Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Same ol' same ol'

So, I believe our beige female (pedigreed) is going to be going home tomorrow evening.  Going home to a one level FN, and the guy says he's looking into a wheel, so she will be spoiled beyond belief.  Sounds like a very good home.

Also have someone coming to look at the rats on Thursday.  Supposed to have someone call tomorrow about coming tomorrow to look at them as well.  We will see how that plays out.

Tonight in the capstone class, we presented out presentation, and I had someone ask me if I had any hedgehogs for adoption.  Now, that's an animal I've never gotten in. 

So, was going through emails, and came across the email from the person who wants to get the 12 week old male.  Which is more like going on 4-5 month old male at this point.  Anyway, her last email to me was on the 16th, which said that her car would be fixed soon and she would let me know.  I looked up when I emailed her next, which was the 20th.  As she has not responded yet, I emailed her today letting her know she has two days to get back to me.  As she is the one that has had this chin on hold for a month+ at this point, I also told her that even if she does get back to me by Wednesday night, she only has until the following Wednesday to come pick up the chin.  I told her (nicely, I swear) that I find it hard to believe that her car hasn't worked since the 9th and still isn't working.  If that's the case, I would find it difficult to think that she doesn't have a job, school, something where she has to leave the house and either gets someone to drive her or borrows a car.  I told her, in either instance, I feel like she could use the same way she's currently getting around (supposedly without her own car) to come pick up this chin.  I nicely told her that if she does end up going to another rescue, she will not find another this lenient regarding putting pets on hold.  I informed her that most rescues/breeders will not even put an animal on hold without a deposit, and that even with a deposit, they would balk against holding the animal for any significant period of time, as for ALL rescues, that means we have a chin ready to leave that's taking up a cage we could be using for other animals.

I told her that if she's decided against the chin, that's fine, just let me know.  No reason to drag this out.  I will find it interesting if I do hear from her, but generally, when I send out these 2 day notice emails, I don't hear back.  We will see.

In the event I don't hear back, I did have someone email the other day asking about this chin, and I would be able to email them and see if they are interested.  I'm not sure whether they would be, as they simply saw the ad for the 12 week old male, which he is no longer that young, and also, they have not yet completed any forms or anything, so it's very possible he may simply have to be listed again.  Which is fine, just frustrating.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Latest happenings

So, been busy lately with orders and rescues.  Got a call earlier in the week from someone wanting to drop off some guinea pigs, they said they wanted to come by Friday.  I was out at Tractor Supply when she called, so I asked her if she could call on Friday about what time to pick up (because I didn't have my planner with me and wasn't heading home quite yet).  So she actually called yesterday (which I can't say always happens when someone says they'll call later) and of course I wasn't home then either, but I asked her to stop by at 4ish.  Rushed to pick up my scroll saw and went home. 

She came by, dropped off a male American guinea pig named Baby.  He's a cream and white male.  Apparently the people got two guinea pigs from their friends, who thought they were both females.... until the one gained weight and delivered some baby guinea pigs.  So they rehomed the male baby and I guess they didn't think rehoming the dad would be as easy as a 3 week old baby, so they brought him here. 

The little girl was crying about leaving her guinea pig, the mom told me that she didn't think anyone would love her like she did because of his eye problem.  So, not noticing anything wrong myself (during the short time I saw him when he was put in his cage), I asked what was wrong.  They said his one eye was smaller and had a red ring around it.  So, when I got back inside, I looked at him -- he's fine.  On one side, his eye is on a cream patch -- so the skin around his eye is black.  That makes his eye on that side look bigger.  On the other side, his eye is on a white patch, so the skin is pink there (instead of black).  So the eye is more visibly red on that side, with the pink/red around it.  That's how it is just because of the pigment in the skin around his eyes.  Not like a defect or anything.  But I told the kid that we have plenty of special needs pets and they all eventually get adopted and people love them just the same and she asked me to tell Baby that she loved him, so I did.  So now we have Baby here.

Nikki (our pedigreed female that was attacked) has been moved upstairs.  That's like the ultimate spoilage for sick/injured critters, as the rescue is in the basement.  She has decided to not eat.  But she is still drinking and munching on some hay.  She gets Shiloh's expo cage cause that's about the only one that comes upstairs.


I decided she needed a pillow and gave her one.  She gave me the stinkeye.

Been feeding her a mix of critical care and lifeline, which she's been slurping up.  The scabs on her face and nose seem to have fallen off and her skin is only red where they were.  His back is looking a tad better.  I didn't get a photo of it, but you can tell where the new skin is coming in.  Her ears are looking a tad bit better.  She was slightly wheezing earlier yesterday, today she seemed to be better.  She's already on antibiotics, but if the wheezing starts up again, I'm going to add baytril to the mix.  But fingers crossed that she doesn't start wheezing again. 

Despite the way she look now, this IS a pretty chin.  Here's the picture from when I got her:

Had someone call today about the rat babies.  Wanted to come Monday, but I have my presentation Monday night, so I need the day to prepare, so they said they will call Tuesday.  Hopefully they will.

I believe I also have someone coming to do a trial run with a chin tomorrow.  Need to get ready for that in the morning.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Adoptions and Injured Chin (Nikki)

So, past few days.  Been slacking, I know.  Got a lot of orders and been working on those.  Man has shipping gone up!  Packages that I would have guessed would have been low 20's are now like mid-30's.  Yikes.  Anyway, so I have some new idiots to share and an adoption and an injured chin.

Let's start with the new idiot.  I know there's some people that say that's judgmental to say that, but some people really are.  If they simply lack knowledge, that's one thing.  But a lot of people I run into lack common sense, which is where "idiot" comes in.

So, bout the idiot.  I get a call from someone who's interested in Joey and sounds REALLY excited on the phone and REALLY wants to adopt him.  So, before I can even tell her about the care packet and adoption form, she asks me what he eats.  Before I can even answer, she literally says, "Just carrots, right?  Like Bugs Bunny?"  Um, no.  I told her (nicely) that their main diet is pellets, hay, and leafy greens, though they can eat carrots, though definitely not as the only thing they eat.  And so she had more questions and I answered them and I told her, well, she'd have to read our care packet before she could adopt anyway, so that would answer her questions more indepthly.  So I ask her if she wants me to email this stuff to her and she tells me that she has email, but it's not working (uh-huh), so she'll call me back later with a relative's email.  Needless to say, I never got that call.  Now, if this was a kid (and we will come back to that), I could see them vaguely thinking, ok, the rabbit on tv just munches on carrots = real rabbits just munch on carrots.  But this was clearly an adult, one lacking common sense.

Going back to kids.  I have nothing against kids.  But I have really gotten to dislike when parents have their kids call me and want the kids to talk to me.  I have no problem talking to kids who have some idea what they're talking about and don't have to relay everything to their mom, standing next to them.  I am more than happy to talk to kids who know what animal they are calling about and can actually, talk, relatively unaided, about whatever.  However.  When everything I say is followed by "mom, the chinchilla lady said...." I kind of feel like I might as well talk to the parent.  ESPECIALLY when it turns into a game of Chinese telephone and the kid repeats, incorrectly, what I said.  Which is maddening when I'm trying to give driving directions to a 5 year old while the mom is driving the car.  I spent like 30 minutes trying to direct someone here... and the whole time they were 5 minutes from the house.  And I don't want to sound rude and say, "honey, can you hand the phone to mommy, please?" because I understand that for a lot of parents, they're trying to give their kid some independence, but for driving directions, or kids under a certain age, I really want "mommy" on the phone.

Moving on.  Today, Vivi was adopted.  He went home with his new dad, Zachary.  Working on a picture, but that hasn't gotten off my phone just quite yet (camera battery was dead -- charging now).  So this was someone who had a chin previously that died of unknown causes, and so for this chin, he wanted to make sure everything was right, so he was getting wood shelves, food, all sorts of goodies.  Actually hung around for 3 hours, which I totally didn't realize, cause the time just flew by with the questions and talking and stories and all.  I think he'll be cared for well.  He hadn't even made it to the website yet so that saved me some effort.

Also today, I sent the people who have the 12 week old kit on hold an email.  I'm sure I put the chin on hold prior to this, but the date I'd actually asked the people when they wanted to come pick him up, was Jan. 23rd.  So I'll say, for intents and purposes, that was the date he was put on hold.  Well, one of our more recent policies is that if a chin is on hold more than a month, the people start incurring a $5/week boarding fee, because that chin is taking up cage space and resources (food, bedding, whatever), which all could be used by another animal, except that chin is still here.  So, as Feb. 23 is coming up, I emailed the home and told them that they're going to start incurring charges if they don't get here soon.  They're not incredibly local, but the reason they had to cancel their original appointment (which was Feb. 10) was because their car was in the shop.  They did email the night before, so it wasn't like they never showed up... but according to their email a few days ago, the car isn't fixed.  Which, I hate to sound jaded and cynical, but how are they getting around, for going on 2 weeks, with no car?  So, we'll see if I hear back from them.  In all reality, this chin is in a cage with another chin, so he's not taking up a cage on his own, but that's beside the point.

Moving onto the injured chin.  I don't know if I posted this the first time it happened, but in one of our runs, we had a female get her collar off, get in the run, get into another female's cage, and beat her up.  Not badly, just some pulled fur, but enough to make me think I might've written about it.  So, few days ago, Saturday, was just one of those nothing-could-go-right days, in terms of the chins anyway.  So, I was supposed to have a rescue chin dropoff at like 10 am.  Well, its like 10:30, they're not here yet, and so I'm going around and filling water bottles and food dishes, getting things done in the meantime.  And so they call and say they're going to be late, that they didn't think they would be leaving for another hour, but they would call before they left, so I figure I'll finish wrapping up filling the food dishes and go upstairs.  So I'm handing out hay to the runs, and I'm on the bottom run and I, for some reason, am not working from left to right, but right to left.  So I fill the right cage, move to the center cage and open it... and there are two chins in there.  Which would be fine if one of the chins was a beige and the other was a standard, as the bottom run has two beige females with a standard male... but no, the cage had two beiges in it. Which means the one beige got her collar off, yet again, and got into the other female's cage.  I'm commenting under my breath as I pull out the offending beige and put her back in her (empty) cage (which I would have noticed, had I been going left to right), and I close off the run (since God only knows where the collar was).

So, I pull out the beige that was cowering under the run in the back, to survey the damage.  First glance, it looked like her back was pretty tore up, but nothing that couldn't be dealt with at home with blu-kote.   So, the other chin had barbered her pretty well and pulled out a ton of fur.  I pulled out a few remaining pieces so they wouldn't get caught in the wound once it was blu-koted. 

Picture, for those that want to see (this, and moreso the following, are a bit graphic) - http://www.nwichinchillas.com/nikki1.jpg 

So I'm blu-koting (antiseptic) her back, and I imagine it's not feeling particularly good, and she's moving around and knocks over the blu-kote.  Which, of course, is something that's hard to get off anything it touches.  It stains heavily and very quickly.  So I'm grabbing for the rubbing alcohol (which, thankfully, was very close, due to me recently dying toy parts) and liberally pouring it on the blu-kote and madly trying to wipe that up before it stains, while at the same time holding onto the chin.... oy. 

So, looking at that first picture, look up by her ears.  The upper ear (in the picture) has some cuts/blood on it, and a scab on the left.  And there's a spot to slightly above the bottom ear, where the fur's a little bit darker.  It's not super obvious from the photo, but, in person, I could see there was some blood there, so I'm moving the fur around and checking for additional bite wounds to blu-kote.  I don't see any bite wounds but I do see some blood so I go to pull out the small patch of bloodied fur.  I barely even pull.... and the entire fur and scalp lifts up.  Not good.  Like it was to the point where I could see her skull bone through the hole that had been opened.  The skin flap was laying down so flat that it wasn't clear there even was such a huge skin flap, had I not been checking for additional bites.  And you notice, you really can't see the problem in that first pic. 
Pic of it held just slightly up, so you can see the actual injury: http://www.nwichinchillas.com/nikki2.jpg  

At that point, I've got her wrapped in a towel, madly rushing upstairs with her and the first carrier in view to the vet, which is less than a mile from here, thankfully.  Driving there, I'm trying to think of a name for the chin, because I'm the type, I don't want her to potentially die without a name.  I'm getting ready to call Meredith to ask her what the Lemler's first names are (we got her from them, as she is one of our pedigreed breeding chins that we got back in October), and it dawns on that the female Lemler is Nicole.  So the chin gets dubbed Nikki as I'm pulling up to the vet.

The vet is like beyond packed.  I'm parked on the far side of the bank, which is next door to the vet, and the vet probably has at least 15-20 parking spaces of their own.  All which are full, with cars moving into the bank lot (this is a Saturday mid-day, the bank is closed).  Normally, I can park within 3 spaces of the vet's door.  So I go in, and it's standing room only, and the vet techs, who normally get a call from me saying, "heeeey, how long's the wait for Dr. Foster or Dr. Han?" (it's a walk-in vet) before they ever see me, have just seen me rush in the door with this tiny little carrier (first thing I grabbed) and ask what's wrong.  So I tell them what happened and that she needs her head sewn up.

But it hasn't left my mind that I'm supposed to have someone stopping by the house in a little bit.  I'm at the desk filling out the forms when the guy (who's supposed to stop by) calls and says he's turning on 41.  Well crud.  He had said he was going to call before he left.  Had he done that, I was going to tell him, wait, don't leave yet.  Too late.  So, I told him that I was at the vet, and asked him to call me when he got to my house.

So since the vet was so busy, I'm asking them, if I need to leave and come back, can I leave the chin with a credit card and come back in like 20 mins?  Because this was totally not part of the game plan for that day.  So they tell me they're trying to get me in a room now, as this is more a case that needs to be seen now, versus (as they put it), the dog that got bit by another dog and isn't even bleeding, or the dog that needs routine shots.  Hole in head through to bone?  More an emergency case.

So, they get me in a room amazingly quick, which of course elicited death glares from everyone else there.  After all, I walked in with a carrier covered in a towel, they can't even see what I have, and was rushed into a room, and I imagine they'd all been there awhile.  So I get in the room, sit down, and the guy calls that he's at my house.  Quickest drive from 41 to my house ever, apparently.  Well anyway, I tell him, you know, I can't leave just quite yet, but this really was an emergency and I had to leave, and I will come home when I can, and I assure him that I'm not far.

So Dr. Han comes in, and looks at the chin and we're talking about the antiseptic (cause it's purple, so it's obvious I put something on the chin), and he says she doesn't look too bad (cause remember, with the skin flap down, it's practically invisible).  So I point that out, and he's notes that that's more serious.  So he's getting a good look at the opening and noting how big it is, and he says that needs to be stitched up, so I sign the forms that say that if she dies from the anesthetic or surgery, I will be assuming the risks and not suing the vet, all that good stuff, and I ask him to look her over, while she's under, to see if there's anything else that needs to be sewn or anything else that I missed.  So he says they will do that, and he points out the black tissue around the edges (which you can see in the second pic) and says that once the area is debrided (foreign matter and dead tissue removed), it may look bigger than it is, which I acknowledge, sign more paperwork.  He asked if I wanted an estimate, and I said no, just sew her up and fix anything else that needs it.  So he said they were going to take her into surgery right then.  So for once, I'd be the reason the doctor was in surgery, rather than my usual position, as the person waiting for the doctor to get out of surgery.

So I drove home, got the rescue chin settled in.  I apologized to the guy that he had to wait.  He was, thankfully, understanding, and he said that had he been on time, I would have been home (which is true), so it wasn't my fault that I had to leave 3 hours after he was supposed to be there. 

I eventually called the animal hospital (after they hadn't called for hours) and they said I could come get Nikki.  So I went to get her, they prescribed some antibiotics for her.  They sewed up her head and also one long gash on her back, but said she otherwise looked ok.  The vet kinda poked fun that I always bring in the interesting & challenging cases -- the last times I saw this specific vet was for (1) when Pixie [guinea pig] had been dropped on our cement floor and suffered a spinal cord injury, losing feeling in her back legs and dragging them around.  We tried non-small-animal-approved-steroids as a hail mary effort, as the alternative would have been to put her down -- she regained use of her legs after three weeks of steroids, losing wads of fur in the process (from the steroids?  we don't know, cause steroids aren't typically used on small animals, due to bad side effects/death... but when the alternative is putting the animal down, all of a sudden bad side effects aren't so horrible, if that's all that happens and the animal lives... and the fur grew back).  And (2) the more recent time I saw him was when Rochelle came in with her injured foot from getting tangled in and dangling from a hammock... and then being denied vet care for a week because "it was too expensive" before being brought to the rescue.  Her leg was swelled to 2-3x its normal size, the fur had fallen off, it was oozing, and was a nice reddish purple infected color.  She needed laser therapy for 6 weeks and antibiotics for a few months.  Now, you can't that anything happened to that leg.  I remember both times, the vet was amazed that I wanted to spend the money to get them better.  With Pixie, I remember we started with steroid shots, and moved onto the shots (at the vet) in combination with oral steroids that I could give at home.  The oral steroids were started at my request during the second week, because I'd told him, if he thought there was something else we could be doing that would make her get her legs back, I wanted to do it, that it wasn't even about the expense (within reason), if she got her legs back and we didn't have to put her down.  I don't think she was even a year old at the time, so I wasn't ready for her to go quite yet.  And so, with Pixie, we moved to the more aggressive (and more expensive) treatment, and with Rochelle, we jumped into the laser therapy without trying just antibiotics, as he thought it would heal best with both at the same time.  But his amazement that I want to fix the animals makes me think that everyone else must just say that it's too expensive and put them down or take them home without treatment.  And I mean, not everything's exactly $5, but at the end of the day, if it costs a few hundred to fix a chin or guinea pig and it lives another 15 or 7 years, then it's worth it.  Course, I suppose you can probably buy a chin or several guinea pigs for a couple hundred, but if you want the one you currently have to be with you in several years, its not that much.   

Anyway, back to Nikki.  Picture of her, back at home: http://www.nwichinchillas.com/nikki3.jpg  

So I moved her to a different cage for easy monitoring.  I don't think she has been eating much, so I've handfed her several times over the past few days.  It does look like she's been drinking water and eating some hay, so I've been refilling the hay.  She is not happy about taking her meds.  She definitely has a will to live.  I set her down for like a millisecond on the floor and she took off, like as if she didn't have a freshly sewed hole in her head and chewed up back.

As for her attacker, I pulled her out and put two collars on.  While I was doing that, the stinker literally thrashed around like a bull at a rodeo.  You'd never guess I wasn't performing open heart surgery with her awake and alert.  Checked her over, not a single fur out of place or a single bite wound.  So Nikki didn't fight back or anything.  Put Evil #2 (cause we already have a chin nicknamed Evil) back in her run, and opened the hole back up to the run, so I can see if she can get those collars off and get back into the run.

Pulled out Squishy (the male) and checked him over.  Not a scratch either.  Wonder what it was about Nikki that aggravated the other female so much.

So I think that's it for now.  I have people coming tomorrow for the baby guinea pigs, so hopefully that'll be two more adoptions there.  Will update on that hopefully tomorrow.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Yesterday and today

So, yesterday I wanted to post, but this computer was being stupid and saying that blogspot wasn't working.  Funny, though, I could log onto it on my phone.  But, as you all know, I tend to yap, and I wasn't going to type out a whole long blog post on the qwerty keyboard on my iPhone.  Sorry, but not happening.

But today it's working.

So, yesterday, those people did get back to me, and told me that they wanted to get the cage for the rabbit.  So, I poured some vinegar in the cage and let it sit, scrubbed, let it sit, scrubbed, and eventually all the grime came off, with me finishing up cleaning the cage today.  Added a shelf on the far side of the cage, and got all the stuff ready for the rabbits pickup.  Got them their two food bowls, two water bottles, two everything, and washed off and cleaned their xl hidey house.  My mom made a comment that I shoulda kept it, cause it's the same as the blue one that was just donated by Mara, but with the cages I'm keeping (once the animals are gone out of the other ones and all), I have enough hidey houses, I believe.  Well, I sure hope.  Lol.  If not, I have no doubt that more will find their way here, with additional critters that find their way here.  But this one can go with the rabbits.  So they're all ready to go now.

Also got all the paperwork ready for a supply pickup (today), and for the two chin pickups (tomorrow).  So, got an email last night that the person coming today to pickup the cage wasn't going to come after all, and had to reschedule.  Again.  This time, I moved the cage back out of the way, as I'd pulled it away from the other cages and more out in the open so it could be brought upstairs, but for the past week, its sort of been in everyone's way and was getting coated by sawdust from the table saws, so now it's back out of the way.

Also had the person for the one chin pickup email and say they are having car troubles so they can't come pick up the chin tomorrow.  I told them to email me when their car is fixed and they can come by.  Hopefully it won't be too long.

My supply pickup people showed up today (well, these people always do), and they got their pellets and hay cubes and sample bag of the new treats we have in.  Which reminds me.  Half the time I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to hurry up and get orders out.  I know that on the website it says that it can take up to 2 weeks if you're ordering a hidey house (and it says that so I can relax, but....) I try to make it a few days versus 2 weeks if I can.  Anyway, point being, because I try to get things out quick, I don't always think to throw in a sample or something.  Some people get a goodie bag, some get some cookies, some get... nothing.  It's nothing personal, I'm just not always thinking about it.  So if you're looking at the website and saying, "hmmmm I wonder if my chins would eat the hay cubes, or hmmm I wonder if the chins would like a rosehip? or that other thing...." -- feel free to ask for a sample and I will more than gladly throw in some hay cubes or rosehips or whatever you want a sample of.  If you want a sample of several things, perfectly fine, just name what you want samples of.  Nothing that I carry is that expensive that I can't throw a few of whatever in with your order so someone can try it without having to purchase an ounce or bag or whatever of it.

So then today, I took some time to sand and drill some wood so that when my volunteers come by, we can make some toys.  Still need to cut the wire and put the hooks on (though I think a 15 year old can bend wire, yes?), and drill some pumice... but I have people coming at 11 & 12, and then the volunteers coming between 2-3.  So I'll have some time in between to get more ready.  I think I may set up a table, because if the parent stays with the kids there definitely won't be room for everyone at the little table I use.  Which, if you want your kids to volunteer, and you want to drop off your kids, that's fine.... within reason.  As in, you can drop off your teenagers, but if you talk me into dropping off your 7 year old and it turns into more babysitting than volunteering, your kid may find their way home with a new puppy and having eaten some sugar packets.  Lol.  Kidding!  No, but seriously.  Parents don't have to stay with their kids, so long as, #1 -- you come back for them.  If the kid can somewhat follow direction, even if that's "play with this critter while I vacuum the cage," they'll be fine on their own.  No person here bites, we have a bathroom, and the kids aren't allowed around the power tools, so there won't be any major accidents.  But if the kid is a little nightmare and you know it, and you just want the kid gone for a few hours, I will not hold myself liable for anything that may happen to them.  Lol.  No, but seriously.  Anyone who's been here knows that volunteering isn't all work.  It's not like let's sit down and we're gonna work from the moment you get here til the moment you leave.  We talk, we laugh, we clean, we get stuff done, but it's not a big deal if you bring your kids here to help and they aren't master sanders or can't clean a cage super fast or whatever.  It doesn't matter.  I try to get toys ready to do for some kids cause it's relatively easy to make toys (there's pictures to go by) and it actually looks like something's getting accomplished over time.  Or the hidey houses, cause most kids can sand wood. 

I sometimes think it's the adults that get the short end of the proverbial stick, because they're the ones that can help clean cages.  A lot of the cages are at heights that aren't easy for kids to clean, not to mention, I really can clean cages probably 5x faster than most kids.  I clog our shop vac relatively often, and a lot of kids can't grasp how to use one in a way to not clog it every 5 seconds so, I'd rather have kids make toys or do something that they can do at a decent speed (and, let's face it, is more enjoyable than cleaning cages), and I can clean cages on my own time.  But adults.... haha..... you can all clean cages just as well as I can.  But seriously, I've had adults (we'll classify adults as 17/18+... if you drove here yourself, you can classify yourself as an adult), who have wanted to volunteer, but said, "I won't clean cages."  Fine, I can think of plenty of things for you to do.  Whenever I need to refill toys in the cages, that requires some pliers and metal wire.  Not something I particularly want a 7 year old around, but an adult can manage.  No one's using the power tools except for the drill, but I trust adults can drill holes in wood, which is something that always needs to be done for toys.  Believe me, there's stuff to do other than cleaning cages.

Moving back onto today and yesterday.  Few days ago, well, back when I finally took Mara's donation down to the rescue, I thought, I'll fill the litterbox with shavings and put it in the one guinea pig cage.  Cause our one guinea pig cage has a liner, and I know I have seen potty trained guinea pigs before, so I was like this can't hurt.  And the litterbox was black and had one of those carabiner clips attached to it (through a drilled in hole), so I was able to attach it to the corner.  I think I might die of shock, but I actually think the guinea pigs are using it!!  I just have Pixie and her female baby in that cage at the moment, but I put in the white paper shavings and they're definitely looking somewhat wet, and I've seen the pigs climbing in it to pee!  How awesome, right?

Same for the baby rabbits.  I was telling the adoptive home that I'm sure they can be litter trained, and really, they're not even two months old, so I'm positive they can be littertrained at this age.  So, when I cleaned their cage, I didn't put all the litter back, I just filled their litterbox with the paper shavings.  First night, found a lot of poos and some pee outside the litterbox, but it was in this one corner where they peed.  Which was partially my fault, for not putting the litter pan where they were peeing, so I moved it to that corner, and picked up the wet shavings and poos and put those in the litterbox, and I think they are using it.  Which is good, they can continue picking that up at their new home.

So, yesterday, I was at Menards, putting in a special order....turns out, I hadn't checked their website first, and now customers are able to do the "ship to guest" special orders from home.  So I really hadn't needed to go in.  But anyway, I'll know for next time.  Anyway, so I was in the store and couldn't pass by the scroll saw without ogling it, and I noticed it was on sale for a bit.  It's been on sale since after Christmas, and I've been in the store a few times (getting christmas ornaments on sale... getting more christmas ornaments on sale, picking up my other special order) and each time, walked past it and thought, maybe I should get that.  But never did.  Well, yesterday I was actually considering getting it, cause it was like $90 down to $65 and I look down (where the product is) and there were no scroll saws.  Go figure.  So I debated asking if they had more in back, then remembered that places like Home Depot, Menards, etc, don't really have much of a backroom, except for special orders and the like, so if they had it, it'd be out.  So, I get home, still thinking about it, and I look online, and it's still showing me the regular price, so I was thinking I could pass on it cause I could get it for $90 anytime.  But then I tried putting in my zip so it'd pull up the local store and then it showed the sale price.  Yay.  So I ordered it, site to store, so I imagine I'll get an email or phone call when it comes in.  Can't wait to get it.  No idea what I plan to do with it, well, chin stuff obviously, but specifically, I dunno. 

A few privileged people (maybe like... 1?) have seen the NWI Chinchillas sign I had done by one of those mall vendors who was only at Southlake for the weekend.  It turned out a bit too nice (and... too expensive) to really put down in the basement, so it's actually in my room.  And for all of those who will never make it up to my room, here's what it looks like:

Now, that was my first time ever seeing someone actually use a scroll saw.  But that kind of cemented the *want* in my head.  Now, obviously, that looks a bit more flashy than the average thing you cut on a scroll saw, cause it's airbrushed with color and glittered and all, but those letters came from two pieces of wood.  It may be not super clear from the picture, but the "NWI" is on a separate "base" from the "Chinchillas."  Which is because scroll saws can only cut so deep (mine will be able to cut 16" deep...which I want to say is typical, some are 17") and all of this wasn't going to fit in 16" unless I wanted it scrunched, which I didn't.  But like the NWI w/ base was one piece of wood and so was the Chinchillas w/ base.  Now tell me that isn't cool.  So, now, I don't think I'm anywhere near this level of talent, but these people charged like so much per letter, and so much for each inch of "base" that I want to say this thing was like $35.  Now it's a good 16-18," maybe bigger (?) so it's a good size, but just think if I could do like chin names.  I could offer up chin names (or whatever words) in this, for some rate per letter or whatever.  More money for the rescue.  Really, I'm probably nowhere near able to do that kind of thing with a scroll saw, lol.  But the fun, for me, is that I have wood here so I can try that kind of thing for myself and if it turns out, great, if it doesn't, oh well.  At some point, though, I'll figure out something I can make and sell with the scroll saw and it'll pay for itself. 

For me, though, the draw with the scroll saw is not only being able to do curves, but also being able to do cutouts.  I had someone tell me I should get a bandsaw instead.  Which, for curves it'd work, but I've only used a bandsaw twice in my life, and I always felt like I was gonna lose a finger. I don't like that long blade going round and round....  I dunno.  A scroll saw has a reciprocating blade, the blade goes up and down, and it's a little blade, probably only 6" or less and it's thin.  It doesn't look intimidating.  Though, I suppose, if big blades going round and round are intimidating, the table saws should really bother me (but they don't, and I have two 10" table saws).  Anyway, the scroll saw blade is like pinned in.  I'm sure there's a term for it, but as I understand it, the blade basically has a quick release, so you can unhook the blade, stick it through a hole in the wood, re-hook the blade, and do a cutout.  Which I think is just the neatest thing.  That said, I have never actually used a scroll saw.  Which is actually kind of amusing, because I'd never used a table saw either, until I went out and bought one for myself.  I apparently prefer the saws I haven't tried before, in terms of ones I want to own.

So, I think it said the saw should be here in 6 days.  Not like I will have time to play with it the second I get it, but..... I may put that "it takes 2 weeks to make hidey houses, mobiles, and motorhomes" thing into effect and give myself a day or so to play with it.  Gotta have some fun now and then. 

Oh, and the person interested in David sent in their adoption form today.  Didn't send measurements of the tote, so I asked them to guess at the size.  But everything looks good, so assuming it's a decent size, I think he'll have found a good home.
Well, I think that's it for today.  Hopefully all the adoption people show up tomorrow, and everything goes good.  We will see.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Just had to share.

So, I used to be like psychotic about checking up on my website stats, but I don't have the free time to peruse that daily anymore.  But every once in awhile I check up and see what's been going on on the site.  I just have the free version of clicky, so I can't see anything groundbreaking, but I can see what people search for when they end up on my website, so long as they don't use a secure search.  This one kinda stuck out:

can you give a chinchilla a perm

Oh hell.

Cleaning day

So, today was cleaning day.  Friday's trash day, which kind of automatically makes Thursdays cleaning day, unless I have someone coming to help clean at some other point in the week.  And it seems like it'd been awhile since I cleaned cages, so David (gp) got a clean cage, the stacked guinea pig cages were cleaned, the rabbit and other guinea pig cages were cleaned, Joey's litter box was emptied, Dash got a clean cage, and Rochelle, Lucy, all the FN chins and the run chins now have clean cages.  I think the only cage I didn't clean was the one that has Keeper and Melon in it, because I feel like we just cleaned that one, and they're still on shavings, so that will last longer than the paper.  Got just about everyone else cleaned though.  Need to take the liners to be washed, but for today, everything was just vacuumed up.

Worked on some more orders today.  Emailed one person once I weighed their order and determined shipping ($13.25 on a $12 order).  Will see if I hear back from them.  Added bolts into two of the hidey houses on order, took off the rubberbands on a chinny mobile, and put together most of the chinny motorhome that's sitting around.  Still need to put the wheels on that, but that's for another day.  It can't all be done at once, not with trying to support all the various parts that need to stay in place.

Glued together the birthday cake, and finished piecing together the litterbox.  Had to glue two blocks of wood onto the back of the litterbox in order to make it lay flush against the bars.  Need to drill through those for the bolts, but need to wait for that to dry before drilling through them.

Had someone email about wanting to adopt David, so they got the adoption form and all that.  Had several people email about adopting the baby rabbits, even though it says on the website (and, they all did notice this) that they are on hold.  So in the event those people fall through, I have like 4 homes lined up for the rabbits.  So, I got an email from those people with their list of what they wanted, no cage on the list.  Which is fine, but I don't want them to get here and wonder why I don't have a cage ready, so I emailed them just to check, one way or another, if they want the cage or not.  I have another cage I can put the guinea pigs in, but I don't want to scrub a cage in a rush if they don't want it, when I can just do it leisurely when I get a chance.  So we will see when I get an email back.

Either way... once the rabbits go home, one of the other critters can be moved into their cage, effectively freeing up one of the cages to clean and sell.  I just have enough to do with orders and such that I don't want to have to rush to clean and scrub a cage if it can wait a bit.

Oh and we had someone, well, several people call today about cages.  The one came by and liked the degu cage that we had with all the accessories in it, so they bought that.  Donated $10 to the rescue, which was awesome.  Had someone call about a hamster cage, I called them back to say we still had it, they said they will call back tomorrow, so we will see.  Had someone else email about liking one of the cages on the site and said they will call in the morning.  We'll see if they do. 

Need to buy some more wood, corner shelves, and washers.  Maybe will do that tomorrow if I get a chance.  Have a cage/supply pickup scheduled for Saturday, and have several people scheduled for Sunday.  Have the person scheduled to pick up the rabbits, two people scheduled to pick up chins (the two "baby" chins), and that may be it.  Once the female baby chin at the bottom of the CN goes home, Rochelle can go into that cage until she's ready to go.  Which will actually be good, for her, as she's so active in her cage that she's going to knock it off the table she's on.  She literally moves the entire cage like 8-10 inches in a few hours, so I have to keep pushing her cage back to the back of the table, and by the time I make it downstairs, it's considerably farther toward the front of the table.  So she could use some stability in terms of a cage that can't move so much.  And I could use her not digging all of the bedding out of her cage every morning, lol. 

I think that's it for today.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Birthday cake coloring and chin dropoff

So, woke up today to a call from Jim asking if I was home so he could drop off the chin.  So, he made it to pick up that Snickers-eating chin, and brought ahim here.  So now we have a somewhat overweight male chin, named Scooby Doo. 

So, from Scooby being brought by, and the two chins the other day, I still hadn't looked through all the stuff brought with them, so I finally dug through the boxes and sorted the stuff.  The usual stuff found it's places, the dust went with the dust, the plastic items to be washed and sold went into the pile of to-be-washed items, and the treats... well, let's just say like 99.9% of all treats went into the rat-bin.  Whooo boy.  For Gulliver and Chunky, their previous owner sent along a decent amount of good wood chews (kudos), as well as one of those snack shack logs (hellllo rat heaven), and three containers of some banana & raisin mix.  Ratties gonna be eatin good for awhile.  They do get lab blocks, but I won't have to buy them treats for some time.

So, I put Scooby in his cage and was fishing the other things out of his carrier, and I came across what could only be described as a granola-bar looking thing, with what looked like chocolate chips on top.  So I had this ooook moment, took it out and gave it to Dash [rat], who was like "awesome!!!  I don't hate you and won't bite you for this one minute as thanks for this awesome load of calories and sweety goodness!!"  And went back to digging through the tote and boxes.

Came across a bag that, had I been looking at someone's fanny pack that they brought along on a hike, wouldn't have surprised me.  However, let's remember, this is chin food.  So, came across saltines, some fun-size snickers bars, a protein bar still in package (so THAT's what that thing was), and some grapes.  Oh and some dates.  Uh... yeah.  Let's not forget the Charlie Chinchilla food.  Let's say that Scooby is a tad bit chubby.  And anyone who knows me knows I don't think I've ever said before that we've gotten in a fat chin.  But oh heck.  Scooby could use to lose a few.  He is very round.

So, the lady was kind enough (killing him with kindness) to go out and get me an extra bag of the charlie chinchilla, like an unopened one (in addition to the half full one that was coming with him).  More rat food, awesome.  Thankfully, he did have a half-eaten bag of some not-so-horrible chin food with him.  Still not good, but not Charlie, so I mixed it with some Mazuri and now he has his container of mixed food to chow on.  I actually was able to get a box and fill it with all the tasty things the rats will be enjoying over the next while.  Oh, and I think another thing that was included (with the chins from a few days ago) was those balls that are like peanut butter that are rolled in sesame seeds?  More rat treats.  Lol.

I just want to clarify, because of the way this post is sounding, that I'm not killing my rescue rats with kindness either.  But they really can eat just about anything, including chocolate.  The main thing with snacky foods and things like chocolate is the high caloric intake, but done now and then it's no more harmful than you or me eating McDonalds once a week.  And in all reality, the rats here eat their lab blocks and their dry mix, and get a treat now and then.  All this stuff that I've accumulated over the past few days is going to last absolutely forever.

Which reminds me.  With the chins a few days ago, there was a bag of hay with mango (which, btw, I hate those new hay types -- the only one that was "good" was the hay with mint, and of course, that's the one that was discontinued).  So, I dumped the bag into an aquarium, fished out the hay and doled it out to the chins, and bagged up the mango for the rats and g-pigs.

So eventually I had all the stuff put where it goes, and I needed to get a move on some orders.  So, I had a chinny mobile that had dried, so today I attached the wheels, so now that's sitting to dry.  Had a standard hidey house with a bottom that needed the holes drilled for the bolts, so I did that, sanded that, put in the bolts.  Had a cottage house that needed the rest of the roof & bottom glued on, so I did those and set it aside.  Need to drill the holes in that as well.  Started assembling the motorhome that goes with that order (it's a big order -- 2 hidey houses, motorhome, chinny mobile, and some other misc. stuff), but got sidetracked.  Started working on the custom litterbox that someone wanted.  It's all currently rubberbanded together, but in looking at it, one of my pieces of wood is warped, so I'm going to have to figure out how to work around that without having to rebuild the whole thing.  Same person wanted a birthday cake for their chin, and wanted the pieces colored.  They said it could be squares (thank god, because I still don't have a scroll saw, nor do I have room for one in my current setting), so I cut out some squares and then tried not to cut a finger off while trying to shape a 1/2" piece of wood into a flame-looking thing.  See, this is why I need that scroll saw.  Anyway, so I got those done and sanded, and went looking for my rubbing alcohol and of course I couldn't find any.  Which made me remember the fun I had dyeing wood back when and used it all up.  Joy. 

So, it was still early, (like, 9ish?) so I went to Meijer and picked up some rubbing alcohol and some of those foam brushes that I keep managing to lose.  I swear one day I'm going to find them all and I'm going to have 4000 of them cause they're going to have started breeding.  Lol.  But right now I dunno what I did with them, and for .99, I got 3 more.  Only really wanted the small sized one, but the pack of several of the small sized ones was like $4.99, and I try to keep prices down for ya'll, so I went with the .99 set of 3 different sizes.  So, I was thinking that I was really going to kick myself for agreeing to color this birthday cake if this didn't work out, because I absolutely hate dyeing wood.  Like it soaks and soaks and never quite gets a nice bright color and I always just want it to be over.  But I thought, well, I will just try to paint it on like I see people do.  And I was like ok I'm not going to mix up too much more than I need, cause I don't want to have a ton of extra dye left.  So, I got my easter egg coloring cups and did like a few drops of food coloring, splash of rubbing alcohol, stir with the foam brush and omg.  It brushed on so pretty!  I am totally coloring everything this way from now on.  And like I only had mixed up what I needed, so I didn't need to worry about storing extra dye or anything.  And like I don't have the color orange in food dye, but I figured I'd try to make it, so a few drops of yellow, a drop of red.  Omg.  I got the brightest nicest sunset orange color.  Will be perfect for halloween.  If I ever remember, by that point in time, how I mixed it up. But a gorgeous orange color.  And I do have black food coloring (really!  I found it somewhere), so come halloween I will have fun colored toys.  And back to painting on the color, I imagine that significantly speeds up drying time as well cause it's probably not soaking all the way through.  Not like I don't have other things to occupy my time while the first order dries, but still.

I called the guy who wanted an order last week... he had called on like the 1st and had said what he wanted, so I got everything ready, and actually figured out that it would be cheaper to go flat rate on his items than shipping it regular mail... well, I'd called him on the 1st and left him the message for how much it was going to be, and he hadn't called back, so I called him again today and left another message.  Shipping was like $12-13 or around there, so it wasn't like nothing, but his order had like 5 pounds of food, a glass water bottle, like 4 toys, a ceramic food dish -- like point being, it wasn't a light order, and it was going to NY.  And he'd said (when I talked to him, originally), that he realized that the 5 pounds of food was going to cost a bit to ship.  Well, yeah.  I mean,  like one pound can be like $7.  So $13ish for 5+ pounds plus another 2-3 pounds of additional stuff, doesn't seem too bad.  But, who knows, maybe he thought it'd be cheaper in general.  I'll probably call one last time in a few days if I don't hear back, but I really wish these people would just have the courtesy to say, you know, that's too much for me.  I had someone ask about a chin and a cage the other day and ask how much it'd be and I said, even going with the cheapest chin and cheapest cage, we'd probably be around $150, and they said that's too much.  Fine, I'm perfectly fine with that, because I'm not strung along and that way, since I know it's too much for them, I'm not hanging onto it for them.  Cause let's take the baby guinea pigs for example.  I had someone email the other day asking about the personality of the one male.  So I told her, he's more outgoing than his brother, though he's still shy, but can be lured with veggies, and so on.  She had asked for the form, so I emailed it to her.  Had another person email asking if either of the males were left, and I emailed her back saying that someone was asking about the one, but for sure the American was still available.  Haven't heard back from either.  Now, it's only been a day, but here's the question -- if someone else emails about them -- are they available?  Are these people wanting them?  And like in situations like this, typically since I don't have any adoption forms actually filled out, if someone else was to email, I'd give them the info, and whoever gets back first.  Cause I can't wait forever, and some people literally will wait months to get back to me, and then get upset when the animal's not still here.

So, got an email from the people who have the mini rex's on hold.  She said her roommate has a list of the items they want to get from me.  Now, they asked what I had in terms of used rabbit items, and I told them, but I clarified that most of those items are not clean and I would need to know they want them before I take the time to clean those items and then have them sit here and collect dust.  Like for example, the cage they were asking about has animals in it.  I can move the animals to another cage.... but I wouldn't do that if they don't want the cage, you know?  So I emailed asking if she could pass along the list of items, so that if they do want the cage (and anything else), I know exactly what they want so I can wash it and get it ready and all that.  Cause like I know, just as an example, I told her that one of my friend has some rabbits and they love the muncher's delight toys.  I don't have any made, and I can't particularly say that I will have any made before Sunday, as I've got orders to deal with before making toys/houses just to stock the store.  But if they want some, I would make some.  So here's hoping they email me the list.

Which reminds me, I am on my last piece of wood, and I have no remaining corner shelves.  I should probably go pick some of those up tomorrow.  I should also clean cages tomorrow.    I should make a list.   

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chins eating Snicker bars & more

So, today, got a call from the lady who called a few days ago.  Very nice lady, she said she was in her 80's and could no longer care for her chin the way he needed to be cared for.  Said he'd gotten a bit unsocialized and would need to be worked with, which I said is fine.  It's not a rescue if you only take in perfect adoptable chins, some tend to have issues.  Well, she was out in the Fort Wayne area and asked if I knew of a rescue closer to her, which I don't, I'm pretty sure this is the only rescue in Indiana, but I told her I might have someone who could drive out her way and asked if I could give him her number if he could.  She said I could, so I emailed Jim (the retired Jim that brings over cages) and asked if he could make it out her direction, and so he's apparently going to get the chin tomorrow.

So, little bout the chin.  It's name is Scooby Doo, and his owner seemed really nice, she wanted to make sure that he'd go to a good home, so I told her how we have the care packet and adoption form and it makes sure that people know how to adequately care for chins and all.  So she asked if she could send over some of the chin food with the chin and I told her, she could send whatever she wanted with the chin.  And she asked something about likes and dislikes, and I told her that I would send Jim over with two forms she'd need to fill out, and the one has a spot for likes and dislikes.  And so she tells me, get this, that her chin really likes potato chips and popcorn, and he's got a sweet tooth, he really likes Snickers bars.  I was tempted to ask, does he like beer too?  I think this chin might be a relative of the popcorn, potato chip, and chocolate-eating, beer-drinking chin I picked up in Hammond a few years back.  But anyway, I forced myself to smile and say, oh, interesting, or something along those lines.  She's giving it up, no sense in upsetting her. 

So then, I had someone coming today to pick up some plastic shelves for a cage, and I thought I recognized the name on the email, but the few times that I ask people if they're related to so and so, they never are, so I just thought I'd leave it alone.  Until the person asked if I'd ever taken piano lessons from this one lady.  So it turns out, this person was the son of the lady who used to teach me piano.  Like way back when, before I was ever even in high school, so years years ago.  So he stopped by today, didn't look any different than I remembered him, got some shelves, wanted to get some treats too, so he ended up getting a bag of rosebuds.  Wanted one of our fourth of july toys, and I thought we had one left, but it turns out I must have sold the last one, so he ended up going home with a christmas toy (same thing, but the blocks were green & red instead of red & blue).  He asked me about raisins, and I told him once in a blue moon would be ok, but not daily.  And asked about food, he said it was in a yellow bag but he couldn't think of the brand.  This is how you know you've been into an animal too long -- I asked him if it was Sunseed.  And it was.  It's amazing, because that's not even a brand that's good, but I guess, you get in the crappy food with the chins enough and the colors stick with you.  Anyway, so he asked what I thought of it, and I told him, off the top of my head, it's not a great one, but I can't picture like every food out there, ya know, like I asked if it was just pellets or if it had the little extras in it.  And he said it had the extras in it, so I told him, I personally would feed something else.  So he asked what I fed, and I told him about Mazuri and he asked how much it was and ended up getting 5 pounds of it.  He asked if that's what I fed all my chins and I said that I did, and that sometimes they're a bit stubborn but eventually they all switch to it when they get hungry.  So that was good, got another chin on good food, some good treats.  Gave him a sample of the rosehips, hawthorn berries, jasmine flowers, calendula, apple & oat cookies, so he could try all that out and see what his chin thought.

Which reminds me.  I did get in all the new herbs and stuff I ordered, the last thing (globe flowers) came in today from China.  Need to figure out prices and such, but I still have some big orders I'm working on, so that hasn't happened quite yet.

Shipped out a few packages.  One I had the shipping right on, another got a refund of $2-something (a multi-item order, those usually end up with some shipping refunded), and the third... lost out on like $3 of shipping.  Which is actually good, like, not really, but good in the sense that now that I know that, I can go into the webstore and change the set shipping price on that item.

Had someone call on the degus today.  They went home yesterday, which was a good reminder that I hadn't taken their ad down yet, so I did that.  Had someone call about the mini rex rabbits, which are on hold.  They said they saw it on the NWI Chins website.... tempted to say, did you not notice the red writing that says they're on hold?  But I guess they didn't.  Anyway, they hung up before I had a chance to ask them if they wanted me to let them know if the other person backed out.  Guess not.  Had a few people email about the baby g-pigs today, emailed those back.

So I think that's it.  Will see about getting in Scooby Doo tomorrow and see what shape he's really in, with his eating the Snickers bars and all, and will hopefully get some more work done on orders tomorrow.  Also hoping to get prices up for those new products but haven't gotten that far yet.

Oh, but I DID take some pictures and write up basic descriptions for a ton more of the "gently used items," yesterday, so I just need to bring the camera up and put those on the website when I get a chance.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Yesterday & Yappin bout Donations

So, today, I've been upping shipping on all 150ish items in the webstore.

Also added a pic of Meredith with her new chin Star on the happy customers page.  Organized my chin folder and printed out adoption forms that I was missing.

Resized the picture of Mara's donation and linked it to her donation description on the donations page.  Look at all the great stuff she sent!:

Got an order for two hidey houses, a chinny mobile, a chinny motorhome, two circular shelves and a food bowl.  Going to California.  That's going to be a BIG box.  Can't wait to see what shipping is on that.

Ok, so, as for other things I did today. My dad was going to Meijer, so I asked him to pick me up some carrots for the pigs and rabbits and Shiloh. So he did, so I chopped up some carrots for the critters. Ran out of my diced apples in the basement, so I dug out the last two apples from the other fridge and diced those up for the critters. Went downstairs and everyone got their nightly greens, with some carrots, and apples and mustard greens. The rabbits definitely devour the carrots.

So I did that. Cleaned up the basement a bit, got a lot of people coming tomorrow and didn’t particularly want to have to start cleaning at 8 am, so I cleaned. Good that I did too, cause I had one of my glass lixit bottles on Rochelle’s cage. Little turd somehow knocked it off, and the floor is cement, so you guessed it – glass shards everywhere. So I like double and triple vacuumed everything. Not like I’m ever down there without shoes, but I find myself kneeling down reasonably often and I’d rather not have a piece of glass wedge itself into any part of me. Little turd. Hung a glass superpet bottle on her cage. Hoping this one holds up better.

Watered and fed all the pets, vacuumed the FNs for poos. Seems like Jessie is catching on with potty training, so I put fresh litter in her pan.

For that order with the two hidey houses, motorhome, and all that, I cut all of those out of wood and cut the holes in the wood. So I just need to sand everything and then glue everything. And drill the holes for the hardware where needed.

Also cut the wood for the bus. Just kind of mocked it up, a few different times.

First time, with headlights.
Second time, different headlight look.  Looks like it has a pig snout here.

Third time, with hollowed out wheels.
 Not feeling the pig snout type headlights, but I don't know about the wheels....

So, I said on my facebook page I’d talk about donations. So, the picture of the stuff that Mara donated (thanks Mara!) is up above. A bit before that, she mailed the rescue a package of guinea pig treats (awesome as well).

Most people donate money. And don’t get me wrong, money’s great. I’m not going to turn down money – it can go towards, food, current medical bills, etc. Whatever is needed. And we’ve had people donate large amounts before – one person donated $100 after they dropped off their Martin’s cage and asked if I could assemble it and put shelves in it, another donated $250 when she came to drop off her two chinchillas at the rescue.  More recently, people donated a combined $300ish? for Rochelle’s treatment, and even more recently, someone just donated $75 to the rescue. We’ve definitely had our share of cash donations and they are very much appreciated.

But let me tell you what’s kinda fun – getting in an actual “item” donation. I don’t mean to discount cash one bit – if I need something for the rescues, I can use the cash to go purchase it. But when someone donates an actual item, it’s kinda fun. It’s like Christmas opening up the box and getting to see what all was sent for the critters. In this most recent Mara donation, I just put the blue XL pigloo in with some of our piggies today. One of em ran right into the pigloo. I haven’t done much with the other things donated yet (it’s been a bit busy with orders right now), but in the past, we’ve gotten some interesting donations.

We recently had someone come with their kid to volunteer and they brought over some hidey houses made out of shoe boxes (for the rats) and a maze of tunnels made out of toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls. The rats were highly amused. There’s not much left of the maze anymore, but our one rat is still enjoying his shoe box hidey house.

We had someone donate little goodie bags, they made one for each of the rescues.Those bags went with the chins to their new homes (who thought they were adorable). We had one person who’s kid pulled down our name signs and drew on them. Many of those animals have since left the rescues, but Shiloh’s is still up there. And there’s a little prairie dog drawn on his name sign. I have no idea who’s child did this, but if you’re reading this and that was your child, our name signs are looking a little bare. Can you come draw some more?

Then we had one person make up nice colored name signs for our personal chins.Which are up at the rescue on the cages :)

We’ve had cages donated, toys, supplements, Lifeline once, Critical Care – if you have critical care that is expired, don’t pitch it! We will gladly take it from you. Every time we go to get a bale of hay, our hay person donates a bale.

I had someone once ask something like how do they know what’s safe? Like they weren’t sure what to buy to donate, because they didn’t know if we could actually use what they bought. In terms of treats – there probably is some animal out there that can eat everything found in the pet store. Not in large quantities of course, but when people drop off rescue chins, often times treats come with, and often, those treats are like peanut butter and seed balls or something like that – the chins can’t have them… but the rats can. The one advantage and one thing that I definitely do like about having expanded to be a more small animal rescue (versus purely chinchillas) is that with the variety of animals we typically have (we usually have rats and guinea pigs, if not also rabbits and other critters), something we have can eat whatever it is that we get. It’s nice, because the rats are happy when chin people drop off bad treats. Same with the guinea pigs. They can have some treats that would be considerably too high in sugars for the chins.Not all the time, and not often, but now and then. I think about how many of those snack shacks and snack logs I threw away when this was purely a chinchilla rescue – the rats and guinea pigs can have those on occasion.Now, there’s use for them. Very little goes to waste here, unless it’s expired or crawling with bugs.

Even donations we can’t use end up benefitting the rescue – we have a section on our webstore that features gently used items.If I saved every water bottle we ever got in, I could swim in a pool of water bottles. I keep the less-appealing looking ones for use here, and we do keep extras of the plastic ones, for when they get chewed or when we go to expos and don’t want to take (and break) our glass ones, but at the end of the day, I still have gobs of plastic water bottles. So, they’re offered for sale. Same with food dishes.Every once in awhile I’ll get in one that I like, but for the most part, every one of our cages has a food bowl (sometimes even a color-coordinated food bowl) and so we don’t need the other ones. So, I can put them up on the gently used section for $1, and someone adopting a chin can get a practically new food bowl for cheap. Same goes for everything, really. If I don’t need a cage, it’ll get cleaned and put up for sale. And whatever money is made from the sale of the items goes into the rescue account, so it all benefits the rescues.

Chew toys we hang onto. I currently have two boxes of chew toys that are not in cages, partially because I cleared out PSP’s clearance section awhile back, but any chew toys we get either go into a cage or go into the box for future use. I typically tend to refill the toys that we have already in the cages, which I’m sure the chins find appealing in itself, but I swear, I hang a new chew toy (whether donated or purchased or whatever) and it’s like Christmas. I swear, it could have the EXACT same things on the chew toy as what I’d refilled their original chew toy with, but since it’s “new,” I guess it’s more fun.

Going back to donations, I once had someone (a friend, not some random stranger) who wanted to donate $25 to the rescue but wanted it to be in chew toys or something actual product. So we went to the store and together picked out some good stuff for the critters, up to $25, and she paid for it. That was kinda fun too.

Really though, if I had to pick the best donation, I’d have to say, if you can donate your TIME, that’s what’s best. It’s hard for me to get ahead and keep items like the hidey houses and toys in stock, at the same time as the cages need cleaned and pets need fed and so on. So, for anyone that wants to help, I really do appreciate when you help us by spending your time here. I can get houses built twice as fast, cages cleaned a lot quicker…. A lot gets done when there’s more than one person doing it. We have a crapload of goodie bags, thanks to the girl scouts!

I appreciate any donation, whether it’s money, items, time, whatever. It’s all going towards the health and welfare of the animals. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Slow day

So.... today might have been productive, had I gotten up earlier.  But as that didn't happen.... productiveness can only be so much when there's only a few hours before it's already "morning" again.

But in those few hours, I got stuff done for my capstone class, I fed/watered/photo'd some of the newer arrivals at the rescue.  The rabbits got their photos taken and an ad put up, the guinea pig babies got their pics taken and an ad put up.  The baby rats... I took their pictures, and Jim I swear you'll have them... just not today. 

Took down and re-put-up all the ads.  Edited Dash's ad, as he's got some cage aggression going on, and took down the sale for January.  Edited Joey's ad to read that he is litter trained.  Changed the website to read that we are taking in chinchillas, but nothing else at the moment, as the other cages are still full (or, in the case of the rats, will be full once they're out of the tank). 

Changed the flat-rate shipping prices on the items that go flat rate in the webstore.  Also need to bump up shipping a tad on each item (because for many of the items, especially the hammocks, the set shipping price barely covers shipping em... before shipping was raised), but that's for another day.
The person supposed to come for the cage tomorrow cancelled, so I think she's going to be coming next weekend.

Glued the bottom to a custom house, and rubberbanded it on.  Need to cut the two extra pieces to glue on as well, but that will be tomorrow likely.

Got another order for a custom house, the person wants other stuff too, so currently waiting on their other stuff order, maybe will get cracking on the house tomorrow.

Got an order for two cuddlebuddies, and noticed another order from a few days ago for a corner shelf.  Almost out of those, I wish the weather would get a tad nicer cause I would rather pick them up on a day I won't freeze my hands from the car to the store.

Took the items that Mara sent as a donation and took a pic of them all together (for use on the donations page).  Didn't do anything with that pic (just like the baby rats pic), but now that I have the picture taken, when I sit down again I can open it up and re-size it and get it on the page.  Lots of good stuff, it's from at least a week ago, from the Twilight event.  I never saw it for sale, so when I got a BIG box in the mail, and knew I hadn't ordered my 50 lbs of guinea pig food yet, I was like... what did I forget I ordered?  But really, it was Mara's donation, she got me a huge blue pigloo.  Will match my big pig cage.  Also got a litter box, some hanging chew toys, a ferret hammock (can use for rats once they tear through the current one), uh... I dunno, good stuff.  Will have the pic sooner or later.

I ordered the valentines day package from ChinchillaCity, it was like a mug with some chin chews in it and I ordered some more magnets from them for the rescue fridge.   I'm such a sucker lol, I swear, it's like you want me to order from you?  Put up a cute chinchilla magnet with some saying or something and I'll find other stuff of yours that I want, cause I can't order just a magnet.  Lol.  But now I have a second chinchilla mug - yay. 

Let's see, what else.  Fed the bun buns and pigs.  They eat so much quicker than the chins. 

Oh!  Had a thought today (I know, amazing).  No, but really.  So, for my store that I'm going to open one day, I was working out the cost of things to get to our financial person, and we had settled on FN's for most of our cages and then some of these other cages that would work for most other small animals like rats, mice, gerbils, etc.  Anyway, point being... I was talking to someone about selling my extra FNs/CN that are not being used....and I had this moment of clarity that if I sell them now, I'll just end up having to re-buy them later.  So I may as well hang onto them.  Cause I think I have two FNs and a CN in the back of all the cages for sale.  So, if anyone was really hoping I'd put them up for sale.... ya might be outta luck there. 

Ok, so I think that's pretty much it.  Wasn't downstairs a ton, spent most of the time today on the computer responding to emails about chins/products and re-doing the ads.  And someone asked why the ads are re-done every month -- it's not that I sit down and re-write them.  No, for every animal, there's an ad written up and saved in a word doc in that animal's folder.  So, when the next month comes, I can take down the ad, open up the word file, select all (assuming I don't need to make changes), and paste into the ad.  The reason is that when I used to let ads just run until the animals would get adopted, it would take much longer for them to get adopted.  And I'd have people say, well, they saw the ad was posted in August, and it's now February, so they really don't know if they should even bother emailing, because the pet was probably sold.  Now, for me, if I really had an ad up that long, the pet would literally still be here at the rescue, but to avoid that problem, I repost the ads every month, so it looks like a fresh ad.  And I kid you not, I more inquiries closer to the date the ad's reposted versus the rest of the month, when a lot of emails start, "do you still have the critter for sale?"

Ok, so it's like 5 to 5 (am) and I have someone showing up at noon.  Gonna get off here now and hope I accomplish more tomorrow.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Shiloh's story

....before anyone panics, he's fine.  I just had someone asking me, the other day, how he came to be at the rescue and what's all gone on with him prior to the recent dental work.  And I realized, I talk about him quite a bit, especially with his recent incisor extraction, and yet people are unaware of anything other than that he he's become a permanent resident at the rescue.  So I will start at the beginning.

Shiloh is a prairie dog.  He is, more specifically, a black-tailed prairie dog, which is (I believe) the species often kept as pets.  He came to the rescue when he was two years old.

I lived in Indy at the time, and I was supposed to be meeting with a woman who had two chins to drop off.  She came to my place with two carriers -- I was thinking one chin in each, though we hadn't talked about caged together/separate.  Turns out, the one carrier had the chins, and the other one -- she asked me, "do you take in other exotics?"  I remember telling her I took in furry exotics that I knew how to care for (i.e. no snakes, reptiles, tarantulas, etc.) and she said she had a prairie dog.  I told her, I'd never had one, I had no idea how to care for one.  Well, she gave me the link to a website that was for the Midwest Prairie Dog Rescue -- which had a care packet on it.  She was asking if I could take him, and me, being, well, me, couldn't say no.   

She had him in a cat carrier, and I remember her offering him a saltine cracker, which he held and chomped on a few times.  She then took the carrier, unceremoniously flipped it so that the entrance was facing the ground and started vigorously shaking the carrier.   Enough shaking and she'd probably rattled his brain and joints loose, he fell out of the carrier.

My first thought was "what the hell did I get myself into???"  He had no fur on his back from his shoulders down.  He had numerous puncture wounds (we're talking 30s? 40s?) and his back was a nice mad purplish red color and I was guessing highly infected.  I asked what had happened to his back.  The lady told me that she would let him out and he would play "tag" with her dogs.  As it was explained to me, the dogs would "tag" (bite) him, Shiloh would turn around (to defend himself) and "tag" (bite) the dogs back, then the dogs would run after him and "tag" (bite) him.... over and over and over.  And she saw nothing wrong with this!! 

So, apparently, he was aggressive.  So I was told.  It was recommended that I have him neutered (which I never did), to calm down the aggression.  I was told he was un-handleable from about October to April, as that was the breeding season.  I believe they go into what's called "rut."  But even during the other months, he'd bite and her kids had needed stitches.  Wonderful.  Looking back, I can see where that aggression came from.

She said they would give him a bath every so often.  I asked how they did that, when she said he would bite them and they couldn't really handle him.  Their answer was that they'd somehow get him in the carrier, and then shake the carrier (as mentioned above) until he fell into a tub of water.  I guess somehow this would get him clean?  No idea.

I have no idea (or recollection) as to how I got him into his cage. 

So, they left, I contacted a friend with welding gloves, and he went to the vet asap.  I housed him in a chinchilla breeding run for quite a few months, as I didn't have a cage that would work for him.  I slowly started trying to touch him.  I had to give him his meds, but he was pretty good about taking them, as the doctor had flavored them.  But he didn't want to be touched.  I would reach for him and he would lift his head so he could see where my hand was going.  So I could never get it far enough back to actually touch him. 

At that time, he could eat lab blocks (now, because of his current teeth issues, he really can't).  I tried offering him some one day in my hand, and he came  over and picked one up.  I remember thinking he was going to take a chunk of finger off, but he never did.  Over time, we built up trust, and I could touch his head without him completely having a heart attack that I was going to eat him or hurt him.  Eventually, I touched him without the gloves.  I remember thinking that he was surprisingly soft for a non-domesticated animal.  It probably wasn't until at least 6 months after I got him that he'd let me touch him.

Eventually he finished up his meds and his fur grew back.  The vet said he had a decent chance for at least some to grow back, but because of scarring was unsure -- but his back looks relatively normal, just some odd patterns in his fur where you can tell the scarring is.  The fur grew back about 9 months into his time here.

I don't have any pictures of him when he came in.  If this happened again tomorrow, I would take pictures, but at the time, I remember thinking that if he didn't make it, I didn't want to remember him as having the disgusting looking back.  When he was in his cage, either on all fours or standing up, you couldn't see his back and he looked normal and healthy, and that was how I wanted to remember him.

But I have pictures now.  Despite the efforts I make for chinchilla cages, it would be ridiculously hard to make a prairie dog cage, as they tend to poo/pee everywhere (not unlike chins), but they also need full floors and ramps to all the floors.  They don't jump.  Well... we'll come back to that.  So, I had to get a cage.  I paid someone $25 for this cage:

You can see him in there, so it's not a ton bigger than he is.  But at the time, it was what I could find on short notice that was all wire and had ramps.  I've since sold that cage, but he probably lived in it for a year while he continued to improve and the trust continued to get better.

Time heals all wounds, and with more time and patience, I could pet him and he'd climb up on my lap, but he was never big on actually being carried around or physically held.  He is a small animal, only weighing 3-5 pounds, but he is very solid and very strong.  There's no forcing a prairie dog into anything, they are, as my current vet put it, very stubborn creatures.

At some point, it became clear that he wasn't going anywhere.  That came around the time that he really started coming around and enjoying people.  It took a long time before he's come up to the door of his cage wanting scritches.  A LONG time.  But when he did, then everyone would notice him and asked about adopting him, and I had that knee-jerk reaction of "he's mine."  That was kind of a surprise in itself, as we'd never kept a rescue animal, except for not even a handful of sanctuary cases.  But that'd settled it, he was staying.
I don't know if somehow he knew that he was staying, but at some point I'd made a comment about buying him an actual cage and getting him some better accessories, and he continued to improve.  He would start closing his eyes and lifting up a leg to be scratched, he'd come to the door of his cage, he would even roll onto his back for a belly rub.  It was like he knew.

Lots of time passed between when I said I'd get him a cage and when I actually did, but I finally settled on a modified chinchilla townhome from Martins Cages.  Never having had a Martins cage, I had asked if it could hold up to a prairie dog's weight (as those of you with chins know, chins are light, prairie dogs are not).  They said it could, and something like $250 later, we had our cage:

....that I had to c-ring together.   After that experience and one other time when I put together a Martins cage for a customer -- I now offer the service of putting together a Martins' cage.... for a minimum donation of $15 to the rescue.  Awesome cage, but absolute PITA to put together, I mean it took hours to clip it all together. 

As you can see, the cage is more than adequate for him.  Heck, it's bigger than the fridge I had at my apartment.  In all reality, I'm not sure he needs that big of a cage, as his love is his beds.  I feel like I could get him a new bed every time he destroys one and he'd be happy if he only had his bed.  That's how much this boy loves his beds.  Oh and he sometimes sleeps curled up in a ball with his head tucked under (that's the second picture).  So, his new cage got all decked out with things for him to do.  He even had a wheel for quite some time, but uh.. let's say Mr. Overweight decided he likes being overweight.  That wheel is now in a chin cage.  I suppose when the day comes when Shiloh passes and I get another prairie dog, now I have an adequate wheel. 


He really loves those beds.  That first pink, yellow, & green one was one I think I ordered from Martins (no color choice, so of course I get girly colors) but he loved it anyway.  He's moved onto a different colored one now.

So he was doing good for awhile, until I noticed that his one tooth was growing abnormally long and he was having problems breathing.  And he'd stopped eating.  With Shiloh, he always made a mess out of his food, taking it out of his bowls and strewing it all over the cage.  After 3 days of not-one-piece-of-food-out-of-place, I called the vet.  Without repeating the entire story (which is typed somewhere in here with the post likely having the word Shiloh in it), it turned out he'd suffered some sort of tooth trauma, causing an odontoma (bony growth) to form on the roots of both upper incisors, basically blocking his airway.  The vet wanted to try anti-inflammatories for about a week, that lasted about 2 days before I called the vet to make an emergency appointment to bring him back in.  They said his breathing wasn't as bad as others they'd seen, but to me, he was gasping for air and his breathing was very labored, so he was put on oxygen.  He stayed at the vet for the next 7 days, and underwent an incisor removal for one of his top teeth.

Before I was able to leave with him, they wanted to see that I could adequately handfeed a prairie dog.  So, for awhile I was chasing him around the room with a syringe full of canned pumpkin, which wasn't getting me anywhere, so I reached down with both hands towards him and Shiloh literally leaped up into my arms.  So much for "they can't jump."  Apparently he wasn't so fond of the vet, but thought I was "safe," good to know.  So I fed him, we went home, and for the next few weeks he lived on the first floor (versus the basement, where the rescues are and where his normal cage is) while I'd handfeed him several times a day.  This was not unlike my first experiences trying to pet him.  He was very unhappy, not wanting to eat, and very bite-y.  But, we progressed to him taking the food willingly, over time.

 (the pics are of him lazing around in the lap of luxury in his smaller cage upstairs)

He did eventually start eating on his own, and now is sustaining his weight on his own.

At our one-week checkup, the vet noticed that his other top incisor was no longer visible.  She said that it's possible that with all the trauma during surgery, the body may have reabsorbed it.  Which would be wonderful.  On the other hand, with no top incisors, he would need the bottom ones removed as well.  The vet said we need to wait four months to see what happens with those top ones, so that's what we're doing.  In all reality, I have no idea when four months is, I need to look it up and put it in my planner, but it's not yet.   

We've had to trim his teeth once so far, but still no sign of that other top incisor, so it's looking like *fingers crossed* we will only have to have the vet remove the bottom two, rather than have two separate surgeries -- one for the bottom two and one for the top one.  So if things continue as they are, he will be incisor-less eventually, but he'll still have his back molars for chewing.

And that's pretty much where we're at now.  He was hovering around 1434 grams after surgery, and I just weighed him earlier today, he was over 1500, though I don't remember the exact weight.  He could use losing a tad, but he's not obese or anything, so I'm happy with my pudgy boy as he is.

He's somewhat become the poster-boy er, poster-prairie-dog for the rescue, and he came with us to several expos this past year.  Assuming all goes well with his continued health and treatment, he will be coming again. 

He's actually helping us out, because the chins tend to hide, versus Shiloh, who wants attention and loves being petted, so we end up with a crowd of people around the booth wanting to pet him.  Never would have thought to bring him to an expo, until one of the people who run the expo suggested that we weren't getting donations because, unlike the dog rescues, we don't have an animal that really interacts with people or wants to be petted.  Nothing that tugs at the heartstrings.  Not like we ever get a ton in expo donations, but even a few bucks is great.  And not like it's all about money, but we weren't getting much attention in general at our booth, so suggestions were welcome.  He came with us to the next expo, a smaller event, just to see how he'd do.  He did wonderfully, and came with to several other expos.  And to think.... this is the prairie dog that I couldn't even touch for the first 6 months he was with us, now loves being petted by strangers he's never met.  He's really come around full circle.