Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Need (Or Not) For Playtime

So, I wanted to bring this up, because a friend pointed out a facebook post where someone talked about letting their 6 week old (yes, you read that right, 6 week old) kit out for playtime.  Mind you, that baby is not yet separated from it's mother, and these people were giving the chin playtime.  No, no, and more no.  NOT a good idea.  It did not end well for that chin.

So I wanted to talk a little about playtime.

First off -- playtime is a human construct.  It is not necessary for a chin to lead a full, happy life, and yet... I get in SO many chins because people don't have time for them, can't let them out.  I won't even be cynical this time and suggest that people are using that as an excuse -- I believe that many people really have got the idea in their head that if they can't let their chins free-roam for 5 hours a day, they are the most horrible owner on the planet, and should surrender their chins to the rescue.  No joke.

That's not the case.

Chins are den-dwelling animals.  They come out to get food, and then pretty much run back in.

Don't get me wrong, playtime can be a positive experience for both the chin and owner, as long as the chin is not being chased to get the chin back in the cage, as this creates a predator-prey situation and can frighten the chin.

But... this is with some boundaries / rules.  Playtime should start no earlier than 6 months of age.  This is because, before that age, chins cannot well-regulate either their body temperature or their blood sugar levels.  Therefore, they can easily overheat AND / OR go low blood sugar during playtime.  Either one can result in death.  We now have a handout that goes home with all young chins that advises of this, and advises that even when playtime is started at 6 months of age, it is to be started for 10 minutes per day and worked up to 30 minutes per day by 1 year of age.  Not your four-hour-long-romps in the living room.  Even for a well-adjusted, adult chin, this can be too much exercise and can cause the chin to overheat and go low blood sugar.  But for sure... no 6 week old kits having playtime.

We actually had one person, awhile back, take home a chin... around 2 months old, young female... they immediately let her out for playtime.  Long story short, she went low blood sugar.  They took her to the vet, which tried to give her fluids and such, but said she seemed alright (because adrenaline will power a chin back up and get the lethargy gone for a bit), and sent her home.  She died that night.  This is real, folks, this stuff really does kill chins.

So, to wrap up.  No playtime until 6 months.  At 6 months, 10 minutes per day to start with, working up to 30 minutes a day at 1 year old.  No crazy multi-hour long playtimes... preferably at all, but if you must... when the chin is adult, and has been slowly adjusted to it.  For the sake of your chins.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

More Info Needed, Please!

Just wanted to write a quick post here... I get a lot of emails where I need more info.

For example... someone wants x, y, and z supplies, how much will shipping cost?  Well... to where?  Next door?  California?  If emailing about shipping, please let me know either a zip code or (even better!) full address that you want the order shipped to.

And then I got one the other day, this one was about the same lines, but chin-related.  Someone emailed and I asked about a chin that was still under evaluation, so I explained how that works, and I told this person, look at the list of chins that are in the "available" section.  So, they email back, and say that they find one they liked, and ask if I can tell them the price.  Sure can... but... which one?  Of course, I emailed back and asked which one... but before you send the email, think, could you maybe provide more information?  If this person had just said which chin they were interested in, could they have the price of that specific one, I could have just responded back with, sure, here's the price.  As it is, that'll be another 3 emails from that email (my email back to them asking which chin, their email telling me which chin, and my email telling them the price).

More information is always better *thumbs up*

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Deposits

I feel like... honest to God... half the potential adopters either don't read, or can't read, or something.  If you read this blog routinely, you know how much the whole deposit thing irks me.

Straight from the sales policy page, I will copy and paste:

Deposits are NON-REFUNDABLE.  This means that once you have put down a deposit, if you are unable to adopt or decide not to adopt for any reason, your deposit is forfeited (you will not get it back).  When you come to pick up your animal, you will pay the adoption fee, minus what you have already put down as a deposit.  

Deposits are NON-TRANSFERABLE.  This means that they apply ONLY to the animal for which you put the deposit on.  Should you arrive at the rescue and decide that you want a different animal, your deposit will not transfer over to the new animal, and you will pay the full adoption fee for that animal.  This is due to the fact that we have held the other animal for you, and prevented that animal from being adopted, which was the point of the deposit.

Got it?  Good.

So, why do I continue to get questions like... well, we want to pay for the chin in full... but if we don't like him, can we get another?  Can we transfer the deposit or get it back?

Read above -- NO.

Sorry, but NO.

The whole point of deposits is to hold the animal until you get here.  During that time that the animal is held, no one else is able to adopt it.  In effect, we tell people, "sorry, I know how much you want that animal, but you cannot adopt it."  Crushing people's adoption dreams for their perfect chin, I'm sure.  So, when you get here and then DO NOT adopt it, you do not get the deposit refunded, because, while you did not get the chin, the deposit did what it was supposed to -- hold the chin FOR YOU.  That is all.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Mailing A Deposit

I think a more appropriate title for this post would have been:  I am not stupid -- I see what you are doing.  But... that doesn't tell you what this blog post is about.  This blog post is about mailing deposits.

Now, I don't have many people who mail deposits, so this doesn't come into play often, but... due to recent events (which have happened more than once), I have added a sentence or two into our sales policy.  Our policy as far as deposits has always been that the hold starts the day the deposit is received.  My addition to the sales policy specifies that for mailed deposits -- for people to keep this in mind, and that any delay in mailing means that the chinchilla may be adopted before the deposit gets here.

Why did I specify this, you might ask?  Because people are turds and take advantage.

Case in point.  I had someone wanting to get a chin more towards May.  I told her, we don't hold that long, could she get the chin early?  She said sure, no problem, she would mail out a deposit.  We talked, and she specified she would pick up the chin pretty much day 14, because she wanted the chin as close to May as possible.  Fine.

Except that was 8 days ago, I had not yet received the deposit... and I just got an email yesterday, saying, oh it slipped her mind, she mailed it that day (7 days after when she said she would) instead.  

I'm not stupid.  I know what she's doing.  If she thinks I don't, she clearly underestimates me.  I completely realize she wanted the chin held longer, and I specified that the 14 days started the day the deposit was received, so she, OOPS! forgot to mail for an additional 7 days.  Bullshit.  Absolute bullshit.  

I suppose, this is my own fault, since I don't believe that I specified to her, that the hold didn't start until the deposit was received.  In the future, for mailed deposits, I will be sure to specify this.  Not stupid -- remember that.  I try to be nice, but I will NOT let you all walk all over me.

One more thing -- I'm not trying to single anyone out.  This happened recently, so that's the one I'm talking about... but honestly, it happens more often than not.  People who are supposed to send a paypal deposit take a week to get it sent. Oh, they thought they had more money in the account than they really do.  Now... I'm not saying that didn't really happen... but I've honestly heard though the grapevine, from friends of people (who don't know that I know the friend), that it's been intentional....and it doesn't surprise me.      

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Shipping -- areas and costs

So... my website specifically says that we ship to the USA, and I know that, because I just looked at it, juuuust to be sure.  Just in case you haven't seen it, it says:

Yes, we can ship chinchillas to a major airport near you in the USA!  Contact for more info! 

See the word, "USA"?  Good!  You have normal eyesight, congrats.  I'm finding out a lot of people don't, as they email and ask if I can ship to Canada, or Europe, or some other country that, hint, is not in the USA.  People don't read.

The reason I cannot ship out of country is because that requires very specific licenses, which I do not have, and are not worth getting for the average person who doesn't plan to ship tens of thousands of dollars of chins every year.  For chinchillas.com, it's one thing.  For the average person, not so much.

Which brings us to... cost!  Shipping is not free.  Nowhere on my website, does it say, "we will ship chinchillas FOR FREE to an airport near you."  Now, I completely understand that nowadays, with Amazon and free shipping and all that, I can sort of vaguely see where people might think this... and then I take a step back, and say... no, wait, I can't.

Let me explain why.

...and I will start with an example.  The most common places that you see animals shipped would ve in the case of reptiles and frozen feeders.  Frozen feeders... as in, frozen pinkies / mice / etc, get shipped all the time.  Shipping is overnight, and typically runs around $40-50.  That's not regular mail, that's special overnight mail.  Shipping reptiles is similar.  They go overnight or next day mail, and tend to also run about $40-50.  Mind you, the reason these animals can even be shipped through the mail (and I use the term "mail" loosely) is because they can be packaged either in a sealed bag (frozen feeders) with cold packs in the box, or in deli-cups (reptiles), with heat / cold packs in the box, and can be mailed.  They're not going to run out of air overnight.  Chinchillas... not so much.  They need to be in an open-air, ventilated carrier, where they can breathe and not overheat.  Versus, a reptile box which can be stacked with all other, regular mail.

That said.... if it costs $40-50 to mail a reptile through the mail, what makes anyone think that chinchillas can ship, on the airlines (of all things) for free?  I'm honestly not quite sure.

Add in the fact that plastic bags and deli cups are cheap (comparatively, anyway), versus the airline requires special custom carriers that meet their long list of requirements... by the time you add in that cost, definitely not free.  Overnight boxes can be scheduled for pickup from your house, just like you can do a USPS package pickup.  Chins ship out of the airports.  I don't know of a breeder that lives right by the airport, and we're no exception... we're a good 60-90 minutes from O'Hare, depending on traffic and time of day.  This means, a round trip can easily be 3 hours, and that may be just driving time.  That does not necessarily include the time spent in the airport actually checking in the chins, the time spent before that, booking the flight, the time spent getting the carrier ready, and so on.

We've had a few people who have shipped 3-4 chins... but the average person ships one chin.  While that's perfectly fine, consider that if that chin has an adoption fee of $75 (and yes, we have shipped cheap chins before), and we spend $40-50 on a carrier, plus 4+ hours of our time (just on the day of shipping) -- no, shipping will not be free.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Shipping and deposits and all of that...

Ok, so what I think this whole post boils down to is this -- before you adopt an animal (any animal, not just a chinchilla), you really should think, and I mean, really think hard, about whether this animal is going to work for your life, with your other pets, as well as whether you can afford the cost, and any associated costs that may come with it.

Case in point.  I had a potential adopter pick out a chinchilla they liked on the website.  They asked about shipping.  I looked up shipping, and told them, yes, it was possible for them to ship to the airport they wanted.  They wanted to ship three weekends away from the current time, which is already longer than our deposits (14 days) allows chins to be held for, but since I was busy and would have had difficulty shipping on other days that worked for them, I thought, whatever.  They wanted to ship on a certain day, a Monday.

In the meantime, I told them, I would look up flights for that Monday when we got closer to the day (remember, three weeks away), and in the meantime, she put down a deposit to hold him.

So, fast forward to about half a week prior to that Monday.  I've looked up flights and I let her know what her options are.... she can't do it that day, but she says she can do it the following weekend.  Now, mind you, we've way overblown the deposit, but again, I figure, the chin will be going out soon, and shipping is more time-consuming on both ends than regular pickup, so no big deal.

So, I ask her, what times on the weekend work for her.  She says any times work for her.  Ok, that makes it easy on my end, because I can schedule around my appointments.  So I look up flights, and for both days, there's one in the morning, and another in the evening.  I would have difficulty making the evening flight, but the morning one is do-able, and she did say anytime, so I tell her about that flight.  She says that is perfect.

Here's where it starts getting fuzzy.

At that point, she's only paid a $50 deposit (which, I should note, is not actually half the adoption fee of the chin, but at the time, I figured, well, maybe that was all she had available at the time, and wanted to get the deposit down to hold the chin).  So I messaged her and told her, as soon as she paid the remainder, I would book the flight so we could ship the chin.  And I informed her that the remainder was $285.

She asked me to explain the $285.  So, I told her, the chin is $135, and shipping is $200, so we get $335, minus her $50 deposit, comes to $285.

So... then we have silence for two days.  This morning, I sent her a message nicely informing her that these flights do fill up, so the longer we wait to book the flight, the less chance we have of actually getting the chin on the flight.  Sidenote: I don't know if I've ever blogged about it, but we have had to reschedule when chins ship, due to having flights fill up between the time we check on flights and the time when the potential adopters pays for shipping, which sometimes is as little as 30 minutes.  I also informed her, I needed to know for my schedule as well, as I need to block out 3-4 hours of my time, minimum, to get to the airport and ship.

She gets back to me and says, she was thinking about it, and was thinking about what if this chin doesn't get along with her chin, and then she says she'd have to ship him back, because she doesn't have room for two large cages, so she's basically going to pass on the chin.

Which is fine, it's not like people don't back out now and then, but I feel like this could have been (more) preventable.  A few things that I guess just don't add up, and (I feel like) with more thinking, could have been prevented.

First, we have cost.  This person asked. towards the end, for the $285 cost to be explained to her.  Now, to me, I guess I view this as, this should not have been a surprise.  The chinchilla in question was a baby standard grey.  With the exception of one chin that I currently have for sale that got a decent placing at Nationals, every other standard grey baby chin goes for $135.  For the cost of shipping, I scrolled back in our messages to see if we talked about this, and we sure did -- her first message to me was asking about shipping, and my first message back to her specified, "shipping is $200 for 1-2 chins."  Again, to me, it would seem like $200 + $135 would equal $335, minus a $50 deposit would be $285.  But... maybe not to her.  How could this be fixed?  If she was unsure about the price of anything, she could have asked.  The price of shipping is still up there in our top few messages, so maybe she was unsure about the price of the chin.  Maybe she didn't look at the other listings for grey babies, and didn't know what it would cost.  In that case, however, I feel like it is the buyer's responsibility to ask.  Don't get me wrong, if I have a $600 chin, and someone emails about it, the first thing I will email back will be asking, they DO realize it's a $600 chin, right?  But for your average chin, where you're likely to be able to figure out the price because of context (I usually have 2-3 other standard babies for sale)... even with context... if you're unsure, ask.  This should not have been a surprise.

Next, we have the possibility of chins getting along (or not).  This person did ask, at the beginning, if I thought the chin I had would get along with another.  I told her, he hadn't shown me any signs (based on my caging situation) that he wouldn't get along with others.  Of course, as I've said before, there's no way to really know for sure without trying it out, as all chins are individuals, and even if one of my chins gets along with every other chin here... it may not get along with your chin.  At the time, this seemed fine, but at the end, she said this was why she was backing out.  How to fix this?  Before you even consider bringing another pet into your family, regardless of what type, think hard about what you will do if it doesn't work out.  Mind you, this was asked about in the beginning, so it did come up, I'm not saying that she didn't think about it (but maybe... not enough).  However, if we want to base her reasoning for backing out, solely on the possibility of her chins not getting along... then I feel like it might have been more useful to have thought harder about this, at the beginning... as nothing changed (as far as chins getting along) between four weeks ago and now.

And finally... time.  This is also something that could have been saved, had the potential adopter put more thought into all of this.  I conversed with the potential adopter over the course of the last month, looked up flights twice / called the airlines, got a shipping crate ready (stupidly), and so on and so forth.  Heck, she even wasted time for herself, considering her time is valuable too, and she had to fill out an adoption form and send the deposit and all of that.  Again, how to fix this?  Before you commit to anything... think hard about whether or not it is right for you.  That is all.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Donating vs. Trading In

I've had people come to the rescue who want to get a larger cage, and ask me, if they donate their original cage, will they get money off the larger cage?

Maybe this only aggravates me... not because they want money off... but because of the word "donation."  I view donations as things given freely, without anything given in return.  Right?  I mean, you don't donate food to the food pantry and think they're going to give you a free lunch, do you?

If you are looking for money off another item -- to me, it's a trade in.  You trade in your car, so the new car is cheaper.  If you donate your car... bye bye car, no money to you.

I realize this is all just differences in wording... but... so many people think they're doing so great by "donating," something... and then they go and tell their friends, oh they donated something, look how wonderful they are... well, if I gave you something for it, even money off... it wasn't a donation.  It was a trade-in.

Not saying this all to be mean, but this is just how I see it...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Some parents... great, others... not so much.

This past weekend, we had our rescue rabbits out at Taltree for a educational event.  They had goats and baby chicks as well, for the families to see and interact with, while doing Easter-type crafts and getting their pics taken with the Easter bunny.

Anyway.. for the rescue rabbits.  We had them in large dog-type x-pens so that the kids could climb in and pet them.  Some kids were great.  Some... not so much.  We had parents putting their kids in the pens with the rabbits... and disappearing.  We saw just about everything out there.  Some parents would get in the pens with their kids, and ensure that the kids were being super gentle about petting the rabbits and weren't hurting them, and so on.  Some parents were very responsible and very careful with the buns...

...and then this one kid... she was maybe 5 or so, old enough to understand what we were telling her.  Her parents put her in one of the pens with two of our rabbits, and she started roughly petting (almost hitting) the rabbits.  The three of us (me and two volunteers) kept chorusing "gentle!"  So she did stop doing that... and moved onto, putting her hand behind the rabbits and roughly pushing them around the pen.  They started hopping away from her, and she started chasing them.  Then, she started trying to pick them up.  Mind you, these are 6-7 pound rabbits... a 5 year old will have a bit of difficulty actually supporting their entire weight... so needless to say, she dropped both of them, multiple times, from about 2 feet in the air.  Oh, and this whole time, we keep telling her, please don't pick up the rabbits.  Then, she starts jumping around... and my volunteers step in, and tell her to be careful, as I'm sitting there cringing cause she's totally gonna land on a rabbit.  Then, she throws herself to the ground (intentionally -- wrestler style), and almost lands on one of the rabbits.

The entire time this is going on, we're all standing there and telling her, please be careful / don't pick up the buns, be careful jumping / go out of the pen to jump around, BE CAREFUL, and so on and so forth.  The parents are talking to the child in a different language, so we don't quite know what they're saying, but if they were at all echoing what we were saying, she wasn't listening in the slightest.

Finally, one of the parents pulled her out of the pen.  Thank God.  And... wait for it... the mom went to the Taltree staff and COMPLAINED that our one rabbit water bottle was out of water.  Now... granted... it was empty.  But there was water in it, not 20 minutes prior.  The kids getting in and out of the pen were shaking the water bottle and causing it to drip, so we were aware it was getting low, but hadn't seen that it was fully out yet.

Now, don't get me wrong... in case we hadn't been aware, I do appreciate that someone took the time to alert someone (naturally, not us, the rescue, but the staff at the location we were at) that there was no water.  However, what irks me about this -- they had no f-ing problem with the kid hopping around, pushing our rabbits, dropping our rabbits, roughly petting / hitting our rabbits, chasing our rabbits, and so on... but out of water?!?!  End of world.  If her kid had LANDED on our of our rabbits, which she very well could have with her jumping around, it could EASILY have broken the rabbits back.  Oh, but THAT must be ok, but our lack of water, for 20 minutes?  Oh, totally inexcusable.  And I guarantee you, they would have taken no responsibility for that, at all, either... just like they didn't remove their kid from our pens, even after we kept advising to be gentle and such, for over an hour.  Ugh.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Consideration

Consideration -- some people have none.

Remember my post a bit ago about the people who wanted me to put them together a small supply order and they said they'd be there the next morning to get it, so I rushed to have it done... and then they never showed up the next day?  And then how we set an appointment for later in the week, and that day came and went, after I rushed home from dog class to meet them, and then they didn't show up then either, so I texted and they said they'd have money the next day and would text before they headed over... and then never did?

Yeah, those people.

So, Saturday, after we got home from the Taltree rabbit event, we're out picking up dinner (me and the two volunteers) and I get a text from the guy, asking if I'm home right then.  I tell him no, and he tells me that he needs to add food to his order.  We settle on 10 pounds, and he asks if he can come over right then.  Now, if you have ANY reading comprehension, you just read that I said... I'm not home.  So, I tell him no, and I specify that we are out at dinner and maybe we'll be home in about 40 minutes if he wants to come then.

So he asks if I will be home in the morning.  I tell him, we're leaving at 8:30 for the Taltree event, and he specifies that he will be in the area come 9 am.  So I tell him, I can leave the food on the porch and he can leave the money in the mailbox.  I specify how much his order is $37.75, and I tell him, since I won't be there, I can't give him change, so please make sure to bring exact or else the rest will be a donation.  He says no problem, he'll bring exact.

So I tell him, I will leave the food and supply order out and he will text when he picks it up, so it doesn't have to sit out all day.

So, Sunday happens and we leave the rabbit event, and we're about home... and I tell one of the volunteers, I bet he never picked up the order, as I never got a text from him.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, we arrive home, and the order is still out there.

So, we are taking stuff inside, putting away the playpens and everything, and my one volunteer comes in and says, hey that guy is here for the order.  And?  The order is on the porch.  Oh, he wants change.  Now... pardon me if my first response is to be like... wtf.  I TOLD the guy I would not be home, AT ALL, until late night Sunday (8 pm or later), and this was maybe 4 pm?  Hardly late night.  And he comes and picks up the order and wants change.  AFTER wasting my time and setting (and not showing up for) multiple appointments, and then adding to the order (which mind you, I had to RUSH and get those other 10 pounds to set out, because it was already late the night before), AND, after specifying, that if I was leaving the order on the porch, I wasn't going to be able to make change.  People have no consideration.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Items from the Pet Store & Adoption Forms

I hope, with this post, to maybe help people understand where I'm coming from for some items on the adoption form.  I'm not trying to be a pain or to make anyone's life harder, when I ask for more information... but some answers are vague, or are not detailed enough for me to know, ok, the chin will be going to a good home, and of course, I want to make sure of that.  This has been going on for some time, to various degrees (some people do this for every question, some put it for one, other adoption forms are awesome!), but moreso lately, I have had people filling out the adoption form like so:

Name what food you're going to feed:  food from the pet store
Name what bedding you're going to use:  bedding from the pet store
Name what toys to use:  toys from the pet store

In case you're not sure what's exactly wrong with those answers, let me inform you -- there's quite a few different types of chinchilla food, bedding, and toys at the pet store.  Some safe, some not.

For food -- if you can find Mazuri or Oxbow, great!  If you pick up Kaytee Max, Kaytee Fiesta, Charlie Chinchilla -- foods chock full of ingredients your chin should not eat -- you're going to shorten the life of your chin.

For bedding -- if you pick up pine or aspen bedding, great!  If you get cedar or carefresh -- with cedar, the phenols can damage the respiratory system of your chin.  With carefresh, the chin can eat it and get impacted.

For toys -- if you pick up an all-wood one that really is chin-safe, great!  If you pick up one with plastic, leather, himilayan salt rocks, or any of the other many things that aren't chin safe, you're endangering the life of your chin.

What it boils down to -- you may totally have the intention of picking up Mazuri, aspen bedding, and a completely wood toy.  But with those answers, I don't know that.  So, if you happen to answer the adoption form questions like this, I will be asking you to elaborate.  And I should note, I mean no offense by that, I just want to ensure that the chin is going to a knowledgeable home that plans to care for them in a way so that they will live as long as possible.

Oh, and just for easy access, since we're talking about it:

Our care packet (talks about safe food, treats, toys, etc) -- http://www.nwichinchillas.com/chinchillacareinfo.htm

Our list of safe pet store products -- http://www.nwichinchillas.com/safe-pet-store-products

...and of course, I'm always happy to help if anyone ever needs help picking out what's safe.  I've been called by people who are standing in the pet store, more times than I can count, asking me to remind them which bedding / food / etc they should get.  Always happy to help.  :)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Rush Orders

I know, I know, we just talked about food orders that need to be rushed, but there's also a trend with other orders needing to be rushed as well.

Let me start by saying -- I get out orders as quickly as I can.  I really do.  For the items that are typically made-to-order... the houses, hay holders, etc... it says on the webstore that they may take two weeks to ship.  Ideally, I try to get them out, long before that.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but I sure try.  I don't like when I order something and I'm waiting... and waiting... and waiting some more... and then I get the order 3 months later.  I've even had to bug some sellers in the past, when I was originally ordering fleece liners, and pester them, over and over, for them to do my order and ship it.  That's not how life should be -- I feel like you should be able to place an order (whether here or elsewhere) and it should be put together and arrive on your doorstep in a reasonable amount of time.

That said... I get people all the time who email and basically say something to the tune of -- Hey, just wanted to let you know I ordered these items, and I was hoping you could get the order done absolutely ASAP because [insert reason] and so I really need it as soon as possible, and the earlier you could get it done, the better.  Please email me at your absolute earliest convenience with shipping cost.

Now, let's take a real life example.  I had someone email, let's say Monday.  Basically got that (above) email from them.  One of the items in their order was a house -- which I'd already had made, and mentally ear-marked for another order.  However, the other order was more complex, so I was still building the items and wasn't able to ship it out for a few more days.  So when I got the email from the person wanting their order rush rush, I said to myself, ok, I'll make another house for that other order.  So I took the house (from the order it should have gone for) and packed it up with the rush order.  I was busy for the next day or two, but on day 3 from when the order was placed, I emailed the person and told them, hey, I have your order ready to ship, shipping is this amount, total is this amount.  And I asked how they wanted to pay.  So they told me paypal (which is used in 90% of payments), and so I sent them an invoice.  It was still early in the day, I figured, well maybe they'll pay the invoice and I can ship it out that night, with another package that was going out.  Didn't get payment that night, and in the morning, I got an email saying that they'd pay in a few days, because they were waiting on something.

I hope this frustrates at least some of you, as much as it does me.  I rush everything, try to do the order quickly and for that order, I was going to be done with the orders for that day (cause as I'm sure you can imagine, if I work on orders all day, then cleaning / feeding / whatever, something else doesn't get done, so I divide my time), but I thought, no, she says she wants it quickly, so I'll keep working on orders.  And then... oh she'll pay in a few days.  So... it's only a rush, if she gets her money before the order is ready.  So now, I have a 2.5' box sitting around... nowhere good to put it... and it won't ship out for a few more days.

Please, please... if you want that order "rushed," have the money ready.  Cause this really gets aggravating....

Friday, April 7, 2017

Food Orders & Running Out of Food

So, I've been getting a lot of people... well, since always I suppose, who order something, or email me with an order, and specify, hey they need it right away.

This is especially true with food orders, where I guess some people are unable to determine that they need more chin chow until all their bags are empty.

Which, maybe you say, ok they don't realize it... let me back up a minute and ask -- would you completely run out of food in your house before you'd go buy more?  I mean to the point of not having anything to eat, no snacks, nothing to make a meal.  Maybe some people would... but I go shopping for more groceries before that.  Maybe I'm the odd one out... but I doubt people would let their pantries dwindle down to nothing before going shopping, and I personally think we should apply this to our pets' food supply as well.

When I only fed and sold Mazuri, the second I had two bags left (I usually buy 8-10 at a time, 200-250 pounds), that's when I would mentally tell myself, ok I need to get more.  If, for some reason I hadn't gone to get food and I had literally OPENED the last 25 pound bag... I would pretty much drop everything and go that day.  With the Tradition... Jim will deliver 500 pounds from Ohio every so often, and if I absolutely need more and he can't deliver, there's a local place that will order it for me and will have it within a week.  Not like I want to wait a week, but because I'm prepared... I usually have MannaPro Pro (rabbit food) on hand, which chins can eat, so if for some reason I actually ran out... I do have a backup.  But so with Tradition, if I go below four un-opened bags (200 pounds), I start to mentally panic, because I do have a few people who buy a whole 50 pound bag, and even one person whose family buys four at a time for her herd.  So, I like to make sure I have plenty, to keep it in stock for the people who buy it.  Oh, and for us.  Did I mention, we go through a 50 pound bag of Tradition in 2-3 days?  Yeah, so that's about 500 pounds a month, just to feed our own animals.

The point is -- notice, how with either of these foods, once it gets below a certain point, I make it a point to get more, one way or another.  The people who I'm talking about with food orders, while I love all my customers to death, paypal money for a food order and then email me that the pellets that are in the bowl are all they have.  When I send out flat rate food orders (which most of them are), they're 11 pounds.  That's two 5-pound bags, and a 1 pound bag.  Even that one pound bag would last one chin about two weeks.  Surely it wouldn't be that hard for someone to say, ok, when they open the last bag (whichever one they choose), that's when they'll order?  Cause it's more to be... when they use up the last bag, and the bag is empty and they're like, well shit.  And that's when they order.

Which, hey, you can all order whenever you want.... but on my side of this... it's tiring when every single food order is a rush, because someone couldn't be bothered to keep an eye on food supply.  Some weeks, I'm out of town for three days.  When ECBC Nationals rolled around, I was out of town for 5 days and had other people watching my dogs, feeding the chins, and so on.  It's not that I can't get your order ready that day, cause if I have the food, I will do my best, and I will try to get it out in the morning.  It's that sometimes, someone orders food... and I'm on my way out of town, and will be gone for 3 days.  When I get back, I can do it, but that means... the pet will be out of food for 4 days, by the time you figure that the package goes out next day, if I get it ready the absolute night I get back.  This is why it's best not to delay.  Yes, the chins can live on hay.  No, it won't hurt them.  But... a little more diligence would prevent this from even being an issue!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

"Are You Open Today?"

I know I've been talking about appointments lately, but I keep getting phone calls that have the same sort of idea to them.... and I don't quite get it.  Maybe someone can enlighten me.

Someone will call, and ask, "are you open today?" or "what's your hours today?"

My response is -- we do everything by appointment (since we are not like a retail store in a strip mall or whatever)... and I tell them, they CAN come that day, but they would just need to make an appointment.

Every single one of them responds, "ok," and hangs up.

I don't have hours, because some weeks I have no customers, like AT ALL, all week, and other days, I have appointments from 10 am until 9 pm.  For the not-steady flow of business, it's not practical to have hours. 

But I guess what I don't get... what is so hard about setting up an appointment?  I'm not saying it has to be like a freaking doctors appointment (and these people don't seem to think so either, as at least half show up late), but the second I say the word "appointment," op, nope, sorry, they vanish.  I get that it's more convenient to show up whenever, during a set frame of hours... but... I guess setting an appointment doesn't seem that difficult to me?  Anyone care to explain?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Patience

Ah, so a blog about patience.  I know, I know, I have none, but we're not talking about me (though I have gotten better over the years).

We're talking about potential adopters.

Now, I'm sure you all know -- I do my absolute best to get back to you all, as soon as I possibly can.  Sometimes, I can answer an email that day, even that hour... sometimes it might take me a day or two, especially depending on what you ask.  And don't get me wrong, I do understand that cases exist, where you send me an email... and you're driving through the area later that day... so you absolutely have to get a hold of me right away, or else you're going to pass the area.  It happens.  But that's not what I'm talking about...

I'm talking about...  case in point... the other day, I got an email at 4:39 pm.  I had customers until about 7, left the house right after the customers (actually, I should have been at my parents' house for dinner at 7, but I didn't shoo away the customer), came home at about 11 pm.  11:21 -- I get a facebook message on the NWI Chins page, from the same person as the email (they just repeated what was said in the email).

Now, I understand that they want to know, do I have a chin that matches what they want.  But... patience people.  That was what, 7 hours?  I understand to some people, especially if you're sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for something, that may feel like eternity.... but I wasn't home for 95% of the time between when the email was sent and when the message was sent.... and the time I was home, I had customers (with the exception of the 20ish minutes between when I got home and when I got the message).

Now... I'm not saying, if you think for some reason, that I didn't get your message, don't message again.  By all means, please do!  I've had some people email, and specify, hey, this is the second time they're emailing me... I never got the first email, so good thing they sent again!  But... if you do send an email or message or whatever, please know that I do try my best to get back to you as quick as possible... but give me a little bit.  Chances are, if I haven't gotten back to your email, you're in good company with other people who are waiting for my responses as well.  But I promise I'm doing my best to have a quick turnaround!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

New Scam?

So... not sure exactly how this is a scam... maybe someone can enlighten me... but this has happened a few too many times for me to think it's just coincidence.

So, this is how it works.  Someone texts me and asks if I still have the guinea pig / chinchilla / rabbit / whatever still available.  Yes I do.  Ok, so we talk about it a little and they ask where I'm located, so I give them the actual address (people want it to put into the gps to see how long the drive will be), and then it gets weird.

Then, they ask if I can do them a favor.  What favor?  Oh, help them with listing a kitten (or puppy, or other animal).  Every time, it's a friend who has the animal, and that friend will drive them, to adopt my animal, oh FOR SURE, if I help them with this listing.

I always respond, if it was a small animal, we could do a courtesy post, which is ONLY on our own website, but we don't help people with craigslist list posts or posts elsewhere.  Sorry.  They always push, and since it's typically NOT a small animal, and yet they tell me I post so well (thank you, thank you, *cough* bullshit *cough*, there's nothing special about my posts), I respond telling them, since it's not a small animal, I wouldn't know what to write to make it "sound good," any more than they (or anyone) would.

They ALWAYS come back, saying, they will give me the details, description, pics... ALL I need to do is post it.

Which begs the question -- then why can't THEY post it?

This time... when this person said that, I actually responded, and asked, well, if they have all the information then there's no reason they can't do it themselves.  Their response?  they tried, but it got flagged.

Well... this is craigslist.  I guarantee you some of my stuff gets flagged as well, but it takes MULTIPLE flaggers to actually bring an ad down.  I haven't had an ad get flagged down in years... since... Indy I believe, and I left there in 2010-2011, so it's been 6ish years since I've had an ad flagged.  Which I swear, does not necessarily mean I'm doing anything right, but I'm also not stupid enough to post my pedigreed show chins for sale on there, or any other chins that would appear to be the result of my direct breeding  (since breeding and selling those animals on craigslist is prohibited -- I will abide and just post the rescues).

Which makes me further think, that if they really are getting flagged (let's just say I believe this story for a moment)... they're probably posting baby kittens saying hey we just separated them from mom... making it obvious that they're breeding... or posting clearly sick animals, or something else unethical or illegal.

Needless to say, I told this person, sorry I can't help them, and I haven't heard back.

I looked up their area code... I originally thought it was 260, which I believe is northern Illinois up by the Wisconsin border, but it's actually 240, which is.. Maryland.  Yeah, they're totally coming to get a guinea pig.  Oh yeah, no doubt.

So... I'm not sure how exactly this is meant to scam you... maybe you have to click on a link for the pictures and that wipes out your computer with a virus or something, but... this has happened multiple times now... all relatively similar, to the point that this has to, somehow, be some sort of scam.  I don't quite get it... but... this is the sort of fun stuff I get to deal with...

Monday, April 3, 2017

Discounts -- This is Not a Garage Sale

So, as you may know, we sometimes have sales, and even when we don't have a sale, we usually offer a discount of $25, which we call the multi-chin discount.  That discount is off a same-sex pair of chinchillas.

Of course, everyone loves discounts, and we've had people basically try to name their own price.  We had a lady from California that wanted me to sell her two baby chins for $100 total, and throw in free shipping, because she was a poor student.  If you're a poor student, that poor... you don't need chinchillas.  That's more of an extreme example, as the cheapest anyone could get two chins for would be $245 (two standard grey babies), and shipping would be an additional $200, so she basically wanted us to go from $445 down to $100.  Sorry, but no.

More commonly, we simply get people asking, hey, I like these two chins, can I have them for X.  Mind you, it's never like $10 off, it's always a good chunk.  The other day, someone suggested a price for two that was $60 lower than the added-up price of the two.  I responded back telling this person about our $25 discount, and letting her know what the price for the two would be, should she choose to get them.

I was telling these things to a friend, and she mentioned, at the pet store... you don't get any discount if you buy two, and you pay tax.  So, I wanted to see how that sort of played out, money wise.

Since chins at the pet store (at least around here) tend to be $150... excuse me, $149.99 (I don't bother with that penny, my chins are even dollar amounts...I think most of us can acknowledge that $149.99 isn't really any cheaper than $150)... we'll use the example of two beiges, since I sell those for $150.

So, at the pet store, we have two chins at $149.99.  $149.99 x 2 = $299.98.  In Indiana, we have 7% sales tax.  So, 7% added to $299.98 = $320.97 for the two chins.

Here at NWI, if we had two chins for $150, it'd be $150 x 2 = $300.  But then, we have a $25 discount, so we're down to $275.

So actually, those same two chins here, would be almost $46 cheaper, without anyone asking for any discount or anything.  So you're already better off... so you might have to excuse me if I get a tad bit irritated when people ask for further discounts.  If you ever go to the pet store, and try to name your price, and they say "sure!" and ring you up for the price you named... by all means, let me know, I'll have to go try it myself.  In the meantime, they will laugh at you, and say that the price listed is what the price is.  Same here.  I know I've said it before, and I will say it again -- this is not a garage sale.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Appointments

So, in case you read this blog and think that I'm always crabby (I know, you're like, "you? crabby?? never!!" *sarcasm*)...let me share with you, two days of appointments.

Let's start with Thursday.  I had a morning appointment for supply pickup, that went well, they showed up on time, nice friendly people, all's good.  Had dog class, left for dog class, and then because of bad traffic, was rushing home for a 6:30 appointment.

Hold on, let's back up.  That 6:30 appointment on Thursday... they texted about a week prior, wanted me to come up with a treat / toy order for about $25.  Can do, no problem, we talked about what they wanted, they said the would be over the next day.  When people say that, and we don't set an appointment, I always tell people, text or call before you come, to check I'm home.  So I rush to get their order ready cause they want to come the following day in the morning (and I'm not a morning person, so I know that I won't get up early to get it ready)... the next day -- no text, no call, no nothing.  Whatever, hate to say it, but that's totally typical of this couple, so I set the order aside and move on.  Fast forward a week or so to this past Thursday... I'm rushing home for their 6:30 appointment, and I'm talking on the phone with Jim, and I mention to him... they're most likely going to be late, if they come at all.  So then, it's 8 pm, and I send them a text and ask if they're coming.  Oh, well, they don't have the money that day, they will have it the following day, so they want to come the next day.  Fine.  I tell them to text before they head over.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, they did not show up that next day and did not text or anything.

Also Thursday, I get a text from Carrie asking if I have bedding available.  Yep, sure do.  She texts me while I'm at dog class and says she'll be over around 8.  I tell her, ok, text when you leave.  No text, and she never shows up.  Later, I go back and notice that she had mentioned, if Thursday didn't work, she could come over Friday also.  Never contacted me on Friday.

Moving along to Friday... I had someone set at 10 am for a chin food pickup.  They text me and say their mom won't let them drive here alone, can they come later that night.  Sure, I will be home all day.  So, for "later," she was supposed to come at 6:30.  5:48 comes... "are you available tomorrow?"  So we set that I'm going to set their food out on the porch so they can pick it up tomorrow.

Earlier in the day... supposed to have a 1-2 pm chin dropoff.  Get a call -- her kid's sick, can she reschedule?  Again, sure.

Somewhere on Friday, I took two chins to the vet to get health certificates, so that I can then get import permits (to Wisconsin).  Got home from that and immediately got a call from someone else wanting to drop a chin off.  No cage room here, but I told the guy, ok, if he can bring the cage, he can bring the chin.  Got it.  So, he shows up with the chin and all it's stuff.

Then, I get a call from someone wanting to come pick up supplies on Saturday, hoping I have time to make some specific items (never did find the time).  Got the rest of her stuff ready, just not the one item that she was hoping for (sorry, I'm only one person, and notice is especially useful).

Don't get me wrong, I actually mean for this to be a relatively lighthearted post -- I'm not posting this stuff to complain.... but see, this is just two days of appointments / cancellations / re-schedulings / so on.  People not showing up, people not texting, people rescheduling for later in the day / week / year.  Don't get me wrong, on Friday I did have an adoption appointment, and Checker and Ollie Ogelesby got adopted.  So, plenty of people DO adopt and DO show up, and again, not posting this to complain.  But next time you think one of my posts sounds like it has a crabby tone to it... keep in mind... dealing with the public all day can be a bit trying, at times.  

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Availability of Chins

Got asked this the other day -- if we have chins year round.  We do... though availability of specific chins may be more selective.

Let me explain.

Your average chin in the most basic colors -- standard grey, light ebony, and beige, tend to be available year round, in decent supply (whether we're talking about pet-quality chins from my own lines, or from other breeders, or wholesale, or whatever).  Other colors may be harder to find, at certain times of the year.  For example, the spring rush hasn't hit yet (but should soon), and once it does, there will be a lack of whites, violets, brown velvets... the less easy-to-find colors.  The reason being -- once they are gone, they are gone.  Chins don't breed as well during the winter, which means, when spring rolls around, there's not as many available, and what is available... sort of is it.  Once they're adopted, then we basically have to wait until the spring production kicks in.  Lots of babies are born this time of the year.  However, a baby born March 1st, at the absolute earliest, will be ready for its new home on May 3rd (and that's if the chin is weaned right at 8 weeks and is perfectly ready to go a week later, at 9 weeks).  Hence... once the current chins are gone... there's a gap before more will be ready.

Harder to find chins -- the double recessives or the funky genes -- are even less available.  I have one person right now who's waiting on a blue diamond.  I don't breed sapphires or violets, so I'm waiting to get one in, so I can have one for them.  Last year, I believe I had a total of 3, and that sounds about right for the year before as well.  They're not common, and the ones I'm going to get in are strictly pet quality, which is why I can get them.

For funky genes -- lockens / curlies come to mind.  We don't breed angoras (though, if someone would like to set me up with a pair, I'll love you forever!), due to lack of winning the lottery and being able to afford the chins, so if you're looking for something unusual, bred here, it's going to be a curly.  While we actually do have quite a few curlies in breeding, and even put in one of our own-bred curlies earlier this year, they're not the quickest breeders, and... it's a recessive gene.  Not all the babies produced are curly.  As I'm sure you can imagine... more people want the curlies, rather than the curly carriers, so the females we've had that are curly are tending to stay here.  I actually had three people on the waiting list for a curly female.  One of them has since sold out of curlies, so two people.  Finally had a white ebony curly female.  Well, drat, she's so curly that, for purposes of continuing the curly line... I would be stupid to not keep her, grow her up, and add her to the lines.  I've heard it said, time and time again, if you're going to sell a chin that you don't particularly want to sell, you should price it high enough, that when you do sell it, you're happy with what you got.  With this girl.... I couldn't decide on a price I liked, that would actually make me happy.  And mind you, I sold a curly male earlier this year for $600, so we're not talking cheap prices... but here's what it came down to -- I wasn't happy with getting that for her, because even at that price, I wanted to keep her.  And maybe she'd sell for more, she very well might, as she's a white ebony (most curlies you can find for sale are regular ebonies) and a female.  But... if not happy with the price... she stays.  So... she most likely stays.  So, those people on the waiting list may get a shot at another white ebony female that I have... but she's a curly carrier.  Well... she's even better in build than this one... and if you've ever seen the curlies, they could use some neck and shoulder conformation... so she very well may stay too.  Anyway, the point is not the money or for you to read all my ramblings on chin breeding... but the point is, when you want something specific (curly female, for example), it may take some time, as there's not a lot of them born to start with, and when they are, if they're going to fit into my herd, they very well may stay here.  The pet quality chins, or even chins that are not going to fit into the herd (I can only use so many curly males), those are what's available.  So you may have to wait.

This all said... I routinely have people ask me, can I get in this or that?  Maybe, maybe not.... but it never hurts to ask!  One thing, I cannot get in angoras, sorry.  But just about anything else, for the right price (cause I have to pay for it too), I can probably get it in.  Keep in mind though, that if you ask for something insanely specific and I bug people to get it... it will but me, when you vanish when I get it.  The last two chins I've gotten in for specific people -- a violet wrap and a sapphire -- once I had the chins here... the people wanting them vanished.  Now, I'm not saying that people couldn't see a chin and say, ok, not exactly what they were looking for... they'll pass...but personally... I wouldn't get in either of those colors, as they're not big sellers.  So, be aware, if you ask for something really specific -- a blue diamond for example (which I will have to pay a hefty price to get for you) -- I will most likely ask for a deposit before I ever get the chin in.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Trial Runs

So... quick post on trial runs.  Note, we are not currently doing them, as "Cage Bitch" (as we call her) is still not returning my calls / emails, after saying (middle of February), oh she'll ship out the cage right away.  Very sorry.  Apparently not sorry enough for me to get my cage back.  Or even to bother responding to me.  I have choice words for her, but I'll refrain.

If you've been following, you know that someone else sent us a check for $200 to cover the cost of a new one of these cages, so that we can continue doing trial runs.  Thank you Dena P.  We appreciate your generosity!  The cage has since gone up from $89.99 + $30 shipping to $129.99 with free shipping -- great deal, let me tell you (sarcasm, in case you can't tell), but $200 would cover it, so I went ahead and ordered it.  Not here yet, so trial runs still on hold.

But... that doesn't keep people from asking about them, and we've had an interesting question come up, so I wanted to address that -- the relevant part of the email states... "I was interested in the trial run and the shipping cost."

Ok, so here's the thing.  Trial runs are for local people.  Especially after Cage Bitch, four hours away, still has my like-new, really-expensive-cage, that NO ONE should have had to pay for a new one for us, because we shouldn't have had this problem to begin with.  By local, I don't mean that you have to be 5 minutes from here.... but this has proven, you can't be four hours away either, because I can't go pound on your door (as I'd LOVE to with her) and ask for it back.  How far... that's a post for another day.  But here's the relevant part.. you DO need to be able to DRIVE HERE to pick up the chin and supplies and cage and all that.

As in -- I CANNOT and WILL NOT ship you a chin and cage and supplies for a trial run.  Even if you were somehow willing to pay for it, and somehow willing to pay for return shipping for all the stuff.  Oh hell no.  You see how well that's currently going... nope.  Anyone wanting to do a trial run gets to personally come to the rescue, pick up the chin and supplies, and sign off that you acknowledge that these items are not yours and that you will be sued for their stated value, should they not be returned (which is basically what the trial run form says now, but it's going to have a bit stronger wording when it's shortly revised).  That is all.  No shipping chins for trial runs.  Only shipping chins for people who are 10000% sure they want to adopt.  Got it?  Good.  Have a nice day!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Loofah

So, tonight I was cutting up loofah... which, if you know me, you that loofah cutting time is one of the most-hated tasks around here, as those little "loofah burrs" (produced by cutting the loofah with the table saw) end up in your hair, down your back, and just about everywhere.  And they ITCH!!  It was late, so because of the noise ordinance, I had to stop cutting at 9 pm, but I got about 12 or so loofahs cut up.  Not horrible, but I would have liked to have cut more.

About halfway through, I thought... ok... how many slices am I getting out of these?  Turns out, most of my loofah (I use 14"), I can get 12-13 slices out of.  If that doesn't seem possibly, because my loofah slices, are NOT, in fact, 1" thick.... I'd tend to agree with you.  Unfortunately, it's too late to go down there and cut another one up... but I think next time I am down there, I am going to measure my slices.  If, in fact, they are really 1" slices (which they can't possibly be), that's my own error and I need to cut thinner.  If, alternatively, I am somehow really getting 13, half-inch, slices out of 14" of loofah (which might be possible... those loofah burrs might account for the wasted loofah)... I need to up the price.  I know, I know, no one's cheering for that... but hear me out.

The loofahs cost me $3.43 each, wholesale.  Doesn't matter how many I buy, that's the cost.  I sell them, four pieces for $1.25.  If I can cut 12 pieces out of a loofah, that means that's three of those sets... which equals out to $3.75.  Pretty sure you can do the math yourself, but I'll share for those less math-inclined... that means, I buy the loofah, ship it in, take off the packaging, cut it on the saw (remember: one of the most-hated tasks), and for every three loofah packs I sell.... the rescue makes a whopping $0.32. 

Yeeeah, totally worth the effort.  Especially when you consider... I have to ship those things to get them here, so if you factor in cost of shipping, I am making literally nothing.

So, I don't know exactly what it's going to go up to... but expect the cost of loofah to go up in the near future.  Sorry for the inconvenience, but there's honestly no sense in even selling an item to purely break even or even lose money. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Chins that aren't ready yet

So, I wanted to share with you something that I suppose hasn't really come up much before -- chins that aren't ready yet.  As you may have noticed, there's separate sections on the website, sort of like categories.  Chins that are available, other critters that are available, chins / animals that are under evaluation, and animals on hold.  So today, we'll be talking about the animals that are under evaluation.

Critters find themselves in that category for a variety of reasons.  First, every animal that comes in, is "under evaluation" for a period of time.  That period of time may vary -- anything from a few days to 30 days, or even longer, depending on what's going on with the animal.  If we have an animal that's sick, not eating, or not doing well, they may be under evaluation for quite some time. 

One of our chins that is here at the rescue now is battling chronic eye infections.  He's been shown as "under evaluation" for quite some time, and he will be there until we clear up those eye infections and he's set to go home.  We have another chin, a female, who has not been eating well, since she has been here.  She's an older female, been picking at her hay... but not eating much of her pellets, and is slowly dropping weight.  Not much, but as we typically see in the culled breeders, she'd dropping a bit... and she'll take a little while to settle in, level off on her weight, and be ready to go to her new home.  The culled breeders are notorious for taking awhile to settle in -- after all, they've pretty much lived their entire life out in one cage... and then were picked up, transported here, handled and weighed... and they're like, "omg wtf happened?"  Their whole world turned upside down.  Don't get me wrong, 99.999% of them find great pet homes, but they sit here, drop some weight, and eventually realize... hey, this pet life isn't half bad!  They have hay, food, water, occasionally some treats, and once they realize that they're safe and everything's cool... they're ready to go.  But... they need to get to that point first.

Same goes for the younger chins.  Some of the young ones for sale are chins that are bred here that don't turn out to be show quality.  Some are from other breeders, same thing, not show quality.  The ones brought here from elsewhere need to stay for a bit to gain weight, make sure they're eating, and so on.  This doesn't always happen overnight.

Anyway, the point of this post -- because these chins aren't ready *snaps* like that, you see chins that stay in the "under evaluation" section until they are ready, and typically, unless we are having a shortage of chins, you don't see any descriptions or pics or anything, of those chins until they're ready.

So today, I was talking with someone about what chins we had available, and I told them what we had, and I guess none of those looked appealing, because they asked me for pics of several of the chins that are still under evaluation.  So as to not reinvent the wheel, here's what I said:

The chins that aren't ready, typically aren't ready because they aren't eating, due to being stressed from being shuffled around and coming to the rescue. That's why you don't see pictures until the chins are ready to go, because taking them out and taking pictures in a wide open cage with nowhere to hide, only stresses them more... and definitely doesn't help get them to feel comfortable, set in, and eat.  If you want pictures of any of the chins that aren't ready, you'll just need to hang on, until they are ready... cause there's no reason to stress them out more and set them back....

For the good of the chins -- that's the truth.  If they're already not settling in just quite yet, it's not going to help them at all, to put them in a wide open cage, nowhere to hide, under the lights, to snap some cute pics.  It's not that I wouldn't like someone to love them and think, "oooh, I can't wait for that chin to be ready so I can take it home!!", but for the sake of their health, further pestering the chin isn't going to help that chin out.... so no, I won't stress out a chin that isn't ready yet, and get you pics.  Sorry, but not sorry... I feel this shouldn't even need to be said... but if the chin is "under evaluation" -- there must might be a reason for it.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Wrong chin / sex!

We hear all the time about pet stores not being aware of what sex chin they have, or of other rescues even (not chinchilla specific, just like humane society-type) adopting out animals, and guessing at the sex... and saying that it's ok, because since it's a single, it doesn't matter what sex it is.

Which I suppose is true... as long as it stays a single it's entire life. 

When we get chins in, here, it doesn't matter what sex someone tells me it is, I always do a double check.  You tell me it's a standard grey male, ok, *lifts up tail* -- yes, it really is a male... or sometimes, nope, sorry, female.

I wanted to share a little story with you, that's kind of humorous (after the fact, but I would like to kick myself).  In addition to the rescue, I show chins (suppose most of you know that), and if a female is not breeding, or loses weight, or for some other reason gives me reason to not breed her or not continue to breed her... she will not stay in breeding.  So case in point, we have a pure standard run, the male's named Dom and is out of awesome lines, though a tad bit small, and the females are HUGE standards to compensate.  Well, the one female in the run was named Christina, and the one day I opened up her cage door, and she looked awfully small to me.  Jim was even here with me, and he even agreed.  It was literally a, "why am I you breeding that?" type thing.  Not necessarily because she was that tiny, but because Dom isn't overly large, and I remembered Christina as being quite the heifer.  So, I pulled her out, put her in a holding cage, and marked on her card that if she didn't litter by February 28th, that meant she wasn't pregnant and that she could go to a pet home.

So, Feb. 28 came and went, and I noticed that hey, I could free up some room if I listed her and found her a home.  So I wrote up an ad for her the other day, and today, went to go take her pictures.  Well, someone was just telling me about how their chin was mis-sexed, so it was fresh in my mind, so I pulled her out of her holding cage, and thought, I'll check her.  Considering I'm telling you this story, you can probably guess how this went -- nope!  She was a MALE!  Whoops.  So, I went to the run she was in, checked all the females.  Yep, all females.  So... the chin that was IN the run, that had been, for the last FOUR months that I'd had this chin separated for pregnancy watch, had been visiting and cuddling with all the other females... I got that chin out... and the freaking chunker... THAT was Christina, and THAT was the blocky heifer Christina that I remember.  Which means the chin that I separated for four months, that poor thing, was the awesome male, Dom.  Oops. 

So, what must have happened was this -- when I went to look in on "Christina," four months ago, the REAL Christina must have gotten her collar off and been in the run, while Dom must have been in Christina's cage.  The collar must have been laying in the cage, which would have explained why it didn't seem odd that the chin in the cage (Dom) didn't have a collar on.  So, thinking Dom was Christina, and a mighty small chin (considering I remember her plenty blocky and HUGE), I pulled him out and separated him. 

No wonder I haven't had any babies out of that run for the last four months (and won't for another 111 days). 

By the way, I should mention, Christina is probably a 900-1000 gram standard female, whereas Dom is more in the 600-700 range.  Neither are small, but in comparison... if Christina dropped to 600-700, I would think something's wrong, and would pull her from breeding.

Well, at least that's straightened out now!  Dom has his females back, and the real Christina is now chilling in a holding cage (as I'd replaced her with another female, and now need to figure out where to put her).

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Cost of chins

So, I got a text.  Well, I get them all the time, and many just like this one, but I wanted to use this as a good example to explain something.  Several somethings.

The text:  Are you firm on price of your chinchilla's ???  would love to have one for my Granddaughter but your price is to high for me

Now... few things.  First, let's touch on the granddaughter bit.  The adoption form asks, is the chinchilla for you, or someone else.  If someone indicates that the chin is for a grandkid, I will ask, do the parents know (and are they on board) with the kid getting the chin.  Believe it or not... most of the time... the parents have no clue!  Red flag #1.   Chins end up at the rescue, after being perfectly and intentionally wanted, much less when someone buys one for someone else as a gift and the adults in the household are not on board.

Next thing... price.  I actually did message this person back and mentioned that if they're looking for a lesser expensive chin, they might check out the adults and seniors... because I DO understand that not everyone may want to afford a $250 adoption fee for JUST the animal (not including cage, supplies, etc).  Versus... the adults and seniors range from $50-100.  This person never did reply back to me (and I will never understand that, by the way).  But, if $50-100 is too much... then honesty, they shouldn't have a chin.  The cage alone is going to cost more than that, as will vet bills, if needed.  We sell food and bedding and such here inexpensively, and that's why people return time and time again to get supplies... but if you're shopping at the pet store, it can cost a pretty penny when you're getting 3 pounds of food for $20 and 2 pounds of hay for $10 and so on.  That'll add up to $100 within a month or two, when you consider most people also feel the need to buy expensive treats (that are undoubtedly bad for the chin) and carefresh bedding, which of course can also cause impaction if eaten.

Last thing -- cage.   This person never mentioned a cage, but yesterday I had someone contact me who had purchased a chin, but did not have a cage, and the chin was running loose in one of their bedrooms.  I won't even go into how bad that is for a 4 month old chin that should not have playtime, which was also being fed the wrong foods and was drinking out of a bowl.  But so, they asked about cages, and I told her, the only used ones I have right now are used FNs, and new cages.  So I send her a pic of the new cage and the price ($137) and she tells me, she's not looking to break the bank.  Well, honey, chins are not the pet for you then.  Long story short, she decides that a used FN with a few wooden shelves is the way to go, and says she wants to get it, but tells me that I shouldn't worry about hanging onto it for her, because she doesn't know when she can come to get it.  So... apparently the chin's going to run around loose forever.  Wonderful owners.  The point of this is, this person thought that it'd be too much money to spend to get a FN full of wooden shelves, for less than the price of a new one (which would need to be modified and have shelves added in), because she didn't want to spend money on the chin. Well... then WHY BUY THE CHIN IN THE FIRST PLACE??  I will never understand.

The point is... a cage is the most important purchase you will make for your chinchilla.  Some people start out smaller and buy another, larger cage later on, as the chin grows.  Some get a big one to start with.  It really doesn't matter which.  The important thing is, if you get a good, quality cage, that cage can last for the life of your chin, and is where your chin will spend 95% of its life... so that's not the point when you want to cheapen-out, and say, oh well you can only spend $20 on it.     

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

ECBC Nationals and "CB"

So... lots has been going on.  Went to ECBC Nationals over the weekend, the chins got a 2nd and a 3rd -- not bad for the first ECBC show, and Nationals at that!  We took one of our pure x-dark standard females (which is actually to be traded with Jim after MCBA Nationals, for a lighter phase champ standard female) and a pink white male (one of the last babies out of Dillon, our pink white male that took reserve white male at MCBA Nationals a few years back).  Came home, cleaned cages, and went to bed. 

And after being gone 5 days, today the real work starts up again.  So far, I have called up "cage bitch" (as we have taken to calling her, around here).  Cage bitch (CB) is the lady that took off with the cage... but I need to give you some updates!  First, I did finally get an email back from CB, back on the 23rd of February.  She said, oh sorry, she's in the hospital, life has been crazy!  She said she'd mail back the cage that weekend (25th/26th), and she'd give me her credit card number for shipping and use of the cage.  And she asked for my address, and asked if the address on the website is the correct one or not.

Now, I hate to be cynical and disbelieving... but 99% of the reason people cancel appointments is because they're in the hospital (or a relative is, or whatnot), or there's a family emergency.  If I am to believe all of them, I feel there must be a very REAL correlation between scheduling an appointment at NWI and ending up in the hospital / having an emergency come up.  That's how ridiculous that excuse sounds after all these years.  Not to mention... cell phones work in the hospital, and so does email.  So... not an excuse. 

The part about the address -- she CAME to the rescue to adopt.  So... if nothing else, the address should look familiar to her, but why ask for the address or ask if that's the right one?  I think... to delay even further.   Because if she can say that she didn't know where to mail it... well, then she had to wait for me to get back to her before she could mail it, of course! 

So, I emailed her RIGHT BACK and said, yes, address is on the website, but just in case, here it is (and I gave the address) and gave my phone number she could call with the credit card number, and I asked, was she intending for me to mail out her supplies?  Because the way she worded it, she said she'd give me her credit card for shipping and use of the cage.  Shipping of... what?  I would assume supplies, but I wanted to be sure.  And I asked what address she wanted the supplies shipped to (I have an address for her, but that's not always the address people use).

It's now the 7th... 12 days later.  Needless to say, I DO NOT have the cage, I HAVE NOT heard back from CB, I DO NOT have a CC number to ship the supplies... NOTHING.  Which, again, does not surprise me in the slightest.

I called her today (Tuesday).  Cell went straight to voicemail, so I sent her an email as well.  But I told her... I need this cage in another week or two... which again, I thought I would have HAD by now, since she was going to ship it out, almost two weekends ago... and I told her, I need to hear from her, cause I need that cage and need to know what I'm doing about the supplies.  I expect to hear from her... about 10 years after I've died of old age.

BUT... there are good people in the world.  One of our adopters, Dena P., saw our previous blog post and sent us a check for $200 to cover the cost of the new cage and a bit extra so we're able to keep helping out the chins.  Thanks Dena!  (I will still be pestering CB for the original cage back, as we can do double the amount of good with TWO of these cages, and now that she's said she will return it... I fully expect to pester her until she does)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Trial Runs -- most likely "no more"

So, if you've talked to me at all lately, you know that we've had someone majorly pissing me off, due to borrowing a cage and vanishing.  Let me tell you the story.
 
So, we had someone who was looking to adopt a chin, and was ordering cages from Quality Cage.  Her cages were going to take 2 more weeks, plus some, to come in, and she asked if she could borrow a cage in the meantime.  I didn't want the chin to be on hold forever, here, and we only hold for 14 days with a deposit, and I want to say, we were already getting close to that.  So, I told her, we'd borrow her a cage and she could bring it back when she got her cage and got it set up.  She said no problem.  

So the day comes for her to adopt, she comes by.  The cage I had ready to go was our Quality Cage Travel Cage, which mind you, is a $100 cage with $30 shipping to our location.  But, I've lent it out a million times before and always gotten it back.  It was almost funny, because this lady was literally purchasing a quality cage townhome and a travel cage, so it was like haha, you're borrowing the same cage that's going to arrive.  Also, needless to say, there's no doubt she remembers she has our cage, as she now has two travel cages (hers and ours).

So, she borrows the cage and she said she would email when she got her cages in and all that, and then would come bring the cage back.  She also had paid for some supplies that we did not have ready for her at that moment, so she said she would pick those up at the same time.  
 
So, I realized, early February, that I have not heard from her, and send her an email asking how the chin's doing, and asking when we are planning to meet up for us to get the cage back and her to get her supplies.  She replied that the chin was doing great, she'd send me pictures right away.  Never did.  Completely ignored the questions about the cage and supplies.

I re-read my email and it said something to the tune of, "I believe I have all your stuff ready," so I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, thinking maybe she wasn't sure the stuff was ready to be picked up.  I checked that I really did have all of her stuff ready (which now, is packed up in a sealed bag to keep it clean), and emailed her again, this time, stating that I checked and had all of her items that she had paid for, ready for pickup, and wanted to know when worked for her to do the exchange and get the cage.

That was February 6th.  

Today is February 22nd.  I have not received a return email.  

This past weekend, we had an expo.  I guess the cage went to the back of my mind for a bit, until I started packing for the expo and realized -- I still don't have the cage.  So I went and dug out her paperwork -- which was easy, because she adopted on January 1st, so first paperwork of the year.  I called her up, this was Friday the 17th, and left her a message basically reminding her that she had supplies to pick up and a cage to return.  I told her in the message, if I thought she would have the cage this long, I honestly would have borrowed out another cage, as we use that cage for all sorts of expos, and I told her, now I need to scrunch animals together in a cage or something so I can take one of my other cages to the expo.  I asked that she call me back so we could talk about when we could work it out to get it back.  That was Friday midday-ish.

So, she doesn't call me back all weekend.  So, I wait until Monday, the 20th, and call again.  Again, I'm perfectly nice in the phone call, just reminding that she has our cage and we have her supplies. I even mentioned how we might be in the area in the upcoming weeks (cause she's over in Ohio) and that would save her the effort of driving all the way here to make the exchange.  To me, that's being exceptionally nice, considering she's supposed to have already, weeks ago, delivered the cage back to us.  I also told her, I have people wanting to do trial runs that can't..... because that's the cage we use, and it's not here.  It's now Wednesday and... nothing.  
 
I even sent her an email yesterday, explaining that I called her twice, left messages.  Asked if maybe she didn't get the phone calls or whatnot, because while I could understand if she can't just drop everything and come here, I feel like she could at least call back.  I also called late Tuesday night as well.  Same thing, no answer, left a message.

Honestly, I can't even fathom why she's not getting back to me.  In one of her emails, she mentioned that she had gotten the order from quality cage, finally (beginning of Feb), so by now, they should no doubt be set up and the chin should be in the big cage.  So I can't imagine why she's not getting back about the cage and supplies.

What I said to her about not being able to do trial runs because that cage isn't here... that's true.  Just about every single cage we have right now is in use.  We have three cages being used by the rabbit foster, and they are using one of their own cages as well.  We have one cage here that's going to another foster home, so we can't lend it out just quite at this moment.  And the other cage that we always should have available, with the exception being around expo time.... is the QC travel cage.  When I lent it to her, I knew we had the expo in February, but I thought, oh she said we'll have it back in a week or two, no way it's going to be around end of February and we won't have it back.  I was sure we'd have it back, so, that wasn't a concern.  You see how that went.

Now, I know in the past, we've sued the one guy who wouldn't return a chin, and I'm sure some of you remember that.  Problem with doing that in this situation is... this lady is in Ohio.  Pretty sure that's outside the jurisdiction of the little small claims court, and it costs $90 just to file in small claims.  It will cost more because it's out of state and "real court" -- the cage with shipping is $130.  Filing may very well cost that much, if not more.  

Plus, because this wasn't a typical trial run or anything like that, I don't have any signed paperwork saying that she actually has the cage.  I do have emails saying, hey thanks for agreeing to borrow me a cage, but it's not quite the same.

So... at the moment, trial runs are not happening.  Even in the future, I'm not sure they are going to continue.  The reason being... even with the trial run contract signed, and stating the value of the items borrowed and such... with anyone out of state, it is impossibly difficult (not to mention expensive) to track down that person and get out stuff back.  I don't know the exact figures, but I do know that we have a LOT of people from out of state.  And even for Indiana residents, we're still looking at $90 plus time and effort to go to court, if this were to happen again, even more if out of state.

This lady has proven that if someone doesn't want me to get in contact with them, they can pretty much ignore me forever, and there's not much I can do....which is why I say this about the trial runs.  

Without any cages to lend out at the moment, I don't really need to worry about the trial run program right now.  But even when / if I have a cage to lend, I am seriously considering ending the trial run program.  The rescue doesn't have the spare funds to be chasing after people for our stuff (nor the time), and to be perfectly honest, she seemed like a very nice, honest person... I would never have guessed for this to happen.  The only way to make it so that, if someone did disappear with our stuff, that we wouldn't have to come chase them down, would be to charge enough for the trial run to cover the cost of the chin, the cage, and everything.... well, at that point, they might as well adopt.  And, even if we said, ok, if it doesn't work out, we'll refund the money for all of that in 7 days... when all those "new" items are returned... no longer new... we can't sell them for nearly the same amounts, so we'd still be losing out.  Most trial runs end up adoptions, but for the few that don't, we'd lose out on a lot of money as far as the new items.  I even considered taking down a credit card number, which we could charge in the instance someone doesn't bring the stuff back -- but they could cancel the card the second they leave the rescue.  I haven't yet come up with a nice middle ground that would actually be feasible.  Most people are reasonable about this sort of thing, but sadly, it only takes one person to ruin it for everyone.

If someone has some miracle idea for how to get this lady to contact me back, or has any ideas for how to do the trial runs and not run the risk of people walking off with all of our stuff and having no good way to get it back, let me know.  Otherwise, the trial runs are on hold for now.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Understanding the Available Chinchillas Page

Worth mentioning, because I had someone today who messaged me and asked if I would have any of a certain chin ready by the time this one show comes up. 

We always have on the website, a list of the available chins.  If you want to get really specific, there's a list of currently available chins, then a list of chins under evaluation (to be available soon), and then a list of critters on hold. 

As is often the case with rescue... there's a lot more animals here than typically get pics and descriptions on the website.  Oh, they may be listed... it may say, "2 month standard grey male," but that chin may find a home without ever having a picture up or description or anything.  Some people don't necessarily look at our exhaustive list of chins available...and why not?  Well, it's only THIS long:


Chinchillas:
  • Electra (8-10 year old standard grey) & Cinder (1 year old dark ebony) -- female pair of chinchillas
  • ***courtesy listing*** 4 year old ebony male chinchilla -- "Diesel" ***courtesy listing***
  • 3 month old goldbar male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 9/14/16
  • Melo -- 6 month old hetero beige female chinchilla -- dob approx. 6/13/16
  • 4 month old pink white male chinchilla kit (baby) -- *special needs* -- dob approx. 8/16/16
  • 2 month old white mosaic male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 10/20/16
  • Benny -- 3.5 year old hetero beige male chinchilla -- fur chewer -- dob August 2013
  • Weezy -- 1 year old standard grey male chinchilla -- special needs (seizures -- NO playtime / wheel) -- dob November 2015
  • 7 year old hetero beige female chinchilla -- fur chewer -- culled breeder -- dob 2009
  • 3 year old tan female chinchilla -- culled breeder -- dob Nov. 2013
  • MNWI F74 -- 2 month old goldbar male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob 10/21/16
  • ---
  • 1.5 year old TOV white male chinchilla -- dob approx. 6/2015 -- retired breeder -- allergies -- (see upcoming chins)
  • Cheerio (previously known as Chincie) -- 8-9 year old hetero beige male chinchilla -- dob June 2008 -- (see upcoming chins)
  • 3.5 month old dark ebony male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 9/1/16 -- (see upcoming chins)
  •  3 month old white mosaic male chinchilla kit (baby) #1 -- dob approx. 9/10/16 -- (see upcoming chins)
  • 3.5 month old black velvet male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 9/1/16 -- (see upcoming chins)
  • ---
  • 3 month old white mosaic male chinchilla kit (baby) #2 -- dob approx. 9/10/16 -- (info coming soon)


Other Animals:
  • Nio -- Abyssinian male guinea pig -- 11 months old -- dob 1/22/16
  • Ratticate -- black hooded male rat -- 1ish year old -- dob approx. October 2015
  • Chomper -- 6 year old white w/ agouti spots male rabbit -- dob approx. Nov. 2010 -- fostered in Highland, IN
  • Nessie -- American crested female guinea pig -- 11 months old -- dob 1/22/16 -- (info coming soon)
  • Toffee & Fatty -- pair of male guinea pigs -- dob Dec. 2014 (Toffee) & June 2015 (Fatty) -- (info coming soon)
 

Chinchillas & Critters Being Evaluated (can be put on hold now and taken home soon!):
  • MNWI F70 -- 2.5 month old hetero beige female chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob 10/3/16 -- available soon
  • 2 month old black velvet female chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 10/21/16 -- available soon
  • 3.5 month old tan white / ebony pink white male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 9/1/16 -- available soon
  • 3 month old light tan female chinchilla kit (baby) -- front leg stump -- dob approx. 9/10/16 -- available soon
  • 4 month old standard grey female chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 8/10/16 -- available soon
  • 3.5 month old standard grey male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 9/1/16 -- available soon
  • 3.5 month old hetero beige male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 9/1/16 -- available soon
  • 3.5 month old white mosaic male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 9/1/16 -- available soon
  • 2.5 month old standard grey male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 10/1/16 -- available soon
  • 3 month old tan female chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 9/10/16 -- available soon
  • 4 month old brown velvet male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 8/10/16 -- available soon
  • Thisker -- 4-5 year old standard grey male chinchilla -- dob approx. June 2012 -- available soon
  • Zoey -- 2 year old standard grey female chinchilla -- dob approx. 1/1/15 -- available soon
  • Tikii -- 5.5 year old hetero beige male chinchilla -- dob approx. June 2011 -- available soon
  • Mija -- 2.5 year old standard grey female chinchilla -- dob approx. June 2014 -- available soon

... most people choose to scroll past all of that and look at the pictures of all of the fuzzballs.  Nothing wrong with that, but believe me, if all you look at is the cute pictures, you're missing out. 

Right now, there's pics and descriptions (including "up and coming chins" and "on hold" chins) on the website of a total of 21 critters (chins, rabbit, guinea pig, and rat).  However, look at that list of how many are actually here?  Regardless of them being available or not, there are 37 animals total here that are listed.  That means, 43% of the animals here do not have pictures or any information about them on the website.  

Now, knowledge is power.  See a chin that's not available yet (or at least, not marked as such)?  Ask!  We had someone ask about F70 the other day... they said she's been listed as "under evaluation" for over a month now, and they wanted to know if maybe we'd decided to keep her, or if she was on hold for someone, or what.  When we weaned her from mom, she actually had some fungus on her nose and we were treating it.  Now, most of her fur is growing back in, but before I list her as available, I want to be sure that the fungus is completely gone, so I'll give her probably another week, and then look at her again and re-check fur growth.  If she looks good and the fur's all working on growing back in, then she'll be moved to available.  If not, she'll get another fungus treatment, and we'll go from there.

It's not necessarily that I don't want to list all of the chins.  Rather, there's only so many hours in the day, and in addition to listing chins, there's quite a few more things to accomplish, so if you're wondering about one that doesn't have pics or a description, you don't need to wait for that chin to be listed, feel free to inquire!  

Some of the chins on the evaluation list haven't been here long enough to be available.  Adult rescues are housed for 30 days to ensure they are eating, drinking, pooing, maintaining weight, and generally doing well.  Before that 30 days is up, they can go home if someone really is dying to take them -- but without a health guarantee.  The grand majority of people want that health guarantee, which is completely understandable, so they wait the 30 days for us to list them.  Still within their initial 30 days are Thisker, Zoey, Tikii, and Mija.  Younger chins don't necessarily need to stay as long, provided they're doing well, but going along with not necessarily always having time to list them, occasionally, chins may not have been moved to the "correct" category yet.  For example, I can tell you that right now, several of the chins that are listed in the "under evaluation" category are actually available and ready to go.  Which ones?  Well, I don't know off the top of my head, but I have them marked, and need to move those chins to another category.  Again, what this means for you -- if you're waiting to see a chin be moved to "available" -- feel free to ask if the chin may already be ready, as sometimes, we get behind (I know, you just can't imagine that, right?).

Finally, also worth mentioning... if you are looking for something specific, feel free to ask.  Someone today was asking about curly carrier females.  I don't have any listed, and I don't intend to have any young ones upcoming, but I do have a chin that I took out of breeding, which might be of interest to them.  She's nowhere on the website, which is intentional, as she'll have to clear her pregnancy watch before she would go to a pet home... but this is another breeder asking, so she could go home before that.  Even for chins not-for-breeding-purposes... if someone emailed me asking for a violet wrap, I may not have it... but I can sure try to get it.  Or sometimes people want an older chin that's sweet and calm, and I will admit, if I'm switching up breeders, I may pull some out of breeding and have them chilling in a cage for awhile before I think, I could have had that chin listed this entire time.  Notably males, which can't be pregnant, obviously, but I had a white ebony male that sat around for at least 6 months before he was listed.  If anyone had asked about him, he was available, and he did find a great home, but he wasn't on the website for the longest time.  If someone had asked, hey, did I have an adult male... often I will actually physically go down to the basement to see what I have, and I would have noticed him and told them... 

And I suppose what this all comes down to is, if record keeping was perfect and if I had all the time in the world, I could have the website perfectly up to date, and there would never be discrepancies between which chins are available, or there would never be chins that are available, but not listed, or without pictures, or whatever.  But... let's be real.  This is the real world, where real life keeps us on our toes and typically behind schedule, and we do what we can.  So, that said, if you're looking for something that's not listed, or want to know about something that is, ASK.