Saturday, September 30, 2017

Foster Homes / Foster Failures

We're always looking for foster homes!  We provide the chinchilla / cage / supplies, and you provide the love, care, and cleaning!

We've had a lot of people asking about this lately, so, here's what this involves....

What do we provide?

  • Cage
  • Pellets / hay
  • Chew toys
  • Bedding
  • Treats
  • Dust / dust pan
  • Food bowl
  • Water bottle
  • Hammock
What do you provide?
  • Weekly cage cleaning
  • Feeding / watering
  • Making sure chinchilla has sufficient chew toys / replacements
  • Handling / socialization
  • TLC

How long do you provide the above supplies?  During the time you are fostering the chinchilla, we continue to provide supplies.  However, we will not ship or deliver these supplies, so we recommend that when you come to pick up your chinchilla and supplies for fostering, you have enough for awhile.

What if I don't have a cage?   If you do not have your own cage for fostering a chinchilla, the cages we are lending out are guinea-pig-type cages.  Obviously, we'd like our adoptive homes to keep their chins in a bit more of a taller,  more exciting cage, but that's unfortunately not what's available to lend out.

How long will I foster?  As long as you want!  Preferably we ask that you foster for at least a few months, so that you don't take a chin to foster and return it the following week, but you can foster for any length of time.  If you take home a foster and decide it's not for you, you can bring it back to the rescue.  Ideally, we'd like people to foster until the chinchilla gets adopted, to prevent the chinchillas from being shuffled around from home to home.

Which chinchillas can I foster?  We are currently fostering out our adults and senior chinchillas.  If you are experienced in chinchillas, we would rather foster out chinchillas that are more difficult to adopt out.  If not, that's fine, we have plenty of adults / seniors that are looking for a nice foster home.  Adults are chinchillas that are 1+ years of age.  Sorry, but the younger chinchillas are adopted so quickly that they are not available for fostering.

What happens when my foster chinchilla gets adopted?  How does that work?  There are two options for adoption of a foster chinchilla.  The first option is that the foster home handles the adoption themselves, at their home (under the guidance of the rescue, of course).  The adoptive home would be approved by the rescue, and the foster home would simply handle the last few pieces of paperwork and handing over the chinchilla.  The second option is that the adoption would happen at the rescue, and the foster home would bring the chinchilla to the rescue, where the three parties (rescue, foster, and adopter) would meet, for the adoption to happen.  For the sake of scheduling, it is easier to schedule the first option, but we will work with everyone to make either option work, depending on what the foster home is comfortable with.

What if I want to adopt my foster chinchilla?  You can!  We've had several foster failures who can tell you that it does happen -- people do fall in love with their foster chinchilla!  If you decide you want to adopt, you will just need to fill out an adoption form for your chinchilla, get it approved, and then you can adopt! 

What paperwork do I need to sign?  When you come to pick up your foster chinchilla and supplies, you will sign a contract which states that you're fostering a chinchilla for the rescue, borrowing supplies, that you understand what this entails, and that you will return the chinchilla / supplies to the rescue if / when requested.  Nothing overly complicated!

If this all sounds good to you, let us know, and we'll get you on your way to fostering a chinchilla!  

Friday, September 29, 2017

Why Go To An Expo?

So, I thought I'd write about why you should go to an expo. 

Obviously, because I'm there, with my booth. 

But why else?  Well, there's all sorts of stuff to see, things to do, freebies... and more! 

There's vendors selling all sorts of dog treats and toys.  At the one dog bakery, this time they had a "loss of pet" t-shirt, so we had to buy one in memory of Taffy.  You can see it --> here

There's places selling all sorts of dog stuff!  There were booths with dog toys, dog clothes, dog bandanas, leashes, collars, dog bows... a little bit of everything!  The one booth had basically a little bit of everything.  I went around on the second day of the event, and got these three dog scarves and the pack of three mini tennis balls, for (guess how much this cost)...

...$2.50!  Who-hoo!  Everything was half-off for the second day.  This is sort of an extreme example, but things are good priced, regardless.

We also got some doggie beer (sort of like a sauce you can use with their wet food) and a few munchies for the poochies.

There's also all sorts of educational seminars.  At many (most) of these events, we present on chinchillas and their care.  Often, Jim Nesci presents on his reptiles, other groups present on their exotics.  At this latest event, there was a presentation on grooming animals, one on service animals and how they help their humans, one on training dogs... and so on!  If you show up at the Kane County Expo, there is usually Weiner Dog Races!  All sorts of fun stuff to see!

There's all sorts of adoptable animals.  Everything from dogs and cats, to guinea pigs and chinchillas, and I bet that if you ask these organizations, they have even more back at the rescue!  Right now, we have probably 20+ chinchillas, plus at least 6 guinea pigs (plus some new babies in!), a rabbit, and something like 17 crested geckos available... and probably a few more I'm forgetting.  Come adopt whatever tugs at your heartstrings!

And.... let's not forget the freebies!

Often booths give some good free stuff... from VCA, we got a cute little tote bag, frisbee, leash, cat toy (mouse on a stick), squeaky Kong tennis ball, foldable water pouch, and flea comb.

Plus the free samples.  I got a few free baggies of dog bisquits, but there's also dog food companies out there that are promoting their product, and will give you dog food (or cat food, if that's your thing) to try.  Nutrisource was at this one, as was Anamaet (sp?), as was a smaller independent company with a higher protein dog food.

And if you want human items, those are present as well!  You can buy all sorts of things.  At this last event, I purchased some magnesium-infused hand cream, and some odor eliminator sprays.  Some booths also have human items like dog-breed-shaped salt-and-pepper shakers, dog mugs, and more! 

You never know what you'll find at these events, so come out and check them out!  Kane County is November 11th & 12th at the Kane County Fairgrounds, and we want to see you there!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Chicago Pet Show - Libertyvile

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Listen, Please

One other thing I don't get...

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Applying to Adopt... at like 10 Places

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

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

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

Reasons why this is frustrating:

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

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

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

That is all.