Tuesday, September 18, 2018

"I Can Pick Up Today" & Other "Offers" With Lower Prices

Let me share with you a short convo I had with someone the other day:

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Them:  How much total for Duke?

Me:  His adoption fee is $100.

Them:  Possible to be any lower?  $50.  I'm coming way from Waukegan

Me:  Sorry no

Them:  I could pick up today if $50 but ok

Me:  That makes absolutely no difference.  This is a chinchilla rescue not a flea market.  I'm not dying to sell them as quickly as possible to the lowest bidder, sorry

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Let me make it very clear.  I don't freaking care if you can pick up in 5 minutes.  My prices are my prices.  ESPECIALLY on the cheaper chins.  If I have one for $600 and you offer me $550, we may discuss it.  You offer me HALF on a $100 chinchilla?  Oh hell no.  I don't care if you can teleport to my house right now to get it.  Nope, no how, no way.

Do these people go to Walmart and haggle?  Hell no!!!  So why do they do it here?  Oh it's a small business.  Guess it's ok for Walmart to make money, but not for the small business, that, you know, actually cares about it's customers?  Oh heavens no.  Pardon the small business from making any money, but the billioniare corporation, oh we can't question their prices!!!

People like this, I honestly want to tell them where they can shove their money.

It gets old, really old, when people constantly question how cheap they can get everything.  Since I have a lot of chins, I should just hand them out like Halloween candy, eh?  I think not.

Now, I'm sure some of you out there are like, hey, how do you know these people aren't good homes and just want to save a few bucks?  They may very well be.  However, I have sales, they can wait for them.  And... wait for it... these are LIVE ANIMALS.  We're not talking about a tchotchke that they can haggle down from $1 at a garage sale.  You can't then haggle down pet food.  Or vet care.  So if someone is going to try to haggle down the price of the chinchilla (and mind you, not by simply asking, hey, are there any discounts...that's fine... but by the way they ask about it and the way they try to convince that I should take their lower price)... I don't want them adopting anyway.  They can be a good home to another chin somewhere else.

By the way, these tend to be the same people who point out to me that there's chin on craigslist for $100 with cage and all accessories.  How come mine is $100 for just the chin?  Oh, well, it has a health guarantee, will replace if it dies within the first week, you have a lifetime of support, yadda yadda.  But, oh, I can't throw in a cage and everything with it, for the price of the chin?  No, sorry.  And guess what?  If I tell them, well, if it's such a great deal, why don't you go get the craigslist chin?  The answer never fails to be some variation of -- well, yours looks healthier / better cared for / etc etc.  Amazing -- you get what you pay for!  Imagine that.

I'm never going to get rich off these furballs and selling supplies.  Some people are like hey you sold that one chin for $200!!  Yes, but each parent likely cost at least that, so they need to have a handful of babies just to recoup costs of parents (and some of those babies will hopefully be held back for show and to put back into the herd), and then of course... maintenance costs.  My new basement AC this year was almost $700.  My AC bills have ranged between $300-450 per month all summer.  Sure, some of the chins sell for a lot, but the bills and expenses are also a lot, and eat up a lot of the money brought in.  The reason I mention this -- I'm clearly never going to become a millionaire selling chinchillas... and that's fine.  But the place has to stay running in order to keep rescuing and keep providing people with safe chinchilla supplies.  To do that requires money, and requires not accepting the lowest bidder on everything.  So, sorry not sorry, but lowball offers are insulting and I will not entertain them.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Keeping Appointments

So, I won't go into the one no-show appointment yet (that'll be a story for another day), but for the sake of this post, all you really need to know is that the one morning a few days ago, I had several appointments set for the evening, including a 5 pm appointment. 

The 5 pm appointment was actually someone I sort of knew, who was supposed to pick up pre-arranged stuff (and that is all I will say at the moment), so I didn't anticipate them being a no-show.

So, when someone who I'd talked to about appointments contacted me later in the day and asked if 5 pm would work for me, I told her, sorry, no, but that my entire evening was booked up, and that the next time I would have available was a day or two later, after the weekend.

Probably needless to say, you wouldn't be reading this, had my 5 pm showed up. 

However, since I didn't know they weren't coming, I told that person they would not be able to come at that time slot, and they said they would have to get back to me with other times that would work for them.  Now, they still may... but it's been a few days... so I'm not holding my breath.  See, most people that really want to come by, keep in good contact and don't wait days upon days between email / phone responses.  So, I don't anticipate hearing from her.

Anyway, the point of all of this is that that 5 pm may think that not showing up for her appointment doesn't really affect anything other than her appointment (well, it does, but again, another post for another day).  But in reality, it does.  See, had I known she wasn't coming, I could have scheduled the other person for that time slot, and potentially adopted out a chinchilla and maybe even sold some supplies, and possibly even educated someone more on chinchillas and there care.  But, as I did not know that my 5 pm wasn't going to show up, I told the other person that I was booked, and ended up sitting around for 60+ minutes, twiddling my thumbs while waiting for a text back.

So, this is just a friendly reminder that people need to remember that if they can't make their appointment, for whatever reason, it is considerably better to let me (or wherever you're going) know, so we can adjust accordingly.  So that not only do you make us miss out on your appointment, but we also don't miss out on others, that we might have filled your slot with.

That is all.... for now.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Ask Questions!

I feel, personally, this goes without saying...but if you want info and it's not there... feel free to ask!

I had someone last week, email me about putting down a deposit on a chin.  Little did they know, the chin (which wasn't listed yet, and still isn't), is $600.  Needless to say, when I emailed back and said how much the deposit would be (their question, along with wanting to see pics) and sent pics, I never heard back.  If there's no price listed, ask.  If it doesn't say whether a chin gets along with other chins or not, ask.  I may not know, but it can't hurt to ask.  If I didn't post the back story about how a chin came to the rescue and that's a pondering of yours, ask.  Again, I may not know (a lot of people say they can't care for it anymore or don't have time... and leave it at that), but you can ask!  About the only thing I don't want you to ask for is a discount (see previous blog post), and that's more out of respect than anything.

I try to post whatever info I have on the chins.  I've even tried, lately, to include what back story I have, if I have one.  Sure, for some chins, it's "the kids got tired of them," or "developed allergies," or whatnot, but if you read Ash's backstory, there's quite the story there.  Not all relating directly to him, specifically, but it's about how his family came upon getting chins, and how they were intentionally misinformed, and so on. 

But try as I might, I can't include everything.  Undoubtedly, someone will wonder if the chin is good with cats or kids or dogs or whatever.  I try to put in all the listings if the chin would or would not make a good first chin.  However, I don't re-write each ad from scratch (I know, how dare I try to save time), so if the ad I use didn't have it, I may forget to add it back in.  That's where, if you're wondering something and it's not there, a quick email asking a question never hurts! 

I'm always happy to answer questions and give advice and help out where I can.  But I don't know that you have the questions if you don't ask them! 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Discounts

People are getting really bold, and, honestly, if it keeps up, no one's getting no discounts anymore. 

Now, you may know, I have sales periodically, so the chins do go on sale, and they're slightly discounted at that point, usually between $10-50 off, depending on the price.  Obviously, the cheaper chins are $10 off, the higher, $50 off.  Sometimes at the beginning of the year, I'll have a percentage sale, like for 2014, I had 14% off for January.

Other than these sales, I usually will give a $25 discount off of two chins, plus an extra $25 for every additional chin.  So, get 2 chins, $25 off.  Get 3 chins, $50 off. 

Honestly, I think this is all pretty nice.  Not to pat my own back, you understand, but I have pretty regular sales (one every spring, one every fall, one every summer, usually one first of the year), whereas many breeders don't have them all the time, and many private rescues NEVER reduce adoption fees.  My prices are also lower than the competitors...I sell my whites for $200-250 (and if it's $250, it's really something special), the next closest breeder starts their whites at $300.  So, I kind of feel like, ok I'm cheaper to start with, and then I have sales... pretty good deal.

So lately, I've had two people who've asked what discount they will get if they get two chinchillas.  My response is $25 off.  The response, both times, has been basically, "that's it??"  My response back, that's what everyone gets. 

Don't think that's a good enough discount / sale price?  Let's do an example.  There's a breeder who occasionally does buy-one-get-one-half-off on her chins.  Their whites start at $350 and greys usually $100.  Versus my whites (even an expensive one) $250, and greys $135.  So, for their buy-one-get-one-half-off, you're looking at $400 ($350 + $50) for the two chins.  People can whine all they want that they have that sale and I don't... but I mean, even at my REGULAR prices ($250 + $135 = $385... and really it'd be $360 because of the $25 off), I'm STILL cheaper than their sale prices.  But yes, it totally makes sense to whine that I don't have good sales.

It says nothing on my website, anywhere, about getting a discount for getting two chins.  I offer that because I try to be nice.  I understand that people want to save money, get a discount.  I get it  But guess what, I have bills to pay too, and if you wouldn't go into walmart and ask for a lower price, please don't do it here.  If someone thinks my prices are too high, that's fine.  They're welcome to go elsewhere.  I'm sure they can find a nice backyard-bred chin on craigslist for somewhat less than my prices.  The prices are what they are.  If someone wants a better price, they're welcome to wait for a sale... of course, can't guarantee that the fancy colors and whatnot will be here when the sales roll around, but they might be.  Just a gamble that ya gotta take if the prices are normally too high.

I don't say this all to be a bitch.  But believe me, it gets really old when people question prices and ask for discounts, and then your fellow breeders tell you that that same person bought chins from them at higher prices and didn't blink an eye.  Just because we have rescue chins doesn't make this a garage sale.  They are all living, breathing critters, and deserve nice homes (and not to the lowest bidder).  That is all.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

"He's Only 12 Pounds!"

So, I get a lot, and I mean a LOT of calls for me to take in dogs and cats.  People don't look at where they are calling, they just see the word rescue, and call.

I specify, we take in small caged pets, like guinea pigs, chinchillas, etc etc.

I had a guy tell me the other day that we he had a miniature pinscher that he needed to give up.

So I repeated, we only take in small caged pets, gave examples, and then even went as far to say, we don't take in any dogs or cats.

The response?  "He's only 12 pounds."

Now tell me.  If you have a miniature pinscher and you go to the pet store.... do you go to the small animal section?  Heck no.  So don't be calling a small animal rescue about your small dogs and cats.  It's that simple.  Really. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Rosebuds

Rosebuds are one of our top selling herbs.... so you know, as if they weren't expensive enough, the supplier raised the price almost $5 per pound! 

We have low profit margins on our items, with the goal being to pass along the savings to the customers, making chinchilla supplies affordable for them, while still bringing in a little for the rescue.  With the low profit margins... I can't eat the cost of another ~ $5.00 per pound, unless I want to sell them for less than what I'm paying for them.  Unfortunately, that means I have to pass the cost increase along to my customers. 

Rosebuds were $2.50 per ounce, now they will be $3.00 for one ounce. 

The larger package was $7.00 for three ounces, which was a savings of 50 cents off the normal cost of 3 ounces... now the larger package will be $8.50 for 3 ounces, still a 50 cents savings off the normal cost.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Shipping... "But It's Not That Far"

I know I've talked about shipping before, but it seems that now that I've posted several times saying I can't ship, now I'm getting these messages saying, well, am I sure I can't ship?  It's not that far.

Distance has NOTHING to do with it.  It costs just as much for me to ship a chinchilla to the Indianapolis airport as it does to ship one to the Seattle, Washington airport.  This isn't like booking a human flight, where farther is more... it's flat rate for animals.

And, as mentioned before, it's $400+ to ship one.  So, not cost effective for the buyer, and not worth my time to spend all that money (even with getting it paid back) to make the cost of one adoption fee.

Not to mention, even if someone wanted to pay the money, plus throw in an extra $$$ for me to make it worth my effort... it's like 90 out.  Waaaaaay too hot.  So, I couldn't ship, even if I wanted to.  Sorry. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Not Eating Food

Someone asked about this in an email, and I thought it was a good quick useful topic, so I thought I'd post here.

In the email, they specified that their chin had stopped eating pellets, but was eating still the hay and the treats, and they wanted to know if I had any thoughts on this.

My first thought would be teeth problems / dental issues.  Here's why.  Think about it this way.  If your teeth hurt, you're still going to need to eat, but are you going to choose to eat applesauce or hard candy?  Assuming you're planning on biting the hard candy... that would hurt your teeth, correct?  So you'd eat softer foods. 

The same is often true of our furry friends.  If their teeth hurt, the first thing to go as far as them eating, will be the hardest thing that we give them to eat.  Out of pellets, hay, and treats, the hardest thing to crunch down on would be the pellets.  So, those would be the first thing they'd stop eating.  Eventually, the hay would be next to go, followed by the treats.

I advised this person to get the chinchilla's teeth and roots checked, as that would be the main guess as far as what's wrong.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Going Elsewhere to Adopt

Let me start by saying, I completely respect everyone's right to adopt from wherever they like.  That said, I still think people should have some common courtesy.  For example...if someone is talking with me, back and forth, and then decides to go elsewhere, I feel like it's never a bad thing to receive an email saying, you know what, we decided to go elsewhere.  I know, I know, people don't do that.  But it would be damn nice if they did.

Case in point.  I had someone wanting to adopt two same-sex guinea pigs.  When they originally emailed me, I had one of each gender, but I told them, I knew I had more younger ones coming in, and when I got back in town, I'd let them know what gender they were.  Obviously, since there were multiple, I would end up with at least one same-sex pair, which is what they wanted.  So, she waits until I get back in town and sends a quick email, asking for an update.  I email the next day, telling her I'd checked the guinea pigs, had two males now, and asked her if she wanted to see pics.  Yes she did, so I told her, I'd get those within a few days.  Send her the pics.  *crickets* 

I was going through my inbox today, and saw that email sitting there, still with no response, so I sent her a quick message basically saying, you know, just wanted to check if she was still interested, and if not, that's ok too, but also letting her know that I'd appreciate if she could let me know, because I hadn't listed the guinea pigs, due to her saying how she wanted the same-sex pair and basically waiting around for me to get more in, pair them, yadda yadda.  I got an email back like that *snaps* saying they decided to go with another rescued pet, sorry it didn't work out.

Here's the thing.  No hard feelings.  Like, it's literally no big deal.  What frustrates me about this sort of thing... what if I'd had someone here over the last few days wanting to adopt a young male pair of guinea pigs?  I would have told them, sorry, this one person is going to adopt them... and then you see what happens.  This is why I feel communication is so important, and why I feel like if someone decides to go elsewhere or get a different pet or whatever... that they should let the original rescue they were conversing with KNOW about it.  Common courtesy, to me, anyway.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Shipping (well, not)

So, I used to have on my website a thing saying that we did ship.  Now, it seems sometimes that I ought to put something up saying that we don't.  Since I stopped shipping, I have never run into so many people asking if we do ship.

I tend to think this is because the same company that we used to ship -- PetSafe -- is the same company almost everyone used to ship chinchillas, so all of a sudden, it went from a handful of breeders shipping chinchillas, to almost no one shipping chinchillas, and the people wanting chinchillas shipped, left high and dry.

Unfortunately, nothing I can do about this.

I actually went on PetSafe's site a few days ago, just to check that nothing had changed, but nope, they are currently still only shipping cats and dogs.  As chins aren't cats or dogs... can't ship them.

Did I look into other airlines?  Of course I did.  The cost is severely prohibitive with anyplace else (and it wasn't exactly cheap with PetSafe).  With using PetSafe, the total passed-on-cost to the purchaser was $200-250 to ship 1-4 chinchillas.  That included the flight, carrier, paperwork, etc etc etc.  The flight ALONE on some of these other airlines starts at $220.  YIKES.  The carriers are $30-50, and then... these other airlines require health certificates for the pets.  Those run ~ $125 per pet at our vet.  So figure, $220 flight, $30 carrier, $125 health cert (1 chin) = $375.  That's not counting the little bit I'd add in for gas and my time... yeah no.  People balked at paying $200-250 to ship a chin... so when shipping basically went up to $400+ for ONE chinchilla, I took the shipping part off the website.

I've still had people say they can find our website when they search for breeders who ship.  Here's the thing.  Search engines aren't smart.  Every word is single and by itself.  My ads that are on other websites all have the same line in them.  It goes:

This chinchilla is located in Hammond, Indiana (zip code 46324). Sorry, but we do not ship.

Now, consider that each word is considered individually.  See the problem?  The word "ship."  It sees the ad and sees that we are a breeder and sees that the word ship is in there, and is like, "oooh! a breeder who ships!"  Yet... if I take that line out, or even remove the part about shipping... then I get even more people asking about shipping (versus just the ones that can't read, or see the ads on our site, where it doesn't say anything about shipping).  So.. can't win there. 

Even if someone wanted to pay $400+ to ship a chin... there's an awful lot of effort involved in shipping animals.  Of that money, as you can see based on numbers above, I'd make very little on shipping.  Maybe $20 plus my cost for gas.  Let's be honest, that's not much for all the time it takes to set up the flight, the time at the airport, the time getting everything organize and set up and everyone on board... and this isn't including the new regulations which would require the time to get the animal to the vet and get the vet cert (only a few days prior to shipping), plus the time spent at the airport with these other airlines that are clueless about chin shipping (Jim spent 2.5-3 hours shipping with American cause they were so disorganized and clueless)... it's not really worth it for the average $100 chinchilla.  Yes, of course, we make the $100 (well...  minus the costs incurred to care for the animal while here), but probably lose an entire day or two to adopt out one chinchilla.  Yes, the chinchilla is being adopted, I acknowledge that.  But...there is such a thing as time better spent.  So, until the day PetSafe decides to ship small animals again, they are currently only available for pickup, or meeting at someplace we are already going (like an expo or chin show).  Sorry for the inconvenience.  I'd like to ship too... but not with the current state of things.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Is My Chinchilla Drinking?

This question (above), well an offshoot of it, is what prompted the post yesterday about telling people that they're always welcome to ask questions.

I got a text from someone telling me that they noticed some odd behavior with their chin... they thought he was going to a corner to pee, but then wouldn't pee, and if they offered him water, he wouldn't drink.  Their question was, would this warrant a vet visit?

My first questions to them were, is he eating, and is he pooing?  The answer to both was yes.  That's always a good sign, because usually if they're not drinking, they won't be eating either. 

Since he was pooing, the next question was, do the poos look normal?  They say yes, they do.  Also a good sign, as if a chinchilla is not drinking, the poos shrink.  Without water intake, there is less water coming back out of the bodies in the poo, so you end up with smaller, usually rounder, harder, poos.  To me, they're obviously different, and probably to most people as well.  If you think the poos look normal, they probably are, as changes are fairly obvious. 

They said he was also acting normal and playful, which is also good sign.  If he was stressed or sick, often you see chins that act lethargic or just sit on one place.

All in all, I didn't think anything was wrong, and this person appreciated getting an educated opinion.  This is your tidbit of chin-knowledge for the day :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Questions / Concerns

I feel like I say this (or try to) to everyone who walks in the door, but in case I missed you somehow... I'm always happy to answer questions and/or address concerns.  Even if you've never been here / never adopted / never bought anything.  I get calls from all sorts of people with questions, I'm always happy to help.  The goal of the website with a zillion pages on it is to educate people and help people out... of course, it can't cover everything, or specific-to-the-situation questions, and that's where everyone can always feel free to reach out if they need something.

My contact info:

Email -- amgajda@sbcglobal.net
Phone (call or text) -- 219-789-0026

It doesn't matter how stupid you think the question is, if you don't know, it's not a stupid question, you just don't know!  Feel free to ask...

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Testimonials Posts

Not sure if anyone other than me notices this... but I must delete at least 2-3 junk testimonial posts daily from the website.  This page here, in case you're unfamiliar.

There used to be two distinct pages on the website, guestbook and testimonials.  Anyone could post in the guestbook, but the testimonials needed to be approved.  I had some awesome testimonials!  Unfortunately, the web host decided to discontinue that app awhile back, and so most of those were lost, and all that's left now is the guestbook page (which I have re-named testimonials, in effort to hide it from the spammers).

See, if you go on there, you fill out the form at the top, and press submit, and it shows up on the site.  So, at any given day, you may find postings for viagra, computer repair, illegible writing, etc etc.  That drives me insane. 

The sad thing is, very few people actually post reviews / guestbook posts / actual testimonials.  If you look at that, the last one is from April of 2017!  I know I've had happy customers since then, come on people, let's post some happy thoughts / reviews / etc! 

Every time someone completes that form, I get an email that basically says, "you have a new guestbook signature!"  Every time I see that (so, several times a day), I go look at the website, like excited, thinking maybe this time, it's a real post and not another viagra selling ad.  Nope!  Not since April of 2017.  Boo.  Disappointed every time.

We also do have facebook reviews open, if anyone prefers reviewing on that, that's always an option as well.  Not a ton of people do that either, but definitely more of those than the testimonials posts!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Hay

I generally try to be nice.  I generally try to count to 10, or walk away and come back, before I send a nasty response out to anything.  But sometimes people just push my buttons.

Do you remember the hay scandal (or whatever you want to call it) from a few years back?   In case you don't, here's the blog post about it -- here.

If you don't care to read it, quick synopsis is that I understand that it's not worth it to a lot of farmers to sell a handful of bales of hay at a crack, especially if the hay isn't located where they live.  So, Jim and I found a local-ish farmer with timothy hay, who would sell a few bales of hay.  To make it worth his while, we paid $100 to him for 20 bales, and only took 5, with the understanding that we would be returning for the rest.  We talked and agreed that I would just contact this person when I needed hay, and we would arrange a time for me to pick up another 5, and so on, until I'd exhausted the money paid.  You can probably guess from what you've read so far, that I never did get the rest of the hay.  The guy basically fell off the planet.  To this day (and this was November 2016 this happened) this absolutely pisses me off and boils my blood.

For some odd reason, this hay guy is still my facebook friend.  So, the other day I was eating dinner and I saw this meme that he posted:




I wasn't in the greatest mood then, and replied, "what about when someone buys hay, and it's never delivered?"

I basically forgot about it for a day or two, but something reminded me of it today, and I went to go see if maybe he responded.  Nope!  In fact, the dickhead deleted my comment!  So, I commented this:



Needless to say, NOW I have been un-friended and that post deleted.  Amazing what shitheads people are, no?  I often try to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I was talking with a friend about this, saying how it's not like I really thought that he'd be like "oh I forgot," but somehow, I still tried to think maybe something came up, or he'd own up, like you know, a good human being, but nope! Complete asshole!

I hope he gets his.  Just like I hope Joel gets his for stealing $8000-9000 from me / the rescue.  I'm trusting, but people will tell you, I'm HARDLY over-trusting, so I find it insanely frustrating that these people do this stuff, and get away with this shit.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Donations / List of Needed Items

In cleaning up (ha, hahahahaha), I found a sheet where I'd written down potential items for donation.  I now have that List of Needed Items page on our website, and actually, some of these items on the list weren't on there, so I added them to the list. 

In case you were curious, the items added were old towels (used to as rags), fleece / JoAnn gift cards, Chlorox Clean-Up, laundry detergent, plain cheerios, old fashioned oats, and used cages / small animal supplies.

I somehow must have glossed over the cheerios, old fashioned oats, and un-frosted shredded wheat squares before, but for example, we use those to make the goodie bags that we sell, and more importantly, that go home with all the adult chins (well, chins 6+ months) that go to their new homes.  Those were on the list I found, but also, someone actually made me think of those more recently, in that I had someone coming by... I was going to chin sit their chins over a weekend, and they said they wanted to donate some items, and asked what I need.  Let me start by saying, that's never a bad idea to ask.... there's usually something on that list that I'm either out of, or will soon be, and that would be a higher priority (and a trip to the grocery store for me) than something I'm still well-stocked on.  For that specific time, I was intending (and still am...) to make some goodie bags.  To do that, of course, we need the items that go inside them.  So, I told her, ziploc baggies, cheerios, oats, etc etc.  Obviously, I told her, that's just what I will need, so she had a variety of things to pick from.  She ended up actually getting about everything I'd listed and then some, so that was super awesome of her.  If you're reading this, thanks Chris!  Anyway, the thing is, never hurts to ask if something specific is needed.

Also... now that I do have a list up there of needed items, I've had people that have asked why we don't have absolute necessities on there, like chin food, bedding, and hay, just for example.  Here's the thing -- if you have open bags of chin food(or other small animal food, or heck, even cat or dog food for the prairie dogs), or bedding, or hay... or it's something you've already purchased for yourself or whatever... we can gladly use it here.  The reason it's not on the list... I just don't want people buying it new for the rescue.  The reason being = cost.  I can get a bale of hay, that I'm thrilled with, for under $10.  I think the current going rate is $7-8 per bale.  That's usually roughly 40 pounds of hay, and maybe lasts about 2 weeks.  Let's compare that to Oxbow hay, here.  Now, those prices listed on that link are even cheaper than what you'd buy at the pet store, but they're fine for making an example.  At even $8 per pound, a 40 pound bale works out to $0.20 per pound, which amounts out to $4 per week (that we spend in hay).  Versus in comparison, the smallest package of hay that Oxbow has is $4.39 for 15 ounces.  To equal 20 pounds of hay used a week, we'd have to use 22 of those bags per week.  At $4.39 per bag, that works out to $93.65 in hay per week.  Compared to $4, yeah.  Even with their largest hay, which is 90 ounces (5.625 pounds) for $18.69 (so, cheaper per ounce), we'd be at $66.45 for hay.  I see no reason why people should buy the expensive store hay, when if someone's going to spend (for example), $4 for less than one pound of hay... I'd see that $4 better spend at the dollar store, where we could get two sharpies, a box of kleenex, and a roll of paper towels.

Same with cages.  If you want to donate used cages, I will never tell you no.  However, going out and buying a cage just isn't all that practical.  Chances are, I'll eventually get the cages I want donated, and the ones that I don't need here end up sold as used cages when there's no longer critters in them.  So, new cages not needed, but of course, we can always take used cages / supplies / etc donated.  Just the money to buy this sort of stuff new would be better spent on other things.  Thanks!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Scrap Wood

Did you know... we rarely throw out any of our wood?  Now, I'm not talking about peed-on shelves or that sort of thing, but the pine boards we buy that get made into houses and toys and all that... possibly little known fact, everything gets used.

When we make the houses, sometimes the boards will snap when we're cutting those circles.  While of course that's not idea, because then we need to re-cut that piece, re-sand it, re-cut the hole, and re-sand all of that... it's not really a problem, because we still use it!

See, the first toy we ever made and sold was the Anything Goes Toy.  It's literally labeled as the toy made with just about anything... as long as it's pine wood pieces!  Sure, some of that is literally cut up to be toy pieces, but a lot of it is simply scrap.  You know, you get a 6' board and start cutting up 11" pieces and 13" pieces and 10" pieces and whatnot, and in the end, maybe you end up with a 2" piece.  I usually have a pile going of scrap wood, and once there's a good amount there, or I've run out of toy pieces to work on, I'll cut that up.

Same goes for wrong cuts.  A few people may remember me talking about when I was making some of the double entry houses... the roofs are 9" x 8".  9" wide and 8" deep.  This needs to be cut down out of larger wood, so I usually take a 10" wide piece of wood and cut it to an 8" length.  Then the 10" side (which is really like 9.5" due to milling) gets cut down to 9".  So, there's multiple cuts on several sides of the same piece of the wood... gotta pay attention to which side you're cutting and which length that side is supposed to be.  So the story of the week, a few weeks back, was when I cut four or so roofs... 8" x 8".  Um... oops?  That's ok though!  I now have a few 8" x 8" shelves available! 

Same with some smaller scrap pieces.  If it's big enough to still be a perch-ish shelf, like where a chin could potentially use it, I may throw some bolts on it and bring it to an expo or use it in one of our used cages.  Too small for that, and it gets further cut down to become a toy part.

If there's a big knot, or something weird about it that I think someone might question whether it's safe or not (it's safe... but understandably, people question everything), I'll keep it here and use it for my chins.  So, either way, it's all getting used.  Just in case you were curious :)

Friday, August 3, 2018

Packages & Refunding Shipping

If you've ever tried to order from our webstore, you may have been surprised by the high shipping amount that the shopping cart tries to charge.  Well... sometimes that amount is correct, sometimes not. 

The way shipping is set in the cart is a bit funky, but the amounts are set per item.  The problem isn't usually if you order one item.  See, if you order one hammock, I believe the amount is set at $3.50 for shipping.  Shipping usually costs around $3 to ship a hammock first class, so that's about right. 

The difficulty is ordering multiple items.  If you order two hammocks, shipping does NOT jump to $7 ($3.50 + $3.50).  Likewise, if you order any two other items, shipping is often less than the sum of their shipping amounts.  Problem is, the shopping cart doesn't know, and has no way, of determining this.  So, sometimes we end up refunding large amounts to the customers.

For example, these packages...


...resulted in a whopping $63.75 in refunded shipping charges.  I acknowledge, that's a lot of money!

I always tell people, I will refund excess shipping.  And that's fine, if that person can afford to pay the high shipping charge at the time.  But, what if they can't?  Well, the other option is to send me an email or a message with the items desired and the address that the items would be shipped to.  Then, I can pack it all up and get back to you with an actual shipping quote.  Then, you'd know that's all you'd be paying, and it wouldn't be overcharged or anything like that.  So, that's also an option, if you ever are trying to order and the shipping amount looks sky high.  Options for everyone! 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Foster Home Pics!

One of the things our foster homes help with is that they give us more information about the personalities of the chins they are fostering, as well as some pics!

Wanted to share with you some pics that one of our foster homes sent us of some of their fosters....

Here are some pics of Chili Mac:





And here are some pics of Wife & Daughter:





Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Pros & Cons of Chinchillas, Hamsters, & Guinea Pigs

So, someone asked this in an email, and I thought this might be an educational thing for everyone.  Of course, this is just my take on the animals, so it is my opinion... but here goes:

Chinchilla pros:
1.  For being one of the larger small animals, cage is cleaner.
2.  Drinks less water than similar sized small animals, so less time spent filling bottles.
3.  Eats a simple diet, pellets and hay.  No need to go buy produce all the time.
4.  Interactive in the energetic sense.  Will hop around and be fun to watch, whether in the cage or during playtime.
5.  Sometimes can be potty trained for their pee only.
6.  Don't tend to bite, though they do often nibble / taste (like a little pinch).
7.  They are relatively quiet, most make almost no noises.

Chinchilla cons:
1.  They poo constantly.  It is dry, so it's not icky, but with the multilevel cages that they usually have, it tends to be out of the cage and on the floor.
2.  Need a larger and probably better quality cage than the other animals on the list.
3.  Need more chew toys than the other animals on the list.
4.  Aren't typically cuddlers.  Depends on the chinchilla of course, but the average one isn't going to chill with you while you watch tv.  Can be held, but for shorter periods of time.

---------

Guinea pig pros:
1.  Make cute noises.
2.  They are more of a chill pet.  They can be hard to catch, but once you catch them, they are the type to sit and watch tv with you and chill on your lap.  Can be held for longer periods of time.
3.  Can live in smaller cages as opposed to the chinchillas.  One-level cages are typical, versus chins have multi-level cages.
4.  Don't chew as much, so you don't need a Fort Knox type cage and you don't need, nor will you go through, a million chew toys.
5.  Don't tend to bite, though may nibble.

Guinea pig cons:
1.  Make noises.  If the wheeking for veggies / attention / cause they feel like it ... if this gets on your nerves... you will be constantly in a state of irritation lol.
2.  In the cage, they tend to like their safe space.  Often an igloo or some sort of house... at least the gp's here, I don't see much of, they like to hide.  Not a pet that's all that fun to "watch."
3.  Need vitamin C added to the diet (not in water additives) in the form of veggies and produce.  Unless you grow your own, this means constant trips to the grocery store.  They need a cup per day, per pig.
4.  They drink water like no tomorrow.  A water bottle that would last a chinchilla a week might last a guinea pig 2-3 days.  Because of this, the cages need cleaned more frequently, which is compounded by the moisture intake from the produce they also require.

-------

Hamster pros:
1.  They're little.  So, potentially smaller cages and less footprint from their cages.  
2.  Because they are small, small animals, the cage can be cleaned less frequently.
3.  Eats less food / water, so less money spent over the lifetime of the pet.
4.  They can eat a wider variety of foods, not such a restricted diet like a chinchilla.

Hamster cons:
1.  Some hamsters like to be handled, but the ones I tend to get in here tend to be very flighty, and many bite.  Like MANY.  To the point that I call them "fur with fangs" (and friends in small animal rescue tend to agree).  They tend to be more of a pet to watch than a pet to handle, unless you get the awesome one that loves being handled.  How you get that one... I really don't know, lol.
2.  They chew... so those tunnel cages aren't the best for them, as they can often chew their way out of those.
3.  Can be so small that if they do get out, they are hard to find in the house.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Christmas-painting In July!

So... you may know that I tend to procrastinate, and always end up thinking that I have more time than I really do.

And every year, Christmas creeps up on me, and when I go to get ready for the holiday Festival of Trees that's held at Hearts In Motion, I realize I still haven't painted any ornaments.  In case you're not familiar, during the holiday season, from about mid-November until after Christmas, a local resale shop, Hearts In Motion, has what they call their Festival of Trees.  This is where local rescues and other similar minded organizations set up a holiday tree with ornaments.  These ornaments are for sale, and can be purchased.  100% of the proceeds comes back to the rescue -- Hearts in Motion doesn't make a dime off of this, so it's very beneficial to the rescues.

The ornaments that we have on our tree are two different kids, there's regular ornaments that people have donated.  Any time of the year, anyone can feel free to donate ornaments... we will put them aside and use them on our holiday tree.  Yearly, once they go on clearance, we also buy some of the wood ornaments that are meant to be painted... paint them... and they're for sale next year.

That's what I'm working on right now... my workstation:


It's kind of funny because the other day, someone asked how I have time for the rescue and crafts.  Turns out... the crafts are FOR the rescue!  Haha.  I don't think they were expecting that.  Lots that I do is somehow related to the critters.

Some of the ornaments from last week:


More ornaments as they are currently (in various stages of completion):



The colors look a bit washed out in these photos, but they're actually really vibrant and pretty in real life!  Don't all these pics make you just want to buy these ornaments and support us??  Haha.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Layla -- our 10 year old hetero beige female

One of our older culled breeders that's been chilling here forever now has a name!  Layla!

This is Layla:


She's the one listed as the 10 year old hetero beige female with the tear duct issues.  She's still looking for a home!  She's had some inquiries but so far no one's been wanting to bring this sweet girl home.  She's a bit talkative but still needs that one person to love her! 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Snake Update!

So... I totally should have weighed the red tail when she came in, but I didn't, but now I have a weight on her! 


So she is now 675 grams, which is a bit under 1.5 pounds.  As you can see in the pic, she's filling out nicely.  She decided she didn't want to eat her last meal, but that's ok, we'll try again this week.  She did poo again (good!!!) which we were waiting for, since she's eaten several meals and not poo'd... so now we have poo!  Who-hoo!

She decided that not only did she not want to eat, but also... the f/t rat was scary.  So she hid:


That black upturned thing in the scale pic was her hideaway, and since she's gotten here and filled out, it's gotten a bit snug for her... so I have since picked up a new hideaway and a new water dish for her, bigger so hopefully she can get in and soak if she wants:


I still intend to make some changes to her enclosure, but so far so good!  You can actually see her head poking out the hide (bottom right corner).

Saturday, July 21, 2018

"Rare" Chinchillas like Angoras

So... on occasion, I get emails that basically say, in a nutshell, someone is looking for an angora chinchilla, and would like to be put on a waiting list for one that will come into the rescue.

Ha.  Hahahahahahahaha.  Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Ok, I'm good now. 

Got that out of my system.

We have NEVER gotten in an angora into the rescue.  And I'm pretty sure, we never will.  Most of the rescues we get, like 95%, are standard grey adults.  IF we get other colors, they tend to be either bitey, ultra-flighty, or have some other personality quirk that makes them not-super-adoptable.  Sure, there's the other-colored-nice-ones... but those are the minority.  And we're talking about chins that are white or violet or sapphire, not angoras.

See, angoras are sold on chinchillas.com, primarily.  Even the CHEAP ones go for $1000+.  The people typically buying them are often buying them to breed, and often those people are out of country.  Sure, there are people within the country that are buying and selling them, but they're not cheap, and those chins that they paid thousands for (for example, white angoras still go for $3000+ routinely), they are going to re-sell, rather than drop off at a rescue.

And, let's be honest.  If I ever get an angora in at the rescue, as in, before the market is saturated with them and you can find them for sale everywhere... I'm totally gonna keep it.

So, if you ask for an angora chinchilla or to be put on the list for one, I mean no disrespect... but not only would it be super unusually rare to get one in, it would be even more rare for me to then sell it... I will nicely be referring you to chinchillas.com.

By the way, this is an angora (see pic below).  Omg look at the FLUFF!!!  It sold for $2,500.  That isn't even high... a violet angora once sold for $24,000.  You read that right.  I can't find that auction really quickly (and I'm writing this real quick before I have to leave), but here's a violet angora that sold for $17,000 --> link

Friday, July 20, 2018

Little Things

If you saw our go-fund-me, you saw that a decent amount of people donated to our cause, which was super awesome.  Thanks to everyone who did.  You're all awesome.

The reason I'm writing this blog post though... is because I had a good amount of people who also commented, they would help if they could, but they're unable.  Totally understandable.  I'm not rich, so if someone asks me for money for their cause, I might be able to donate something... but I might not.  Surely, not right at this moment, but normally, possibly.

The thing is, I get it.  I had a few people literally apologizing that they couldn't help.  It's ok!  And I mean, really, if people want to help, I don't want anyone to think that we only want money help, whatever help is awesome!

For example, one of our foster homes came by the other day to pick up more feed for her foster chins, and some for her chins as well (they're the same food).  Turns out, her fosters have been out of food for two months, but rather than come get more food from us, she used her food to feed them, since she knew what was going on with the money situation here.  This is a perfect example of, it didn't cost her any more than what she had already spent, but she was using it to help out and temporarily alleviate some of our costs.  I appreciate that.

Same with, I've had people come by to adopt, and bring something off our List of Needed Items.  The most recent one I can think of, she brought starbucks bottles and said if / when she comes again, she may be able to bring some printer paper.  For her, this was stuff she had sitting around, so no additional cost to her, to donate.

Even change is appreciated!  I get a lot of people who adopt an animal and get some treats, or something that amounts out to me giving them a quarter or 50 cents back.  Of course, I'm happy to give everyone their change!  But that little bit adds up!  We usually have between 250-300 adoptions per year... if everyone gave $0.25-$0.50, that'd be $62.50-$150 worth in donations!  It all adds up!

Some people have come to volunteer.  Time is one of those things... there's never enough.  There is always something that needs washed, toys that need made, wood that needs sanded... always something to do.

Never think that what you can give isn't enough.  It's the little things that add up!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Cage Decorations!

So, now and then, I get people who ask me to build and deck out a cage for them.  Wanted to share with you some cages that just got done for an order.  These are our mega cages that we sell new, with all sorts of fun stuff in them...

Cage 1


Still cage one, just slightly on an angle for more detail


Cage 2 
(in real life, it has another smaller tunnel in the bottom left that somehow didn't make it into the pic)


And last but not least, Cage 3 (front view)


Cage 3, angled view


And Cage 3, view of the mini-bridge


Precious, no?

Now that this cage order is done, I get to move onto the next one!  Which is only (haha) one FN, and for someone who's on a smaller budget, so that won't take too long. That's all for today.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Waiting List -- Again

So, I talked a few days ago about our waiting list and how the different responses we get.  Wanted to share a few more with you, as we have some open cages, so I've been going down the list to get chins in to fill them.... and this is a perfect example of how I tell people, sometimes I'll have a long list, and it can sometimes whittle down quickly...

First person -- emailed the person on the waiting list.  They emailed back within the hour, thanking me for reaching out, but letting me know they'd found another rescue with space to take their chin in.  Crossed off the list.

Second person -- emailed the person on the waiting list.  They emailed back later that day, saying they did want to bring the chins in.  They scheduled an appointment for a few days later, showed up to their appointment, and surrendered the chins.

Third person -- I didn't have an email for them (if I have email and phone, I'll call and email if I don't get them on one or the other), so I called them.  Second ring, they sent the call to voicemail.  Called again, just to check I had dialed the right number, first ring, sent to voicemail.  So, I sent them a text, saying who I was and that we had room for their chinchilla at the rescue, and that I would appreciate if they could let me know, either way, if they needed to bring in the chin or not.  Now... I have an iPhone, and so do they, and they had read-receipts on... so in looking at the text, I can physically see that they read my text message... I let it sit in my messages for about 5 days with no response before I deleted it and crossed them off the list.

Fourth person -- emailed (and in all the emails, I tell people, they have until the end of the day on a certain day (usually 2-3 full days later), to get back to me), no response.  The day I told them passed... moving along.

Fifth person -- had a phone number, and had actually been texting with this person when they were added to the list, which was only like 2 weeks ago (see, sometimes the wait isn't super long... though of course there are people after her), so I texted her to let her know that we had room.  She responded back, she does want to bring in the chin, but needs to coordinate to get him here (she's going to college and can't take with), so she said she'd get back to me within a few days with when she can bring him in.

Sixth person -- was on our waiting list before... I didn't read through all the messages to find out exactly what happened, but must have been removed for some reason.  They contacted about a week and a half ago, asking to be re-added to the waiting list.  Re-added them... more recently, reached out to say we have room for their chin.  It's a facebook message to our NWI Chins page... she hasn't read it yet and it's been a day or two...

Aside from these people, there's still two people on the list... one which is in Ohio who wants to bring the chin to Jim's place (when I'm there of course), so that's sort of special arrangements, and the last one wants to bring in chins.. but I need to officially hear back from these other people before I can reach out to her.  Also, I believe I have 2-3 more emails in my inbox about people wanting to bring in their pets.  The waiting list goes down... but there's rarely not one anymore...

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Rabbits & Turtles

By the time this posts (as you may or may not know, I write some blog posts and post-date them so I don't have a super super ginormous blog post one day, covering 60 different topics, and then nothing for two weeks), our last adoptable rabbit will be in his new home.

He will be the last rabbit that we take in, except for possibly (and that's a very iffy possibly) special circumstances.

See, here's the thing.  Years ago, we took in a bit more of everything.  We still do, but within reason.  You see how we often have guinea pigs and right now, a bearded dragon, crested geckos, etc etc etc.  But before... we used to get so many "other animals" in, I couldn't focus on chinchillas, and at the end of the day, this is a chinchilla rescue, primarily.  When I say that we had so many other animals... we once had 40 adult rats in, all at the same time.  We once had in the 20's for guinea pigs.  Of course, I'm happy to take in other animals... but they just can't take over.

In the past few years, I've limited the other animals that come in.  Not that I won't allow them to come in, but if someone calls with 40 rats, I try to pass that off to a rat rescue, instead of taking them on.  After all, they are better equipped to handle that many of that sort of critter, versus where I would be better equipped to handle 40 chinchillas.

When we did have the higher numbers of the other animals, we got a lot of calls that asked, hey, do you have this, or that?  Some of those calls were asking about rabbits, so when we did have them in, they got adopted within a reasonable amount of time.  Also, before the last 4 years that I've lived here in Hammond, all the other places that the rescue was at, we were allowed rabbits.  I moved to Hammond, and some concerned soul called animal control and reported that I had rabbits (which are illegal in Hammond), because they were apparently bothering someone or something, and they all had to go to foster homes.  You may recall, one of our less adoptable buns actually went to Red Door in Chicago, which adopts out a ton of rabbits.  The rest were adopted out from our foster homes.

However, while foster homes can definitely be a good thing, what they typically don't provide is exposure.  I have one foster home (out of... 4-5?) that will occasionally post pics of their foster animals on facebook, but usually, the foster homes send me a few pics when I ask for them, and if someone doesn't just happen to run across the animals' ad, no one physically sees them.  This isn't the worst thing ever for the chins, since people are coming here for the chins anyway, and may peruse the website, and decide they like one that's in a foster home.  But now, with less of the "other animals," those calls asking about if we have rabbits (or other critters) have died down considerably, and with the rabbits not physically here for people to see, say "oh how cute!" and think about adopting... they're not getting attention and not getting adopted the way they should be.

The most recent rabbit... we got in him and his littermates at 14 weeks old.  14 of them.  They were all adopted out by the time they were 4-5 months old, if I recall correctly.  Three of them went together, a red male and two white w/ red spots males.  A few months later, that home was unable to keep them, and returned them.  The two white w/ red spots males were adopted out together, shortly after, but the red male is the one that, as of the time I am writing this, is still at the rescue, hopefully to be adopted later this week.  He is now over a year and a half old.  Yes, he's in a foster home, so he probably has no idea that he's in a rescue.  However... with the exception of the time of his life before we got him in, initially... he's spent most of his life with us.  To me... that's not fair to him.  At some of these other rescues that focus more on rabbits, they can get their buns adopted much quicker than we can here.

So, in thinking of the buns and putting their welfare first... we will not be taking them in, absent super special circumstances.

On a related, but side-note... I have learned that turtles are illegal in Hammond as well.  While we've only ever had one turtle at the rescue (and he was fostered, so probably no one except myself and the foster knew he was here... and the foster adopted the turtle)... we will unfortunately not have others, due to many of the same factors as the rabbits (not able to have them here, etc etc).

Monday, July 16, 2018

Adoptions -- Location!

Lot of people have been asking about this lately, so I'm going to add it as an FAQ and also wanted to post about it here shortly.

Some rescues / breeders only adopt / sell in a small geographic region.  Many people have heard of this when they are on a facebook page (or something similar) of a rescue and they ask about adoptions, and find out, they only adopt "in state," or "within a few hours of [city]."

Now, there are reasons for this.  If they do home checks, they would likely prefer not to go cross country to do the home check.  Of course, living in a border city like Hammond, where our next town west is Lansing, IL... it would make sense for some border cities to do more like, within a few hours, due to the location factor.  Anyway, I've also heard that the location concern is due to, if they need to take someone to court, there is a big difference between in-state and out-of-state.  Actually, if you remember my blog post from last year about that one cage of ours that I borrowed back in January 2017 and made it's way back in Fall 2017 after me pestering the crap out of the lady (as she was 4 hours away, in Ohio)...that's what these rescues want to avoid.

But here... it's not that I don't care... but we don't do home checks.  I don't plan on suing people.  I just want good homes.  That's what it all boils down to.

So, if you're in Pennsylvania and want to adopt a chin, and we can find some way to work it out -- great!  You're not denied, JUST because you're in PA.

That said, with United's change to their PetSafe program, where they no longer ship small animals, and the cost with other airlines being over double, you may be aware that we no longer ship.  Most people balked at $200-250 to ship... I'm not even going to waste my time quoting people $400+ just to get their animal to them.  Most won't pay it and most animals sell for considerably less than that, so it's just not worth it.

That does mean... wherever you are in the US, if you want to adopt, you can... but you will have to find a way to either get here, or meet somewhere like a chin show (somewhere I am already going... so if you don't show up, it's not a wasted trip).  So, you can adopt from anywhere... you just may need to travel to do so.  That is all.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Vacations! What To Do?

I got a really good question from someone the other day... and I thought it might be an interesting little tidbit for the blog, so I'll post what they emailed about, and my response to them, so you all can get some insight.

Their email:

Hey Ashley,

This is [name]; my partner and I adopted a chinchilla through you back in November. She is doing excellent and has grown into her own personality. 
We are taking a trip from July 22nd to July 29th and want to know what the best option for Viola would be. Should we take her with us, have someone stay in our apartment to accompany her or, if you still offer house sitting, would it be best to have her be around other chins and in the care of someone who is experienced? Our biggest concerns are making her feel like we abandoned her and causing too much stress in her environment.

My response:

Glad to hear she's doing well, she looks great!  

As far as what is the best option for your trip, that varies depending on a few things.  For the options of taking her with versus bring here here (or somewhere) for pet sitting, assuming the trip is more or less, drive there, stay a few days, drive back (versus a different hotel every night).. those two would be relatively the same, because there's be about the same amount of travel involved, and chins generally do well with traveling (though of course, it depends on the chin).

The best option can be (keyword: can) if someone can come to your place and care for her.  The reason I say it can be is because the chin stays in her own cage, so there's no moving around.  However, of course, the difficulty can be finding someone who's reliable and will show up and care for the chin.  While of course, they may not necessarily have to care for her in the exact same way that you do, it may be more limited to feed, water, etc, that sort of thing, they do need to show up.  If you know someone like that, great!  That would be the option with the least disruption to her daily life.  My difficulty (and granted, I have a lot more animals than you do), is always finding someone who will actually show up.  

I hope this helps, let me know if I can help you further! 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Freak Accidents

Some injuries for our furry friends are preventable.  Some even easily preventable.  These are the ones where you hear me preaching about using wood shelves instead of plastic, or wood bedding instead of carefresh.  Switch to the safe product, and sure, there's always some risk of injury, but it can be significantly less with the right product.

But... some injuries are just accidents.  Sometimes something seems fine, but there's that one person or one animal who somehow gets injured.  Sometimes unsafe items are used, without injury, for a long time!  Sometimes, those unsafe items result in injury, possibly even death.

If you've been on facebook recently, you've probably seen the article about the woman who's chinchilla got his leg caught in the bars of the ramp, had his leg amputated, and was ultimately put down.  If you haven't, it's available online here

The cage she's using is a Ferret Nation cage.  I love those cages, and so do a ton of people in the chinchilla community.  Her sad outcome from all of this doesn't make the cages unsafe... but it does make the ramps unsafe.

If you've ever talked to me about bar spacing for wire floors, you'll know that they're not inherently bad (as you might read online), but rather, that you want the space between the wire to be small enough that a leg cannot fall through.  That is not the case with the ramp bars in the FN cages.  A chinchilla can definitely get a leg through them, and when a leg falls through, sometimes they panic, and as you can see in the article... this can have major consequences.  Some people choose to cover the ramps in the FN cages, or simply not use them at all.

For me, I replace all the plastic shelves and plastic pans in there, put in wood shelves, and there's no need for the wire ramps or any plastic really.  Compare these pictures, of bare FN's (plastic pan, plastic shelf, metal rung ramp):


To these pics of some of my cages:



And I suppose you can guess for yourself which is likely safer.

This all said... still, nothing is 100% safe.  The outside bars of a ferret nation (and pretty much most cages on the market) have wide spacing.  I've actually heard stories of chins that bounce off the walls, get a leg through the outer bars, and break a leg that way.

So, then you say, ok, maybe smaller bar spacing is better!  They can't get a leg through!

No, they can't get a leg through... but again, nothing is 100% safe.

Below is a picture, looking from top down (so basically, the chin is upside down), of a chin that somehow hooked it's teeth in 1 x 1/2" bar spacing (yes, he passed).  When they hook their teeth in such a manner, they panic and thrash around to get free.  They almost always break their neck (I know of one instance where the chin got itself off the bars... but pulled out it's front teeth by the roots [at another breeder's ranch]... it was put down), and thankfully, it's usually almost an instant, painless death.  But see, nothing is completely 100000% safe.


This, and heck, even the chin getting a foot caught on the side of the cage... these are freak accidents.  Do these type of accidents mean these cages are unsafe?  No.  Some things, there's just no way to prevent, which is why we do our best to prevent the things that CAN be easily prevented... so there's less losses all together.  RIP my sweet white sapphire boy.