Saturday, December 27, 2014


Monday, December 22, 2014

One last fun one

Well, if you talked to me in the last few weeks, you know that from the 23rd - 27th, the rescue is closed so I can spend time with family, and perhaps more importantly, not indulge the whims of everyone who wants a chin as a christmas present.  Well, ok, some people just adopt around the holidays, but then, it shouldn't be crucial that they can't pick up during those days.  Right?  Right.

With today being the last day to adopt / pickup until the 28th, I thought I'd post about the last fun one that I had. It never fails that I get a lot of "fun ones" around this time of year.  And I posted about some of them, but let me share the last one.  The ones that really drive me nuts are the ones that don't seem to read what I write, and give me generic responses that don't tell me anything.

For example:

Him:  My wife has just passed away from old age.  Would love to replace it for her for xmas.  Plz contact me.  My name is [name].  Thanks

Me:  Your wife's what?  Message just says "my wife has passed away" but that doesn't seem quite right

Him:  Her chinchilla Angel

Me:  Ok.  Is there a particular one you're interested in?

Him:  Actually looking for a pair.  No particular one.  Im trying to make her smile.  She's been so depressed

Me:  I only have one established pair right now and have someone interested in them.  I could try to pair up some of the other ones if you wanted though

Him:  That would be nice

Me:  Ok well I couldn't do it until tomorrow after work and if you wanted em by Christmas, tomorrow would be the last day you'd be able to come get em because the rescue is closed from the 23rd - 27th so I can spend time with my family.  How much are you looking to spend for a pair?  So I know which ones are potentially able to go together.  Also, to adopt, we have a chinchilla care packet you would need to read and an adoption form to fill out, so you would have to have that done by tomorrow as well.  I can email those to you if you'd like?

Him:  That's fine

Me:  Alrighty what's your email?  What about price range?

Him:  [email] I don't know what u want for them

Me:  Ok, I'll send email in a bit.  Well, rescues typically run from 75-100 and you get $25 off if you're getting two.  But then I also have some pedigreed chins that are younger that are from 150-175.  The thing is, without trying to put any of these together, I don't know if they'll get along.  So, like if I knew how much you were looking to spend, I know what chins to pair up.  Like if your max was say $150, then I would only be trying to put rescues together to stay within your budget.  Does that make sense?

Him:  Yes that's fine

Me:  Right but so that I don't pair two chins and then have it be too much for you, what is your budget?

Him:  I will discuss it with my wife when she gets back

Me:  Alrighty.  I emailed you the care packet and adoption form


And after all of that... never received the adoption form back, never heard back from the guy.  And I had a few people at work read this, because I admit, sometimes I've sad something and then people tell me it's not clear, but the people at work told me, all I was asking for was a max price, so I knew which chins to put together.  And I even asked em, why did I need that?  And they told me, cause some chins are cheaper, so if they say, ok, lower budget, you don't take two $150 chins and pair them, to get a fee of $275 (with discount), if their budget is $150 (because then they can't afford $275, and while I do occasionally give discounts, $275 down to $150 would not be one of them).  THANK YOU.  Not that difficult.

And I suppose the frustrating thing is... this is a LOT of people.  Spend time sending them the forms, talking to them.  Never get the form back, never hear back.  And I'm sure it happens at other rescues too, it's just frustrating.  Because I literally will have people ask me, "what do you spend all the money from adoption fees on?"  Like, as if I should be drowning in the money, able to throw wads of cash in the air and let it fall back down and let the chins use it as a chew toy.  Not quite.  I purchased 200 pounds of food on 12/8.  Roughly $150ish.  Now, I do sell the food, and some people buy a full 25 pound bag, but right now, I am literally down to 50 pounds.  It is 14 days later.  And that's JUST food.  They also need hay, and chew toys.  They drink water.  Cost electricity to keep the rescue heated / cooled / etc.  So yeah, there was a two week period where I adopted out four chins and, between adoption fees and supply sales, the rescue made about $600.  But then, consider, we had a month or two of no adoptions whatsoever.  Being adopted or not, they still all need food, water, toys, clean bedding, and so on and so forth.  The money has to be there, even when the adoptions aren't.  I can't just say "yay $600" and go splurge on something for them.  That has to continue to pay for their food and vet bills, and has to stretch from one adoption to the next. 

Before I get to the next fun person, I want to take a quick break from that to mention sanding wood shelves.  New shelves are sanded to get off any rough edges and splinters.  Used shelves are sanded to remove the grime, make them look better, and make them more sanitary.  But I don't think people realize how much better the shelves can look when they're sanded.

See pic below.  Apparently my phone camera washes out how dark the left side is.  Right side looks like new wood that's never been used, right?  No, that's the side that was sanded.  The left side (well, a bit darker than shown, but you get the idea) is how the entire house looked before sanding.  Little bit of sanding and it all comes off, you have nice looking wood underneath.  Doesn't it look better?  I should have taken a before and after pic, but you get the idea.  Way better look if you sand it.  And it feels like nice smooth new wood again.  This is also how the used shelves (only sold as part of a used cage, I don't just randomly sell used shelves except the tiny perch shelves on request) and used houses look halfway decent.  Like this was a house that was purchased from here, brought back when chins were brought in, and someone wanted a used house, sanded it up, and out it went to its new home.  Except for the fact that the sides are chewed and two holes on the front now connect, the wood itself looked nice and clean.

 Next time I fix a cage, I'm going to take before and after pics... Cause one thing people ask me, is why do I sell used cages for so much.  Which, I don't think it's a lot, used medium cages are often $80+, used multi-chin cages are often $90+... and they usually top out at about $150 and you're getting a heck of a cage for that.... but the reason they're not like $20 is.... because most times, the cages are in super shape (and if they're not, the prices reflect that) and I've put a lot of work into cleaning them and making them pretty.  And not saying you all wouldn't believe me, but just to show the transformation, next time I work on a cage, we're getting before and after shots... so you can see why, if I sold the cage dirty, it'd be way less than when it's all nice and clean.

Personally, when I donate things to places, I clean em.  If I'm donating clothes, they're washed and folded.  If I'm donating whatever, it's clean.  But more often than not, our donated items are grimy beyond belief.  Which, don't get me wrong, I'm happy to have em, most of the time, cause you'd be amazed what can come off.  But it would be nice if people would put a little more effort before bringing me a cage with 4" of feces dried on the bottom.   

Anyway, back to the "fun" people -- I had someone the other day, come to my work, realize I ran the chin rescue (cause Scottie is at work, and there's a sign above his cage, one line of which states that the rescue person works at the store), and tell me "oh it must be easy to run a small animal rescue, nothing much to it, since they're small animals."  Floored.  Absolutely floored.  It's not difficult in that you need to be super smart or anything like that.  But it takes effort:
  • There's always cages to clean.  Water bottles to fill.  Food bowls to fill.  
  • There's stuff to take upstairs / downstairs.  I make an effort, if I am going upstairs, take a bag of chin trash with me.  If I am going downstairs to the rescue, take something with me.  
  • There's paperwork.  Lots of paperwork.  Not even legal paperwork, just inner-rescue stuff to keep track of everything.  
  • There's vet bills.  
  • There's finding time to go to the vet. 
  • There's finding time to go anywhere -- including the laundromat to wash chin-items that are not griming-up my washer and dryer.
  • There's getting in the chins that people swear up and down are healthy... and then finding out that they either had no clue, or straight up lied (which is often the case... it may not be obvious to me for a few days that the chin isn't eating.. but it was likely obvious to the previous home), and then gotta figure out what's wrong, usually with a hefty vet bill.  
  • There's moving things around.  I have two rabbits right now, one can go in my bottom half of my GP/rabbit FN.  Well, my mom's taking my last guinea pig, so I can actually move both rabbits into the FN for the time being, but I need to clean both top and bottom first.  Then I have another FN that will literally be sold as soon as it's clean (already have a buyer), and the chins need to move into my standard-rescue-cages.  But I need to clean those first as well.  But even without having more animals than I need, sometimes pairs come in and then later don't get along.  Gotta split those up.  Then people want a pair.  Gotta try to pair up chins.
  • There's finding room for transfers.  I don't get a ton of chins from other shelters.  I suppose I should be lucky, because the two places I get chins from (CatNap from the Heart, and I suppose I can't name the other for legal reasons) both I would like to stay on good terms with.  With CatNap, I suppose they could care for them, they just figure I can better, and they've transferred chins here a few times.  Right now, Arcadio and Aureliano are from CatNap, one of their people drove them to me at my work.  I scrambled to get a cage ready for them, cause I was full, but not a good idea to turn away chins from another rescue, because we need to keep up good relations.  The other place, let's call it "the hell hole," because it really is, and is politically a mess to deal with -- is a kill shelter, that occasionally gets in chins.  They won't contact me directly, because it's an Illinois shelter, and you have to be a 501C3 rescue in IL to pull from them, but I get an email from my contact person, and another rescue pulls them and transfers them (inter-rescue-like) to my rescue and we often meet in Homewood at the Petco (or is it Petsmart?  whichever).  If I don't get em, I hate to think what might happen to em.  So those I jump at the chance to get outta there.  But the thing is, I'm lucky these places don't get em in all the time, because I don't often have empty cages for when chins turn up here, and I don't want the chins to go to worse homes.  People on my dropoff waiting list can often simply wait for me to have an open spot at the rescue, but a chin at a kill shelter could be put down if I don't get it out. 
  • There's cleaning.  Both rescue cages and random supplies.  For the supplies, you'd be amazed how quickly food bowls start looking poo'd on or sticky or whatnot.  All those need to be washed.  Thank God, I have a sink in the basement (which was like a pre-requisite to getting a house), so I pretty much throw everything that needs to be washed in a big tote, and wash some stuff when I get time.  I have enough food bowls, water bottles, etc, to be able to take a few out, stick a few clean ones in, and be ok.  Can't do em all at once, I don't have that many spares, but I have enough that I don't have to immediately wash a food bowl or water bottle if I remove it from the cage.
  •  Going along with the cleaning -- when I get in a chin, it is nice to get in supplies with it.  Always good to have food to help switch over the chin.  Well, that food will get mixed with my food, so the chin doesn't have a cold turkey switch to the new one.  And good to have the supplies to sell (well, most of them... some things get pitched or donated to other places).  To be blunt though... a lot of the chins that are brought in, are brought in by owners who have fallen way behind in cleaning.  Not that I can say that's never happened here, because it can easily happen.  But, there's also a crapload of chins here.  It should be easier with one chin.  Anyway, before I can sell anything, I have to wash it.  A lot of stuff has to soak to get the grime off, and sometimes it's not until after I've scrubbed the grime off that I see that the item's in such bad shape that I can't sell it and it just needs to be pitched anyway.  I believe in recycling, so if something's dirty but can be recycled, I'll clean it just so I can throw it, cleaned, in recycling.  Within reason, of course.
  • I sell the used cages.  They usually come in with some grime on them, and in the summer, they can get taken out and hosed down and cleaned.  Bit more difficult in the winter, but same concept, but they get washed inside.  Shelves made, installed, pictures taken.  Pics and descriptions put up on website and other places, so people may see them and buy them, and so if people ask what cages I have, I have all that ready with dimensions and such.
  • Phone calls and emails.  My life revolves around answering rescue phone calls and emails.  I need a smart phone, not because I have that many friends to keep in touch with, but because people are constantly calling for something or another.  Which is fine, good to be noticed.  But sometimes it can really get annoying.  Yesterday, a potential chin owner sent a group text message out to 18 people.  I imagine, 18 people who had ads up for chins for sale.  Asked if we still had the chin, if we shipped, few more thing.  So for the next 5 hours, my phone buzzed across the desk non-stop as every one of those people texted back and forth.  Now, that was just one person that made my, and everyone else who was a recipient of that text (but was not selling a chin to the guy)'s life hell.
  • Time.  At the end of the day, what the rescue takes is time.  And super flexibility.  I try to be nice and flexible, I do.  Let's break this down.  
    • First, to run a rescue, you gotta love the animals, and this has to be something you want to do.  Let's take a step back.  I work retail, and that is my choice.  I used to work retail in college, said "never again," then I had office jobs.  I hated them.  Found em super boring.  For those that don't know, I'm a licensed attorney in the state of Indiana, three degrees (BS in psychology, JD (law), and Masters of Business), and I choose to be a Store Manager of a Pet Supplies Plus store.  Way overqualified, to say the least.  Why?  Because I like it.  It pays next to nothing (especially compared to what an attorney could make), but I like it, and that's what counts.  Which is the same for the rescue.  I have my days where I rant and rave, but at the end of the day, I do like seeing the critters find homes.  I like the animals (when they're not escaping).  In general, on most days, it's something I want to do.  And it has to be, because it's not something most people pat you on the back for.
    • Second, if you want it to work, you have to be flexible with your own time, while setting limits.  I know, that sound like an oxymoron.  This year, I said no pickups, adoptions, supply sales, ANYTHING, from the 23rd - 27th this month.  That's my setting limits, cause otherwise I get stepped on, to help them out.  Which, at the end of the day, isn't fair to me.  That said... I pretty much bend over backwards on the average day for these people.  Just a few examples.  Had someone set to come at 8:30 the other week.  Said they were gonna be late, but would be here by 10.  Showed up around 10:45, cage wouldn't fit in the car, we had to take it apart.  They were gone around midnight.  Other day, I'd tried to set up multiple appointments with this one person to get them a cage.  We had a date set, but that was the day my dog got sick and I rushed her to the emergency vet, so we had to cancel that and re-set for the next day.  Well, I got off work at 7:30, told her, come at 8:30 or later.  They showed up a little after 9.  Wanted to see the chins, so by the time they saw the chins, we talked about the chins, and then got the cage fit in their car, and talked about shelves they wanted to get at a future date, they were gone by 10:30.  Had someone else show up 9ish the other day for an adoption.  Today, someone wanted to pick up chin food.  I've been in and out since I came home from work, so I told em, I'll set it outside, would be out there by 5 pm.  Didn't quite get out of work on time, so had to rush home, hurry up and bag it up, so it'd be out there for when they showed up.  
      • Point of all this is, you have to work around other people's schedules.  I'd love to say, people can only come Tuesdays between 5-9 pm.  You don't even understand how much that would make my life easier.  But then, people would just go elsewhere.  If someone wants a cage, and wants to come at 9 at night, and I have no good reason to say no... I should probably tell them they can come and just pray they show up on time.  Cause god knows the rescue can always use more money.  If I'm not available within a day or two from when they need the cage (not people who are adopting, but people who just need a cage or supplies), they will get it elsewhere, and the rescue will lose out.  With the exception of a few repeat customers who I'm pretty positive come back to me everytime, the average person will not.
    • Third, unlimited patience.  Or the ability to fake it.  I had the one guy at work today describe my patience, compared to other people like this.  Everyone else has a cookie.  I have a miniscule crumb.  Which is absolutely true, and I admit it.  It absolutely drives me nuts, in retail, the statement that "the customer is always right."  NO, they're not.  And as manager, I don't always give them what they want, because, simply, they're just not always right.  And I don't always bend over backwards for people, it just depends.  You'll have a lot better luck asking to come pick something up at 9-10 pm than you will at 5-6 am.  Just not a morning person, and the rescue isn't going to turn me into one.  But the point is, the crazies come out, and you gotta be able to handle them calmly.  I have my days where that doesn't work out so well.  But in general, like with the guy texting.  My gut reaction, which my friends could tell you, would be to simply say, "dude, you didn't answer my question.  I'm not repeating it, re-read the text, and answer the question."  I know you're all sitting there reading this, nodding your heads.  But in reality, that sort of attitude gets you nowhere.  Oh I can post that on here, but it won't get that person to adopt from me if they think I'm being an ass (even if, in all fairness, they didn't read).  Lots of counting to 10 for me.  
  • Interacting with the animals.  Learning their personalities, so I have something to write when the time comes to put them up for adoption.
  • Fixing things that break.  That includes, catching loose chins.  If a bar breaks on a cage, I guarantee you the chin knows about it.  How they know, I don't know, but they get out.  I have a Happy Trap that works every time, and I've about gotten to the point now, where if I can't catch the chin in 10 minutes, the trap comes out, baited with cheerios, and I go back upstairs.  No sense wheezing and wearing myself out, when the chin will come out when I'm not there.  But then, gotta repair the bar.  Gotta fix cage issues.  Just adopted out two girls the other week, they had a hanging fleece hidey house, and a corner hammock.  The way they chewed the shelf the hanging house was hanging from, the one eyelet came out.  Had to screw that back in.  Have to put a new grommet in the one corner of the corner hammock so that can be re-hung.  Doesn't take long, but figure this times like 20 rescue cages that each have oodles of stuff in them to break.
  • Filling chew toys.  They chew em.  The toys fall off of em.  Toys need re-drilled.
  • Talking to the customers and potential adoptive homes.  I get a lot of people asking about shelves, food, supplies... I spend a lot of time on the phone with them, and more time here with them when they're picking up.  Same with adoptive homes.  Talk to them, educate them.  They read the care packet, have questions stemming from that.  Answer those, get them the care packet, and adoption form.  They get it back, I go over it, talk to them about any potential issues.  Decide whether to adopt to them or not.
  • Keeping the website at least reasonably up to date.  I do my best, I really do.  The page that I try my absolute hardest to keep up to date is the available chins page, because that's the important one.  But in general, the entire thing needs to be edited here and there, and tweaked, and that takes time. 
  • Last but not least... supply sales.  The adoption fees come nowhere near paying the bills.  Not even close.  So, I sell food and water bottles and used cages and toys and all that.  Gotta find the time and effort and all to build all that, so I have it to sell.
Now, that's probably missing a lot of things, but that's what I can easily come up with off the top of my head. That's "most" of it.  This is "nothing to it," right?  I would love for that lady to see this post.  She won't, but I would love for her to.  I tried talking to her, but she clearly wasn't listening.  Said something like, "oh they stay in a cage, its easy."  I actually think my two dogs, together, take considerably less effort than the chins. 

Mind you, I'm not complaining about this stuff.  I'm just saying, this is all stuff that goes into running the rescue.  It's not "nothing to it" by any means.  It's do-able. 

None of this stuff takes a genius to do.  But it takes someone to do it.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Been Getting Some Fun Ones Lately

So, tis the season that the lunatics come out.

Got one person who emailed saying, they had a dog, it was way too much work, so they got rid of it, and their 6 year old was heartbroken.  He was asking for a mouse, but that was out of the question, but this lady loved her friend's "beautiful and soft" chinchilla that "didn't like to be handled."  Oh, but she read on my website that mine "did fine with handling" and she wanted a pet that her kids (6 and 2) could hold and love on ALL day.  Her words, not mine.  Well, sent back a nice email that said, when I say chinchillas do well with handling, it's relative.  If they squirm and squirm in your arms, I put "do not do well with handling."  If they'll let you hold them for some period of time, they "do well with handling."  But that's way different from handling them all day, every day.  I suggested to her, a rat, which I'm sure she won't like (considering, if a mouse is out of the question)... but I told her... most small animals do not want to be handled that much, and even rats, as friendly as they are, can decide they've had enough.  But bottom line, I told her, a chin was not the pet she was looking for.

Had someone email about Nyler.  Said they were interested -- and by the way, I love those one line emails, that just say "do you still have him, I am interested."  Gee, thanks for any background I might want.  So, I email them back, tell them, yes, he's still available, if they're interested in adopting, they have to read our care packet and fill out an adoption form.  So I get an email back asking where we're located (which it says right in the ad, points lost right there), and would I take $15 for him.  His adoption fee, fyi, is $35.  Um, no.  Rabbits are freakin expensive to care for, with the veggies, and everything.  If you can't afford $35 for the rabbit, you probably can't afford the cage, and definitely can't afford the upkeep.  Next!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Think, Think, and Think Some More!

I know I already posted today... but then I went through a few emails.  And I've come to the conclusion (many times over, over the last 12 years) that no one thinks anymore before getting an animal.  Let me share why that's important.

First, bringing a chinchilla into your house.  It actually can be more time consuming than a dog or a cat.  My dogs, I let them out to potty, they come back in.  I can pick up the poo, I can not pick up the poo, but even if I don't (only in my own yard), it doesn't turn my house into a stink-pile.  If you don't clean a chinchilla cage, eventually it will smell.  And mind you, it's inside.  In general, it's not common to use dog-sized food bowls for chins.  Because people use smaller ones, they end up refilling them more often.  Same with water bottles -- they only come so big.  So, you have to refill em.  Between filling food bowl, water bottle, making sure there's chew toys in the cage, and keeping the cage clean, it doesn't take all that much time.  If you keep up with it.  You let it get bad, and it takes longer to get that cage clean.  Do you have time to fit a weekly cage cleaning into your schedule?  Do you have time to interact with the chin, in the way  you want to?  Mind you, they don't need to come out daily, they are independent and do fine on their own, left to themselves.  But will you feel bad if you leave them in the cage a lot?  Because here's the thing.  The #1 reason I get chins in at the rescue (true or not), is that "they don't have time for it anymore."  Now, I understand schedules change.  People get different jobs with different responsibilities, and so on.  I do understand, don't get me wrong.  But people get a chin and two days later don't have time, and for situations like that, I have a hard time believing all of a sudden they had time Monday and their life (with no job change, no new baby, no nothing), flip flopped Tuesday.

Next, bringing home a second chin.  I am a firm believer that you should not bring home a second chin unless you are prepared to have an entirely separate second cage.  Second food bowl, second water bottle, second everything.  Let me repeat that.  Even if you want your chin to have a buddy, I don't believe you should bring another one home without being fully aware of the possibility that you may need a second separate cage, when they don't get along.  Just this week, I've had multiple people asking about bringing in chins.  Why?  Because they got a chin from craigslist, or a family member, or wherever, as a buddy for theirs, and the chins won't get along.  Which is definitely not unheard of.  And now, guess who gets those chins?  Oh yeah, the rescue.  Now, tell me, why is that fair to me, the rescue, because you didn't plan ahead, now I'm saddled with more chins?  Because you just thought everything would work out hunky dory and it didn't.  Now, sometimes it does.  Sometimes the chins become best buddies for life, and in a perfect world, that happens all the time.  But when it doesn't.... most people are not wanting to keep that second chin in a separate cage and separate everything, and so it gets pushed off on a rescue or on someone else.

Then, vet bills.  It says right in my care packet, if the chin has to go to the vet, it can be expensive.  Now, I do note, that is an "if."  Many of my chins here have never been to the vet.  Not because I don't care about their well-being, but because they do not need yearly check-ups, and if they don't get sick, no reason to take them in.  That said, I have never walked out of the vet's office for under $200.  And that's the local vet, mind you, not the exotic specialist.  Had one chin who was attacked by another chin, needed stitches on her head and back.  $200ish to get her stitched up.  Developed an abscess on her forehead at the stitch site a week or two later, another $175ish to get that drained and get antibiotics.  For a total of $375ish to repair an injury from two chins (see above regarding getting a second chin, another reason to think).  Had a guinea pig (though, would be the same for a chin) dropped and injured her spine.  Swelling around the spine, went in for two steroid shots.  Around $75 each visit, for two, and then the vet suggested laser therapy.  That was at least $400 over the next 6 weeks.  She ended up able to walk again, when the swelling went down.  To the tune of about $600.  Had a chin that got it's leg caught in the hammock (not here, was brought here after that happened), took to the vet.  Laser therapy again, antibiotics.  Soaking the foot nightly.  To the tune of $600+ as well.  Had a chin develop a blockage.  Over the course of a few months, over $2000 in vet bills for various meds, tests, x-rays, etc etc.  Point is, none of these are even major surgery.  None of these required amputation, anything as severe as that.  And look at the prices of these vet bills.  Point is, a lot of people think that because it's not super common for chins to get sick, that they never will.  Not the case.  If it happens, it can / will be expensive.  So people need to think, "ok, so it may never get sick.  But IF it does, am I willing to shell out a few hundred for treatment?"  And see, I'm even ok with people going to the vet, finding out how much it will cost, and saying, ok, they can't afford it.  We can't afford everything either, don't get me wrong.  But I feel like, people should at least be willing to go to the vet, check it out, and if it's not something they can afford, see about either surrendering it to a well-funded rescue or putting it down.

Going along with that, most rescues are not money trees either.  I can't tell you the number of people who call me up or email me about malo chins.  They can't afford the $200 per filing.  And I feel bad when I tell them, but.... we can't either.  It's a lot of money just to afford food for as many chins as are in the rescue at one time.  Much less add one chin to the mix who, alone, is costing $200+ per month, plus gobs of time for handfeeding, and who will never get adopted.  I'd like to save them all, I really would.  But some just can't be.  And at the end of the day, money can be better spent.

Going along with that.  People have asked, when we have animals die, if we got necropsies to find out why.  If we have multiple die in a short period of time, then we will likely get a necropsy.  However.  We have had them done multiple times in the past, and in general, they come back inconclusive.  We've even had samples sent down to Purdue, which adds another $150-200 on top of the $200 for the necropsy, and Purdue does the same "we don't know" gesture.  Is it worth that money?  Generally, the answer is no.  Even when we had multiple chinchillas dying all at once, October 2013, and had samples sent down to Purdue, it was 5 weeks before results arrived.  5 WEEKS!  Luckily, whatever was going on stopped about the time we had the necropsy done, because all our chins woulda been dead by the time we found out what was wrong.  I just bought food for the chins.  Maybe it'll last a month or two... for $150.  That's just the pellets.  I'd rather have 2-3 months of pellets than know why one chin died.

Another thing to think about.  Moving.  My adoption form actually asks, are you planning on moving and what would you do if you moved.  In general, the answer is, "no, but if we were going to, we'd take the chins with."  Wonderful sentiment, but then you'd be amazed how many people turn around and can't find an animal friendly place.  Believe me, they could find them if they looked harder.  Now, don't get me wrong.  That animal friendly place may not be as close to work as they'd like.  It may not be the penthouse suite at the fancy apartment complex with the doorman that they like.  But... that's what happens when you have animals.  So, people need to think, "Ok, I say I want these chins.  I say I will take them with.  But when I move, am I willing to move into a less desirable place, in order to keep these chins?"  If the answer is no... I say, move on.  I don't feel like chins (or any small animal, for that matter) should be regarded as something throw-away, when moving because they've become an inconvenience.  If you want them, you should want what goes with them, or at least tolerate it, until you can get your own place, where you can do whatever you want.  Just like you wouldn't expect to adopt a pit bull and then complain when your apartment says they're on the list of banned breeds, no one should expect that they're going to be able to just move anywhere with chins.  Just because they're caged.

Sneaking them in isn't viable either.  What happens when the apartment complex catches you and says they need to be gone?  Oh yeah, now you have 5 days to get rid of them, and how are you going to do that in that amount of time?  If you put them up really cheap, you'll often end up with either (1) someone who could never afford a chin in the first place, and now can get one because you've put it up for $20, but can't afford continual costs of supplies and heaven forbid, vet bills, or (2) someone who wants to breed so they can make money.  If you don't put it up cheap, chances are, you won't be adopting it out quick, and then, when time runs out, you will be dropping it at a rescue.  I've had multiple people this year, who've brought by chins because they were either moving out of state, out of the country, to an apartment that didn't allow exotics, and so on and so forth. 

And an additional thing to think about.  Lifespan.  Chins can live 20+ years with proper care.  Do  you know what you'll be doing in 20 years?  No?  I don't either, so don't feel bad.  But the thing is, half the people who bring in chins clearly had no idea what their life plans were for next week.  If you know you're moving back in with your parents in 3 weeks and they absolutely forbid you to bring any animals, why in the world do you go and get a chin?  If you know you're going to college, plan to live on campus and can't take the chin with, and your parents refuse to watch it, why do you get a chin?  I can't predict 20 years into my future either, but there are people in my life who would know what to do with my chins if I keeled over tomorrow.  When getting a chin, or any animal, people need to think about the future.  Think past the next week, into some time into the future.  

And another thing to think about.  What a chinchilla is.  I get a lot of people who ask me, "what does a chinchilla do?"  Chins are caged animals.  What do you think they do?  They eat, they sleep, they chew on things.  You can let them out to run and they run around and hop on you.  Some people can get them trained to do certain things.  But in general, they're an animal that lives in a cage that you can let out for playtime.  Period.  So I get chins in because people's kids get tired of them.  Well.... I think that comes down to expectations.  If you research chins, you're not likely to find that they'll play fetch with you.  Cause they won't.  Rats might.  You're not likely to find that they will sit and watch tv with you.  Hedgehogs might.  Guinea pigs might even.  Not so much chins.  So, if people research, or even just ask questions of owners, rescues, breeders, find out what it's really like to own chins, and go from there... they won't be dissapointed.

It all comes down to this -- think before you adopt.

Adoption Requests

I'm all for chins and the other random critters finding good homes.  Don't get me wrong.  And I do entertain some adoption requests.  For example, people that want pairs to stay together, I will not split the pairs unless they injure each other, or give me another reason to think they should not be together.  But that said... I can't just entertain every request people have.

Lately people been a little bit specific with requests.  Chins should only go to homes with older teenagers, no younger kids.  Chins should only go to homes if they're going to be with other chins.  Ok, here's the problem with that.  That could mean denying that specific chin an awesome home... just because the family had a new baby.  Does that make any sense?  No.  Same with the chin to a home with other chins. 

Now, if there's a valid reason for a request, that's different.  We legitimately, awhile back, had a chin come in that would literally have a seizure around large, dark-colored dogs.  For the health of the chin, it mentioned this on the ad, and I asked potential adopters, if they had a dog, what kind, what color. 

But these other ones are akin to whims.  Sure, if there's no young kids in the house, hopefully the chin isn't handled roughly (though, there's no promising that adults and older teens won't handle roughly or kill the chin either).  If there's other chins in the house... well, you would hope the family could afford it, but I see a lot of families with multiple chins that spoil them less.. cause they can't truly afford that many chins, so the chins just have the basics.  Pellets, hay, water, a chew toy.  Which is fine, but wouldn't it be better to be the only chin and be spoiled?

Also, another reason for telling people, I can't promise anything as far as their request, besides practicality, is simply effort.  The average chin is at the rescue for 3 months.  Some are here up to a year, occasionally multiple years, if for some reason they're less adoptable.  For every chin that's here, I probably go through 20 people who either email/call/text saying they want to adopt, some get the adoption form, some question me for an hour and I never hear from em again.  Now, imagine for all those 20, I have to also ask em about their home life.  Do they have any small kids?  No.  Ok... are they planning on having any small kids?  Cause I mean, just cause they don't have em now, doesn't mean they'll never have another kid, right?  And then naturally, people ask, "well, why do you ask?"  Think about how it says, if I say to someone, "oh the previous home only wants these chins to go to a home with older teenagers.  So you can't adopt them."  If there's a valid reason for it, sure.  Otherwise, it's akin to discrimination based on some arbitrary factor.  

Last thing.  Practicality.  Try dropping off your dog at the humane society, or even your cat at a cat-based-rescue and asking for them, with no valid reason behind it, to only adopt to a family without kids.  Oh and make sure to mention, your dog / cat is perfectly fine with kids, doesn't bite, declawed, bombproof.  Oh but they CANNOT adopt out to a family with kids.  Now, I'm not saying they're going to purposefully adopt out to a family with kids.... but if there's not a reason to keep the cat / dog away from kids... that's going in one ear and out the other.  Other rescues would never think of entertaining thoughts like this.  And often, those rescues, especially cat and dog ones, have a lot more volunteers, actual paid staff in some instances... so if they wanted to, they probably could.  And they still don't.  And here, it's just me.  Which is fine, but because of that, and because the rescue consumes my life... I just cannot go along with every little request.  Especially when there's no valid reason for it. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014


So, adoptions have been picking up.  So have emails and phone calls about adoptions.

Had someone call the other day asking all sorts of questions, emailed them photos and such, we'll see if they get back to me.  Well, they called back, but asked for Sara, and I told em, no Sara here, just Ashley & NWI Chinchilla Rescue.  Wrong number... oook.  Other than that, he hasn't called back yet.  See, and this is why I don't write down info until I have something else.

Had someone else email last night, saw my posts saying we got in 5 chins from people moving out of country.  Said he'd adopt all 5.  Well, one's already gone home, so I told him that, and told him, they're not all housed together (which may or may not be clear from the ads), and so he'd likely need 3 cages.  He said that's fine, so I told him about the care packet and adoption form.  He said send em, so I sent em.  Now just waiting.

Had someone call a bit ago, asking if we still had Gilly.  Sure do, and they said they want to adopt him and another chin.  Told em, he doesn't get along with others.  Ok, so they want to still adopt two, and they said I should write down their info cause they'll call later.  I think I'll just wait to write anything down until I have an adoption form in hand, cause, I've sent out way more adoption forms than I ever get back, every month of the year.

Then I had one person this morning email about getting a pair of chins.  Emailed them back about the care packet, adoption form, all that.  They already got me the adoption form back, and everything looks good.  Just finished sending them an email asking about supplies, pickup, cage, etc etc.  They said they want to come by, talk about and pick out their stuff, and then come pick it up after Christmas, so now we're just working on ironing out when they're coming.

Tis the season.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Update on Baby Chin

Just wanted to add a little update... Pancake (the baby chin that got, ah, squished), is hopping around like nothing happened at all!  Who-hoo!! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cutting Back

I need to cut back on the chins and other rescues.  I need to stop getting suckered into every sob story.  I always tell people, "you can't save them all," and then I still try to.  Well, sadly, the reality is, they can't, and I can't either.  I cleaned all the runs today, with a face mask on.  Took it off, and not 5 minutes later, had to come upstairs cause I was wheezing.  It's besides the fact that I have a cold and I'm congested.  I was trying to sweep, and I had to move 5 cages around because there's random critters in them that don't fit anywhere else.  I adopted out two chins today and still have no room to move any chins anywhere, cause both chins were in runs.  So maybe I can move some of the chins in the random floating cages into the runs.  Cause at least those aren't smack dab in the middle of the room.

Plus, I can't even keep up with the website anymore.  The closest it ever gets to up-to-date is that the list of chins will be accurate.  But most of the available ones won't have descriptions, because by the time I get home from work, I'm too tired to take pictures all the time, and answer all the emails.

I have fleece liners, but can't ever get any volunteers to go and wash them.  Or volunteers to do anything for that matter.  The things that help so many other rescues run is the volunteers.  Every time the rescues come into the pet store to set up adoption events, its volunteers coming in.   A lady came in today to set up an adoption event for one.  She's just the go-to-volunteer between some marketing person for the rescue and the store.  The rescues that come in usually have several foster homes show up with the critters.  Versus it's just me.  And on lucky days, I can get one of my co-workers to feed the store-rescue-chin on my day off.  That's about the extent of my volunteers.  People donate money occasionally, and that's wonderful.  Don't get me wrong.  The food for the chins costs money, and it has to come from somewhere.  But no amount of money can give me the energy needed to care for all these animals by myself.  I'd much rather have bodies.  Shit, I've TRIED to pay people to come help clean cages.  Take stuff to the laundromat.  Too busy.  No one wants to do that stuff.  Really?  Cause for all those people crying poor, you sure think a few would want a few bucks, tax free, but apparently not.

So, once / if I ever get down from the insane amount of animals I have, I'm going to do my best to get rid of at least one FN.  Baby steps.  I don't know which one, cause I like em all, but I think one's gotta go.  Even a handful less chins would be helpful, because it's less fur flying around, two less cages to clean (top and bottom).  And I WILL learn to say no.  As much as I want to help, I can't be the safety net for everyone.  I took in 7 chins within the last month or two from people moving out of country.  Out of COUNTRY.  And mind you, all those chins were brought to me mere DAYS before these people literally boarded a plane out of the US.  No planning whatsoever, it was a hail mary effort on these people that I would take their chins.  Now, I'd hate to see what would happen if I said, no, I can't.  But the reality needs to be -- no, I can't.  If I'm full, I need to be full.  Period.  Anymore, I can't even breathe down there.  Doing laundry on the other side of the basement has become a chore, cause you know, breathing's kind of important.  And it's taking in the extras and having them come out my ears that really is what gets me stressed and pulling my hair out.  And if the rescue's gonna stay open, that has gotta stop.  I have gotta set limits. 

To round out the day.... before my last appointment got here, I decided to clean cages.  Dumped out all the run pans and refilled... vacuumed the FNs.  Right before they came, I thought, hey, I'm going to see how the baby's doing.  Weigh her.  Bout that.  So, when putting the clean shavings in the pan, I had pushed the pan back... and she was behind the pan.... and the pan was about flush with the front of the cage when I was done.  So I realized that, yanked the pan forward, set her down on the shavings.  Her back half looked a little squished...legs behind her, dragging.... but she still was moving around... so I left her alone.  Panickedly texted some people, cause I apparently can't keep bad news to myself....

...and then my people arrived.  First things first, we went to put the cage in their car... didn't fit.  Ended up deciding, we'll take it apart, but naturally I couldn't find a pair of clipping pliers, so we had to manually yank all the O-rings off.  What a pain.  Anyway, got it apart, and they wanted a water bottle.  So, I'm currently out of put-together stoppers and glass tubes.  Which I usually put together in spare time (ha!), because they're easy to break when you're in a hurry.  Yeah, bout that.  So, as they're watching me put it together, the tube shatters, cutting the hell out of two fingers.  I go run upstairs to try to find a bandage, wrap those up, get back downstairs.  Thankfully, the guy had the tube in the stopper by the time I made it back down.

Unfortunately, if you've ever shattered one of those water bottle tubes, you know they shatter in itty bitty tiny little miniscule glass fragments, so once the people left, I had to unwrap the fingers and dig out any remaining glass shards, to end my night on a nice painful note, before wrapping em back up.  Because, you know, the day couldn't get better.

Well, on an ACTUAL positive note... since it was about midnight about that point, and WAAAAAAY past the time when the lights naturally shut off via timer in the basement, I had to head back down if I wanted to turn off the lights, or they'd stay on all night.  So I headed down, and checked on the baby chin.  And... she's using her legs!!  Who-hoo!!  So all, please, fingers crossed for the little girl, that she continues to do well.  

So to wrap up the multiple posts, today, Myshkin, Puff, and Mama & Baby went to their new homes.  And I cleaned cages, cut my fingers, and squished a chin.  And completely unrelated, but since hh gregg didn't call to tell me what time they're delivering (but I know they're coming), I assume I have to be up early.  I'm going to bed now.

No consideration

Just want to say one thing -- people have no consideration.  I had people scheduled today at 8:30 pm.  I get home and have an email from them:

We are on our way but running late.  We will be there by 10pm.

Now, that's fine, but... what if I had a 9 pm?  What if I was planning on leaving right after they left my house? 

See, I would be fine if they had even called and said, "hey, we're running late, is it ok if we still head over today, we'll make it there by 10.   Is that ok?  Does that work for you?"  But noooooo, they just assume that I will be perfectly fine with this.  Don't ASK me or anything.

Mind you, these are the same people who wanted to come before I went to work that one day... if you recall, I got up at 5 am, and they never showed. 

Why is it, people would never think to pull this shit with their doctor or with a music lesson, but with the rescue?  Ah they don't care, nothing better to do than sit home and wait for them.......grrrrr.  I need a herd of attack chinchillas for times like these.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Adoptions and Pretty Much the Usual

So, Puff is now on hold and is going to be picked up tomorrow.  Myshkin is on hold and will be picked up tomorrow.  Mama & Baby will be going home tomorrow night.  Sad thing is, Puff and Myshkin were in the runs, so this really only frees up one cage for me to move chins around.  And I have four chins still in my non-regular rescue cages, so.... this still unfortunately doesn't mean any more chins will be taken in.

Though it's a tempting thought to throw all the chins in runs for the meantime and move them out as rescue cages permit, because it's hard to even move around in the rescue with this many large cages everywhere at the moment.  They'd survive just fine, believe me.

Not too many of the super annoying people lately.  The main ones I've had lately just want to set their own appointment times and everything, completely ignoring my schedule.  Want to pick up supplies at work?  I tell you I work 1-9 pm.  Oh, they can pick it up anytime before 10 am.  Wait, didn't I say I started at 1?  Right, just ignore that, I'll come 3 hours early to make it easier for you.  Similarly same with people coming by the actual rescue.  They can come, for example, Monday at 1, or Tuesday at 5, or Wednesday at 9 am.  Good to know, don't get me wrong.  But.... if none of those work for me, because of my work schedule, are they not going to come?  I think what irritates me about this is that I tell people, I need to wait for my schedule to come out, because it changes every week, and they say, ok, well these are the times I can come.  If I work during all those times, I can't do anything about it, and I'm considerably too far to come home on my lunch break.  And then they get upset when those times don't work.  I had three people this week who wanted to come during the day, because they want to come when their kids are at school.  I get it, don't get me wrong.  And if I'm available during the day, that's perfectly fine.  This week is busy though, so I pushed several to next week, but about the best I can tell them, as far as the schedule goes, is that if they want a Monday appointment, is that I will not be home until around 5 pm.  Well, that's not good cause the kids will be home by then from school.  Tough shit.  That's just my availability on Mondays.  I don't plan my actual work schedule, you know the job that actually pays the bills, around the people who are stopping by for $10 in chin food.  Sorry.

Also, specifics are you friend.  Really.  Not so much in setting appointments, cause I really can't help my work schedule, for the most part, but with other things, please be specific.  I have an email that asks how much a custom hidey house will cost.  That's pretty much the entire email.  Well.... cost depends on several things.  How big do they want it?  I need some sort of inches, or at least "around the size of.....".  Also, how many entrances/windows do they want?  What else would be good to know in terms of building the house?  A 12 x 12 hidey house that's square will cost less than one where someone wants like a sloped roof or a special cutout or something else that will take me 20 cuts and 20' of wood to get right.  So I nicely emailed back and just told her, I needed more specifics in terms of what they thought it was going to look like, how big, how many entrances/windows... and then I could get her a price. 

Another email asked if I had a cage for sale and how much.  Sure, plenty.  Um... for what animal?  That's what I emailed back, is that I have some cages for various animals available, just need to know what they're looking for.  Again, specifics = your friend.  Big difference in price if you're looking for a hamster cage or a large chinchilla cage.  Just saying.... I can help ya better if I know what you want, instead of these super vague emails where I'm not sure.... and no longer will I email back and say, "well, since I don't know what cage you want, here's the 80 cages I have for sale.  Cage 1 is a hamster cage, it is [dimensions], it's good for one hamster, it has a pull out tray, wire ramps, nice cage.  It's $10.  Cage two is a rabbit cage, it's [dimensions], it could fit two rabbits, I could add in a shelf if you'd like.  It's a good cage, no rust except for this one little spot.  It's $40.  Cage 3 is..."  I don't have time for that sort of thing, especially when 90% of the people don't even bother to email me back.  My guess would be (in that instance) because people think that when rescues sell cages, they're gonna be $5 for a large chinchilla cage.  Uh, no.  It's still cheaper than the pet store, but when I put work into cleaning it and getting shelves in it and stuff, I'm not selling it for dirt cheap.  They want that $5 chinchilla cage, they can get it off craigslist and then have to take it to the self-car wash to powerwash the layers of feces off.  Nope, my cages are clean and nice, that's why they cost money.

Ok, gotta go get ready for supply pickups and stuff.....

Friday, December 5, 2014


So, got an email from someone who I knew was going to be picking up chins this week.  In short, it basically said, they wanted to come tomorrow around noon.  Well, regardless of what shift at work that I work, I'm never home around noon.  I usually either work 7-4 (at work around noon), or 1-10 (driving to work around noon).  And tomorrow's the Christmas party, so I told her, not heading home after work either. 

So she asks if they can stop by before I leave for work.  Mind you, I've just told her, I leave the house at 6.  Now, I had my little hissy fit over here and said there is no way I'm getting up at the crack of dawn to rehome chins... until I realized, this is for Mama and Baby.  The chins who've been here almost a year, and this would be the first people who are really interested in them, and so I sent back an email saying I will have everything ready, but if they are not here by the time I have to leave... I have to leave.

They better show up if I'm going to sacrifice even more sleep for this sort of thing.  Because if I get up at 5 am and wait for an hour and these people do not show up, all of a sudden the rescue's gonna have a new, 10 am -  8 pm appointment hours ONLY thing.  Cause this wouldn't be the only time people want to come at the crack of dawn, or 2 am, that sort of thing.  And usually it works out and it's only occasionally here and there, but I feel like these people have no respect.  Do you go to a pet store and say, "hey, I know you open at 9.  But I can make it there only at 5 am.  Can you open four hours early for me?  Pleeeeeeease????"  Pet store would be like, "Uh, no.  Not a chance.  Come at 9.  If we're in a good mood, maybe we'll let you in at 8:55."  And they'd be making WAY more money off the critters and supplies than I would, so....  

Just got on the internet long enough to check if this person I'm talking about had paid my invoice.... cause they already paid for the chins and then wanted to get a cage, so I sent them an invoice for the cage.  Saw a message on facebook -- someone already has chins and took in a mom and her kits and now those chins aren't all getting along, and so they need me to take in the mom.  Mind you, this is the same person who thought that a cage that would fit three chins, for $80, was too much, a month or so ago.  But they thought it'd be a good idea to take in multiple additional chins, and now the problem -- SURPRISE -- is they don't have another cage to separate all these chins into.  Now, I do give em kudos because they don't want to keep the mom with a male cause they don't want babies... but shouldn't they have thought of that ahead of time?  Without knowing more details, best guess is, mom and babies are female, their current chin is male (well, I know their current chin is male, cause this person always acts interested in my male chins and wants to see pics and it never goes anywhere from there).  But then the mom and babies aren't getting along, and why doesn't it surprise me... that they're getting rid of mom.  And now that I go to my newsfeed, this person has posted that the female bites and sprays.  Wonderful.  I suppose, good thing I have a waiting list and I'm nowhere near getting people off it just quite yet.  I asked if he wanted to be added to it, but, as always, I go in order of who got on the list first (exception being someone who's returning one of my chins, they go to the top of the list), and I probably have 5 people on the list.

Ok so one more thing.  To get the chins ready to go.... packed up food, goodie bags, business card.  Wrote out two pickup forms, adoption contract, and invoice.  Got a box ready with holes, got the tape.  The cage they wanted was buried (even moreso since furniture has made its way down there recently), so I moved all the furniture to unearth the cage, and moved that considerably closer to the basement steps -- which I know I can't get it up myself.  Maybe this doesn't sound like a lot of stuff.  It really doesn't to me, now that I've typed it.  But figure, if they don't show up.... that's a lot of shit done for nothing.  That cage has sat around over a year here at the rescue (for sale the entire time... not a popular choice I guess), so it'll just have to be moved back.  I'm at a lack of space as it is, so the food and goodie bags will need to be put back in their respective places to wait for the next adoption.  The goodie bags have their own container, and the food -- I like to scoop fresh for every adoption so the adopters get the most current food I have for their critters.  Not to mention, the forms and all that....  well, fingers crossed they show up. 

Ok one more last thing.  Remember that person who had the female chin and wanted the male and then we talked about it and then they said they wanted Puff?  That was like a few weeks ago, but all on facebook?  Yeah, never heard back from them.  Also, have had 3 people email about Nyler, all in the last week.  All asked for care packet and adoption form.  None have emailed that back. 

Oh and the same person who was interested in three chins and a rabbit, back when.... but then decided, after dragging it out, that they couldn't make the drive.  Oops, my bad, they never had a car and had to have a friend drive them, and didn't think to ask that friend, would the friend drive them, before contacting me.  So of course, when they asked, friend said no, too far.  Yeah.  They just emailed me about another rabbit and asked how far I am from their hometown.  Now, I could see if it was just a general ad, cause not all my ads specifically say the rescue name -- but the ad they responded to was on RescueMe, which SPECIFICALLY says on the listings (for example), "chinchilla locates at NWI Chinchilla Rescue, Hammond, IN."  Now, I know they saw the rescue name before, when they were emailing about the other animals, cause I sent them two care packets and two adoption forms, all with the rescue name on it, and yet they still emailed about the other rabbit.  Does no one READ anymore?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Phone Coma

So, best way to word it, is, my phone's in a coma.  I can see what's on the screen, it will beep and briiiiiing and everything, but the touchscreen isn't working.  Wonderful.  They're sending me another one, but say it will be a few days.

Which is just freaking wonderful, considering I have texts on there from people wanting to adopt, that I can't see their entire phone number (so even if I had access to another text-capable phone, wouldn't do me any good), that I'll never be able to get ahold of.  I kid you not, in the last 3 days of the phone not working (and me not being able to make it to Verizon due to my work, in their hours they're open), I got at least 3-4 texts from people that said, "I'm interested in adopting _____" and so on.  But I can't see their full phone number, can't text them back, and Verizon's only thing they can "maybe" help me with (and I quote "but they doubt it and can't promise anything") is getting my contacts.  So those texts are lost forever.  Same with the 10 voicemails that are from local numbers that I can't listen to. 

Sure hope all of those were people who would have sucked as new homes, cause at this point, this is really sucking the life out of my day.  For once, I have no craigslist (or other) ads up for ANYTHING other than chinchillas.  So if  I even could see the numbers, I could get back to these people, but I can't get off the first screen of the phone, where you have to swipe to the right to get to the main screen with all the apps.

One person who usually gets food from me -- they're in my contacts.  But the thing is, I could see they were calling and texting me, but I don't have their number written down anywhere else (that will change once I get my new phone and get numbers re-entered).  Well anyway, I saw they'd called numerous times, and pretty much the only thing they ever get from me is food, but I couldn't call em back.  Thank god, they decided to email me and ask if I was still selling food, and I was able to call them from work and get ahold of them.  They always pay by credit card (which is on my phone), so I had to download the credit card app onto my tablet and do it that way.  I tell ya, what a hassle to have the phone go down when I use it so much for the rescue.

On a positive note -- had someone email about adopting Nyler.  Wanted to know how he was with dogs and, possibly not so positive, wanted to know if they had to come pick him up or if I'd drop him off.  I told em, we don't deliver.  Which we don't.  About the most I will do for people is bring supplies to where I work, since I'm going there anyway, 5 days a week.  But I just can't start becoming a rescue delivery service for the animals -- the vet sure won't deliver their services to your house, and even if they WILL do a housecall, they sure can't do surgery in your living room if needed.  Well, maybe this person will decide that they'll drive to come pick him up.  We shall see.  They did email back asking for the care packet and adoption form, though, so that's positive!

Oh!  Remember the lady who said she didn't necessarily want to breed, but just wanted them as pets, and I told her, well, if you put together a male and female, they will breed?  The one that bolded the thing about "it's the same transaction"?  Yeah, I got another email from her.  Boy is she acting like a know-it-all.  First, she started on how all the research that I'm talking about (I guess the thing about whites having a lethal gene?) is coming from studies that have been hurried and pushed through by people who have a stake in them.  Um, no, they come from ranchers who've been breeding for years who've figured this stuff out.  She's not interested in arguing though, she said.

And then, and I will copy and paste, cause this is too good to paraphrase:  "As an FYI:  Many of the lines of top show dogs began from dogs acquired at the local dog pound (humane society)."  Wonderful.  Let's all start over with chins, because of her wonderful knowledge.  Let's take malo chins, fur chewers, the skinniest, rattiest chins you can find, and let's breed em.  Heck, why start with good chins, when we can start with rescues.  Don't get me wrong.  Years ago, when there weren't specialized dog breeds, I'm sure they did start from less-than-stellar dogs.  But now, there's no reason to breed junk.  Same with chins.  We've come this far, no reason to go back to the beginning.

And another one I just cannot paraphrase, " The HSUS has done so much damage to the agriculture community that breeders are few and far between of all species."  Um, wtf?  There's WAAAAAAAAY too many breeders of every freaking species.  Why does she think there's so many pit bulls in humane societies?  Cause every time you turn around, someone's having a litter of em.  Same with just about every other animal.  This lady has lost her mind.  She said she might contact me in the future to get some chins, but I don't think she'll be getting any from me, with this sort of nonsense.  She'd be churning out malo, furchewing chins left and right.  No thank you.  

Had someone who's wanting to return one of my chins email to ask how that's coming along.  As I still have chins coming out my ears (way more than just what should be in my normal rescue cages), I asked her to wait a bit... hopefully adoptions pick up soon.

Had China out on a trial run, but the person isn't going to adopt her.  Boo.  Said they had some bills come up and extra hours at work, so they can't adopt her.  Ah well.  Gotta find a cage to put her in, as her cage now has other chins in it that managed to find their way to the rescue while she was gone.

Got an email about someone wanting to adopt Myshkin.  We shall see if this pans out, but they sound like a good home from what they told me about their current chins and how they're caring for them.  They responded to my email about if they wanted the care packet and adoption form, so I sent those to them.  Fingers crossed.

Had some people stop by my work yesterday, and put in an application to adopt Puff.  I need to get a cage and stuff together for them.  They don't have email or internet, so they never would have found me if I didn't have the chinchilla in the store, and I had Myshkin there and a binder with pictures and info of the available chins.  Awesome. 

Been emailing back and forth with a guy who wants to get chinchillas to breed... in March.  Told em, no idea what I'll have for sale then, if I'll even have any pedigreed chins for sale then.  This is another one -- oh they're just going to be pets -- but he wants a male and a female.  Uh-huh.  I told em, they will breed, it's called "breeding."  So he was asking prices and I told him, prices are different for adults and babies, and I told him how they have to be big enough and have the right qualities to breed, so now he's settled on, he wants adults, since I told him, if you get babies, you can't guarantee they'll get big enough or look good enough to breed.  But wait, I thought he wanted them as pets?  Uh-huh.  Anyway, so he asked about what it'd cost for cages and all that... so I explained, he needs babysafe cages, and at least two of em, cause he can't just keep mom and dad together forever or it stresses the female out, and between two chins, cages, and a few other supplies he asked about, he was at $500 for two chins and two cages and some extra food and treats.  And that didn't count dust, dust houses, food bowls, water bottles, hidey houses, etc etc.  And this is cheaper than a pet store.  Just depends though, on what's here at the time he wants to get chins.... Anyway, point being, this is a perfect example of people planning ahead.  Maybe he needs to save the money for it.  The only "problem" with planning ahead, is I can't promise what I will have here, at that time, in terms of cages and chins, but this is someone who's thinking for the future.  Rather than the usual, "oh that's too expensive, I'll just get it off craigslist" people.

Ok, gotta go to work now.  Taking my tablet with, so if you need me, message me on facebook or email me.  Thanks.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

And again

So, I had someone email asking about getting a chin.  They said they were interested in getting a couple.  Based on their description, they wanted a mosaic, and I said, oh I have two.  Told them about them, and they wanted both.  Well, both are a male and a female, and both are rescues.  And I told them, there's a lethal gene, that's why we don't adopt out rescues to breeding homes (cause the average person owning a chinchilla and wanting to breed has no clue about such things), and she had asked about price, so I told her, either one would be $100.  And I told her, there's an adoption form and care packet that need to be read and filled out, in order to adopt. 

So she emails back, she has to think about getting a chin from me.  So, that's fine.  So I emailed back, saying, well if you decide you want to adopt, just let me know.  I get an email back that says, she doesn't want to adopt, she wants to buy a chin.  Well, sure, we're talking about different chins then, but I told her, it's the same thing as far as the care packet, adoption form.  Cause I told her, just because my own pedigreed chins aren't rescues, I still want them to go to chin-knowledgeable homes.  Those people still have to read it all and fill it all out too.

So I got an email back from her.  She went down to the email I sent her, and changed what I wrote so that it was huge and bold and instead of saying (the beginning part anyway): "That's fine.  Regardless of buying or adopting, it's the same as far as reading the care packet and filling out the form.  I still want the pedigreed, better quality chins to go to knowlegeable homes..." and so on and so forth.  She bolded, enlarged, and changed that all to read:

That's fine.
Regardless of buying or adopting, it's the same transaction

Now, can you please tell me... what was the point of that?  Should I be sorry that I was too wordy for her?   Should I only care where the rescue chins go, but let anyone with $150 walk off with a pedigreed chin?  I think not.  Regardless of the chin (or whatever critter), everyone gets to read a care packet and fill out an adoption form.  You know who's the exception?  Someone who's a known breeder buying a chin (generally at a show) who's done well at the show.  In the chin world, the quality breeders want their chins to be cared for correctly, so they breed for them. And those people would only want a pedigreed chin that had done well at show, with good lines, and would not be trying to put white + white together.  So I know they'd care for them fine.  Everyone else gets  acare packet and an adoption form, and if they don't like it, tough shit, they can go elsewhere.

Anyway, so I got an email back that said, "Next time you go to sell a Chin, you might think about educating a new buyer instead of insulting.  All those “knowledgeable” breeders once started as “newbies.”"

Great.  The only thing I think I said, which she must have taken as insulting, was when I made a comment about how you can't put two whites together, because you'll create a lethal gene.  And I said, for pet people, that's why we don't sell a male and female together, because the average pet person doesn't know that.  She never once said anything about breeding, so I assumed she wanted pets.   

Anyway, my response:

I was not intending to insult.  That said, you never mentioned you wanted to breed.  I feel like if you had made your intentions a bit more clear, our conversation would have started completely differently.  I re-read your first email to see if maybe I somehow mis-interpreted something.  The only thing you said about what you wanted to get was that you wanted to get a "couple of chins."  Maybe you intended that to mean a couple as in, a male and a female.  I took it as, a couple, meaning, a pair.  Which is what I get requests for, mostly.

Had I known you were looking to get into breeding, I would have let you know that most of the chins I have that are available are rescues.  Just like dogs and cats at the humane society, those specific chins should not be bred.  On the other hand, I have the show chins, and their offspring, which have pedigrees, and potentially could be bred.  Though, even that depends on how well they do at show.  Just because someone has a pedigreed chin doesn't automatically make it worthy of breeding.  Two awesome chins that did well at show could basically have a dud baby.  It could be lacking in fur strength and have lay down fur and bad clarity, and should just be a pet.  Even with stellar parents.  Sort of like how two tall people sometimes have a short kid.  They don't always get the right genes.

Also, had you mentioned the desire to breed, I'd have mentioned completely different chins.  For example, right now I'm not selling off any breeders, though I may have some young pedigreed chins that may be sold after this next show.  Depending on how they do.  For me to keep them, they'd have to do stellar, but a lot of breeders will breed chins that get 1sts or 2nds.  Just depends on the breeder. 

But see, without knowing that, that's why I responded the way I did.  Most people who email me want chins as pets, and if they don't specify, I do my best to email them what they asked for.  Like, for example, you said you wanted the white with grey & black -- mosaic -- so I told you about the two that are available right now.  With what I knew, that was what fit.

I don't mean to tell you what to do, but when you talk to another breeder, you might try to be more specific in terms of what you want.  If  you just mention you want a mosaic, you may very well get a pet quality mosaic.  If you really want to get into breeding, you'll want to mention that, or at the very least, that you want a show-quality chin, or one that has been shown, so you know how it has done.     
----end of email

All that said... I feel like someone who got that upset about an offhand comment about how the average pet person doesn't understand that there's a lethal gene in white chins and that's why we don't sell a male & female pair to pet people... I feel like they probably wouldn't do well with the chin comments at show.  Just saying.


Had two people email today asking for babies.  One got a chin from me a few years ago, and wanted a baby female.  Well, even the absolute youngest chins I have are... males.  Youngest female I have right now is on a trial run and is coming up on 1 year of age.  So I told her, unless she decides she's up for older ones, I have nothing at the moment.  Got an email back, saying she's just looking for a buddy for her chin, an older one could work out.  So she's going to get back to me on when she can make it out here to see how her chin does with others.  Yay.

Another that emailed wanted a baby female ebony.  Also told her, all males at the moment, and she said, well, if nothing available, maybe within the next 1-2 months.  Well, for me to have a chin ready in the next 1-2 months, it would have already been born, and the only chin that was born recently was Nikki's baby -- which is a standard female who will be staying here to be shown.

Monday, November 24, 2014

And the usual continues.

So, perhaps unsurprisingly, the person who was wanting the male... and then when I explained I wouldn't adopt them a male, then wanted a female, so I showed her the pic of the white female I have... remember her?  Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have not heard back since I emailed her the care packet and adoption form. 

Got a call yesterday asking what our hours were.  Told em, the rescue is run out of the house, I have  a day-job, the rescue's open by appointment.  Did they want to make an appointment?  No.  This isn't a pet store.  Sorry?

Got a call today, asking if we still had the rabbit.  Asked which rabbit, and they told me Nyler, and I told em, yes we do.  Oh, and do we deliver?  Oh hell no.  The area code was 312, which is Chicago.  Pretty sure the vet doesn't deliver their services, and neither do we.  Or any pet store, for that matter.  Not sorry.  Betting those people would think an adoption form and care packet would be too much hassle as well, if they have to make the effort to *gasp* go and pick up their new pet.

Got a text from someone in Carmel, IN, saying they wanted to meet some of the younger chins.  So I texted back, asking when they wanted to come by.  Nothing.  No response, nothing, nada.  Makes me wonder, did they think I just bring the rescue to people's houses as well?

Sometimes though, there are things that happen that are totally my fault... like scheduling someone to come tonight (scheduled them weeks ago) to borrow one of my cages.  They borrow it around the holidays, every holiday, and usually donate, and very nice people.  And the chins they have are from here.  Well anyway, few days ago, I had China (chinchilla) go for a trial run, and I gave them that cage.  Next thing I know, I flip the page in my planner and see, hey, I'm supposed to be lending out that cage on Monday!  Whoops!  So today, the person doing the trial run was nice enough to meet me at my work to swap cages, so I could get that one back. 

Another person texted and asked if I still had Nyler.  I texted em back, literally three minutes later, saying yes I did still have him and he's still available.  Nothing.  And it's not like I wasted four hours to text this person back, it was three minutes.  So at some point, I texted again, asking if they were looking to possibly adopt him.  Waaaay later I finally got a response, asking if he was good with dogs and cats, if he was cuddly, and where I was located.

Another positive note, Mudpuddle was officially adopted today!  He was out on a trial run since before my grandma died, but we had to reschedule his actual adoption a few times, but finally settled on today, and now he's officially adopted.  Who-hoo!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

The usual

The usual has been going on.

Did have one person pick up a chin for a trial run.  That's good.  Always a plus.

Another couple came and bought a chin and a cage.  Very happy bout that.

Another called cause someone they know is in the state and they wanted to pick up a chin before they left.  Long story short, they say they're going to get the chins, supposed to be sending me a deposit (fingers crossed!), but now they're gonna pick em up in December.

But other than that, called one person back.  A guy left the message, a woman answered.  I said I got a call asking about chinchillas.  She said, "yeah we called awhile back."  Awhile back as in... yesterday?  I wasn't aware time passes so quickly.

Another one, got an email about a chin asking if he was still available.  Well, the chin was a she, so I let them know (just in case they thought it was a he) and they said, oh, it doesn't matter.  They found one closer to home.

Got a call from a previous home, asking about whether an ingredient in food was ok.  Always good to ask just to check.  :)

Got an email asking for more pics of a certain chin.  Not sure which ones they saw, so I sent them the 5 that I have.  It's a grey chin, so she looks the same from about all angles, but...

Had one person a few days ago who wanted me to ship a chinchilla a few states away.  No can do, sorry.  

Had a person message on facebook asking for a male chin.  At some point, they said they had a chin, so I asked, is it a male?  They said something along the lines of, oh they have a big cage and a second cage.  Was that what I asked?  I don't think so.  I told them what males I had and asked again, is their chin male or female.  Oh, it's a female, but they want a male.  Of course they do.  They went on to say they tried putting their chin with a family members chin and they got along.  Great, that doesn't mean that just cause those two got along that any chin they put with it will get along.  And of course, by saying that, that tends to imply that they do want to put them together.  But, I should know better than to assume (but still to not be stupid) and I asked them, do they intend to put them together.  So, surprise surprise, she says yes, they'd like to put them together.  Well, knowing that right there, she's not adopting a male. 

So I told her, since she has a female, she couldn't adopt a male, and asked, why a male.  Oh, they had a male before and let them play together but had them in separate cages.  *face palm*  Yes, because playing together would never give them the opportunity to breed *dripping sarcasm* (in case ya couldn't tell).  So I told her that -- it literally takes a second for them to breed, so playing together is just as bad... and if she doesn't want babies, there's pretty much no reason for her to get a male. 

So, she ends up saying, well, a female would be fine too, she just wants a buddy for her chin.  Did we really have to take the long way around to get to this?  Anyway, long story short, I didn't have any females in the age range shes wanted, but I did have one a little older, a mosaic (the color she originally wanted), so I showed her the pic, and she asked how we'd go about adopting.  So I emailed her the stuff.  Now, we are waiting....

Monday, November 10, 2014

Chicago Pet Show and People

So, first off, we had our last Chicago Pet Show of the year this past weekend.  We did reasonably well, considerably better than the last show, and got a decent amount in donations.  Even had one person that seemed like a potentially good adopter.  So fingers crossed that works out for us.

As far as other people... not a lot changes.  I have someone right now that has one of my rabbits out on a trial run.  We set up for them to come today at 5 pm, to adopt, fill out paperwork, what have you.  At work today, we had a problem with the ordering gun, so I couldn't start ordering til about an hour before I had to go home.  So, I had to stay a bit late to finish the ordering.  Knowing I had a 5 pm person coming, I rushed home.

You can see where this is going, can't you?  It's 5:43 as I type this, and they are not here.  I rushed home, printed out all the stuff, filled my portion out, and am waiting for them... and nothing.  I looked back at the texts to be sure, and yup, we said, this day, this time.  We even said, we'd let each other know if anything came up.  Nothing.  No texts, no phone calls.  I even texted this person and asked if they're still coming, nothing.

I won't go into what else I have going on, but I do have something pressing going on right now, and I'm writing this blog purposefully right now, so they can have an extra few minutes to get back to me before I pick up and leave. Because I really do have to go, and I had intended to already have left the house, because I was going to tell them, hey, I have this thing going on, didn't want to actually cancel, but wanted to make it a quick adoption (since their first visit they spent a few hours at the rescue).

I'm not mad.  I'm mainly just tired, but besides that, I just feel like I'm wasting time.  Even if I didn't have somewhere to be, there's a million different things I could be doing right now, but I'm waiting for this person to arrive.  I can clean the house, sure.  I can pick up and organize my desk.  But the thing is, most things I need to actually do -- make stuff with the saw, clean the rescue -- if I start those, they're so loud that I won't easily hear a knock, doorbell, or my phone vibrating / ringing.  So I can't do those while waiting for people.  And at the end of the day, how hard would it be for this person to just text and say, hey, something came up.  Maybe they forgot.  Always a possibility, but then, is it that difficult to write things down?

Just frustrating.  And now that they've had 19 minutes to respond to my initial text, I'm going to leave.  And I'm not going to rush back home (not that I actually could, but we won't get into that), should they text me and say, oh they forgot, but they can come right now....

Friday, November 7, 2014

I just don't get it.

I just don't get it.

So many people tell me, oh the rescue's doing these awesome things.  I will, for sure, be getting a chin from you, when I get one.  I'll get a cage from you too, awesome deal.  And then they text me one night when I'm at work, want to come over RIGHT THEN (because, you know, I have nothing better to do and can drop everything I'm doing to run home and sell you a cage), to get a cage.  I can't make it, I tell them, will be out of town the rest of the week, we can schedule for next week.  They say ok. 

I get my work schedule and text them back (cause I was waiting for that to know which day I could do).  Asked them, were they wanting a chin or a cage or both, cause their text wasn't super clear.  For sure I thought cage but maybe chin also.  Oh, they already got a chin and a cage.  What?  Thought they were so gung ho about getting one from the rescue.  Now they just want to come over for food.  Which is fine, but a $6.25 sale of food isn't going to pay to keep the rescue open. 

And this is just one example... this happens a lot.  It's sad, actually, how much, but these people just can't seem to wait a day or two to bring a 15-20 year pet into their lives.  Which I think is utterly ridiculous, because people think I can just drop everything to accomodate them.  Someone want to give me a million dollars to live off of, and I can sit home and run the rescue and do nothing else, and basically be at everyone's beck and call.  But until that happens, I have a real job that requires 50+ hours a week, and I can't drop everything cause someone needs a cage right now.  Sorry. 

If I call one of the contacts in  my phone, or even all the contacts in my phone, and say, hey, let's go out to lunch.  Not tomorrow, not next week, but right now.  How many of them do you think will drop what they're doing to go out to lunch with me?  I guarantee you, probably no one.  Probably, mostly, because.... wait for it... they're all at work and can't drop everything for the whim of one person.  And no one would expect them to, because people would say, oh they're working.  So why do people think it's ok to ask me to drop everything for them?  Is my life not worth anything because I have a rescue, and that should come before anything else in my life?  Why is that thought ok? 

It's maddening on this end.

Adoptions have pretty much slowed to a halt.  Now, dropoffs, ha.  Exact opposite.  I've never had a longer waiting list, and I've never had more people that have to get rid of their chins by yesterday, and need them to go somewhere.  But people wanting to adopt?  Not so much.  Chins are spending inordinate amounts of time at the rescue.  In January, Mama & Baby will have been at the rescue for a year.  That's sad, considering, if you leave Mama alone, and enjoy holding and playing with Baby, you have a happy pair of chins.  In March, Snickers will have been here a year.  There is nothing wrong with these chins.  They're just not freaking babies, which is all anyone seems to want anymore. 

I know, I know, you go to a humane society, and they have oodles of puppies and kittens.  But that's not how it works in chin rescues.  Ask any one of em, your average chin is at least 3 years old, if not older, and often is not the poster child for the ideal chin.  That's just how it is.  There's not oodles of baby chins waiting to be adopted, and some of the ones that are available come with attitudes or health problems.  Not all, but some.  But that doesn't mean they deserve homes any less!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Awesome Friday!

So, Friday was the best day the rescue's had in a long time.  No adoptions or anything like that, but we had volunteers!  It was AWESOME!

I had one set of people I set up for Friday... then remembered I had someone else who emailed me their work schedule... asked if they could come.  Then remembered I had someone else who had said they were available Friday... and I checked if they could come.  And EVERYONE showed up!  So from something like 3:30 pm until after 10 pm, I had volunteers!

Before they all came, I cleaned out the drawers in my toy cart, so there'd be no toy crumbs or anything like that, so we could get started.  We made just about every toy we have here, except for the fun chewies toy and the pinesical toy (neither of which are huge sellers).  The pinesical toy doesn't even have a drawer in the cart, if that hints at how many of those sell per year.  But the other toys -- anything goes, muncher's delight, pumice & triangles, and critter's delight all got made!  Yay!  This may not sound like a lot, but almost none of these were ready to make, everything had to be sanded and drilled and sanded again.  Wire had to be cut, everything. 

Also managed to get help getting everyone fed, watered, hay'd, given apple sticks and toilet paper rolls.

Also made some healthy treat mixes, but didn't have enough of the stickers that go on top of the jars to make more than three.  Note: today, I found the labels I use for these jars and the mason jars, and I printed out more of the labels for the healthy treat mix, the supplement, and the herb sampler.  So I will be able to make more of the healthy treat mix whenever... the others I need to get the mason jars for, first.

Also, got all the toys in all of the cages filled up with wood, and hung some new toys from Jean (TJ's) in the rescue cages.

Very very productive day.  Now if I had every week, even with one volunteer, I would not be nearly so stressed.  It was awesome to have some help, as doing this all myself would have taken days upon days, instead of a few hours.  Thanks to everyone who came and helped!