purchasing like $100 worth of supplies and food and such... but no chin), they emailed saying they didn't need a chin any longer.  And just now got another email from someone saying they're no longer looking for a chin.  Now, I guess the question would be... how difficult would it have been for these people to have emailed and said, hey, I know I was on your waiting list, but I decided to get a chin elsewhere?  I suppose they could have forgotten, and it's no big deal.  Really, I'm happy these people are emailing me back now, that way, when I do get in a chin, I don't have to go through 5 people when the first 4 have already gotten chins elsewhere.  But this is why I tell people, the waiting list doesn't guarantee you a chin next month.  Especially when it's something like this second person -- a white female chinchilla under 5 years old that gets along with other chins -- it could take awhile for that specific chin to pop up in rescue.  And the people are always like yeah, that's fine... and then often get the pet elsewhere.  That's their choice, no big deal I suppose, but I guess I wish people would take a tad bit longer to think about, "do I want to be on the waiting list, when she says it could be months, likely, at the very minimum, before they get in anything like what I want?"

    Friday, August 16, 2013

    Lots happening lately

    So, lots been going on lately.

    Closed the store (temporarily), took down the ad saying we take in animals .... and I have NEVER received so many emails about adoptions, dropoffs, and all that.  Amazing, the rescue isn't nearly that popular when the store's open and the ad's up saying we take in animals.  I dunno how that works.

    So, Monday.  On Monday we had three people coming over.  First was some people who had come by previously to see some of the chins we had, and wanted to learn about chins.  They came back to adopt Isis & Eowyn.  Next was another family, who already adopted some rats and chins from us, coming by to bring a guinea pig into the family.  They adopted David, one of the guinea pigs from Amber's rescue (who I'd brought here on Sunday).  Finally, we had another adoptive home come by, one that already has a chin and a rabbit from us, come by to adopt Leo, one of Amber's rabbits.

    That was just Monday.  Tuesday was another busy day.  First had someone come to pick up a hidey house.  They'd wanted a custom house, as well as food and other items... but that was back when I had way too many orders, so they'd asked if they could pick up the supplies early and come back for the house when it was ready.  So I finally had their house ready and they came over and got it.  After them, I had a dropoff of two chins.  Bongo and Baja.  Bongo is potentially a malo chin who has already been filed a few times.  Hasn't needed filing since April so we're going to hang onto him and see what ends up happening with him.  At the moment, he seems to be doing fine, so for him and his cagemate, largely a waiting game.  I explained (before they came) to the people dropping off the chins how we deal with malo chins, so that they wouldn't be shocked if it turns out the malo chin has to be put down.  They said that was fine, they would rather someone more experienced make that decision if it comes to it.  So they brought them over.  They both currently look fine -- they said that  in the previous home there were no chew toys or anything, so that potentially the teeth overgrew because of that, but that x-rays had revealed root elongation.  So... time will tell.

    Also had another chin brought over.  Had been emailed saying hey, I have allergies, need to bring the chin over.  Like I usually do, my response had consisted of, sorry to hear that, when did you want to bring him by?  The response said she got all upset and teary eyed and asked if there was something she could do regarding allergies.  Oh boy.  So, maybe not everyone here knows this, but I am like horribly allergic to everything.  The running joke is that I'm allergic to air, because I can sneeze year round, allergens or not.  But... I have worked with my allergies.  I'm allergic to pine... so the only time people see pine bedding at the rescue is when either someone donates it, or for some reason I am unable to get the shredded paper.  I'm allergic to the dust, so I don't dust the chins as often as I probably should, and I have air purifiers running at the rescue.  And I'm allergic to all sorts of dander, so I am on a nasal spray and allergy pill year round.  I had an allergy test once.... there was ONE tree that I wasn't allergic to, everything else came up positive (allergic).  But... with the pills, nasal spray, no pine bedding, less dusting, and air purifiers... I can manage to stay down at the rescue for several hours at a crack, versus my previous 20 minutes and done.  It took time to find the right meds -- one nasal spray I tried would have me sneezing for 20 minutes flat -- but once we found what worked, it's do-able.  So, I emailed all of this to the person, along with some tips on other things she could use as dust, things to try, avoid this, try maybe different type of shavings -- basically I wrote her a single spaced 2 page email with tips and tricks.  I get an email back that basically said, oh my allergies flared up, when can I bring the chin?  As Amber put it, "she probably wanted you to just say, 'oh allergies?  nope, nothing you can do, bring in the chin.'"  And in all reality, it does kind of aggravate me that I took the time to write all that and try to help someone, because in reality, allergies can be managed, and then I get an "ah forget it" response.  So anyway, she asks if she should bring the cage and all, and I tell her, whatever she wants to donate is fine, but she doesn't have to bring anything and so she says she will bring the cage, food, and so on and so forth.  Naturally, she shows up with just the chinchilla, no food, no anything else.  She forgot it all.  Ok.  Decent looking chin, could be a show chin (she got it from a pet store).   

    So then Wednesday we went to pick up two chins up north Chicagoland.  Thursday I had an afterhours at work and went pretty much straight to sleep when I got home, and today is Friday.  Busy busy busy week.

    So as for what's been going on in other news (aka emails) during the week, that's been busy too.  Have received emails about Lambchop (one of Amber's pigs, now here at the rescue), and now he's on hold.  Received a call from someone who got my name from T (with Peeps & Squeaks) and got in two rats (I hate saying no when several other rescues have already said no).  Had someone email about Isis & Eowyn when they were on hold, so now they want pics of the current chins that we have.  Need to get those pics for her.  Have another chin dropoff set for this Saturday.  Had someone else call with three chins to dropoff.  Turns out, they thought they would breed the chins, and no one wanted to pay what they were asking.  So, they have a mom, dad, and baby (born in April).  They asked if the baby was still nursing (not likely), and it sounds like they have all the three together.  And... they have no idea of the sex of the baby.  Which, no doubt, makes it harder to rehome an animal, because anyone looking for a companion to their current critter wants to know what they are getting.  So, those are coming by the following weekend.  And mom may be pregnant again.  Then I got an email from someone who put in a guinea pig app way back when and has been lurking on the site waiting for something they like.  They want to come by and see Desi, so we're working on scheduling that.  Then someone else emailed about wanting to surrender some chins.  Says they currently have them on their local craigslist, but are worried about the responses they are getting, said lots of people who do not seem prepared to own chins, so they think they're going to end up bringing them here.  Now... this sounds like a lot of chins coming in.  But in reality, for every 10 calls/emails I get about dropoffs, I get maybe 2 people that actually show up.  So... likely most of these I will never see.

    Oh and best one, I got an email from someone with three black male chins and two standard females, saying they're having a hard time rehoming them, they want $400 for them, am I interested?  So many things wrong with that.  #1 - the only chins I breed are pedigreed chins that have done well at show.  The average person's chins?  Not pedigreed, never shown.  Not saying that would automatically be hers, but likely.... not something I would want to add to the herd.  #2 - she's having a hard time rehoming them because for $400, I would assume you end up with 5 chins.  Most people want to get one.  Pairs are hard to rehome.  Much less 5.  #3 - $400.  Even for 5 chins, most people see that amount in an ad and their eyes bug out.  That's a lot of money.  I would assume the chins probably come with some stuff, but there's still no denying that people on craigslist (or wherever she's listing the chins), see that as a LOT of money.  #4 - even if she wanted the rescue to rehome them, the rescue does not pay for chins.  #5 - going back to the $400 -- for 5 chins, that's $80 each.  Not a horrible price, but if I was to rehome them, I could ask $100 each for the black (assuming they're not light/med ebony) and $75 each for the standards.  Which would be a total of $450 for the five chins.  The point is, that's the amount the rescue could get for the chins -- and the rescue can typically get a lot more than the average individual rehoming chins, simply because people would rather pay a little bit higher of an adoption fee from a rescue, knowing there's a health guarantee and such, rather than pay that much from a private seller.  I emailed back and simply told her, not looking for more breeding chins, and the rescue doesn't pay for chins.  Told her good luck with adopting them out.  Sometimes, private sellers can find people to pay lots of money for their chins, especially people who just want to churn out babies and sell them as young as possible to make $$$.  And, it would depend what they're coming with.  Cages, food, wheels, toys, etc could add some extra value to the 5 chins.  But it's definitely wouldn't make any sense for the rescue to pay that much for the chins.  Not when I have people wanting to drop off chins left and right with no money leaving the rescue for those chins to come in (see previous paragraphs). 

    Unrelated, but I got an email that said:  I'm probaly gonna get Eeyore in a month!  Uh-huh.  To me, that kind of email is frustrating, because I don't know if it's a kid emailing that, or an adult emailing that, or what.  I tend to email back letting them know about the care packet and adoption form, asked if they wanted me to email it to them.  No response.  And likely will not receive a response.

    Had an email early in the week asking about the rat we have for adoption, asking for an adoption form.  Sent that and the care packet, but never heard back, so I sent another email today asking if he was still interested in adopting the rat.  Would be nice if I'd hear back.  I get a LOT of people who email asking how the adoption process works or asking about adopting a certain animal and then either I never hear back, or I hear back that they got a chin at the pet store (cause it was easier than reading a care packet and filling out an adoption form?  make an effort, people) or somewhere else.  Or I never hear from them in general.

    Speaking of never hearing from anyone... that's a big problem I have with the waiting list.  By the time I email the people having what they are looking for, they typically either do not email me back or already got an animal elsewhere.  So, I think what I'm going to aim to do this weekend is go through my entire list and email everyone and say, hey, I have you down for this, let me know if you're still wanting this, if I don't hear from you within x days, you will be removed from the waiting list.  And I aim to do this every few months, so that I don't end up with a 2 page waiting list and no one on it emails me back when I actually have what they're looking for, causing me to waste a lot of time in terms of actually adopting out the critter.

    What has brought this thought (of going through the list every so often) is that I emailed someone about two female guinea pigs that I had.  They wanted to be on the list, so when I got in what they were looking for, I sent an email saying hey, I have this and this, let me know if you are interested in adopting, if not, please let me know as well, so I can move on.  And I always include in there something to the effect of, if I don't hear from you in x days, you will be removed from the waiting list.  And... surprise... I did not hear from him.  Which is fine, but just yet again proves how many people are on the waiting list who cannot apparently be bothered to email back.  Granted, this is the same person who told me they wanted a young female guinea pig (to go with their young females), yet when I asked, twice, how young was young, they didn't respond to either email.  And to me, that's important to know, because I may consider a 2 year old guinea pig as "young," yet they may think of young as 8 weeks old.  And I'd rather not unnecessarily bother people... like if I didn't know how young they want, I could bug em all the time with 2 year old guinea pigs, and they'd say, no, no, no... but if I knew they wanted 8 weeks old, then I'd know not to contact em until I had that.