I love you all, I do. I love all your chinchillas and other furry small animals (and non-furries), I do. But I can't help you all, today.
I get at least 3-5 emails per week, AT LEAST, from people wanting to surrender chinchillas. This year has been excessive in the amount of emails, and even for the people wanting to surrender, no one has one chinchilla anymore, no... our current person we're working on scheduling bringing in their chins has 6 adults and 3 youngsters. So, it's no longer freeing up one cage, it's freeing up multiple, or having the room to bring in more cages to fit them all here at the rescue.
...and yet the emails keep coming. Honestly, it's sad. Either people don't have time, or the kid went to college, or got an apartment where they couldn't have the chinchilla... I mean, there's a million reasons why people can't keep them, and honestly, it doesn't even matter why, it's just that they can't keep them, and the chins need somewhere to go, and they contact us.
Oh and we're not the only ones who are full. Kristy at ABC Chins in Crystal Lake is out of town for a month and can't take in rescues until she's back. Jacqui at Mid-Michigan Chinchillas is full and also has a waiting list for rescues to come in. Most humane societies and other shelters are either full or are not taking in small animals, which is why we get the calls in the first place. The local guinea pig rescue closed down, and refers all their inquiries (mostly surrenders... not so many adoptions) to us, so now we have umpteen guinea pigs here as well. This isn't an isolated problem....
What is sort of an interesting phenomenon though is that the authors of many of these emails seem to understand that there are others wanting their chins to come in... but some emails take on the tone of, "well, I know there's others, and I know you have a waiting list, but here's why you should skip all of that and take in mine today." Uh, no. Sorry. Don't get me wrong, if you got evicted and live in your vehicle with your chinchilla and give me a call, I will do my absolute best to get your chin in, or find you a place that can take it. If you missed the story of Albert, one of our current rescue guinea pigs, he came into the rescue (and I even picked him up, *gasp* -- that's almost unheard of), when we were beyond full, because his human mom suffered a brain aneurysm and was in and out of the hospital on all sorts of meds, and effectively could not care for him at that time, and was about out of food / hay. That was an emergency situation. The average person who doesn't have time for their small pet... is not. Honestly, they can wait a little bit.
Even if I had unlimited room to put more cages and unlimited funds (ha!) to care for these furballs, the reality is that there's still only 24 hours in a day. What's often interesting is that when I tell people about the waiting list, so many people mention, well, they can bring a cage. To tell the truth... most people can bring a cage, so that doesn't really set anyone apart, and again, we come back to the space issue. Even if we had unlimited room and really could take in all the chins at once, even if we forget the cost of doing so (feeding, watering, cleaning, etc), there's still only one of me and still only 24 hours in a day.
I constantly have people texting me asking when their order will ship out, as it's been a few days, or a week, or whatever. I understand, in the world where you can get your order in 2 days from Amazon Prime, everyone wants their items now -- I get it -- but the delay is due to caring for all the chinchillas, plus answering the phone, responding to emails, handling adoptions, working on the webstore orders, making product to sell, and so on and so forth. Would I like to be caught up? Sure! That'd be awesome! And sometimes I'm closer than other times, but the reality is, when I tell people, hey, we have a waiting list, I can add you to it, just let me know... it's not because I don't want to help. It's because the more chinchillas that are here, the less individualized attention the rescues are going to get (which is where fosters come in, thanks to all of you who've stepped up so far!). The more chinchillas that are here, the more that order production time is going to suffer. The more chinchillas, the more email response time is going to lag. No, I don't want to be behind on anything, but there's still only 24 hours in the day, and if I'm behind now (and that's without bringing in the 24 chinchillas and 2 guinea pigs on our waiting list), imagine how behind I'd be with those additional critters. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to upset anyone, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, when telling someone, hey, I can't bring in your chinchilla right now. I want what's best all around. And sometimes, that means not bringing the animal in, right at this moment. Thank you for understanding.