Friday, January 15, 2016

Location, location, location....and calls...and Christmas update.

I know my last post talked about people from way-too-far-away wanting to adopt...and I know we touch on that all the time... but it's because... so many people don't even bother to check!

Now, in all fairness, I do realize that if you search for chinchillas and some state, your first posts will be chinchillas from that state (if there are chinchillas in that state).  But once you run out of chinchilla listings from that state, google will show you results from wherever in the world.  So, like for example, I had someone email me about this one chinchilla, asking if we still had her available.  Sure do.  They wanted pics, so I sent pics.  Then they ask, where are we located.  Hammond, IN.  Oh, well they're in California. 

Someone asked me the other day how busy the phones are.  Well.. it's my own cell phone, so it is busy at times, and it isn't.  Mostly, perhaps sadly, it's people calling for the rescue.  Not too many people call just to talk to me (haha?).  But let me give you some examples.

Last night (too late for me to call them back by the time I noticed... because I was at dog class), I got a call from someone who adopted and their niece (who came with) had been playing with Summer and wanted to know if she was for adoption.  Called them back, said, sorry, no, but gave them the number for Eco Exotics (630-395-0588 for those that want it), and they usually have prairie dogs in the spring.

Also had a call last night from a guy, Chad, who was wanting his chins to come into the rescue.  Said he was in Ohio and wanted to know if I knew of other rescues if we couldn't take them in.  I told him, he'd have to bring cages because our cages are full at the moment, but if he was looking for a rescue closer to him he might try Heartland, and gave him their number.

Got a call today from someone who saw the website and wanted to come adopt a chin.  We set up an appointment, they came by and took home our blue diamond along with a cage and all supplies.  Yay.

Then had a call today from someone else with two outside rabbits that they wanted to rehome.  They're way up north so they weren't so sure about making the drive up here and were waiting to hear back from some other people, so she's going to see what happens with that before she officially gets back to me as far as whether she wants to come by with them or not.

Then got an email and a phone call from someone who is being transferred out of country for their job and needs their chin to come into the rescue.  Called them back, didn't get them, so I left a message.  Ended up emailing them back when I got home because I still hadn't heard back and they had mentioned they could come tomorrow (Saturday).  So I got in touch with them and now they're coming by tomorrow.

And lastly, before I go to bed... for the local people who read this, you probably know around Christmas we have our rescue Christmas tree at Hearts in Motion with ornaments for sale.... this year we sold $36 worth of ornaments!  For everyone who purchased one, thank you for your generosity!  And thank you to my mom for checking on the tree and adding ornaments when needed.  The tree will be back up next year for anyone who wants to support the rescue and get some ornaments to add to their own tree. 

Some Updates

So, I'm working on listing all the chins.  So far, so good.  What I've been running into a lot lately is this -- someone calls / texts / emails and tells me they want a specific chin and asks if I can get it.  So I check, and I can get one in, and then they ask, oh do I have another chin, different color available too?  So I send them pics of that one.  So then they ask, oh well what about this one too?  And this one?  So they effectively are asking about four chins.  They have pics of all four chins, but I don't know if they're planning on getting one chin, or two, or three, or four... or none (which is actually, usually, how it goes).  Here's the thing.  When I say I will hold a chin for a week without a deposit -- that is meant to be ONE chin.  That you are intending to adopt when you get here.  I will not hold four, for an unknown amount of time, so you can hem and haw and take 3 weeks to decide, well do you really want to get that many now, or should you wait, or...????  If you specifically ask me to get in a chin for you and I actually do this, that one will stay unlisted until you actually tell me you don't want it (well, within reason).  But the other chins, if you haven't specifically said you're for sure getting them... they're gonna get listed when they're ready.  It's nothing against anyone specifically.  I'd personally love if you all went home with four chins (and so would the rescue account).  But here's the thing -- the average person that tells me they want to get multiple chins and asks for the rare colors and then can't decide... they usually don't adopt... wait for it... anything!  The current person I'm thinking of is asking about four chins... for a total of... after multi-chin discounts... $800.  Pardon me for thinking they're not going to come through, but... if the past is any indication... they will never adopt. 

Now, if you really want to adopt four chins and all and plan to come by, you can put down a deposit.  That will hold the chins, and you will not hear me say a word about you not showing up.  But here's the thing.  The average person that contacts me about a ton of chins that are rare colors like this refuses to put down a deposit and can never find time to make the trip.  But if you are serious and show me you're serious with a deposit, by all means.  So far, I'm still waiting to see it happen though.

Moving along.  Petfinder is an animal listing website.  That's it.  I had someone in Canada message me today about wanting chins shipped to them.  Chins they found listed on petfinder from my rescue.  I emailed back, sorry, we don't ship, we like to meet the adopters in person.  So they emailed back asking if Petfinder could ship them.  Petfinder doesn't ship.  I suppose maybe people don't understand what Petfinder is, but really, it's just a website where rescues can list animals so the rest of the world sees that they're available.  They have tools that may be useful for some rescues (dog and cat ones) as well, but for the general public... that's it. 

Still want to ship the chinchilla?  I've told countless people to look into u-ship.  It's where you list, ok you want a chinchilla shipped from Indiana to some other state and people will bid and say ok they'll do it for this much.  You pay them, and they come pick it up and take it to you.  We've had it done once, one of our chins is in California.  It worked just fine.  But here's the thing -- I tell people to look into that... oh that's too much work.  Well, that's why we don't ship -- on this end, it's too much work to get the vet certificate, get a carrier that the airlines approve of, get to the airport, and so on.  I'd imagine the cost is probably about the same.  I think people think, though, that it's going to be like $30 to ship the chin to them, or something like that.  Not the $200+ (not including carrier, vet bill, and so on) just for the airline fee.   And it's not going to come to their door either -- they have to go to the airport to pick it up.  It's a tad bit more complicated than buying something from amazon and having it show up on your door.

Moving along again -- we are full!  Yes, again.  Just about every cage that can have a chinchilla in it, does.  And I have like four voicemails asking if I can take in people's chins.  If we're absolutely full and for some reason you cannot wait to bring in your chin, I will ask that you bring the cage with.  If that's not a possibility, then you simply will need to wait for us to adopt out some, so we have room for yours.  Simple as that.  I know no one has patience nowadays, but I don't have 4000 spare cages, and even if I did... I still have to clean them.  It's hard enough to keep up with as many cages as are currently here, much less if I start adding temporary cages everywhere, so that's why I have to limit it when I do.  Now, I'm going to go add the paragraph on the rescue page noting that we're full and such and then call back those voicemails.... 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Grooming & Chin Care

I've lately heard several potential adopters ask if chins really need a dust bath. The short answer is yes, they do.

Partially because it keeps their fur pretty and not greasy, but also because when not dusted, their fur tends to get matted easier.

Case in point.  Chilly was surrendered yesterday.  Just picking him up you could feel all the hard matts.  They said that they hadn't given him a dust bath in a few months.  So, out came the show combs... and I think he looks much better.

Chilly before:

Chilly after:

He had so many matts that had to be pulled out -- that's why he still looks rough and uneven.  Grooming a chin like this to get them and their fur back to a healthy state is much different than grooming a show chin, for the purpose of making them pretty-er.   It'll grow back though, with lots of dust baths and handling to try and make to keep those matts at bay.

I could make a second chin out of this amount of fur and matts!  For size reference, that's the bottom of a package of mason jars.

I bet  he feels much better!

The people who dropped him off were very nice people, but said they just didn't have time for him anymore.  The owner was going to college (I believe) and the parents ... can't remember if they didn't have time or didn't want to care for him...  but I wish people would call (whether here or somewhere else) before it gets this bad. 

I left the cage in the garage because it could probably used powerwashed or at least soaked in a tub of water to loosen all the gunk.  They said, too cold outside to wash it (uh-huh... it was 60 almost every day up until last week) and they didn't have a tub to soak it in.  Not sure I'd soak a cage in my bathtub, but in the winter, when I get in used cages, I find a way to get them clean and looking great.  If I can do it without a utility sink, spray bottles, and scrubbies..

Anyway.  I didn't take a picture of the cage, but I'll attach this next picture... use this to think about what the cage much look like.... because you don't need some fancy equipment or outside hose to clean a food dish! 

Oh and here's one of Chilly in one of my rescue cages.

Alrighty well that's it for now, I gotta go accomplish some stuff.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year! ... some updates

I know, I know, and I do mean, I know... believe me, some of you are super good at reminding me that there have been no blog posts lately.  That's going to get better! 

Partially because, as you may have noticed, the webstore has been closed and will likely be closed for much of January.  There's a note on the Supplies for Sale page, and the webstore link on the navbar has gone bye-bye.  Naturally, some people will still figure out the link to the webstore and will still order... and the link is elsewhere on the website.  Some people have a direct link saved in their favorites, not their fault... others have told me over the years they've figured it out so they can "get around" the closed webstore.  Here's the thing.  I love you all and appreciate your orders... but it's still only me doing 98% of everything here.  Maybe you met Joel, who helps me clean.  Or maybe you've run into Mitchell and Liz, who have been helping out lately.  I appreciate them more than anyone could possibly know, but the other 98%... still me.  And that's fine, don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.  I just have had some people patiently waiting for their orders, and I would like to get those out... but every time I see another one come in, especially lately when I have so many around the holidays, I've been having an "ugh" moment.  Add that to the 4" stack of paperwork on my desk that needs to be dealt with, and the books that need to be finalized for the year, and the orders that need to be finished so I can refund whatever excess shipping there is... and you can see why the store needed to be closed for at least a little bit.  I'm pretty sure I had it open all of 2015, which I feel was awesome, as it was closed much of 2014.  I do need a bit of time as things have gotten busier, but it will be back open soon... and if you just can't wait, and find yourself a link to the webstore and order something... I will personally add it to the back of the order list, and will get to it sometime...

Anyway.  Moving along onto new stuff.  We had some new rescues come in.  Chappie, Chippie, Little Chappie, Little Chippie, and Legume.  The non "little" versions are the parents, a black velvet and standard grey, and the little ones are the daughters... a black velvet and a standard grey.  They came in because the owners said that once the female had the babies, she turned bitchy and started spraying.  Then, apparently, the male started biting.  The babies they said are fine.  I was told that the male couldn't be separated from the female or else he'd bite... but as these are rescue chins and, according to the previous owners, sound like they could take some effort to get adopted, I told them they would be separated.  And I did, with no bites, no sprays, no nothing.  Yay for that.  We shall see how things continue to go. 

Legume (pronounced Lay-goom... is that really how you pronounce it?  That's not how I've ever pronounced it) is a large white rabbit... with eyeliner and some black specks on her.  Everyone loves her, she's super sweet.  They brought her by, because... she was eating too much and I think the thought was they couldn't afford it any longer?  The same people brought in the four chins and the rabbit, and they all seem well cared for, just needing to find new homes.  Legume does eat quite a bit... but she's at least a 5-7 pound rabbit, if not larger... they do that.  So she'll just eat us out of house and home until she finds her new one.  :)

We have another chin coming in today.  Don't know much about it other than that it was the daughter's chin, she went to college (I think? maybe she's in high school... same difference) and now doesn't have time.  Which is sort of one of those things, I hear that and want to send a sideways glance into the chin room... they don't have time for one, but I can manage to care for how many?  Anyway, we get to meet this chin today at 3 pm.

But anyway.... the topic of water bottles has come up.  We already are DONE cleaning water bottles for January!  Who-hoo!!  Water bottles are cleaned once a month.  If they start looking grimy or if a chin is sick (or other such circumstances), they'll be changed out more often, but for the majority of chins, they get a new water bottle once a month.  Most chins are on the glass ryerson bottles, so they're not a good breeding ground for bacteria or anything of that nature.  They stay reasonably clean.  The reason we only change once a month?  I counted yesterday... some of the cages (especially like the rabbit and guinea pig ones) have multiple bottles, but most just have the one... we have 88 bottles in use right now.  Just keeping a few spares washed (among everything else that needs to be done) can prove to be a task... much less having that many spares.

Let's see, what else.  For anyone worried about the pigeons in the small cage, they have been upgraded to a 40"+ cage.  They are going outside at some point, but since we made a jump from the 60s to the 20s in about a week, I'm not sure now's quite the time.  But they have been upgraded to a larger cage and water bowls hanging off the sides of their cage (to keep more of the shavings out.. they still get some in).

Oh!  We adopted out Carter!  He went home to someone who had been checking our website and saw that he was available.  So now we just have the two rabbits (Legume and BunnyLove) and all the chins.  The prairie dogs Spoon & Winnie (if you happened to stop by and see them in the short time they were here), went home to a family that has several of our chins and a prairie dog of their own.  

Ok, two more things before I get back to work.  First, shipping costs.  In general, the shopping cart is set high.  I would rather refund shipping than eat the costs when it doesn't cover shipping.  For example, I have an order going out tomorrow for a jar of supplement.  The jar is $8.50, shipping came out to $7.50.  This person is in California, so actual shipping?  $9.97.  Yikes.  I paid it and I'll ship it and just eat the cost.  But here's the thing... that $2.47 that I just lost on shipping?  By the time I pay for the jar, and pay for the herbs that go in it... I'm probably paying this person to take the jar.  We just don't make that much money on this stuff that we sell.  I would LOVE to make $2.50 on an $8.50 item, but that's just not how it works... and of course, that's not counting the box, packaging materials, tape.  None of which is expensive -- I usually add ~ $0.75 to each order to cover these costs -- but I do still need to somehow pay for them.  So more like a loss of $3.22 just on shipping, plus cost of everything that went into it, and my time, and so on.  So, starting 2016 (and I added this in one of the policy notes to the webstore), if the actual shipping comes out higher than the charged shipping, people will have a choice to either paypal additional monies over to cover the cost, or they can get their order refunded.  This doesn't happen often, maybe a few times a year, but I need to make sure this gets addressed and this is how we're going to deal with it.

And lastly, with the shop.  The wood shop is in my basement, next to the chin room.  I had someone text the other night at like 2 am, wanting to come later that day (say, 7 am) to get a chin and cage and everything.  Ok, here's the thing.  Again, I appreciate the business, the orders, I really do.  However, Hammond has a noise ordinance.  Past a certain time at night and before a certain time in the morning, you can't make loud noise.  Most of the neighbors here are wonderful, but the few pricks ruin it for everyone and they will report you.  I've never been reported, but my one neighbor has been multiple times, before they moved.  I'm not going to upset the neighbors because I appreciate them when everyone goes to the wrong house and they kindly point them to the correct house... I don't need them to tell my people to get lost because I keep them up all night.  Now, this of course is not to say that I have never cut wood or power sanded or something when it's late (*looks around innocently*).  I try to keep it to an absolute minimum... say, if I forgot someone's coming for their order and realized late at night, they're coming first thing in the morning.  But I won't abuse it for the people who absolutely cannot wait another hour or two, or day or two, to come get their chins.  If this has been you, you know I'm not mean about it or anything like that, I'll just come out and say, hey, noise ordinance, I'm not going to cut this late at night and I can't do it at 6 am either, so either come later in the day, or I can see if maybe I have a piece of wood already cut that might work for you, or something.  But please don't get offended when I say that I won't cut 20 shelves for you at 11 pm.  It's nothing against you.  I just want to continue to do this in the future, and the best way to do so is to keep the peace with the neighbors.  And whichever ones reported my neighbor are still out there... so let's all keep the peace.

Happy New Year!