Thursday, January 29, 2015

Volunteering and Selling Chin Cages

Two things I want to talk about.

First, volunteering.  The rescue must be on Lake Central's list of places to volunteer.  Which is awesome, except....that's never panned out to anything.  I can't specify exactly why, but let me share you one experience on the phone from the other day.

Me:  Hello
Her:  Is this the chinchilla rescue?
Me:  Yes
Her:  Ok, I was wondering about volunteering, [tells me about the Lake Central thing], when can my daughter come to volunteer
Me:  Well, it's just me running the rescue, so people can come whenever I'm home.  It changes day to day and by week, but generally after 5 pm on some days, or early in the morning before noon on others.  I work in retail, so there's not a set schedule and every week it's different.
Her:  Oh
Me:  So, if you have a day in mind, I can let you know what time I'll be home
Her:  Well how about this Friday
Me:  This Friday I start work at 1, so I leave the house by noon, so it'd have to be in the morning
Her:  My daughter has school
Me:  That's fine, I'm just letting you know, cause you asked about that day
Her:  So how would I know when she could come?
Me:  Well, I have my schedule on Thursday or Friday, for the following week.  So if you called on Thursday or Friday, I could tell you what days I have off, or what days I would be around at what times
Her:  So I have to call every day then?
Me:  No, what I'm saying is, if you call at the end of the week, I can tell you about any day you want the following week.
Her:  Oh ok so I she could come on a day off.
Me:  Sure
Her:  When are your days off?
Me:  I work in retail, it changes weekly.
Her:  So she could come Sunday?
Me:  Not always, it would depend on the week.  Since I work retail, sometimes I have to work on Sunday.
Her:  Well volunteering at your rescue doesn't seem very practical
Me:  Many nights of the week, I'm home by 5 pm.  That gives a few hours for volunteering, and some days I'm home all day.
Her:  Yes, but not set days
Me:  Even if I had a set schedule, it would be difficult for me to say, as one person, people can come volunteer Tuesdays anytime, Wednesdays after 5, or Thursdays before 12.  Partially, because I don't have anywhere near the volunteers to warrant doing that to my schedule, but also because it would be hard for me to promise that I'd never need to leave during those times, or never have appointments (chin or otherwise) during those times.  I wouldn't want to say, oh these hours I'll be home every week, like clockwork, and then the one week someone decides to stop by, that's the week I say "oh no one's coming," and leave....and then I wouldn't be here.
Her:  It's still not practical.
Me:  I'm sorry, I'm one person, I work during the day, this is the best I can do.
Her:  Ok, well I guess I'll call you when we think we want to come out.  *click*

I can pretty much guarantee you, I won't be hearing from them.

And I get it.  I do.  It would be much easier, even for me, if I could say, ok, on this day, I'll always be home from this time to this time.  On this day, from this time to this time.  But like I told her, if I always said, I'll be home Friday 1-5, few things. 
  1. First, people can barely make their appointment times.  I set an appointment for 1, they show up at 3.  So, nothing would make me think that if I had open hours of appointments, they'd be any better at actually making it before those hours "close."  So, the hours would be pointless.  
  2. Second, I hardly think anyone would show up.  Last year, I can think of about 4 volunteers I had (some came with a buddy, but 4 distinct "volunteers" as in like two sisters, or person who came by, or a mom and her kid).  Four.  So would it be worth me setting aside hours in my days, week after week, for the prospect of people coming by?  Probably not.  
  3. Same goes for buying supplies.  Some people I bring supplies to Crown Point.  Others (if I trust you) I set out on my front porch and people pick it up and leave the money in my mailbox.  Why?  Because for all of the above-mentioned-people, we can't find a time when I'm home that they can come by.  And if you've ever emailed me or called me and asked what my availability is, I make it pretty open to you.  You've likely heard me say, ok Monday after 5, Tuesday before noon, Wednesday all day, Thursday after 5, Friday after 5, Saturday all day....  if people can't find a time to come over, with those sort of options, I hardly think a few hours a day or two a week is going to be good for them
  4. Also, things change.  Even if I had a set work schedule (which I don't), what happens if I pick up someone's shift?  What happens if I'm sick and have to swap shifts with someone?  Should I keep a running list somewhere of when I'll be home just for the purpose of people who might want to stop by?  I could never change my schedule, if I was going to have hours like that....
  5. Which goes along with... I could never leave.  Which is different than, I couldn't schedule things so that I couldn't be home, but even being here, I couldn't leave.  Would have to absolutely spend that time at the rescue as well.  I cannot hear someone knocking on the rescue door if I have headphones on, or if I'm playing with the dogs.  So I would need to be down at the rescue.  Which wouldn't be bad in itself, I could get stuff done, but if a chin got sick, or a dog got sick, or family emergency, or whatever... technically, I couldn't leave.  Cause there's be the thought of, if I do, that would be when someone would show up.  
    1. Which I should note, happens all the time... when people are super late, like an hour or two, and haven't called... like clockwork... the second I get in my vehicle and start backing out the driveway, they show up.  
So, just not practical.

Next subject, stupidity.  I know we go over this all the time.  I know.  But really people.  I had someone email about this one chin, wanting me to take less money for it.  I told them, I can't tell them one way or the other just yet, because there's another person interested (for full money).  But I told em, I could get back to em in a few days.  So they said that's fine, and asked if I had other chins.  So I linked them to my Available Chins page (which I will link here for demonstrative purposes --> Available Chins).  Now, if you go look at that page, the chins are listed.  They all have descriptions, and adoption fees.  So, can you tell me why, when I emailed that link to her (and to many other people in the past), people respond with "I like [name of chin].  What's his/her personality like?  What's his/her adoption fee?"  *boom*  <---head exploding   

Same with the chin at the store.  I make it reeeeeeaaaaaal easy for people there, because I have a cage card on the cage that breaks it down into name, age, sex, color, adoption fee.  If I have one more person that looks at the cage card, and says "oh, Snickers.... female.... chinchilla....standard grey..... 5 years old.... $75 adoption fee....." and then turns to me and says "so how much is her adoption fee?"  *boom*

And I can tell when you're not listening.  Really, I can.  You all may not recognize it, but I can tell.  Cause this is usually how it goes (real life example that's only happened about 4 dozen times):

Them:  So tell me about dust baths
Me:  Well, it's a powder, sort of baby powder consistency.  They roll around in it, like a pig in mud, and it's sort of like a dry shampoo, it pulls the oils from their fur.  They take a dust bath 1-2 times per week.
Them:  Oh ok, so how often do they do it?

*boom*    And usually, if that's part of the conversation, the rest of the conversation is also riddled with examples where I can tell that the person is not paying attention.  Which drives me nuts.  Cause the thing is, I want to help the animals.  I want to find them homes.  I have a reasonable amount of patience for people who need to get their shit together, but even I set limits (7 day hold with no deposit, 30 day hold with, deposit non-refundable).  But the thing is, I don't want my time wasted.  I have so little of it as it is, between work and the rescue, that by the time I've repeated that dust baths are 1-2x per week for the third time, that person is already wearing on my patience.  Cause in the time I've spent repeating that (and likely, everything else that the person's not paying attention to), I could have been returning phone calls, answering emails, writing a blog post..... you get the point.

And I know, people's minds go 100 miles a minute, so it can be hard to stay focused.  A lot of those same people tend to be the ones that get bored with their pets, say "they don't do anything," and return them to the rescue, or bring me their other small animals that they didn't get from here in the first place.  So, not too interested in entertaining those (and aggravating myself).

Next subject, buying things that are mine or aren't for sale.  This spans various things.  I can't count the amount of times people have said, completely seriously, that they want to buy one of my pedigreed chins (namely, Owl, but also Toby and others come to mind).  It doesn't matter that I tell them, they're not for sale, people continue to say, ok yeah, how much.  Now, I have yet for someone to offer me several hundred dollars for one chin, and I suppose if someone said they'd give me a grand for a chin, we might be talking.  But in general.... if it's not for sale, it's not for sale.

This happens even more frequently with cages.  I can't tell you how many times I hear, "well, they're so settled into your cage.... I want to buy it!!"  Believe me, they will settle into yours as well.  I don't know what makes people want to buy my cages so much.  They look nice, I will give you that.  But I can make a cage look nice for them.  But no, they want my cage.  Uh, no.  Today.  Had one of my previous adoptive homes stop by the store the other day, see the chin there.  Asked me about adopting, since they lost everything they had (chin and all) years ago in a house fire.  Called me twice over the last few days, and when I finally got back to them, the question they were dying to ask me was "can we buy the cage in the store."  Short answer?  No. 

I told them, that one  I've fixed up especially for the store with poo guards, more shelves than I'd normally put in a customer cage (cause the customer doesn't want to pay for that many shelves), hammock, tunnel, toys, etc etc.  I told this customer (like I tell em all), I have similar cages.  For this specific customer, I told her, I have a used cage right now, super similar to that cage, around $94.  I also have that exact same cage, new, for $137.  Doesn't look exactly the same inside (the shelves and such), but same exterior look, if they like the way it looks.  So they say, well those cages are only shelves and the cage, right?  Yes, that's how they come.  Cage with shelves.  Anything else is extra.  Well, they like the store cage cause it has all the toys and tunnels and stuff in it.  Now, granted, why they would assume that the cage would come with everything in it, I don't know... but so I tell these people, I can add toys and a similar tunnel to their cage.  Oh, but they want the store one.  F-ing NO.  Just NO.  What is so DIFFICULT ABOUT THAT??

 Now, we didn't get into it about selling the store cage, cause I shut the lady down today, and told her, I'm just not selling it.  I despise making poo guards.  Years ago, I had a cage almost identical to the store cage that I took to expos.  I ended up scrapping it and selling it as a used cage because it was too heavy with all that in it, to lug it to all the expos.  I now use a smaller, lighter cage.  Anyway, the point is, for the store, I literally had to take another new cage off my shelf at home, make shelves, make poo guards.  Basically, re-create the cage I used to have.  And I can't even tell you how frustrating it was, since I'd just sold the 1st version of that cage a few months earlier.  Recreating the wheel.  And I hate poo guards.  Pain in the ass.  So the last thing I'm going to do is put myself in a situation where I have to do it... yet AGAIN.

Anyway, where I was going with that was this -- when I sold that 1st version cage, since it had the poo guards, I sold it for more.  Because if I have to put more effort in, it costs  more.  I had a cage, awhile back.  Small cage, maybe 1/2 - 2/3 the size of my normal one-chin cage.  1/2" bar spacing, I used to use the cage for weaning babies, before I had the runs.  Well, that cage was packed with a lot of stuff.  There were two hammocks, multiple shelves, an attached food bowl, a house, a sort of bridge, etc etc etc.  In all, the cage ended up being about $95 for sale (and it sold), versus a normal cage that size probably would have been around $50-60.  Why?  Because it had all that extra stuff in it.  I took out the toys, but anything functional was left in, and it came with the attached food bowl, and since I didn't want to mess with detaching the water bottle holder (which can be difficult on small-bar-spacing cages), I included a used water bottle.  But... this all made it cost more.  That's just how it goes. 

I have people wanting to buy the decked out FN's all the time.  Even at used costs, they'd be expensive.  Figure, I spent $100-125 to buy them all used.  Since I'm going to have to scrub them down again, I wouldn't be charging any less than that.  Then, I had to buy the metal pans.  $70 shipped gets you two, plus $10 each pan powdercoating.  That's $90 just for the pans.  Since most are in good shape, say I charged 70%, already we'd be at almost $200 for the cage ($188), and that's with nothing in it, other than the FN and the metal powdercoated pan.  Most of those cages have two wheels -- a lot have a chin spin up top and a saucer at the bottom.  $50 each for used, and we're at $288.  Still want that cage?  I can continue.  Most cages have two hammocks in them (one top, one bottom).  At $5 each used, we're at $298.  Lots of the cages also have either the fleece covered pvc tubes, or the wooden tunnels.  Say one of the cages has both (one on top, one bottom).  At $15 each, used, we're now at $328.  Most cages have some sort of house at the top and bottom.  If it's a pet store type house, used would be $5, if it's one of mine, $10 and up.  So let's say the cage has a pet store house up top, my smallest one at the bottom.  Brings total up to $343.  And this isn't counting any shelves.  Let's just say that shelves for one of these cages would cost $50 new.  For shelves, I usually do 60-75% of value, depending on the shape they're in.  Most of my shelves are still in good shape, so $50 worth of shelves would be $37.50, bringing total up to $380.50.  But let's not forget, those shelves all have poo guards!  And for poo guards, if you can somehow get me to do them, they're 12" for $1.  Well, $50 worth of shelves probably has about 210 inches of poo guards (figuring, in this example, a 36" shelf, two 24" shelves, and three 12" shelves), considering each shelf has poo guards on three sides.  210 inches of poo guards, divided by 12 inches, is 17.5 feet.  Aka, $17.50, new.  So, used, figure $13.  For a total of $393.50.  And that's not counting the fleece liners, any food bowls, any extra hammocks that might be in the specific cage, any toys (and if you've seen my rescue cages, you know I go a little crazy with toys)..... and without any of that, just shy of $400.  Still want that cage? 

And one last thing -- I put a lot of effort into my rescue cages.  I used to volunteer at the Calumet Humane Society (pre-rescue days) and I always felt bad that the dogs and cats were just in a barren crate with nothing in there with them.  That's why my cages are so decked out.  I'm happy to try and re-create a cage for you.  But... you're not getting one of mine.  They were expensive to put together (and figure, those costs above... those are for used... I bought just about everything NEW, except for the cages themselves, and the shelves, which I made... so they cost me way more).  And they're mine.  And while I understand the wanting to keep the animal in a cage familiar to them.... I can make you a familiar cage.  My cages are my cages.  No amount of bothering me will get me to sell them to you.  If anything, the more you bug me, the more likely I am to just start ignoring you.  But you want my help with something, I do my best to help.  But please, stop wanting to buy my cages.  Have a little respect.  If I buy your house, I don't say, "well, the car matches so nicely, can you throw that in too?"  Didn't think so.  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Prices and other things

Hi all.

Let's talk about pricing.  I had someone message me the other day asking about how much it was to adopt / buy a chinchilla.  Well, that's not a few-word answer, so I told them:

It depends on the chinchilla.  A rescue chinchilla that's an adult, standard grey, would be $75.  A rescue adult that's a different color would be $100, unless it's over 8 years old, then it would be $75.  Babies, whether rescues or adults, start at $135 and go up based on age, color, quality, etc.  As those babies get closer to being adults, costs go down.  That's why you see some chins listed that are closer to a year and more in the $115-125 price range.  Is there something specific you're looking for?

They responded with "black baby or adult that's pricy"

Now, any of you that know me even reasonably well know that that was the wrong thing to say.  Because money is not something the rescue has a lot of, and calling my fees "pricy" is just bullshit. 

I told the person, the only black I have right now is a special needs black velvet female.  And then went on to mention, the fees are hardly pricy.  Pet store prices usually start at $150 (I think I paid $200 or $225 for a beige, back when) per chin, and it's unusual for me to have many that are that price or over.  The average chin here is $100 or under (exceptions being pairs).  Told him, the adoption fees aren't cheap like what he might see on craigslist or something like that, but this is a rescue.  All the critters here are given vet care if needed, cared for well (which is way more than I can say for some people with ads up for rehoming chinchillas), and come with a health guarantee.  Yes, they cost more, but the adopter is getting more.

Say you go and buy a chin from someone on craigslist.  It keels over dead the next day.  You call up the person, leave a voicemail.  They're not stupid, they don't call you back, and they intentionally don't pick up your phone calls.  Even if you wanted to sue them (not sure for what), animals are considered no different than a fridge, and if there's no express statement that it is guaranteed healthy for x amount of time... it could die the second you pay for it, and you would be out of luck.  So... yeah you paid $20 for that chin, but now it's dead, your kids are bawling, and really, you're out $20.  And often, as a result of such an experience, then people go to the pet store and buy a $150 chin, because they think that'll last longer (which it may, don't get me wrong), and in the end, spend way more than they would have in the first place.

Versus coming to the rescue --> not all rescues offer health guarantees, but this one does.  Ours is 7 days, though I often tell people, if the chin dies or gets sick, I will not be counting the days.  If it was reasonably recent, I will cover it.  Now, I can say that, and do that, because if I even have an inkling that an animal is sick, it will not be adopted out, and therefore, I only adopt out what I believe to be,  healthy animals (and time has proven that correct, the grand grand grand grand majority of the time).  But say I'm wrong.  It's happened before, nothing is full proof.  Maybe the animal was in the first few days of a respiratory infection, and I didn't notice, or heck, maybe it was fine, and caught a cold on the way home.  Either way, I get a phone call, adopters says hey, my critter is sick.  Ok, we have a chat, they take it to the vet, get me the bill, and I pay it.  (Ok, in reality, it's a tad bit more complicated than that, but that's the basic gist).  Say the animal dies.  Due to fakers, I need to either see the body or see a picture of the dead animal, and I will either refund the money or replace the chin (if more expensive by a lot [$75 vs $175], they pay the difference).

But see, with the rescue, there's a solution.  If the chin's sick, I will make it well.  In the event it dies anyway, I've spent MY money (not theirs) trying to get it well, and they would still get a replacement chin if it died.  If it dies (through no fault of their own), it gets refunded or replaced.  Can you say that for your $20 craigslist chin?

Also want to note a few more things.  Cause believe me, this would not be the first person lately to ask me why they should spend more to get a rescue chin versus go on craigslist and get one that comes with everything for half the price.  Or even get one at the pet store, young baby.  Ok, fine, I'll bite.  Here's why.

At the pet store:  Many pet stores will no longer allow you to physically hold animals prior to purchase.  Don't you want to hold the pet that you will be owning for the next 15-20 years?
At the rescue:  You can hold the chinchilla.

At the pet store / person's home:  Most often, there will be one chinchilla.  Do you like it?  Do you not?  Do you really have anything to compare it to?  If you don't like that specific one, you'll leave empty handed.  Or, maybe you'll just take that one, whether you really like it or not, because it's your only option.
At the rescue:  There's multiple chinchillas up for adoption.  You can hold various ones, decide which one you like, out of the ones available. 

At the pet store:  Most often, the pet store people can tell you nothing about the personality of the chinchilla.  I manage a pet store, and even with me being a small animal person, there's so much going on, that this is the extent of my small animal personality assessment:  does it bite me?   No?  Then it's "sweet."  If it bites, "it's evil and your kids won't like it."  See, and that's coming from someone who cares.  Pet store employees don't typically have time to learn the personalities of the critters in their care.  
At the rescue:  We spend ample hours with the various critters we have.  We can tell you a little bit about them, where they came from (versus "from a company called Apet").  We can tell you their likes and dislikes.  When they start to bark at you, we can tell you, "oh she's all bark and no bite," or, on the other hand, "if she starts that, she'll spray, leave her alone."  Because we spend time with them and we know.  So, we can recommend the best one for you, if you care for our opinion on that sort of thing.  And even if you don't want our opinion in person, we've written these things into the ads we write about the furballs, so you can decide whether we have any that you might want to come look at in the first place.

At the pet store:  It's not that the employees don't care, but chances are, if the furball is sick, they don't notice until it's on death's door.  If it was sick, it wouldn't be for sale, but if they don't know, they can sell it to you, and it can die.  But chances are, they have no clue one way or the other. 
At the rescue:  Most rescues closely monitor their animals (we do it, in part, by weight on a gram scale) to make sure the animals are eating, drinking, pooing, and so on.   If there was a past problem with the animal, it will be mentioned.  Full disclosure.  No reason to hide anything, because we want the animals to go into homes that understand their history, and how that could potentially affect their future.
At someone's home:  People lie.  Sorry, but that's just the reality.  Some just don't know either way, but I've found, many many many many times over, people will tell you to your face "oh yeah, healthy as a hog!" and then the chinchilla either keels over dead the next day, turns out to not be eating, turns out to have an impaction, has an open wound somewhere on it's body, has a respiratory infection, has dental disease / malo.... I could go on.  And I don't mean little things like, oh it sneezed once and they didn't notice.  I mean like the chin was drooling so much that the entire chin and belly were soaking wet and the food didn't go down in the food bowl for weeks, or the chin had snot bubbles coming out of it's nose with every breath.  Some things are more subtle, like respiratory infections.  But still... I've found, people know, and will lie.  Because, common sense says, no one wants to adopt / buy an unhealthy animal.  So, if people think that telling you it's healthy will get you to purchase it, "oh yeah, healthy as a hog."  A rescue wouldn't adopt out an un-healthy animal (note, one that could be made well, versus one with an ongoing, non-fixable health problem), but if they did know of a health problem, either in the past or something that could crop back up in the future, they'd let you know. 

At a pet store:  You take the critter home.  There's a 14 day (or however long) return policy.  After that, good luck.  If you decide you no longer want the critter, it's up to you to re-home it.
At a rescue:  When you adopt, you sign an adoption contract requiring that you will return the animal to the rescue.  Some rescues (mine being one), do have a 14 day return option, but should you go past that, you are required to bring the animal back.  And if you don't, and I find out you are selling it elsewhere, I will track you down.  Point is, though, if / when you no longer want the animal, all that is involved is you returning it, and you don't need to go through the hassle of rehoming it yourself.

At the pet store:  Have a question about your new small animal?  They have a care sheet (one page) for you.  Maybe, if you're lucky, someone working there who knows something about the animal you're buying, who can maybe answer some basic questions for you.  But need anything else?  That's all you.
At a rescue:  We're here to help.  I probably answer more emails with random questions, health and otherwise, about chinchillas and their care, than I do emails regarding adoptions.  Why?  Because people have questions, and don't know where to turn.  And, rescues all know each other, and tend to know a lot of other animal people, so we can get the answer if we don't have it.  Adopt an animal from here, and you gain a lifetime of support.  I get calls and texts and emails all the time from people who adopted years ago who want to know if a product is safe, or what I think about this or that.  That's what I'm here for.  Same with other rescues I know.  We can also just be sources of general info.  Had someone contact me about if I knew of vets that would do tumor removal on a rat for a reasonable price.  I asked if they'd contacted the local rat rescue, they had, but the options provided were either prohibitively expensive, or reasonable, but multiple-hours-drive-away.  I knew a girl at work who had a tumor removed on her rat for a reasonable amount, so I told the caller that I would talk to the girl and call her back the next day.  Got the info at work, called the person, they now have their tumor removal scheduled, at a reasonably priced vet that's not hours and hours away from them.  Point is, you need something, most rescues will try to help you out however they can.  Whether that's answering questions about care, or helping you find a rescue in your area, or whatever it is. 

At the pet store:  Not sure which supplies are safe for your critter?  Chances are, employees have no idea either.  They're likely to tell you, if it's got a chinchilla on the package, it's safe.
At the rescue:  This sort of goes along with the previous one, but a rescue can tell you what the safe items are.  Often, they'll provide a care packet (like we do) that specifies safe type items.  Some (like mine) even go further to sell safe items, so as to eliminate the need for questioning, if people choose to get their items from the rescue. 

I'm sure there's more, but aren't those differences enough to make the average person think twice about getting an animal from a pet store or craigslist, versus a rescue?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Gilly & People

So, Gilly was adopted yesterday.  Had people stop in the store the day before, asking about him, and said they'd talk with their family.  Said they might call that night, and they didn't, so I assumed they weren't interested, but then they showed back up last night.  Ended up coming over to the rescue once I got off work, and got Gilly and a cage and all that was needed for that.  So he's finally in a new home -- yay!!

And... people.  Had another fun one.  Got a text yesterday from a number I didn't recognize (happens all the time because of the rescue), just said "hi" -- so I said hi.  Got three texts today, ranging from "hi" to asking "who is this?" and they've now called my cell multiple times.  Now wait... they texted ME and they want to know who I am?  Sounds just like something I don't want to mess with.  Have enough people to deal with, without someone like that.  And the phone number now shows up as Oregon, so pretty much no chance it's a potential adopter, being that far away.

Oh and get this.  I just got another "hi" text from that person.  Wtf?  I said "hi," they asked "who is this," and because I've had it with this shit, I actually said "you texted me, not the other way around, this is Ashley."  So get this, she said "Kelsey how old are you" -- I texted back "not interested" -- she texted back "you want to be friends" then "how old are you" then "Im 10" and then she called me.  I declined the call and said "I'm busy.  Stop texting and calling me."  Got an "ok sorry" text.  Really people?  Cause I got NOTHING better to do.  And this is just another reason why little kids should not have phones.  This could be someone who has chins in OR, and found my number on the website, but you just don't go calling random numbers and texting random numbers and asking if they want to be friends.  I mean what in the flying fuck is wrong with people?  All she needs to do is contact a pedophile and she'll never be seen again.  I don't mean to be mean, but I barely have time to answer voicemails and emails because I get so many, and I get little kids wanting to chat about random shit?  I mean I don't even KNOW that it's a chin person, it could just be a random kid that found my number somewhere.  Weird.

Had another one that wanted to know if I could mail them a chin.  I told em, they can't go through the mail, only way to "ship" them is on a plane, and because of cost and effort, we don't do that even if they wanted to pay.  But I guarantee you, they thought it'd be like $30 like it is to ship reptiles.  Which it's not, and the average person isn't around the corner from an airport, so driving there to pick up the chinchilla usually ads an extra cost to it, and let's not forget, we're talking about (usually) a $75-100 chin to start with.  And that's why this page is (and has been) up on the website --> Shipping Info.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

And here we go again.

First things first, webstore is back open.  Minus a few items that I put as "sold out" because I'm still not *quite* caught up yet.

Second... some people either just have no idea that rescues shouldn't be bred, or just don't care.  Wait, ok, that's not new, I feel like I talk about that all the time on here.  But at least, I feel like they should be a little more clever about how they go about it.  And about how they just email in general.

Case in point.  I got two emails last night, about 2 minutes after one another.  Both in response to craigslist ads, one for one of my white males, another for one of my standard females.  Both emails contained one line, respectively:

Can you do 120??

Can you do 80??

Now.... not to overly assume, but.... I think they're from the same person, who's interested, likely, in just money and cute babies.  Now, why do I think that?  First, no questions about the chin, no reference to adoption form, care packet, any of that.  Just asking about price.  Which, in all fairness to that person, if they only have $200 to spend, would be important, but it's not the only thing that's important.  Second... if they only have $200 to spend... the last thing that person needs is a breeding pair.  Because I could almost guarantee you that they have the wrong type of cage, too big bar spacing, no second (or third or fourth) cage, and no money for vet bills.  Which God knows you need if you have chinchillas.

So that I don't unintentionally make my own head explode, I'm not even going to respond to those emails.  Cause the fact that they're identical, other than the price, and for a male and female, makes me think they want to breed.  And if I told them, I won't sell them a breeding pair, and they said, ok, they'll get two males -- guess what would happen?  Cause, guess what happens every time myself and people get to that point?  Then they don't show up for their appointment.

Look, here's the thing.  This is what I would like to tell these people.  If you really want to breed, you're going to breed.  Whether you get the chins from me or not.  But then you lie to me and tell me, the only, ONLY, reason you want a male and female is because you read somewhere / everywhere that two males or two females will not get along.  Then we have a chat and I tell you, that is DEFINITELY not the case, as I have had plenty (and will have plenty) of pairs that are same-sex that get along just fine.  And then you say, oh you didn't know that, ok, you'll consider a same-sex pair.  So then we talk about same-sex pairs and I tell you what I have, and what chins could be potentially paired up if the current pairs aren't what you're looking for.  And then we talk about the care packet, adoption form, proof of cage.  And you say, yeah, send those to you, and you give me your email. So I email those to you.  And we set up a time for you to come by to look at the current pairs.  And then you never show up.  NEVER.  I don't think I've EVER had a person like this show up.  Which just means, if someone says they want to breed (*with the cheapest, lowest quality, rescue chins they can find), I need to start saying, ok, fine, you're not getting them from me, have a nice day.  And leave it at that.  Cause I'm just wasting my time and my breath.

Today, stuff got done.  I boxed up a house for an order, called the person, got paid (credit card) over the phone.  Just need to put in the invoice, seal the box, and mail it out.

Also made a custom house for someone.

Also made another house for someone else who wanted one with a bottom and the bolts to hold it to the side.

Also cleaned a used cage and put shelves in it, and sent the pic of it, along with adoption form and care packet, to someone who called about adopting.  Fingers crossed that after the effort of cleaning the cage and putting in shelves and all that, to get the picture, that this person actually ends up adopting.  (not that it didn't need to be done sooner or later, but the regular cages with critters in them could use cleaned as well....and really that'd be higher priority than a non-used cage)

Also talked with someone from Ohio who wanted to know if I had still had one of the chins.  Said they wouldn't have money for a few weeks, said they'd call back.  Alrighty.

Got an update on Oreo -- her new home called the other day to let me know she was breathing heavily and asked for my recommendations for vets.  I told em I like southlake, and they went there today.  Apparently Oreo has a "cold" (respiratory infection).  I had told these people that since they were within their 7 day health guarantee, to bring me the vet bill and I would pay it.  They said today that they weren't going to do that, as when they adopted, she became their responsibility.  Now, I really would have paid it, but the way she thought really is the way everyone should think (granted, not particularly during the health guarantee period, but otherwise).  I had a lady a few weeks ago asking about my health guarantee and I told her, it was 7 days.  She said, ok, what if something happens on day 8.  I told her, depends what it is.  If it's like, you step on the chin and it dies, not covered, but if the chin develops an illness or dies, I'll pay for it.  So she asks, what happens if the chin gets sick a month down the road?  Well, what about a year down the road?  She asked these things, and my answer was the same -- when you adopt, the pet becomes your responsibility.  I probably don't even need to write that she didn't end up adopting... cause it's like, she wanted to adopt, with no financial responsibility for the animal, ever.  And it's not like she was wanting to foster or anything, she literally wanted to own the animal, and have me pay for its care for life.  Um... not how it goes.  And she just could not grasp that she would have to pay for all of that after 7 days.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New Year, Same Old

So, new year, same old same old.  So, Scottie was supposed to go home, and that fell through.

I had someone earlier this week who wanted the adoption form and all that emailed to them.  Asked me to text them the next day when I got my work schedule so we could set up an appointment.  Never did hear back.

Talked with someone on the phone the other day about them getting a buddy for their chin.  Chin was making noises, they looked it up, said it meant he wanted a companion.  Naturally, they wanted to get a female, and I told em, bad idea in general.  ESPECIALLY since their last female died of birth complications, but anyway.  I told em, males get along just fine, and they said ok, and I told em, they could bring their chin here and we could try to pair him with one of ours.  So we set up a time, for today after work.  Well, with the wintery conditions, it's been taking me forever and a day to get to and from work lately, so I left right at the end of my shift, rushed home.  Shoveled paths to the front and side doors -- cause no one listens when I say go to the side door.  And.... they never showed up.  Never called to say they weren't coming, nothing. 

And granted, they were coming from about 2 hours away, which they knew when we spoke, but I told them on the phone (as I do just about everyone, summer or winter), that if they need to cancel, reschedule, it's really not a big deal, but let me know, so I don't rush home from something that I needed to stay for, only to realize, hey, coulda stayed.  And the thing is, I understand if people decide, they're not going to make the drive.  Maybe it's too far.  Maybe it takes too long.  Maybe whatever.  It really doesn't matter.  Truly, really, if you're not coming to adopt ever, it really doesn't matter why.  That's not to say that I won't be curious.  But if you've decided you're going to find a chin closer, or you don't want to spend the gas... whichever it is has no effect on anything... I simply need to know, you're not coming.  That's all.  No hard feelings, in fact, when people cancel, I actually think highly of them.  Because they cancelled.  Same with people who call to say they'll be late.  Because the people that let you know they'll either be late or aren't coming are in the severe majority anymore.  So I think good of them, but then when they don't show up, I don't think as positive of them.

I was telling someone about this, and they said, "oh well when this person contacts you, you be an ass back to them," or something of the sort.  But the reality is, the people who don't show up, and don't call to cancel, etc... I never hear from again.  If someone really wanted to adopt, they'd let you know if something came up.  They wouldn't fall off the face of the earth.

And while I obviously want to get animals adopted, I don't beg.  I don't chase.  Some people might call these people and ask what happened.  Ask if they want to come.  I used to do that, at the beginning.  But you know what, those people always had excuses.  They never, no matter what they said, they never ended up coming to adopt.  And what I think it really boils down to is this -- and it's simple -- if they want to adopt, they will keep in contact.  And if they don't, they're not serious about it.

I'm currently in contact with someone from St. Charles -- about an hour and a half away.  They're interested in Scottie.  They say (key word) that they're going to come by the store tomorrow to adopt him.  He's no longer at the store, which is ok, because I can just grab him in the morning and bring him with me.  But the thing is... they're in for another long ride, just like the people who didn't show up today... so I hope they actually DO show up.  We shall see.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New in 2015

OK, so, new things in 2015.

First off, I will not be meeting people for dropoffs.  Not just because the humane society will never meet you anywhere, they will ask you to come there, but mainly, because people waste my time.  Now, that's not to say that, if you ask nicely, I may ask some people if they'd have any objections about meeting you.  But I, myself, will not be meeting you.  I can think of several instances, not all in 2014, but some, where I went to the meeting spot. 

Any and all of these happened: 
  1. the people showed up on time (very small percentage)
  2. the people showed up late, never texting to let me know, and never responding to my texts asking if they were still coming
  3. the people contacted me after I had arrived at the meeting spot, typically quite a drive away, to let me know they'd need to reschedule, OR had rehomed the chin earlier that day, wasting all that time and gas
  4. the people showed up late, but texted "they'd be there soon," over and over and over, to the point that I waited at the meeting spot for 2 hours before they showed up
  5. the people never showed up, never responded to any communications, and I never heard from again
 With the exception of the people showing up on time, or reasonably late (I consider up to 15 minutes... not "acceptable"... but understandable), those are ok.  The grand majority of people either were ridiculously late, wasted a lot of my time, or just never showed up.  So, no longer will I be meeting people for dropoffs.  Want to bring your critter to the rescue?  You can either bring it here, or maybe, just maybe, I can get a friend to help you out.  But no promises.

Now.  For the above, I'm not talking about meeting someone to transfer an animal from another rescue to mine.  THOSE meets never have problems.  It's the meets with the regular average Joe that wants to drop off their chins that I'm talking about.

Second -- cages.  If you all saw how many applications I get in that say their cages have wood shelves, it's a good "grand majority" of applications.  Now, I'm not saying these people didn't read the care packet, go "oh I need wood shelves," and build the wood shelves.  But if you saw how many orders I get for wood shelves in the webstore... it makes me think, not that many people are all that savvy with building these things.  And let's be honest, there's like one company out there, Quality Cage, that sells their cages with wood shelves, standard.  And since that company is out in Oregon state, and would require getting a cage shipped here or bought used, I'm starting to find it a tad bit hard to believe that everyone's cage just magically has wood shelves. 

Also, I know that, I believe it is, Heartland, requires proof of cage before adopting out their small animals.  So, NWI is going to do that too.  So, there's options, either the adopter can tell me what type of cage is it, and then bring it with at the time of adoption, or they can take a picture.  That picture will need to include a hand-written piece of paper with the current date in it.  Thereby preventing people from snatching internet pictures and just saying "this is my cage."  Also will prevent people from saying they have wood shelves if they do not, because I will be able to tell, looking at the picture, if those shelves are wood or not.  And really, while this is just an extra step and probably will turn into an extra headache for me.... if the person really does have the cage they're claiming to have... how long should this take?  Really, it should be super quick.

And another thing.  I am no longer going to feel bad when people lose out on an animal.  People.  If you want to adopt, you can't fall off the face of the earth.  You just can't.  Few days after Christmas, I talked to someone wanting to adopt a critter.  They said, yeah, send the forms, all that good stuff.  I told em, the way we work, we only hold em so many days without adoption form.  Yeah yeah.  Ok, well, never heard back from them, and someone else came and wanted to adopt, and now the critter's gone.  Well, today I get an email back from that person.  And I need to stop this, but I do feel mildly bad, because they're all like, hope this works out, hope we're approved, yadda yadda.  But I know I said, we don't hold em forever, and I know it's been over the holidays, but that doesn't change the fact -- if you want to adopt -- delay is not your friend.  You want to adopt, get that form in ASAP.  Lock down that animal with a deposit.  In fact, I think I talked about deposits with this person.  But you can't just not email back, not contact back, not anything, and expect that I'm just sitting here waiting for your application.  You know why?  Because probably for every 20 applications I send out, I get one back.  ONE.  Besides the fact that I find that really pathetic, the truth is, with that kind of miserable statistic, I just cannot count on the fact that everyone is going to return their app. 

I used to, get this, I used to put animals on hold the second someone would email and say, "I'm interested in this animal."  You know what that resulted in?  A lot of animals on hold, for extended periods of time, for people who never contacted me back.  Especially because, back then, I did holds for 14 days with no deposit.  And then, I likely lost out on actual adoptions, because people would see that the animal was on hold, and would move on.  I changed this to 7 day holds with no deposit, in 2014.  But I need to really stick to that and not feel bad.  Because in reality, if you really want that animal, you can either show up in 7 days, or you can put down a deposit.  Simple as that.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Good adoptive day for rabbits

So... today both rabbits went home! 

The people for Oreo, the ones that needed to call in the morning with directions, did in fact, call, and they came by.  They just loved her, and adopted her.  And then the people for Nyler showed up as well, and took him home.  Very good rabbit day!

Also, Scottie is going to his new home tomorrow.  He's going to be re-named Chowder.  The new owner is going to pick out her supplies when she comes tomorrow, but in the meantime, we did talk about a cage today, and she's going to be getting the medium cage that I sell.  So I got that ready with shelves so that's ready to go.

As that's my last new cage that I have for sale, I went and ordered myself one of each of the cages I sell.  Had to hunt around for a good price, as they all went up.  Ordered myself some more food bowls -- I guess I normally order 4" food bowls... I ordered like 20 -- 3" ones last time.  Whoops.  So, I need to add those to the website as "treat" bowls, and I went back to see why I didn't order the 4" ones.... the price for them was almost $8 per bowl!  I actually emailed the company and asked if that was right, because the price of the 5" bowls was considerably cheaper than the price of the 4" bowl, but I guess they didn't care to bother with responding.... so today, I found another place that has the bowls I want and ordered the 4" size for the store.

Speaking of which, the webstore should be opening again shortly.  I have an order or two I need to finish up, and when I do, the store will be open again.  No promises on wait times, cause last time what happened was I ordered the store and it seemed like everyone put in an order right away... and backed everything up again.  But hopefully, now that it's almost caught up again, things will stay that way....

Got the rescue marginally more caught up on paperwork.  Matched adoption forms to adoption pickup paperwork.  Put together a hidey house for someone, when it's dry, need to get it boxed up and ready to ship out.  Started cutting shelves for someone (cut two... got tired, and I remembered what happened the last time I used the saw tired... went upstairs).

Not sure if I mentioned this before, but work told me that someone had dropped off an adoption form and it was in the office for me.... I hope it's not for Scottie (as he's going home tomorrow).  A lot of people lately have emailed and been very adamant about "I want that chin and only that chin, and if I can't have that chin, I won't adopt."  Here's hoping that either they are interested in another chin, or that's not the case here.  Chances are, they didn't write anywhere, which chin they're interested in, so I'll have to call them and ask (and let them know how the adoption form looks).  From now on, I need to write on the adoption forms that are in the store, at the top, "Interested in adopting: ___________" that way I know which one.  Anyway, we shall see tomorrow.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


So remember that post from Thursday where I listed all the people who'd contacted me and what happened... I was just talking today with someone who said, surely, by now, I'd heard back.  Well... let's revisit that post.

1) Guy who wanted to get chin and cage, and asked about how to keep them cool in summer ---  Received email today asking when my webstore will re-open because they want houses and toys.

2) Lady who called and I called back and left her a message to call me --- never did hear back

3) Lady at childcare facility who wanted to adopt Nyler, sent adoption form --- never received back, no contact from them

4) Person who texted about Nyler who said if the other home fell through --- texted them when I didn't hear back from first person --- no response (but on a positive note, a completely different person is coming by tomorrow to see Nyler)

5) Husband and wife who had questions, said they'd call me back, set up an appointment for Friday --- never did call me back, never returned my call, and never showed up for their appointment

6) Person who scheduled appt to pick up food and dust (current adoptive home) --- did show up to get their stuff

7) People wanting to pick up a cage --- eventually got a text back, got that scheduled, and that cage is now no longer in my possession.  Yay.

8) The person who bugged me and bugged me about getting them a cage ready, who I emailed and said, yeah, cage ready for you --- never did hear back

9) Email about taking in the rat --- emailed back, no response yet

10) Email asking for more info about China that I responded to that day --- no response

On a positive note, someone called asking about Oreo, and wanted to come by and see her tomorrow.  So, they are set for 11 am tomorrow.  Problem is, they "had to go" and said they'd call in the morning for directions and all that in the morning.  Hold on, let me back up.  When they called, they basically wanted to come right then.  I had people coming a good portion of the day today, then Kailey went to the vet, and so on and so forth.  So, kinda booked.  But I told em,  I could do 5 pm or later, or tomorrow.  Well, they said tomorrow, and said 11 am, and they'll call in the morning for the address.  Now, not to be pessimistic... but..... I'm betting I may be waiting around for a phone call and an appointment that never comes.  But... we shall see.  In preparation though, Oreo needed her cage cleaned, and to go along with that, Oreo needed a bath.  Poor thing endured her bath pretty well, and only gave me death glares a handful of times, but she's squeaky clean now.  And I shall likely be murdered in my sleep now.  So, if no one hear's from me, and I'm found dead, and a black and white dutch rabbit is found in the vicinity... you all know what happened.  

Someone also called today about Snickers.  Dunno when, cause the voicemail just popped up a bit ago, but the phone never rang or anything... but they were asking about Snickers.  So I will give them a call back in the morning.

"Penelope" -- a chin that's been at our rescue before -- was returned today.  We almost had a loose chin situation on our hands, as I put him in the FN and he immediately jumped back out, but we caught him pretty quickly, thankfully.  He'll be available after his eval.

Two more people emailed about Nyler in the last day or two -- have those emails saved just in case the person coming tomorrow doesn't end up adopting him.  But I've noticed... people like pick an animal and gravitate towards them.  Like, for example, before Bear and Moose went home, I must have had at least 4 different people email within the course of a week about them.  There was only one set of Bear & Moose.  Right now, it's Nyler.

Last thing, then I'm going to bed.  Got a text from work, said someone dropped off an adoption form for me.  I won't be seeing it until Monday, because I don't work tomorrow, but I hope it's not for Scottie (the chin at the store).  Cause... he's on hold.  I probably should add a line to the store-adoption-forms that ask, which chin are they interested in.  Cause there's the chin in the store, but then I also have the binder at the store that has all the chins with their info in it.  So it's possible they're interested in another chin.  Fingers crossed that's the case, cause I'd hate if they read the care packet, filled out the form, and then it turned out that they're only interested in the one extra dark ebony rescue chinchilla that I have, that was put on hold juuuust before they got there.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Talking with People

Over the last few days, I've gone through and called back a LOT of voicemails. 

First, one from some guy who wanted to get a chin and cage.  He was out about an hour and a half from here, so he'd called just about all the local places to get chins, and wanted a pedigreed chin from a breeder, upon thinking about it, and wanted info on housing and caging and all that.  So we talked for probably a half hour about these things and I told him, I had three chins available right now that were bred here, on my website, if he wanted to look at their pictures.  Got an email back from him the next day, saying he forgot to ask, but he doesn't have a basement, so how should he keep them cool in the summer.  Would have loved to have responded with two words: air conditioning -- but I said that and explained why.  That was at the beginning of the week.  Haven't heard back.

Second one was from a woman who was calling about our chinchillas.  Called back, didn't get her, left a message for her to call me back.  That was Monday.  Never heard back.

Third one was from a lady at some sort of child-care facility asking about Nyler.  Said that the director had come across Nyler and wanted to adopt him for the facility, especially since she'd seen that he was at a daycare before.  She wanted to check if the ad was really right, that he really is kid-friendly and all that, and I told her, yes he is, but if they adopted him and for some reason, felt he wasn't "as advertised" they could bring him back.  But told her, unlikely, because I write the ads myself, and I don't sugarcoat if there's a problem.  They wanted the care packet and adoption form.  Emailed it to them.  That was Monday.  Never heard back.

Had someone else text about Nyler, I told them, giving the first person a few days cause of the holiday and all, so they're going to get a return text in another day or so here....

Had a call from a husband and wife asking about chinchillas and adopting and wanting to get a pair and all that.  Talked to the husband Monday for awhile, he had to go to work, so we had to cut the convo short.  Before we went, we set an appt for Friday between 5:30-6 pm.  Said he would call me the next morning to go over more stuff.  Never heard back.  Called them back earlier today, asking if they still wanted to come, because I'd never heard back, left a message.  He said he'd get my address the next day, so not sure that appointment will be coming unless he calls back. 

Got a text from someone on Tuesday who wanted to come by for some food and dust on Friday.  Scheduled them.

Got a text today from someone who was supposed to come pick up a cage, they're not well, need to reschedule.  Any time will work, they said, so I texted them the next two days, the times I have.  Just waiting for a text back.

Got an email back on the 27th asking about if I'd had any chinchilla cages ready.  This is from someone who has, over and over, said they wanted to adopt, then fallen off the planet, then they don't have the money... well, awhile back, they wanted a cage fixed up, so they could purchase a cage first, and then one they had that and then saved up for the chins, buy the chins.  Well, so they emailed asking if I happened to have the cage ready, and I actually was just going to email them, so I emailed them with price and pic of the cage (which was within the amount they wanted to spend and size they were looking for).... and nothing.  So I emailed them again today, just asking, hey, did you get my email about the cage.  Cause if they're gonna ask (and ask and ask... which I suppose I didn't mention, but they've been asking for a bit, "is the cage ready?") and then when the cage is ready, fall off the face of the earth... I'm not going to hold it for them.  The other people who wanted a cage, I had a friend who told me, when you get in a FN to sell, let her know.  So when I had one cleared out, I let her know.  I didn't clean it immediately, and they checked up that I still had it, and I still had it for them, which I did... because naturally, I told them, "I'm going to have a cage available," and then that was Christmas week, and I didn't get it cleaned as quickly as I'd have liked.  But the point is, they'd gotten back to me and said, yeah, that's what they wanted... so I hung onto it and told em, when I had it clean, I'd let em know.  But this person, and I suppose this goes for everyone... if they ask for cages, and I show em a cage, and they don't respond... that person has no reason to think the cage is on hold for them.  If I had someone else ask about adopting and they need a cage, and that cage works for them, the cage will be for sale for them.  Simple as that.  Cause I have to know you want it. 

Then I get an email from an adoptive home looking for a different chin cage, and they pick out one of the used cages.  So I know, in my head, they want it.  And they add like a hammock and some other stuff to their order, they're coming Saturday.  So then of course, someone else emails and says that they want to know if I still have the cage or one like it.  Now, because that's insanely vague, I asked them which cage, one of the used ones? new ones?  And of course they wanted that used one.  Well, I told em, someone else called it, but I could fix up another cage for them.  So they said ok, they wanted to stay under $100.  So I said ok, I have a cage that I think, once cleaned and with shelves, would likely be under $100, and I looked for the link online so I could show her the original cage before modifications.  Next email said, she got a cage elsewhere, just needs shelves.  Alrighty then.

Got an email asking if I can take in a rat.  We shall see.

Got an email about China.  Came from the PetFinder site, which has all the info that my website has about every chin.  Asked for more info and adoption fee.  Sorry, not to be a pain, but I am copying and pasting.  No reason to re-invent the wheel.

Got a phone call today from someone asking if we're still taking in chinchillas, cause they're moving to a smaller apartment and won't have the money or time.  Called em back, left a message saying we are full, but they can get on the waiting list, call back if needed.

Today had some people come pick up some chin food and pig food and hay. 

Worked on some orders today. Got someone's 11 pounds flat rate ready to go... emailed them... oh they never got my previous email for some reason and already bought the food elsewhere.  Alrighty.  Cut out super-custom shelves for this one order from way back when.  Need to text the person tomorrow during normal daylight hours and tell them its ready.  Cut out a second cottage house, since I technically have two in the running (even though the store is CLOSED, these people CANNOT READ).  The one is for an order being shipped out, the other is for an order being picked up, so I'm not going to ship out the one cottage house until the pickup comes.... just in case the other one isn't glued or dried or whatever at that point.  Also got ready the rest of the stuff for the pickup order that will be this weekend.

And probably did some other stuff in here too, but these are the highlights of this week....