Friday, November 6, 2015

Well now...

...someone got their panties in a twist.  Was it you?  Hi!!  *waves*

Don't know what I'm talking about?  That's alright, I'll share.  I've gotten multiple comments from "anonymous" to quite a few blog posts over the last 24 hours.  All of which are bitchy, nasty, and some downright mean.  And because they clearly want attention (I mean, why else would someone keep reading the blog and keep posting negative comments if they think I'm such a horrible person... other than wanting attention), might as well give it to them. 

Just in case any of you saw the comments (which I am leaving up by the way), and wondered, "hmm, I wonder how Ashley would respond to this..."... I will tell you.  That's what this blog post is going to be about. 

Let's start with the first one.

The first comment references the post I made about people being late for appointments.  Post -- -- in case you don't care to read it, it's short and talks about people being late to appointments, and I mention that I don't think people would forget that the had doctors appointments (versus they do that to me all the time).  That post earned me this comment:

You honestly compare your time to that of a doctor's? You think you are that important?
Really! You're freaking UNEMPLOYED and people might interrupt your LAUNDRY?

Guess what?  I sure do!  In all honesty... which should I value my time any less than anyone else's?  What makes the doctor's time more important than mine?  What makes my time more important than anyone else's?  Nothing.  But that's exactly the point.  I try my best to be on time for things.  In all the years I've been doing this, I can only think of one instance (which I blogged about) when I was not here when I said I would be (and in all fairness, I left 45 minutes after a scheduled appointment when they did not show up...and then they showed up [so they said] shortly after I left).  I do my best to be courteous to other people's time.  All I ask is that people be respectful of my time. 

Let me add that my state of employment is none of anyone's business.  This will come up again in more comments from this person, but it should not matter if I am doing laundry, or cleaning house, or feeding chins, I feel like if I schedule someone at 5 pm, I expect them to show up at 5 pm.  If that is considered "high expectations" in today's world, boy the world is going to hell in a handbasket quickly.  The point is, it doesn't matter what the person is interrupting if they show up late... it's simply that I feel that we should all respect each other's time.  Let's be honest.  If I was supposed to drop off supplies at someone's house and said I'd be there at 8 pm.  And I don't show up til 10 pm.  Let's say they're in bed.  Well, I'm only interrupting their sleep, according to this stream of logic, right?    *shakes head*

Moving on...the next one revolves around vet bills.  The post in question -- -- talks about a few months ago adoption where the chin got sick and the people took her to the vet.  I offered to pay up to $600 for vet bills (as that would have left the rescue with super low funds), they wanted me to pay more than that, keep her overnight at the vet, and pay for another few tests in the morning (which easily would have brought the bill to $900).  The comment I earned:

Shouldn't YOU have money for vet bills?

...yes and no.  Yes, I should have money for vet bills.  However, the amount spent should be reasonable.  Paying $600 for vet bills is hardly petty cash.  When I ask on the adoption form, "do you have money for vet bills?" -- the main thing I want to know is, can they afford to at least take the chin to the vet.  I'm not saying the people have to drop thousands on the chin, but at least be able to take the chin in, see what's wrong, and potentially treat, or if not possible, put the chin down.  That's all.  I've met people who've spent $10-$15,000 on chinchilla vet bills, and my personal opinion is that it's not worth it.  Everyone's got their limits, but mine is lower than that.  I have no problem with someone spending a few hundred on vet bills and then getting to the point where they say, ok, they can't afford anymore, and they put the chin down.  At least it ends the suffering.  However, I feel like offering to pay $600 (and I did end up paying very close to that for the final bill) is plenty.  I don't feel the need to bankrupt the rescue to save one chin, especially when (in this instance) the vet agrees with me that the chin is likely to pass anyway.  I have money for vet bills, yes.  But I have a limit as well.  And I think everyone should.

Moving along.  We have several comments on the one post about the recent claim show -- -- this is a longer post, and several things are mentioned.  First, I talk about how I find it frustrating that many people expect that we will deliver chinchillas, then I talk a little about the blue cloud mine being shut down, and then just a little paragraph about my chins placing phase champ and 2nd place at the claim show.  Which earned me three comments (who-hoo, popular post):


Only a second at a CLAIM SHOW? Pathetic! And you have the nerve to criticize others, especially those new to showing, for their slow performance? AND some for their health problems?
Oh, I forgot. You are NICE. Sad that you still live with mommy and daddy, even though your health is fine. Minus the dizziness that you whine about. Other people have REAL health problems. Yet you judge them. I've seen it.
Most rescued don't rip people off like you do. Why buy a rescue standard for Oct $100 when you can get a pedigreed standard for the same? 

Pathetic?  That's funny.  Have you ever been to a show?  Let me educate those of you who are reading and have not.  Let's say you go to a show.  Let's say you watch how some of the big breeders place.  Whether we're talking about Ritterspach, or Ryerson, or Jags, or Hummel, or whoever... these people have all won high awards and surely some Grand Show Champions at some shows.  But at those same shows, often some of the animals they have brought along have earned 2nd place awards.  Sure, it's not anything to write home about, I'd like my animals to place better of course, but it's not like getting no award (which doesn't happen often, but has happened over the years to some people).  2nd place is hardly pathetic.  And I notice, this person failed to mention that my other chin got Phase Champ.  I'm going to guess that's somewhat above pathetic, but see, they want to bring me down and focus on the one that didn't do so great (which mind you... she got a second because she was smaller than some of the show bunnies, not because of being off color, or loose fur, or other faults). 

Reading this post, I have a decent idea of who (or a friend of who) might be behind these posts.  The ONLY person I have EVER commented negatively about at a show was one person, who was a backyard breeder.  There are several breeders who are starting out now, who I've talked to, who can tell you, I have been perfectly nice to them, I have never put them down, I have never said anything bad about them or to them.  If someone wants to breed, the right way, by all means.  I'll help however I can.  Advice or whatever.  Heck, talk to Meredith, she started breeding after she got a chin from me and then several from elsewhere and learned about the right way to do it -- she can tell you I'd never not help someone out who wanted help.  Heck, I post occasionally about how I answer emails when people have all sorts of questions and never intend to adopt.  I don't care. 

Here's the problem with this backyard breeder who I have in mind, who is literally the only one I can think of that I would have talked negatively about and about the health of her chins (all true stuff, by the way... sorry if the truth hurts).  She went to large chinchilla breeders and would ask for their cheapest runt chins.  The $50 ones, to breed.  Ones that should never be bred.  She'd buy chins that she knew didn't come with a pedigree, from good breeders, and then later bug the breeders for those pedigrees (even though they were sold as pet only, not for breeding), so she could breed them.  She'd get fur chewing chins and breed those.  It got so bad -- she had 300 chins SEIZED from her house in Waukesha with 2' of chinchilla feces surrounding the foundation of the house when the house was declared uninhabitable (due to the toxic ammonia levels and filth) and her children were taken away.  Is that the wrong way to go about chinchilla breeding?  YES!!!!!!   A BIG RESOUNDING YES!!!  I'm sorry if you all don't like to hear it, but I will NOT condone that sort of thing.  I will post about how bad it is so that people know the difference between how it should be, and how some people do it the wrong way, which only harms the chins (and the poor people who get them) in the long run.  I don't care if you all think it makes me sound mean or cruel or what, but some of us are breeding to try to better the species and create better chins, and people like that, who just breed anything together, and breed chinchillas with KNOWN health concerns, is just irresponsible and should not be done.

Don't quite get what the comment about me being nice has to do with anything. 

But oh, by the way.  I have lived on my own since about Feb / March 2014.  That means... going on 2 years in a few months.  Guess this person isn't as up to date as they think.  I have my own house.  Surprise?  This person says (later) they know more than I think -- apparently not this!  And this isn't recent either!

And I'm glad to hear my health is fine!  Thank you for the update!  How wonderful of you to notify me!  Would you like to pay my ER bill from a month ago, and would you like to see and pay the neurologist bills for the dizziness, migraines, nausea, etc, that go back to high school?  I do not feel the need to share everything about my personal life on this blog.  It's a chinchilla blog, so of course, sometimes my health does come into play as I am allergic to the chins and dust and bedding and my health (for example, feeling dizzy) can impact what I can do with the chins if I'm not feeling well on a certain day.  However... just because I don't post on facebook "oh poor me, I have this and this and this health problem, feel bad for me, poor poor poor me" doesn't mean I feel great all the time.  It's called being an adult and doing what you need to do to get through the day, despite how you feel.  As far as the comment saying some people have real health problems -- sure, people do.  I don't deny that.  Others fake it though, for attention.  The problem is when someone states, "oh they're in the hospital cause they're dying," and their facebook post tags them 50 miles from a hospital in their home address at that exact time...pardon me when I don't believe them.  I believe those with real health problems, not those faking to get sympathy.

As far as ripping people off, you say you could get a rescue standard in October for $100.  Um... rescue standards in October were $65 (as they are now, since the sale was extended).  So, best guess is maybe you meant that I have standard babies in October which are $110.  And the one I had, which just went to his new home, didn't come with a pedigree because he was the runt and was tiny tiny. Not good conformation, loose fur.  His siblings look nice, but he looked very "pet" -- which is fine, so he went to a pet home.  And like a responsible breeder, I didn't feel he should be bred, hence, no pedigree to the new home.  I suppose that's the ethical way to go about it, but not everyone knows what that means...

I want to mention something, that I'm not sure everyone realizes.  The website is NWI Chinchillas.  Not NWI Chinchilla Rescue (that is a page on the website, but it's more than just that).  Therefore, not every chinchilla listed up on the website is a rescue, and does not have to be, as my website encompasses the rescue, but also just chinchillas for sale in general.  Rescues are $75 for grey adults, $100 for mutation adults.  On sale, those drop down to $65 and $75.  If that's too much for someone, look for another rescue to adopt from.  Yes, I have heard that there's some rescue in Indiana that has chinchillas for adoption for $20.  If you prefer that adoption fee, by all means, go there and adopt one.  This isn't Walmart, we don't price match.  My prices and adoption fees are staying what they are.  If you, or anyone, feels it's a ripoff, feel free to go somewhere else.  I'm not holding a knife to anyone's throat and making them get chins from me.  But it's amazing how many people do...

Oh, and one last comment on that post... a $100 pedigreed standard... probably isn't that great of a chin.  Not saying you can't find a great one if someone's selling out or something, but your average person is going to ask more than $100 for an awesome standard that would be worth breeding.  Just saying.

Second comment, same post:

You've been doing this for how many years? I've seen you badmouth fairly new breeders for not placing well at National shows. Spotlight you, with all your knowledge (ha ha ha) be WINNING speed by now? Especially since you claim to work for a big name breeder?  

For most of this comment, see above.  But I should mention, I did get reserve white male at Nationals last year (2014).  That means, he was the second best white male at the National show.  Amazing how that goes un-noticed.  I think that's pretty decent for a small breeder with something like 20 breeding animals.  I acknowledge that I could potentially be doing better, overall.  I could be showing more chins.  However, even this year, I'm only up to about mid-teens as far as the number of kits born, and the number of those that I've kept to grow out and show has not been all that many.  Look through the show records.  Most years, I've showed 5 chins or less per year, and many years, I only went to Nationals, or Nationals and the WI show.  It's only within the last year or so I've ventured out to Ohio and further for shows.  To show, animals have to be the right age, be in prime, etc etc.  If you only go to one show a year, and only have maybe 15 babies born a year, guess how many are perfectly ready and in prime for that one show?  Maybe one or two.  Likewise, if I selected the wrong chin to grow out, then when it got older, and it turned out that it liked to lay on its back in it's pee, it'd go to a pet home.  Nothing wrong with that, but point being, that chin wouldn't get shown (and I can think of a beige male who I would have shown, except he loved doing that).  Sure, there are small breeders who are doing wonders with their small numbers of chins.  Wendy comes to mind.  But there's also a lot of smaller breeders who occasionally produce some good chins, but often don't have oodles to show because they just don't have oodles of babies as it is.  And that's how it is here.  Which is partially why I've upped the numbers of chins here, so I do have a better chance to have chins to show, as I do enjoy it.

And I "claim" to work for a big name breeder?  Call up Jim.  He'll vouch for me.  I'm actually set to start delivering to pet stores with him this upcoming week.  Think it's a joke?  Call.

And third comment, same post:

And what's got you sooo riled up to badmouth this person? You should mind your own business. Shame on you that you don't know all of the circumstances. 

I'm not positive whether this is aimed at me or one of the previous comments, but if it is aimed at me...

Lying, deceit, the wrong way of doing things.  Should I go on?  I don't appreciate people faking health concerns for sympathy.  I don't appreciate people breeding any two chins that happen to be male and female together because they feel like just randomly having babies, regardless of the health concerns of the parents.  It's unethical.  It's wrong.  It's not good practice, and this person in mind is a disgrace to the chinchilla industry.  When the 300 chins seized story hit the news, people saw that and I read many comments on news site about how all chinchilla breeders are horrible and how dare we all be monsters like that.  Um... no.  Most of us want our chinchillas in great health, great clean conditions, and so on.  This person painted a horrible image of what the chinchilla industry / community is, and that hurts all of us, not just me.  And I should mind my own business?  Who's the one commenting on all my blog posts?  

Oh wait, one more comment that I almost missed.  Same post: 

I know more than you think. Ashley has her head up a fairly major breeder's arse, so that's why people badmouth her anonymously. She's earned it. She knows it. 

Let me start by saying -- you know more than you think, but you missed that I have NOT lived with my parents for almost 2 years now?  Really up-to-date on my life, oh yeah.  

As for the rest -- excuse me?  I work for Jim.  Call him.  Ask him.  You know how that started?  I asked if I could come by and learn.  I started helping to grade out chinchillas.  It progressed and now I help do that still, move around breeders, do stuff around the barns, build shipping crates, epoxy cages, and so on and so forth.  My friends in the chinchilla community actually tell me that I'm lucky to be able to be there so often and to learn what I do.  And I tend to agree.  I have learned quite a bit and picked up some little things here and there.  Useful use-able info.  My head up his ass?  No idea what you're talking about.  He says I work hard and we get a lot accomplished when I'm there and he has another set of hands to help put on valves and run the chinchillas around and such.

This is directed to Anonymous herself -- since you say I've earned the badmouthing and I know it (that's a good one!) -- tell me, what have I done to earn it?  All ears.

^ I don't honestly have a clue what that's about.  I go over there, do what is asked as far as helping out with chinchilla stuff, and go home.  Badmouthing for what?  Only thing I can think is maybe people are jealous.  But.. Jim says if other people wanted to come and learn, his doors are open... but almost no one ever wants to.  So... who's fault is that if they're not coming?  So I am interested to learn what I'm doing to earn the badmouthing.  Can't wait to hear this...

And the last post that has comments on it: -- that post talks about how I had two people who wanted chins held over my normal holding period, and how I was being nice and doing that for them.  But I basically say in the post, people are taking advantage of this, and other places aren't this lenient, so I probably need to toughen up.  Which earned this comment:

What a bitch! No wonder you can't get people to adopt from you.
By the way, which is it? Are you between jobs? Or is there a "guy you work for:?
Funny, as long as I've known who you are, you've been between jobs. That's not BETWEEN jobs. That's unemployable. 

A bitch.  Really?  Let me ask you all, this is a question for everyone.  Let's say you're having to rehome the family dog, and someone tells you, they need to think about it.  So you say, ok, take a few days to think about it, let me know by Saturday.  Saturday comes, Saturday goes.  It's like a week or two later.  You haven't listed the dog anywhere as needing to be rehomed, because this person you think will come through.... but they're not getting back to you.  But more and more time passes, and you try to call them and they don't call you back that day, or the next, and then just as you're thinking, ok, fine, they're not interested, they call.  Doesn't that make you at least the tiniest bit frustrated?  Come on, I feel like if we're all honest, that's not that far of a stretch.  This is exactly what I'm talking about.

I feel like we all have expectations of how long things should take.  For the rescue, we actually have set guidelines.  7 day hold without deposit, 30 day with.  I don't think it's asking too much to say, ok, if you can't decide or pick up within 7 days, or put down a deposit, the chin will no longer be on hold for you.  I feel if they know that's the situation, that's fair.  Period.  And I don't feel that I should need to keep stretching this for people.  I honestly feel, if people feel like they won't be able to pick up within 30 days, then they don't need to be putting down a deposit yet.  Simple as that.

Oh, and I can't get people to adopt from me?  Honey.  *laughs*  In 2015 alone, from Jan. 1 - Sept. 29 (that's as far as my Happy Customers page is completed thus far), I have had 95 animals (mostly chinchillas, with a guinea pig or two and a rabbit) go to their new homes.  NINETY-FIVE.  As in 95, five shy of 100.  Plus the animals in October (which aren't listed on there yet), PLUS I have three more going home tomorrow.  Oh yeah, I TOTALLY cannot get people to adopt from me (*dripping sarcasm* -- in case you couldn't tell). 

Unemployable?  Hardly.  Again, see above, I don't share every detail of my job life on this blog because, hello, chinchilla blog.  Not blog about my life in general.  So just because someone has heard me say that I'm not working at that exact time means I'm unemployable?  Not quite.  But just to humor everyone...I worked for 8 years at Meijer in different positions.  Cashier.  Planogram clerk.  Fashions clerk.  Eventually left there to work at two different law firms as an attorney for awhile.  Never did like the desk job, and was eventually let go from both, because neither had time to train (despite both knowing I needed to be trained when hiring me...but then realizing... nope, they really didn't have time).  So then I worked at Pet Supplies Plus for almost a year as a manager.  Liked that better, but had bitchy customers, and one of those went to corporate and complained, and you know the saying, the customer is always right.  Yadda yadda.  Lied through her teeth, but you know, that's who they believe.  So here I am. 

Out of the entire time since I was 18 and started working at Meijer, I have had all of 17 months that I have not been at one job or another.  17 months.  Since I was 18, and I'm going on 31 now, so for the last 12-13 years (which, psst, is 153 months, since I'm almost 31), I've only not worked for 17 of those.  17 divided by 153 =  11% of the time, I have not been working.  Hardly all the time, and definitely not as long as I've known most people.

Well... that's it as far as responding to blog comments.  We'll see if this post gets me any more comments, or if they'll be able to resist.

Before I go, I want to note something though.  Anyone who knows me, knows this about me -- I'm a very straightforward person.  If I have a problem with someone specifically, like a friend is aggravating me or something, I would much rather tell them, so they are aware.  And vice versa.  If I'm driving someone absolutely nuts, I'd much rather they just tell me, because I very well may not realize it and may be able to correct whatever it is I'm doing. 

However... this whole talking behind the back thing... I feel like it's cowardly.  I feel like, whoever this Anonymous is...if they have this much of a problem with me, they could have easily contacted me and talked with me.  Not doing so, in my opinion, just makes them look hateful and vindictive.  I actually had people message and text me today asking what's up with the blog and asking if I made anyone mad recently.  I don't think this stuff reflects on me as much as it reflects on this person, to go through all my blog posts and nitpick everything.  And really, if someone doesn't like what I'm doing, how I'm running the rescue, or whatever the case may be... don't read it.  Don't look at my facebook page.  Simple as that.   

At the end of the day, this is a country with free speech -- I have my opinion and am entitled to it, and they're entitled to theirs.  But someone posting this sort of stuff on the blog anonymously just seems childish.  Which is about, sadly, what I would come to expect from this person who I think might be behind this.

Going to bed now... we shall see what the morning brings..... oh and we'll be at the Kane County Fairgrounds tomorrow and Sunday for the Chicago Pet Show in St. Charles, IL.  Come by and see us!  10-5 both days.