Thursday, September 21, 2017

Chicago Pet Show - Libertyvile

So, we were at the Chicago Pet Show, Libertyville, this past weekend.  We had a great time, met some new people we hadn't before.  We presented on chinchillas and how you'd know if they are a good pet for you -- twice in fact -- and maybe you were one of the ones there, listening to the presentation and asking questions.  For both presentations we had awesome volunteers from Chicago Pet Show who helped us.  We had two girls each time, sorry to say I did not catch names, but they held one of the chins we brought (a standard grey male, Pippin) and walked around the bleachers in the seminar area so people could pet him and see him up close, while I talked about chins and their care.  The girls were all super helpful and nice, especially considering it's hard to hold a chin and talk, and (knowing me) not trip over the microphone cord.  On that note, I don't think they usually have cords at these events, pretty sure we had wireless mic's for some of them, as I don't remember having to worry about tripping over the cord in the past.

Anyway.  The first day of the expo was slow, if you were there, you probably talked with me if you passed by booth, as it was unusually slow, and most vendors were talking with quite a few people who walked by. The second day picked up, and thankfully was the better day.  We had one of our adopters, Carrie, stop by the show, and she handled the rescue booth for awhile, so I could take a break.  I got to walk around the expo, get my own freebies / goodies, and talk to some of the other vendors, so it was a nice break.  Carrie showed up right before my presentation on chin care on Sunday, and stayed about 2.5 hours.  She sold a ton of our rescue items and was helpful to people with questions, so yay, let's give it up for Carrie!

The expo was actually surprisingly busy even later into the day.  Sometimes at these expos, once it hits 2 pm on a Sunday, we sort of sit around and twiddle our thumbs for the next few hours, but this one was more hoppin til the end, and we sold some of our critter items late into the day.

Packed up, went home... back to cleaning cages and haying (Sunday night) and even had a chin surrender that night (one of our own chins coming back, since I know some of you are probably on our waiting list, wondering why you didn't get called).  Busy busy, but all in all, a fun weekend.  If you were there, you know it was an awesome expo.  If not, you should totally come check it out next year!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Listen, Please

One other thing I don't get...

People will call, and will say, "is this the humane society?" (or replace that with animal control, animal rescue, etc etc).  My response is, "this is NWI Chinchilla Rescue."

To which they respond... as if they totally did not hear what I said... with something completely unrelated, which I cannot help them with (and they would have likely known this, had they listened to my answer).

The lady today was looking to purchase a german shepherd.  People all the time are looking to surrender their dogs or cats.  People all the time are interested in adopting cats.  Others want to know if we picked up their stray dog today.

I've found it simpler, honestly, for most of these people... to just say, "no."  Do we have cats for adoption?  Sorry, no.  I used to go into more detail and explain, no, we don't take in cats or dogs, we only rescue small animals... but really, if they didn't listen to me the first time, when I said what rescue they had called... they don't care.

I guess I just think it would be great if people would listen to what is said.  The might think, oh a chinchilla rescue.  Small animal.  They probably don't do dogs or cats.  Now, I know a variety of rescues take in a variety of critters, like at the humane society, you might just see dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, etc.  But that's because it's... wait for it... a humane society.  If you notice, the smaller rescues specialize.  Border collie rescue -- only takes in border collies or border collie mixes.  Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Rescue -- only takes in cavalier king charles spanials or those mixes.  Rat rescue -- takes in rats, and maybe other smalls like mice, hamsters, etc (think on the smaller end of small animals).  Chinchilla rescue -- most take in only chinchillas.  We also take in guinea pigs, rabbits, and smaller small animals.  But you get the point.  So... you'd think, if they hear "chinchilla rescue" they wouldn't follow it up with... "so, can I bring in my pitbull to you guys??"  Sometimes I just have to laugh.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Applying to Adopt... at like 10 Places

So, I hate to come back from not posting for awhile with a complaint, but this one has happened multiple times recently and I guess I just don't get it.

Someone will put in an adoption form for an animal.  In all these cases, I've gotten back to them within a day or two (which I think is reasonable).  When I do get back to them, they respond with, "oh, we adopted an animal elsewhere."

Now, I say anything else, yay for that animal that found a home... but... from a rescue perspective... it's a time waster.  I'm perfectly fine with someone who, up-front, says that they're unsure they want a chinchilla / rabbit / guinea pig / whatever, because obviously, any potential adopter, at any time, can vanish and go elsewhere.  I realize that.  But for 95% of these times I'm thinking of, the person has gone to the effort to submit an adoption form, as well as an email that has told me about the adoption form with even more info about them and their family (which I can't help but think is copied and pasted to the various rescues / adoption agencies).... so they seem like a serious potential adopter.... well, until they say they've adopted elsewhere.

Reasons why this is frustrating:

1) Waste of time -- for a lot of people.  If there's me, and another adoption agency that received completed adoption forms... are there more?  How many adoption forms did they fill out / how many agencies did they contact, expressing interest in adopting?  For each one of those, someone had to take time out of their day to read the form, make notes for themselves on things that might be improved or that they have further questions on, write those in an email to the potential adopter... only to find, op! sorry, they adopted elsewhere.  If they filled out 5 adoption forms at different agencies and adopt only one, that wastes at least 4 people's time.  For the larger adoption agencies that are run by boards of directors, where the board has to agree on the adoption, they waste even more people's time.

2) Lack of commitment to a specific animal -- ok, I realize this isn't a dog where we can have a super specific description including how it will get along with everyone and all that.  But... if someone is applying for that many animals, do they even know what they want?  I've literally gotten emails, one after another, literally saying, "oh I'm interested in this one."  Next email, "oh this one too, tell me more about this one!"  Next email, "oh now that I looked at your entire website, I like these 6 too!"  To start with, this makes me think that they didn't even read the descriptions, but if they did... usually the ones they've picked are different enough in personality, that they seem to not have any idea what they want.  Of course, part of the job of a rescue is to help with that, but at the same time... people have to have some idea, for you to start from.  I'll ask, ok, would they prefer a baby or an adult?  Doesn't matter.  Ok, color?  Doesn't matter.  Gender?  Doesn't matter.  Well... I have 40 to pick from, so unless we want to start on one end and take them all out... it kinda does.  And honestly, while some people might say, "oh, let's do that!" most breeders / rescues / anyone will tell you, that is the most frustrating people ever.  I'm happy to pull out quite a few chins for someone, especially if they can tell me, hey, they're interested in a male chin under 1 year.  We can even pull out every male under 1 year.  But no joke, some people have no idea what they want and want to pull out every last chin, typically these people who do this sort of thing, and that gets old really quick.

3) You get your hopes up -- I swear on my life, this never happens on an adoption for a super adoptable animal.  You know which ones it happens on?  The seniors, the hard-to-adopt pairs, the ones with health issues.  So, basically, the ones where they have little-to-no chance of being adopted in the first place (you might be surprised, or not, to learn that seniors and animals with health issues have a better chance of dying in rescue / foster than they do of being adopted).  Until you get that email -- HOPE!  And then, after you've responded quickly and gotten back to them and tried to be uber friendly and nice, you get the email back that they've adopted another one.  Well... sorry, buddy, guess you'll be here another few months...  I feel like it's inconsiderate, to apply for multiple animals and see what pans out.  Yes, I have also heard the stories of rescues that never respond to adoption inquiries, but I feel like... give them a few days before you immediately assume that's the case!  Not all of us are just sitting here, twiddling our thumbs, playing with animals all day.  For me, I'm always working to catch up on paperwork, answer the emails, work at my other job, work on orders...and so on.  I do my absolute best to answer emails in a timely manner, but chances are, that is not 5 minutes after you send it (and this is true of just about all rescues).  We appreciate your patience as we get to you.

That is all.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Clear the Shelters

This would have been from last weekend, I think, but some of the local humane organizations had that "clear the shelters" program, and so we got a few calls, asking if we were participating.  I think this is important to talk about, so I finally got around to writing this.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure the people who called, even knew that they hadn't gotten a dog rescue.  A few asked where they'd reached, and I'd told them, and they then, asked if we were participating in the clear the shelters event, so maybe they did know... but some just called and asked.  And with the number of calls that I get for people asking me to take in their dog or cat, I'll assume a good portion of them had no idea they'd reached a chinchilla rescue.  Anyway.

In case you're not familiar with what this is, let me explain.  Some humane organizations -- notably humane societies, animal welfare groups, and animal control -- will participate in an event.  I believe it is once a year (maybe a couple times? don't quote me on this).  During this "clear the shelters" event, the adoption fees for the animals are waived.  The adopters still have to fill out the adoption form, and if they are approved, they get to adopt the pet for free.  The idea is to clear the animals out of the shelters, hence the name.

I remember this from when I lived in Indy and used to take Kailey to obedience classes at the Humane Society.  People would be posting on their facebook page, on the images of their available animals (after the event, but before they'd gotten a chance to change the available animals), how oh, this person REALLY wanted that dog, but darn, this other person got their first and beat them to it, and then a third person would chime in, about how they also really wanted the dog, but found out it'd already had an application put in on it, and someone else wanting to know if that one didn't work out.

Here's the thing.  No one wanted that dog two days prior.  But since it was, all of a sudden, FREE, everyone was beating down the door for it.  And this was the case with many of the animals.  Often, they really would "clear the shelter" and have mostly open kennels to bring in more dogs... the exact same ones they adopted out, in a few weeks, when people who, in their impulsive decision to adopt since the fee was FREE, didn't really think this through.

We did not, and will not, participate in events such as this. You may notice, if you are trying to find places that are participating.... places such as breed-specific rescues, private rescues, and the like, just about never participate.

Here's why.  The places that do participate sometimes are often kill shelters, where if the dogs are not adopted out, they may be put down, due to lack of space or behavior issues.  So, it is in those shelters' best interests to get them out, even if they end up coming back, so they can euthanize less.  For them, a home is a good thing.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm NOT saying that there aren't some good adopters in this sort of event.  I'm sure some people adopt a dog for free, and have and spoil the dog until it dies peacefully in it's sleep of old age at 16 years old.  I'm sure.  However, what I'm also sure is, there's people who see "FREE ADOPTIONS!!!" and because the adoption process at these places is not always that difficult** go and adopt an animal, without putting much thought in.

**I looked up the adoption questionnaire at one of the local humane societies.  Name, age, address, how best to reach them.  It asks about kids ages, and what role the pet will play in the household (cuddler, mouser, guard dog, companion, etc).  The form asks what pets they have at home.  The form asks if they have any information they'd like to share.  Finally, there is also a section that allows the person to check off if they have any specific topics they'd like to discuss with an adoption counselor at adoption time, such as training, finding a groomer, etc.  The adoption process involves them filling out the form, and it being gone over with an adoption counselor, and if all goes well, they can adopt.

Now, again, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying my adoption form is difficult, in comparison or anything like this, but just that this one is relatively simple, and the average person could write their name, address, how to be reached.  They could write, no one else in the household.  No other pets.  They could indicate that they've had a dog before, so they don't have anything they'd like to discuss... and in theory, it could be filled out in about 2 minutes.  The reason I mention this, is because it's so quick to do, it makes me wonder how much thought is put in to all of this.

With my small animal adoption forms, and the care packets they read along with them (and the god-awful in depth adoption forms that some breed rescues have... but that's a topic for a different day), I've had people start on them, and tell me, you know what, now that they really had to think about caging and the answers to my questions and whatnot... they're not sure they're ready to adopt.  Sure, that loses an adoption (if you want to look at it that way), but I'd prefer to look at it as -- an informed person decided that that specific pet is not right for them, right this moment.  I'm not sure if that happens when there's a form that could be filled out in 2 minutes.

My worry, which I imagine is echo'd by the breed-specific rescues and other rescues that do not participate, is that people will adopt, without much forethought, because the pet is FREE.  In going back to the humane society I was mentioning... the adoption fees for dogs are $75 for large dogs (over 30 lbs.), $150 for small dogs (under 30 lbs.), and $200 for puppies.  You can debate if that's reasonable or not, to yourself, but the point is, it's not a fortune.

Think about dog food for a second.  A large bag of food (provided you're not buying the absolute junk) is at least $30-50 for 30+ pounds.  With a large dog, you'll go through that pretty regularly, so if you can't afford the $75 adoption fee for the large dog... how are you going to afford these $30+ bags of food, at least every other month?

Think about the veterinarian visits for a second.  If you can't afford the $75 adoption fee, how are you going to afford taking the dog to the vet?  I just took in the new dog, and for her checkup, heartworm test, fecal, shots, rabies, and 3 months of flea and tick, it was around $270.  That's fine, I'm not complaining.  But I bring that up, because all of that IS ALREADY DONE, plus spaying / neutering, for these dogs (which is ~$200ish at your average vet), and the adoption fee is $75.  If you purchased a puppy elsewhere, you'd have that, on top of the price of the puppy.  And maybe you want a puppy, of a specific breed, so that's cool with you.  But the thing is, you know the dog you are adopting will be up to date on its shots, and, barring it getting sick, will not need a vet visit for another year (for their yearly checkup).  However... at that yearly checkup... you will, then, be paying for these shots and such.  Should the dog get sick, the vet here is around $49 to walk in the door.  This money has to come from somewhere, and if $75 is too much, I wonder if people are going to be able to afford the vet costs.

Think about the older animals.  Seniors are half price adoption fee.  So, a large senior dog would only be ~$38 to adopt.  That's nothing!  And that's a 7+ year old dog, so they may have plenty of life in them left!  Now, I don't expect everyone to necessarily bend over backwards the way I do for Kailey.  If you haven't been following along, Kailey is my 9.5 year old sheltie soul-mate-dog.  She has arthritis in at least one wrist (the other has never been x-rayed, but is suspected) and arthritis in both ankles.  Kailey is on a prescription arthritis medication and a prescription nerve medication.  She gets two glucosamine / chondroitin joint supplements.  She also gets CBD (cannabinoid) medication, which runs a pretty penny... but works.  The cost for all of this is upwards of $300/ month, and she needs bloodwork ($150) twice a year (x2) to stay on these meds.  Plus the costs of shots yearly, works out to...$4,150+ per year (~$250 shots / checkup, $300 bloodwork, $300 meds / supplements x 12)... and that's IF I don't take her in for anything else, and IF you aren't counting flea / tick and heartworm prevention meds!  Now, I'm not saying everyone necessarily needs to put this much money into their dog.  However... without these meds, she is an unhappy, limping dog, that would rather be a throw-rug on the floor.  With these meds, she plays with my younger dogs and actually rarely limps!  Will someone, who thinks $38 is too much to adopt a senior dog, and instead adopts it for free, even consider putting their dog on joint supplements when the dog starts to get achy?  Maybe, maybe not.

Think about additional accessories.  Dogs need a collar, leash.  Crate.  Chew toys, if you would prefer the dog didn't munch on your cat or couch.  The medium crates I use for my shelties aren't anything special, but I'm pretty sure they were around $150, and that wouldn't even fit a large dog.  The collar and leash could be purchased at the dollar store (though, low quality, I'd worry about them fraying / snapping), as could dog bowls... but the thing is, these are extra expenses that will be incurred, with bringing a new furry family member home.

I guess the overall question that looms in my mind is this -- if the person cannot afford (or doesn't want to pay for) the adoption fee for the animal, are they financially able to care for the animal?  Are they really that invested in the animal?  I see people posting on pet groups on facebook all the time -- oh they got it for free, so no big deal if it doesn't work out.  Maybe if they paid $75, and actually had put money and thought into it, they would have a different perspective.  Maybe not, but I don't think that the animal being free, does anything to help the situation.

I realize, above, that I am talking about dogs, but this all applies to any animal.  With chinchillas, ok, the chin is free -- can the person afford the cage?  The chew toys?  The vet visits if the chin gets sick?   Maybe more importantly, the vet visits if the person uses improper caging and the chinchilla gets impacted from plastic?  Pet food for small animals is even more ridiculously priced than dog food (at the pet store), so that will take a chunk of the owner's cash, regardless of what the small animal cost, as will chew toys and accessories.  Will the people research the pet and buy the appropriate cage, with the animal being free?  Or will the people who, before, could never afford a chinchilla, get one for free, and then go out and get a 10g aquarium on craigslist for a few bucks, and keep it in less-than-appropriate caging, because that's what they can afford?  This is what I worry about.  And that's why we will not participate in events like this.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Specific Ages

I've had this happen from time to time, so I wanted to mention it...

Had someone email the other day asking for a female chin, could I send pics?  Well, out of 30ish chins available... at least half are female... so I asked, what are they looking for?  I asked if they could be more specific as far as age or color.  I get an email back, they're looking for a "standout color" chinchilla, not a grey because that's what they have, and chin should be 18 months.

The 18 months is what this post is about.  I don't know if people are trying to match the age of the chinchilla they have at home, and want the two to be the same age for some reason, but age is a hard thing to match up.  You want a beige?  Oh, sorry, I don't have, but I have a lighter tan!  Some things you can use similar, and still make people happy, but when people want a specific age, they often want that exact age.

I've heard people tell me, they want two chins the same age because they'll grow old together and, apparently, die around the same time, so one won't have to live without the other.  Now, not to burst anyone's bubble... but even if you have two siblings, where genetics really doesn't come into play that much as it might with two random chinchillas.... one can die at 3 years old and the other can make it to 20 years and still be going strong.  Just because they're the same age does not necessarily mean they will both live to be ripe old chins together and die within a week of each other.  That'd be nice, but it doesn't tend to happen.

Anyway, so I looked through the chins here... I have a pair of grey females who are roughly around that age, but they didn't want grey (or a pair), and the only other one I had that matched the age (forget color for a second here) was a beige female.  For most people, beige is hardly a "standout color," as they'd worded it, but I sent them an email back, mentioning that that one, single chin, was the only non-grey chin that I have, that is right about 18 months old.

I also suggested, if they're at all willing to expand their age range, I have alllllll sorts of colors in the younger ages, and for older adults, if they went up to 3-4 years of age (which I realize is doubling the age, but for animals that live to 20 years, it's a drop in the bucket), I have two ebonies... a medium / dark and an extra dark, available, as well as a mosaic / white ebony, and any of those would be more of the "standout" color they are looking for.

This all said, if they're really set on the 18 months, then these are not what they are looking for.  And that's fine.  Though it's useful to realize that while I may have everything under the sun, out of probably 30-40 chins that could be available (including ones not ready), there's only three that age.  If they asked for a 2 year old, or 6 year old, or a 1 year old, I have none.  While of course, I'm happy for people to inform me of what they specifically want, it's useful to keep in mind that with only (only! haha) 30-40 chins to pick from, and many of the adults being rescues that people have surrendered after getting tired of them (the average age of a rescue chin is 3-5 years old... most people don't get tired of the chin and decide to give it up, for free, at the age of 6 months), there may not be chins of each and every age, oh and at that specific age, each and every color available.  Just so everyone's aware.  So, we shall see what happens with this person.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

People Delaying to Get Back to You

For once, I'm not complaining about my own people!  I wanted to share an experience I had, and use it sort of as an example.

Someone had an item I wanted for sale on hoobly.  Hoobly has their own messenger system, sort of like how facebook does.  Anyway, so I message them, because they only have one picture of the item, and I want to see more pics.  So I ask, do they have more pictures.

Week goes by.  Finally get a message, the message basically says, sure, and if I provide them with an email or cell phone number, she will send me pics.  (in hoobly messenger, you can't attach anything)  So I reply, that day, with my email address, so she can send pics.

A week later, I get a reply... "you may text message me at [number]"

Um... no.  I've already bought this item elsewhere, cheaper in fact.  But that's beside the point.  This is now two weeks after I asked for pics!

The reason I wanted to bring this up is because this is what I try to avoid doing, here at NWI Chins.  If you email me and ask me something, it may take a day or two for me to get back to you.  If you write a book in your first email, maybe a little bit longer, since I may need to type out a book back, in response to your questions.

But I sure wouldn't wait a week to respond, then have someone provide a way for me to send pics... and then wait another week to basically tell them... oh, let's use the other way.  What do you bet, if I texted them, they wouldn't text the pics right away?  Maybe they would, I don't know... but I don't get the feeling they're dying to sell the item, or else they'd be responding right away.  I want my chins adopted, I want my products sold... so I try to respond as quick as is reasonable.  And... just like me, having bought my item elsewhere... many other people will too.  If you want to see pics of a chin today, or tomorrow, or whatever, and I don't even respond with, "hey, I'm working on it, will get pics soon!", it doesn't surprise me in the slightest when people move on.  I get it.  But what I don't get is the people who "want" to sell their items, and then delay delay delay when people ask about them... it's frustrating.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Does The Chin Come With...

Not sure if this is the same person or not (cause some have been emails, some texts, some through hoobly messages), but times lately it has been asked, "does the chin come with a cage and a dust bath?"  Why those two specific items, I don't know.  Obviously, both are needed... but there's other items needed as well.

The most recent was... would you provide a cage and dust for a dust bath.  So, slightly different, but same concept.

I just want to quickly re-iterate that most of the chinchillas that we get in, at the rescue, do not come with any supplies.  People bring the critters in, in a box, sign the required paperwork, and leave.  We do not often get cages in with chinchillas.  Even when we do -- the last few have been guinea pig type cages, which would not be appropriate for chinchillas.

Without the cages coming in with them, we do not have cages to send out with them.

Also, keep in mind -- when you adopt a dog, it might come with a collar and a leash.  Might.  Many places specify that you need to bring these with you, when you come to pick up your new adopted pet.  But... the dog will most likely NOT come with a crate, or with food / water bowls.  Some dog food, sure.  A toy, maybe.  Moreso if you're buying a puppy from a breeder, you might get the collar / food / blanket / etc.  However, I used to volunteer at a humane society, and they would wash the dog before you came to adopt -- but you had to supply everything.  So... this is across the board, that when you adopt an animal, you typically adopt just that animal, not including its things.

For us, most of our animals are in our double ferret nation rescue cages.  We are unable to give those away, as they cost a fortune, and we need them to be able to take in, and rehome, future critters.  Therefore, unfortunately, no, we will not be providing a cage and a dust bath.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Driving To The Rescue

So... I wanted to share with you the reasoning behind the fact that we rarely deliver.  While yes, I'm sure I've posted about us bringing chins with us to expos, or driving to Chicago for people who don't have vehicles, or whatnot, for the most part -- we do not deliver.

This comes into play, not all the time, but now and then.  Just today, I had an email that asked if we could deliver the chin, or if the people had to come pick up.  Then yesterday, I had another... wanted to share this with you, as it's (to me) a good example.

Hi I was wondering how big Snowy is? and can you drive or transport her to me? Snowy would be really important to me. I did a crazy amount of research on chinchillas. I would really love Snowy as my amazing pet but I live a bit far away. So it is really hard to drive 100 miles to get her but if you can transport her that would be the most amazing thing. Thank you for reading this please Email me back 

So...  sorry, but the answer is no.  The short reason is this -- not saying 100 mile isn't far, but... if the chin needs a vet... is the vet going to come to them?  No.  Perform surgery in their living room?  Also, no.  I acknowledge that a vet may be closer than that... but more often than not, when you run into people who can only adopt if they get the chin delivered, in talking with them, you find out that they either can't afford the extra expense of the travel to get the chin, don't have the time for the extra travel, don't have a car, and so on.  Not to paint everyone with the same brush... but 14 years of doing this, and that is 99% of the reason why they need it delivered... and then I worry about vet care.  If the chin gets sick, should I also drive back and be the chin's personal chauffeur to take it to the vet?  Some people might think so!

Little aside... I had one person, awhile back, who asked about our health guarantee.  I told her, 7 days, replacement only.  She asked, well, what if something happens on day 8?  I told her, I'm flexible, and that would likely be fine.  Well, what about day 10?  I told her, probably not, but it would depend what happened (for example, if chin started declining around day 6, vet care was sought, etc).  Well... what about if she had the chin two months and something happened?  Can't make this up, I tell ya.  I told her, the reason for 7 days, is because it would be pretty difficult to kill a chin within 7 days, assuming you're feeding and watering it.  You take it home and it keels over day 2... short of you stepping on it, if you just woke up and it's dead in its cage... probably nothing you did.  But after about 7 days... if you started, day 1, giving it unhealthy treats... using a non-safe type of bedding... etc etc... it could die after a short period of time, and it wouldn't be our fault.  Two months, definitely not under the guarantee, unfortunately, this is not a dog where we can do genetic testing to guarantee health.  Anyway, the point here is... this lady basically wanted a lifetime guarantee that her chin would never get sick or never have any health issues, and if it did, she wanted us to pay for them, throughout the entire life of the chin.  Hate to tell ya, but that's not quite how it works.  I nicely informed her, I didn't think she'd find what she was looking for, as no one that I know of offers that sort of guarantee for their chins, but hey, if she found it, more power to her!

The thing is... you can't guard against everything.  Even in well-bred, pedigreed chin lines, things happen.  Hence, we have our health guarantee.  But, as mentioned above... we can avoid problems waiting to happen... which I tend to see as people who can only adopt if the chin is hand-delivered to their doorstep (in most cases).

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Literally Could Not Make This Shit Up

So, if you've been around in the last few days, with the expo being moved from last weekend to this weekend (well... more on that later), you know I've been all chicken-with-head-cut-off, trying to catch up with what's been going on and re-schedule everything from this past weekend to this week, and for this upcoming weekend.  So, in case you've missed it, let me recap.


I was set to go to a Toby Keith concert with Jim on Friday night, at the Porter County Fair.  Because of this, I had to setup extra early for the Windy City Pet Expo (Saturday / Sunday), so that we'd make it back to the fairgrounds in time for the fair / concert.

Because I'd expressed such a desire to leave early and get there RIGHT when the the setup started (11 am), Jim showed up the night before, at like midnight.  We unloaded the van, and re-loaded all the stuff for the expo.

So that Friday morning, we drive out to Schaumburg, getting there just after 11 am.  Get there, no one knows anything, there's no hall set for the expo... we're all like... what?  But nothing's going on.  I look through emails, and find an email from the expo saying there's an insurance hiccup, so we have to wait to setup.  Ok.  The email says to reach out with questions, so I call... no answer, no return phone call.

We go to Culvers, have lunch.  Wait around at Culvers for an hour or two, and then I think to email the pet expo, and I do get an email back, saying they called and left a message (not saying they didn't... but it has yet to show up in missed calls, and I still don't have the voicemail), and that they'd have an answer "right away" and that setup would be either later that evening or in the morning.

So we waited around til about 3 pm, at which time, we decided, we better head back, or else we're not going to get back in time for the concert.

Get home, let the dogs out, leave for the fair.  Traffic all the way to the fairgrounds, and my phone keeps popping up thunderstorm reports, but the areas are sunny and dry.  Whatever.

Halfway through the drive, about 5 pm, the phone rings, and I ignored the call because it was an 800-number.  They left a message, which I listened to, saying that setup for the expo could begin in the morning, and they'd hire more people to help load.

My immediate response, to Jim, was that he was going to be staying until the morning anyway -- rather than leaving immediately in the morning, while I left for the expo, could he take the van back out to the expo and unload, and leave from there?  The reason being, that if he didn't, we'd have to unload the van, and then re-load it into my vehicle once we got back to my house.  He said that was fine.  Yay.

Get to the fair.  Now, me and Jim like the farm animals, so of course we want to see the critters, and... no cows... no pigs... no chickens... just a handful of goats and a few rabbits.  What the heck?  Ok, well, there's still the concert.

So we go to the concert and the opening act plays... and then there's a delay... and it's about 45 minutes between the opening act and when Toby Keith starts.  To the point that we're starting to wonder if they're going to cancel the concert, for one reason or another.  Toby starts playing.  About 5 songs in, I turn to Jim and ask him if he noticed a few random raindrops.  About that time, the sky opens up and it absolutely downpours.

Now, if you've never been to the Porter County Fairgrounds, they're not set up for concerts, they just have a stage and the bands set up scaffolding and whatever needed for the lights and speakers and all, but there's no roof, and with this sort of downpour (and raining sideways, at that), the concert was rained out.  Boo.

So, we ducked into one of the animal-less buildings, and went building to building trying to not get any more wet... if even possible... as even my bra and underwear were soaked... complete drowned rat status here... anyway, we eventually made it to the car, and went to Wendy's on the way home, to get a snack.

In the drive-thru, the phone must have rung again, but I missed it as it was in my pocket, so when I pulled it out and looked at it, while sitting in the vehicle eating... another call from the 800-number.  This time... oh, expo cancelled!  Rescheduled to next weekend!

My immediate response was -- well, I have stuff going on next weekend!  I had two volunteers set to come all weekend.  I had another who routinely comes, now and then, for school, and brings a few friends with her, set to come Sunday.   I'd miss Pierogi fest.  I'd miss something else we had planned.  But... this was a good expo, one of our best every year, so I figured, what the hell, we would go.

But... for the following morning, I had planned on being there... and that was a problem, now with the expo cancelled... cause I was bringing animals and supplies for a variety of people... who now, were going to be like... wtf what happened?  So, in the Wendy's parking lot, at around 10:30-11 pm Friday night, I am madly texting / messaging / emailing the people who were set to get animals and supplies from me at the expo.  Most of them I got ahold of.


However, I still had to drive out to Schaumburg the following morning, to deliver two chins and supplies, to their new adopter.  With it being an hour+ drive there, and even more back... with construction, I left around 8:30 am and got back early afternoon.   Ugh.  Day shot.
Saturday was pretty quiet other than that.  I had one person who was supposed to drop off their chinchilla, and didn't show, and later responded to my texts saying they decided to wait a bit... but that was about it for that day.


Sunday was when all those people who were supposed to come to the expo, made appointments to come to the house instead.  Started off with a 10 am appointment, people who wanted to adopt two guinea pigs, and OH! how convenient, they'd pick up the guinea pigs at the expo this upcoming weekend.  That was followed by Euphy getting adopted, another guinea pig getting adopted, and some supply pickups.

In the middle of one of the supply pickups, I noticed Toby (my 11-ish year old mosaic pet chin) go up to his fleece tube and stretch out.  Paws allllll the way stretched out, like when a chin's yawning and then taking a nap.  I saw him stretch out and sort of roll on his side, thought it was cute, and didn't think anything of it... and neither did the next two appointments.  After they left, I went to pet him cause I thought he looked oh so cute in that post... yeah... my pretty white boy passed away.

Oh wait, this gets better.


Not much notable went on.... saving up for...


Now, to bring you all up to speed, at this point, I had:

--cancelled the volunteers for the weekend
--made it possible for myself to go to the pierogi fest and still setup on Friday
--decided ok fine I could not do the one thing I was going to do during the weekend, boo
--posted on fb saying yes we'd be at the expo
--posted on my website, and updated both listings for the re-scheduling of the pet expo
--scheduled to have two guinea pigs picked up at the upcoming pet expo
--told several people, yes, we would be there, yes, we could still bring their supplies
--re-started (and mostly completed, for that matter) the 8-page pet waiver for the expo
--emailed the expo people multiple times about various this, waivers, etc.

... and at 11:12 pm... I received this:

I tell you, I could not make this shit up.

So... I emailed the one volunteer.  I doubt I'll hear back, or they'll be able to come, on such short notice.  Messaged the other... her kids must have the phone, because I got all sorts of interesting messages back... will try again tomorrow and hope I get her.  I now get to email the guinea pig people and tell them, haha, SORRY, I cannot bring your guinea pigs to the now-cancelled expo.  I now also get to call all the people who were hoping to get supplies from us at the expo, and tell them haha, cancelled, again, nope, NOT kidding!  Lord almighty.

Not that they really care, but I do plan to email the expo and let them know about how much effort I'm having to spend re-scheduling all this shit, not for one, but for TWO weekends, cause of all of this!  This is ridiculous... but for sure, couldn't make this shit up...  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Package Deals

So, I wanted to write a quick blog post about package deals, mainly... why we're not able to do them.  I had someone call today, saying they added up the costs of everything, and they have to save up some more, and we got to the discussion of the fact that the chins may not be on sale, when they are ready.

So they asked if we could do some sort of a package deal for a chin, cage, supplies, for a discount. I told her, unfortunately, we are unable to do that.  It sounded like she was starting to cry as we hung up the phone.

Not that I don't want to be nice, but, I wanted to explain why this is incredibly difficult (and, moreso, not really possible, on a cost perspective) for me to do.

Let's ignore the cost of the chins for a moment, cause those go on sale from time to time, and let's focus on the supplies.

Here -- Tradition $0.75 per pound
Oxbow -- 3 lbs -- $8.92 (not including shipping) -- here at Petsmart -- comes out to $2.97 / pound

Here -- $1.25 per pound
Blue Cloud dust -- 13 oz. for $6.29, or 3 lbs for $10.49, here at Petsmart -- that 13 oz. is 3 oz SHORT of 1 lb... for $6.29!  The 3 lbs for $10.49 is still $3.49 per pound

Here -- $1.00 per pound
Oxbow hay -- 15 oz. (1 ounce short of a pound) for $4.39, here at Petsmart.  Other sizes include 40 oz. for $9.77, or 90 oz. for $18.69.  Those work out to over $4.39 per pound, $3.90 per pound, and $3.32 per pound.

So, for a direct comparison, let's say you get 3 lbs pellets, 3 lbs dust, and 40 oz (2.5 lb) hay.  From the pet store, this would cost you $28.46 (plus tax and shipping).  From here, that would cost you $8.50.

How much more of a discount would you really like?  That's 70% discount from retail price, and, it's literally the same stuff that you are getting, just not always in such fancy packaging.

I used to tell people, I wish I could do more and help them out more... but what it honestly comes down to is this -- if you can't afford the $8.50 for basically 1-2 months worth of pellets, dust, and hay... a chinchilla may be too expensive of a pet for you.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fun Fact for Life: Chin Age

I've had a lot of people over the years tell me, their chin is 2 years old, they want to find another 2 year old to go with them.  This is fine, of course, if they want to match ages, it doesn't matter.... however... the chins don't know they're the same age.

Now, if you pair up a freshly weaned kit with an adult -- yes, they know that they're different ages.  But when you're pairing up a 4 month old and a 6 month old, or a 1 year and a 3 year old, or a 2 year old and a 10 year old... they have no idea.  It's not quite like people where someone who's 20 can recognize the look of someone who's 60.  To chins, an adult is an adult is an adult.  You may want to give them an exact-same-age-buddy... but they have no idea whether the buddy you gave them is their age, or could be their grandma's age

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fun Fact for Life: Curly Fur

I was asked a bit ago, since curlies are, well, curly, doesn't all the shavings stick to their fur?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  For the ones that have looser curls, which are more rounded, yes, shavings get caught, sometimes, but not at all times.  For the ones with more of a dreadlock / wooly consistency to their fur -- these chins feel more like sheep, but they tend to get matted (dreadlocks on a curly chin!), yet don't get nearly as much shavings stuck to them, as the shavings don't seem to work their way in, past the top layer of fur.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Goldbars and Other MNWI Specific Chins

Occasionally, people ask for specific chins.  They want a goldbar, or an ebony, or what have you -- but they want it bred here, so they can see the parents, and know it's from good lines, and what have you.  All good, no problem there.

Only thing is this -- if you want one that's bred here... it may take longer than if you don't care what breeder it comes from.

Case in point.  When I had those goldbars for sale at the beginning of the month, they went quick.  I had a few people ask about when I'd have more.  In case you missed the word on the street, Jim really did sell out of his goldbars.  I upped my numbers and now have 5 females in my run with my goldbar male, one of Jim's retired breeders, a goldbar who I've named Midas.  I will finish out that run with an additional one eventually.  But anyway, what this boils down to is this -- since Jim doesn't have any goldbars, and hardly anyone breeds goldbars... the only way I will be having goldbars in the future is if they are from my own breeding.  Again, no problem with this... until someone wants one right away.

I had someone that was wanting to get one in August, and sent me an email telling her to be sure to let her know when I had one that would be ready by the day in August she'd be able to pick up.  Now, I don't know if there was a miscommunication or what, but somewhere along the lines, something must not have been communicated right, because those two kits I sold earlier this month were the only baby goldbars I had.  Previous to that, I retired a goldbar female who wasn't breeding (Pearl), and got in three new chins from Jim for the goldbar run (prior to him selling out the goldbars).  One was a goldbar, another was a blocky standard goldbar carrier, the last was an ebony goldbar carrier (because apparently another breeder had convinced that goldbar wraps would be a big thing...that chin was left around from when that didn't go anywhere...but hey, she carries goldbar, so hey, I can use her, and she's actually a decent looking ebony).  Those three were just opened up to Midas in the run.  Then, the mom of the two kits that were just sold got really run down from this pregnancy, so she's currently closed off from breeding until she regains her weight and looks better.  So.. at the time, that leaves only one female in that run who was open to Midas for any length of time recently... so, there will not likely be any goldbar babies anytime soon.

The reason I mention this all though, is because I told this person (and this applies to any chins that I don't currently have)... if it's not already born, it won't be ready by mid-August.  I mean, think about this.  A chin born today isn't weaned til early September, and ready at the earliest, a week or so after that.  This is where getting MNWI chins can take more time.  If someone wants a baby of a certain color & gender, and I already have one, I can mentally note that, and let them know when it's ready to go... but if it's not born yet... we all just have to wait for it to be born!  Unfortunately, I can't will these chins into existence... as nice as that would be!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Saturday 7/9

So, I was talking with some people about what goes on at the rescue, and about, when I tell people, oh it's been a busy day... yet they saw just a few chins listed, not much else done.. what actually went on?  So here and there I'm gonna start blogging about certain days and what went on, so you can all see how it goes.  And since these blog posts are sometimes scheduled out for the future (so I don't have 3 in one day, and then none for a week, which has definitely happened in the past, lol), I'll post the day as the title.

So for Saturday the 9th (today, as I write this)...

Started out the morning, up around 9ish.  Took the dogs out, gave Kailey her meds and both the dogs  a can of food.

Checked emails, my 10 am appointment emailed saying they were going to be 15 minutes late, so I sat down and actually answered a few emails, then went downstairs.  Filled up the water filter, and took the water that was already filtered and put it in a jug (so it doesn't overflow, since the top was filled).  Used that water to refill some of the water bottles that were getting low.

I already knew which chin these people were getting, since they put down a deposit, so I wrote out their adoption paperwork ahead of time.  I get that done, and so I get their bag of food that comes with the chin ready, as well as the kit bag (chews / munchies that are age appropriate and go home with the babies).

Still waiting for them to get here, so I go upstairs and wash some dishes.  Doorbell rings, they're here.  I ask them to go around the side, they do.  This is about 10:30.  They spend some time looking at the various chins, and then ask where theirs is.  I show them, and they're holding her and loving on her, and they mention they need all sorts of supplies.  So I tell them, we'll go down the list.  So, we start with the cage, and they pick out a cage, and we go over the list of everything else as well.  By the time I've gotten their supplies together, they've paid and packed the car, it's almost noon.

I go to sit back down and look at emails, and I see I have a message from someone who dropped off a bag they wanted filled with hay, a few days ago, when I wasn't home.  I had filled it yesterday, informed them it'd be $4, and they were messaging asking about what time they could pick it up today.  We settled on 1 pm.

Between 12 and 1, I listed two chins, the blue diamond female and the predominantly white mosaic male.  While still waiting for the hay people to come, I figured I would work on orders for a bit.  Went downstairs to start packaging up stuff.  Realized, I am still out of gallon-size ziploc bags, as I have been for two days.  Darn it, they didn't magically materialize as I'd been hoping.  Went back upstairs.

About that time, I get a message that the people for the hay are on their way, so I go downstairs and grab some copies of my invoice paper, so I can write out the orders that are new, while waiting.  While down there, I replenish the copies needed (of all the adoption paperwork pages) in my folder that I keep out (I have a stash of copies elsewhere), and then put that away.  I get upstairs with the copies of the blank invoices, and the hay people show up.

The guy brought one of his kids along, who wanted to see the chins.  I said sure, but let's please make it quick, as I have somewhere to go.  You know where this is going.  I stayed upstairs with the guy, the kid went downstairs, and later came up and informed me that she was opening the cages and petting the chins.  Do kids not ask before they do anything anymore?  Guess not.  So I'm talking with the dad, and he's waiting on the kid to come back upstairs.  She eventually comes back up, asks for water, so I get her water.  She asks to take it with, sure, whatever, I gave it to her in a taco bell cup so it doesn't matter.  So it was around 2 pm when they left.

Even though I really needed to leave to go get those gallon-size bags (so I could do orders), I sat down at the kitchen table and figured, first I would write out the orders, so they'd be ready to take downstairs and get the items together and all that, when I got back.  Couldn't have been sitting 5 minutes, I get a call from the people who were just here, the kid needs to use the bathroom.  So she comes back in, pets the dog, goes potty, pets the dog again, and leaves.

I finish filling out the invoices, and then leave for Meijer.  Even though the ziploc bags are at the back of the grocery side, I park on the general merchandise side, cause apparently I'm stupid like that and don't know how to keep a cheap shopping trip from turning into an expensive one, if my life depended on it.  So, I walk in the door -- school supplies!  Well, elmer's glue is only 50 cents, limit 10, so I have to get 10.  I start walking past the office supplies section, and realize, I'm almost out of packaging tape.  So I get two packs of that.  Then I realize, the last time I printed, it said I was almost out of ink, so back to electronics to get the ink.  From there, I ALMOST make it to the ziploc bags, but get sidetracked by toilet wipes, that are in the same aisle, and I'm also, almost out of.  Then to the ziploc bags.  I usually get 4 boxes of the gallon size meijer ziploc bags, but I seem to be going through them like water, and there's only like 38 to a pack, so I decide to get 8 this time, almost clearing off the shelf, while the lady next to me surely wonders what in the world I need that many for.  I don't go shopping that often, so I better grab them while I'm out, because I hate to make a trip for one thing.  Then to checkout, and back to the car.  While needing a few packs of $4ish gallon size bags, I left with $100ish worth of stuff.

Load the car, then to the ATM.  See, I went to the ATM by my house a few days ago, to get money to pay the fence guy, but there's something wrong with that ATM, and it'll allow you to do the entire transaction, but then when it is ready to give you your money, it comes up with some error.  That's the second time that's happened with that ATM, but Meijer is by another of my bank locations, so I go there and withdraw the money for the fence guy.

Get home, unload the car.  Realize that if I'm going to pay the fence guy, I need to find my invoice for the fence, so he can mark that payment, paid.  Go find the invoice.  It's now about 4:30.  Called the fence guy, he came over and I paid him.  Now 5 pm.

Moving along, I sat and went over quite a few emails, until about 6ish.  Went downstairs and gave more chins water from the filter, and added more water to the filter.  Jim called, so I talked with him while taking pics of some rescue chins (their previous home wanted to know how they were doing) and moving around cages.  Got the two newest rescues settled in, one being a female named Fluffy from Evanston Animal Shelter.  Got off the phone, went upstairs to have a bit to eat.  Heated up some leftover pizza, and a friend called.  Talked with her while eating dinner.  By the time I got off the phone, 9 pm.

Back to the phone, went through the pics taken of the rescue chins, so I could send the actually clear ones to the family.  Got that done around 9:20ish, sent them over, along with an email on how things are going with the chins.

Went through a few more emails, noticed I had one asking about if I had any double cages for sale. I figured they meant ferret nation / critter nation cages, and I currently have a FN 142 in the garage.  They wanted a pic texted to them, so out to the garage, open the garage door so I have enough room to step back for the pic, take the pic, close the door, back in the house, send pic.

Decided to take a break from all the chin stuff and work on the gecko care packet for a bit.  Can't re-home the geckos without it!  So... I started editing.  Usually when I do care packets, if it's just an update, I'll go over the whole thing once.  If I'm writing one from scratch, it takes multiple revisions.  Many of the early revisions are moving things around to find where I like them, re-wording things, and so on....and catching oddball things that should have been taken out long ago.  For example, here's a screenshot from part of my gecko packet:

Let's play... which of these is not like the other...ooooh yeah the guinea pig water part in the middle of the gecko care packet.  Truth be told -- it's easiest to start with an existing care packet, and use it as a template to make another packet, as the general "sections" are the same, with some tweaking.

So I went through and edited the entire packet once, and then created a coverpage.  10:20 pm.

Then, yesterday, I did hammock inventory.  Hammock inventory is where I go hammock by hammock and mark down how many of each I have.  I use these numbers to then later update the listings on the webstore, as these items are set to only show a certain number available.  So yesterday, I wrote down which ones were still available, and how many.  Today, I went and edited those.  Out of all the hammocks available, I only am sold out of Taco Dog and Donuts, so those were removed.  The other hammocks, all 21+ of them, were edited and amount in stock corrected.  Now, it is 10:56.

Among doing the hammocks, I'm texting back and forth with a potential adopter about when they're looking to pick up their chins.  While doing that, I figured I'd work on the adoption form for the crested geckos, as oddly enough, the adoption forms are not all that difficult to work on, and I get that done while still texting with the potential adopter.  By 11:20ish, I have a deposit down for 2 chins, set for pickup at the next expo, and the adoption form done for crested geckos.  Maybe the care packet will get done tomorrow, and then I can actually list the geckos.  I technically could list early, but I know that if I list now, without it ready, someone will pounce and I'll have to scramble for it.  Naturally, if I wait to have it ready, no one will be interested... but at least I'll be ready!

So, in cleaning off my desk to find a piece of paper I was looking for (that I did not find), I found the little rebate slips that needed to be sent in for Menards' most recent 11% rebate.  With the last day for mailing approaching, I got everything together for mine and Jim's (he forgot his receipts for Menards here) and got those ready for mailing.  11:38.

Checked back into emails... that was a mistake.  Lots of quick-to-answer emails... but lots of them.  Answered a few of them quickly, and was going to work on getting some orders together, but kept getting side tracked with people emailing and facebook messages from people with chin questions, so I decided to stay upstairs and clean, so I could answer those and still be productive.  And that was my Saturday.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Flight Attendant

If you talked to me recently, you heard that we had a flight attendant stop by and pick up two chins.  Someone who lives in North Carolina.

They had originally messaged me, telling me they wanted to get some chins, and I had responded saying, you know, not able to ship this time of years, yadda yadda... but they'd already told me they were a flight attendant, so I asked if it was different for them.  They responded that they could take them in-cabin, no problem....  Awesome!

So they came the other day to pick up their chins!  Two sweet girls, both bred here, a mosaic and a goldbar.

They flew from home to Amsterdam, then back to New York, then over to Chicago, rented a car and drove here.  Due to flight connections and delays (apparently NY weather was all sorts of stormy), they got here... oh... 1 am.  After picking up chins, they drove back to the airport-area, where they had a hotel, to fly back in the morning.

So this person was super nice, will be giving a great home to these girls!  She said she would get here and make it happen, and she sure did!

And a side little perk for me -- she brought me food and stuff from Amsterdam!

And of course, a pic of the awesome person and her two new chins!

Just goes to show, there's people out there that will put forth a lot of effort to get what they're wanting!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Shipping & Temps

So, as you may have noticed if you've talked with me recently, we're unable to ship at the moment.  It's too hot outside, and airline regulations prohibit us from shipping if the temps are over 80.  Just to give you a quick recap of Chicago temp, the high today is 86, Monday is 83, Tuesday 84, Wednesday 90, Thursday 85, and so on... all over 80.

This is for the safety of the chinchillas.  Even though the entire areas that the chins are in for shipping are temperature controlled, it's still hot outside and they still have to be transported to the plane.... and we don't want them developing heatstroke and dying.  So... they can't ship if it's over 80.

Now, in theory, I could sit and watch the temps every day and wait for that one day when the high is supposed to be 79, and pray that when I get to the airport, their temp doesn't read 81 instead of 79, and then get denied being able to ship... but to be honest, I don't have that kind of spare time, or the ability to drop everything I have going on, if one day did happen to be cool enough to ship.

Therefore, we are not shipping again until the fall, when the temperatures cool down.

What are your alternatives?  Driving here, in a vehicle with air conditioning.  Or, coming by in the evening when it is cooler, if you do not have AC in your vehicle.  Or, meet us at an expo, after having put down a deposit on the chinchilla (required for us to bring you the chin).

I had a kid call me the other day (and you all know how much I love that, lol), asking about having a chin shipped.  I explained how it's too hot this time of year, but that if they were really interested, to check back in the fall.  So, they asked how much shipping was, and I explained, and the kid innocently told me that they didn't want to pay $200 to ship a chin (right? it's expensive, I acknowledge that, but that's just what it costs)... and asked if I couldn't stick the chin in a box and mail it to him.  Sorry, no can do, if you want a live arrival (plus, the whole, illegal to ship live animals other than like reptiles though the mail).  This time of the year... you just have to pick up or meet us at an expo.  For the safety of the chins.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Deposits and holds... yes, I know

So, I know I've talked about this over and over and you're probably sick of it.  But one last time... deposits and holds.

We will hold a chinchilla for a few days while you decide, or get here, to adopt.  If you want one held longer than a few days, we need a deposit, which will hold the chinchilla 14 days.

The 14 days is 14 days.  If I'm going to be out of town some of those 14 days, noticeably around the end of the 14 days when someone would want to pick up, the 14 days can be extended a couple days to make up for the time I'm gone.

But... 14 days is 14 days.  It's right in the sales policy.  14 days is not 17 days.  It's not 30 days.

Why not?  Because that's not what the policy says, simple as that.

Can I hold the chin longer than that?  Maybe.  Doubtful, but I won't extinguish all possibility.  Right now, when I have 18 chins on our waiting list wanting to come into the rescue?  No, 14 says is it.  When there's negative cage space, 14 days it is.  If I have tons of open cages, I may be more lenient, but not when there's no space and we have chins waiting for the existing space.

I guess I don't get, why do people question this?  I've had two people, just today, ask, well if they pay them in full, will I hold them longer.  Can someone explain to me why that would make any difference?  Ok, let's look at this a minute.

July 9 -- deposit $200
July 23 -- final payment $200
total $400


July 9 -- paid in full $400
August 6 -- pickup, nothing paid
total $400

So... how does being paid in full right now actually benefit me, versus just getting a deposit now?  The only difference it makes is that I have the money sooner (which really doesn't matter, I'm not that poor)... but the chin sits around here longer, and takes up cage space, which is at a premium right now.  So maybe you can understand why that doesn't motivate me to hang onto them, with being paid in full.

Further, and lastly, most rescues and breeders don't hold animals (whatever kind) at all.  AT ALL.  I mention that, because people have hissy fits that it's only 14 days, when most places, if you don't beat anyone and everyone there... you don't get that animal.  Most don't care if you say, oh I'll be there in an hour... someone gets there before you, you're out of luck and don't get to adopt that animal.  It's not to be mean!  I can even tell you that -- it's because people are so flaky!

Case in point: I have someone right now who asked about if two chins would get along, so I paired them (yes they get along).  Later that day.  Oh, well how about these two?  Yes.  Following day, well, can we try a few more pairings?  No.  I explained, it stresses out the chins to keep pairing over and over, so unless they had more serious inquiries, I'm not going to pair all the chins here, so they could be sure (they wanted to be absolutely sure, their words).  Next day, they asked what other chins I have here that aren't listed.  Standards and a violet.  Oh can they see pics of the violet?  So I sent pics of the violet.  They ask for info on him, I send info on him.  This covered a few day's time if you noticed, and every day in these few days, I informed this person, I had people coming over to adopt, and that because they hadn't picked a specific chin or two and hadn't put down a deposit, I wasn't holding any of these chins, so they could possibly be adopted, if one of the adopters coming to look, wanted one of these chins.  Several times, I was told, I would have a deposit for one specific chin.  Then after not having a deposit from yesterday, when I should have had it, I messaged the person today, again informing that I had people coming, and without deposits, the chins could sell.  So, they say they're busy at the moment, because of course they are, but again, they remind me that they 100% want these two certain chins, and will put down a deposit tonight, so could I hold them?  So I said, sure whatever, because I'm apparently stupid, but I figured, ok, they narrowed it down to two, that was progress.  Fast forward to tonight, they want to call and talk about some stuff, which is fine, and ask about putting down a deposit to hold the chins.  I tell them how much the deposit is and that it holds for 14 days.  Well, can't they be held longer?  No.  What about with full payment?  No.  Oh... well, they'll get back to me tomorrow.  *yanks out all hair on head*  What happened to that deposit, that I was, for sure, supposed to get, several days ago?  And mind you, because I'm not a total prick, because I know this person is wanting these chins, I have NOT sold them to other people.  So who's the one getting walked on here, as this person doesn't put down a deposit day after day after day?  THIS is why places don't hold animals at all, regardless of people showing interest, because I probably could have sold both chins, several times over, by now, and not had this flake to deal with.

I just want to end with one little thing for you to think about:  if you are unable to pick up the animal within 14 days... I honestly feel like you should not even be looking yet.  It doesn't matter if you're talking about a breeder or a rescue or whatever, or even what animal specifically.  Most dog breeders won't hold dogs past a few days for pickup.  Even people breeding for show can determine, by 8 weeks, which puppies are show quality (so, which ones they are keeping), and typically have some sort of clause in their sales policy that states that people need a deposit down and have x amount of time after the deposit is put down, to pick up the puppy.  I've seen plenty that state, if the people already have the deposits down by the time the puppy is 8 weeks old, then the puppy must go to it's new home within the week following the puppy turning 8 weeks.  Adult animals are somewhat different than puppies, in that they are already ready to go when the deposit is put down.  For puppies, you might put down a deposit at 3 days old, and not be able to pick up for 8 weeks, so that's sort of the exception... but for animals that are already ready when you are looking to put down a deposit... if it's going to be a month before you can pick them up... why are you even looking?  I don't ask that to be facetious, but if you're not quite ready yet... I guess I think you should wait until you're more ready, especially since most places won't hold the animal for you.  That is all.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Chins Without Cages... Why?

So, I've had a lot of people ask over the years if our chins come with cages.  The answer is almost always no.  But did you ever wonder why?

First... many people don't bring a cage or any supplies with their chinchillas.  When we are really full, and start telling people that the only way they can bring their chin into the rescue, is if they bring a cage... then some people start showing up with cages... but often, other than that, people show up with the chin... and that's it.

Which is fine, don't get me wrong.  I always scratch my head as far as wondering... what do they do with the leftover chin food?  Leftover hay?  Cause many of these people have no other pets... but I digress.

The thought here is... if they don't bring a cage with the chin... what cage should I be giving out?  Since we're talking about rescues, which are adults and go for $75-100, or $65-75 on sale... I'd love to know what appropriate chin cages are out there that fit into that price range, and still allow for the rescue to have some money coming in from adoptions, to keep the rescue going.  Surely, we can't afford to buy new cages to send home with every chin... but if they're not brought in with a cage... unless one appears out of thin air, I don't have one to give.

Second... many people already have a cage when they contact us.  The few times when I've had someone bring in a chin where they specifically say that they want the cage to go home with the chin.... have you ever noticed, it's a gigantic cage, and the chin sits around waiting to get adopted?  Now, it's not because I price the chin and cage at a zillion dollars, in fact, I'll price it normally and then cut off like $50-75 versus if the people were getting it separately.  Now... IF the person was looking for a chin and a cage like the one with the chin... GREAT!  They look at this and think, what a deal!  Problem is... this never happens with little cages, only double ferret / critter nations and similarly gigantic sized cages, which not everyone can fit into their home.  So, we've been told that people would adopt these chins... except for that pesky, must-go-home-with-cage thing.  Same goes for having their own cage.  If they already spent money on a cage and decked it out, that may be the perfect chin for them, but drat, it comes with a cage and they don't need it.

So then I've had people ask, ok, well then send home the chins that were brought in with a cage, send those home with their cage, and the ones that didn't come with a cage, they just don't come with a cage.  So..

Chin comes with cage = goes home with cage
Chin doesn't come with cage = doesn't go home with cage

So the conversation usually continues, well, I would need to add on an additional cost for the cage, if some are going to come with the cage.  Some people disagree, but here's the thing... and this is where fairness comes in.  Say I have two chins at $75.  One comes with cage, the other doesn't.  First... most people are going to gravitate towards the one with the cage, and that one will likely be snatched up (because it's a good deal!)... but the other's going to sit here.  You know why?  Because people will look at the two chins, and say, "well, why should I pay $75 for this chin when it doesn't come with a cage, when those two over there do come with a cage for $75 each?"  I get it.  Which is why, for the few chins here and there that do come with a cage, there's an additional fee tacked on to that.

I've had rare exceptions to the not-coming-with-a-cage thing, mainly for special needs chins.  I had a blind chin a while back that I sent home with a specially decked out (small-ish) cage.  Yes, her fee was higher because of that, but her new family did not have to figure out how to best cage her with her special needs.  But... that's typically the exception to the rule.

One more quick thing before I get to work -- when people ask me if the chin comes with a cage, my mind goes to the regular humane society.  When you adopt a dog -- does it come with a crate, dog bowls, a bed, potty pads, a collar, and leash?  Maybe if they've got some special going, but when I use to volunteer at the humane society -- you adopted the dog, and you had to have your own way (collar / leash, etc.) to walk the dog out of the humane society.  I suppose people may think differently because these are small pets, but in reality, they're not all that much different -- they're all animals that need a home.  Most humane societies and such don't send home the animals with any food, treats, anything.  I try to be different than that and more helpful, of course, and send home food, munchies / treats / chews, and care packets.  Not saying that's huge, but every little thing adds up, and unfortunately, adding a cage onto that is something that would add up to more than we can spend.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Don't Like the _____? Tell Me!

Just wanted to make a quick post about this, as this sort of thing has been going on for years, but now's as good a time as ever to add it to the blog.

Someone will call and ask how far away we are.  Or what the price of the chins are.  Or if we have any specials.  I'll tell them, and they'll schedule an appointment.  Not an hour later, they will get back to me and say, they decided not to come.

Now... don't get me wrong, I have a ton of great adopters, and these fall into the minority of people who don't make it here... but I wanted to touch on this really quickly.  While I acknowledge that it may be, they went home and talked with their significant other, who may have been the one to say, oh the price is too much, or the drive is too far, or whatever... sometimes I wonder if, right when I say the price, the people aren't like... ok nevermind... but set the appointment anyway.

Maybe people don't want to seem turned off, but it's ok!  I had one person comment on a pic of a curly a while back, being really enthusiastic about coming to adopt right away, and they wanted me to call them so we could set up an appointment and all that... I sent them a message informing them that the curly was not a rescue and was $450.  Their response... oh, we'll have to make an appointment next week.  Needless to say, I never heard from them.

Maybe it's just me.  If I was in that situation, and thought the price was ungodly high, I think the most I'd commit to saying would be, "well, I need to think about it."  But I sure wouldn't make an appointment, or whatever, if I already knew I wasn't going to get it.

I understand it can be hard to say, ok, it's not what they were expecting, they don't want to get it.. but honestly... I don't bite!  You can just tell me, you know, we don't want to drive more than an hour, so we won't be coming by.  Ok!  No problem!  Saves me from writing down -- and then whiting out -- your appointment in my planner.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Special Treatment

I love you all, and all my adopters, and I'm sure you all know that.

But I want everyone to think I'm treating them fairly, so I wanted to mention a few instances where I think this has come up, and why I think it's important.

First... with the sale going on, I've had a lot of... "well, I can put down the deposit this week, and I know it says you only hold for 14 days, but I want to pick up in September, but not miss the sale price."

My response to this is that if people want to wait more than 14 days to pick up with a deposit, there's  a $2/day boarding charge after the 14 days.  So, I mention this to them, and they immediately say, well, what if they picked up in August?  Still $2 a day, cause it's still over 14 days.  Oh, but they'd be a great home!!  Now, I'm not denying that they may be an awesome home.  But... my policy is my policy.  Put down a deposit, get 14 days to pick up the animal.  I think that's fair, especially considering most rescues will not hold animals AT ALL.  So, if Tom, Dick, and Harry only get 14 days to pick up their critters, why should someone else get 35 days?  I mean, sure, I could make an exception, and I'm not saying that I never have (because I totally have... though usually much less than that)... but tell me... how is it fair to everyone else, who came within the 14 days, for me to allow someone else to have 35 days to pickup, with nothing in return for the rescue?  The short answer:  it's not fair.

And that's why I'll ask for the $2/day.  I know, some people are reading that, thinking holy cow... but you know what, when I pet sit for people, it's $15/week minimum donation, so it's in line with that (and believe me, when people are out of town, they think that's a bargain versus the veterinarian's boarding at $15/day)... and I actually hope it encourages people to pick up their critters.

I wouldn't mind them staying here longer, it's not like I "want to get rid of them" -- except that they're taking up cage space that could often be better used by an animal that is on the waiting list, waiting for an opening to come into the rescue.  And personally, I tend to think that people should wait to get an animal until they are ready.  I have a friend wanting to get a dog... but their life is going to be exceptionally busy in the next month or two, and they need to get their home ready... so they are waiting until the busy month passes and the house is ready... rather than contacting a breeder now, and asking that the dog be held for a month or two... which I feel is the better way to go.

The reason I wanted to post this is just to explain, before anyone thinks I'm trying to be unfair to them and not afford them an extra few days or whatever... keep in mind that the grand majority of people adhere to our deposit rules and pickup rules, and it's not fair to everyone who does go by our policies, to allow certain random people special treatment.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Plastic = The Devil

I guess I've drilled in a few too many people's heads and wrote in too many places about how bad plastic is for chins.  And don't get me wrong, it is... but I wanted to write this post because... just because plastic is bad, doesn't mean everything else is good.

I had an adoption form filled out the other day, where, for the section asking what type of shelves their cage had, they wrote "not plastic."  Of course, I emailed them back, asking, well, what are the shelves then... but this brings up an interesting point.

Just because the shelves aren't plastic, doesn't automatically mean they're safe.  If they're wire mesh shelves, they need to be a small enough mesh so feet and legs don't fall through -- not all wire mesh is safe.  If they're metal shelves, it's important that they're not all rusty and don't have jagged edges.   If they're wood shelves, we need to be sure they're made of safe wood, and not, say, cedar.

I know we all read everywhere how plastic is the devil, and yes, it is... it can cause a buttload of problems.  But... keep in mind, just because it's NOT plastic, doesn't mean it's automatically safe.  That is all.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Updates on Workers

So... I had a person or two ask me for updates on what was all going on with the people I posted about in my Workers posts last week, so I wanted to give you a quick update.

The person from the Walmart self-checkout, this post here, she never did text back.  A few days later, I asked if she was still wanting to volunteer or come help or whatever... also never heard back.

The person who originally told me, the could work anytime needed, clean anything, yadda yadda, and then could only come that one day the one week... post here, so she was supposed to get back to me for when she could work that following week.  She got back to me and told me she could work Tuesday.  I was going to be out of town until Wednesday night, so I told her this, and she came back saying she could work Thursday.  I asked what time Thursday, and she said she wasn't sure, but she'd get back to me about that on Tuesday.  Fast forward to Tuesday... Tuesday comes, Tuesday goes... no message.  So Wednesday, I message her asking if she's still wanting to come that following day to work and pick up her cage, and she said, OHHHH, NO, she meant the FOLLOWING week cause she was in Florida until the following Sunday.  Can work anytime.  Yep.

Let me back up for a second.  When she was originally there at the rescue, and originally said that she wanted to work, she learned that I had a used FN (cage) for sale and asked if I'd hold it until that Friday, which would have been the 23rd.  If you've ever seen me post those cages, I always put in the listing that I won't hold them more than a few days, cause usually by the time I'm posting them, they're clean, ready to go, and I want them gone.  When people post that they'll come pick it up next week, and then don't show, I've now wasted a week on selling it... so I only usually hold for a day or two.  But she said she'd get paid Friday, and would come that day to get the cage, so I said, sure, whatever.  So then, fast forward to when she said she could work Thursday (what I thought was the 29th), that would have already been me holding the cage for about two weeks for her.  Considerably longer than I wanted.  But... she wasn't going to be in town until Sunday (26th), so I figured, ok, she'd come pick up as soon as possible after that, and if she was not able, I would let her know that I was going to list it elsewhere.

Oh and also, we'd talked about the pay both in person, and when I initially texted her, asking her about working, she asked what the job paid.  $7.25/hour cash, paid daily, so I told her.

Back to her working.  So I asked, ok for the following week, when was she thinking?  She said Tuesday, and to help you follow this timeline, that would be today (7/4).  So when she said Tuesday, it occurred to me that was 4th of July, and I asked her if she realized that, and even if she did, that it would be morning / afternoon work because I was going to dinner / fireworks with family.  She said that was fine.... and asked if I'd said that I pay $8 an hour.  Nope, $7.25.  I wanted to tell her, scroll up like 3 texts and you'll see that, but I refrained.

So I asked her what time she wanted to start on Tuesday (today) and she asked if 7 am was good, and I said sure.  In my head, I thought, ok, that's early, but we'd been talking about working until 4 pm, so if she really worked that late, it'd be 9 hours, and would be worth the trip out here.  She's not far, but I can understand why someone may not want to come out for just an hour or two.  So I asked her if she wanted to plan for 7 am on Tuesday (this was Sunday, at the time) and she said yes, and we said our "see you then's" and all was good.

So then yesterday (Monday) she asked me if it would be easier to do 7-4 on Thursday.  I told her, not for me, since I have dog class and I'm gone a considerable chunk of the day, so it's hard for me to have anyone here on Thursdays doing anything.  Which, it's worth noting -- I'd LOVE for someone to point me out a job, that's not like a work-from-home job, where the employee gets to pick the days and hours.  Cause I'd almost think it's way more common with how often these people want to tell me when they think they should work.

Anyway, I asked her if she was able to still work on Tuesday as we'd planned, and she said yes, but that her mom had wanted her to check if she could come by another day instead.  I kinda find that odd, as she wanted all sorts of days and hours (her hours were getting cut at her other job), and we'd previously talked about where if she came Tuesday, and there was more work (which there always is), then maybe she could also come Wednesday, and Thursday, and so on.  But whatever... So I then asked, was she going to be able to take the cage tomorrow?  Cause again, now we're at 2.5 weeks holding time, for a cage I wanted gone, 2.5 weeks ago.  She said yes, which further solidified that she was going to show up today to work and take the cage.  Good.

Fast forward to this morning.  I'd love to write that she showed up and she was the best worker ever, and I can't wait to have her work again, and all that fun stuff.  But in reality -- NOPE!  She was a no-show, no call, no text, no anything.  And of course, I was up before 7 am anticipating her (and you all know, I'm not a morning person), only to not have her show, and not even let me know why she didn't show (and she couldn't have forgotten, since we talked about this all last night).  So... cage no longer on hold, and she no longer has a possible job here.

I read an article last week about how teenagers no longer have summer jobs like they used to, and someone I know posted a comment on the article saying, "it's not cause they're lazy!!"  I believe the actual article talked about how there's no opportunities for them, and they can't find a job, and yadda yadda.  My experience with these high school and college age people... not necessarily would I say that they're lazy, cause when I do get people in, they work just fine... but they don't seem to want to put forth any effort to actually come in!  In theory, they want to work -- to make money... but they don't want to come in.  When they decide they don't want to come in, after actually being scheduled to work, and expected to show up, they don't call.  They don't text.  I could understand, if I got a call or text or whatever and found out, ok, family emergency, can't come.  Fine, we can reschedule... but now, it's almost 1 pm here, about 6 hours later... and nothing.  To me, that's unacceptable... for ANY job.  You want a job, you have to either show up when you're scheduled or have a damn good excuse why you didn't for that one time you don't show up.

In addition... you all remember my posts about those other people (the guy and girl couple) who were also "available anytime" -- yet never when I needed -- same as this girl.  Maybe I don't get it... but they must think that if they say that, they'll get hired because of that (and don't get me wrong, it sure helps!)... but then, when they're never available, they're un-hired just as quickly..... so, to me, it doesn't make sense.  No, teenagers don't seem to have summer jobs like they used to (like I used to when I was that age).  But... I don't think it's not because jobs aren't available.  I see help wanted signs everywhere, and I need help... but no one wants to work, no one shows up when scheduled -- that makes it their own fault they don't have jobs.  For those of us that give them a chance, I have no doubt that many of them blow it, just like they do here....

Friday, June 30, 2017

New Item: Rock Candy

So, for today's new item, we have rock candy.  It looks like this:

Rock Candy is a bag of 25 pumice stones, for your chinchilla's chewing pleasure.  Pumice stones are natural stones that are softer and can be easily chewed by a chinchilla, which help to keep their teeth trimmed.  For all the pumice-loving chins out there, here's a bag of 25 pieces!  Our bag of rock candy is available for $4.00.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Workers, part 3

So, if you read the post from a few days ago, I had someone work like 2 days and then have a better opportunity come up, so they left to do that.  Cool for them.

Well, before that person had even started, I was telling another of my customers about how I was going to have this new person working here.  Their response?  To tell me about how their hours were severely cut at work to like 1-2 days, and they can clean ANYTIME I need, and they're free ALL THE TIME.

So, naturally, when the actual worker quit... I sent this person a text message, asking if she still wanted to work.  She said yes, asked what it paid, and I asked when she was available.  Oh, only the following day, of the entire week.  What happened to anytime?  Lol.  Anyway, so I asked what times she was available that next day, and she told me the times in the morning that she was free.  So I texted, asking, ok, did she want to plan to come then?

She never texted me back, actually not until the following evening, when I texted her, asking about when she planned to pick up a cage that I was holding for her... that she'd already put off picking up, for quite some time.  THEN she said, oh she can come Monday.  So... Wednesday... and then Monday?  So much for anytime (why even say it?).  I told her, well, I'll be out of town, but she could work later in the week... and she is supposed to get back to me with what times she's available for later in the week.  We shall see.


I realize this is the third day in a row I'm talking about these workers who are less-than-working-out.  I'm not doing this to complain, quite the opposite actually -- I just want you all to understand, when people are asking for pictures of chinchillas and asking to bring their chins in, and how come I haven't gotten their order out yet... it's not because I don't want to!  I'd love for someone to say, "hey, snap me some pics of this one chin..." and I go do it... but the main reason it's not so instantaneous is because there's only one of me -- taking the pics, making the toys, making the houses, answering the phone calls, handling the adoptions, doing the paperwork -- and so on and so forth.  And that's fine, I can do it just fine... but patience is very much appreciated, as one person can only do so much so fast!  As always, thanks for your patience :)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Workers.. part 2

So, funny thing.  I believe I posted about this when it happened, so some of you may remember it...

I was stopped in the self-checkout at Walmart a while back, but someone who had chinchillas, and wanted to know about the rescue (I was wearing my rescue hoodie at the time).  So I told them what it was, and all that... and they said they'd like to volunteer, all the time, so I gave them my business card.

Fast forward quite a few months (cause I mean... I had my hoodie on), and I get a text message this past Sunday, and the person says they're the lady from the self checkout.  Ok, cool.

Says she still wants to volunteer (yay), and so I ask when.  She says, oh probably Monday, but she'll have to ask her mom to watch the kids.  So I tell her, ok, ask, and then let me know, either way.

There's a little bit of small talk about chins and she asks, if she falls in love with one, can she adopt one, and I told her about the adoption form and how that all works.  And so then she asked about the price range, so I told her what prices they are.

Never got a text back, about volunteering Monday or about anything of that sort... so... guess she's not coming?