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


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)