Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Spending Less on the Pet, More on Supplies

So, I know we talked about this in one of the previous blog posts, about how some people would rather spend less on the pet, with the thought that they would rather spend the money on things for the pet, rather than on the pet itself.

I totally have no problem with this, in that pets, whether we're talking about a dog, cat, chinchilla, rabbit, whatever... these animals all need "stuff."  They all need food bowls / water bottles, food, treats, cage / crate, toys, you get the idea.  Nothing wrong with wanting to spend more money on their stuff than on them.

The only thing about this that can be irritating at times (and other rescues I've talked to have echo'd this) is that often people want the animal with the highest adoption fee... and want it lowered, because they say they are going to spoil it.  Personally, I hope everyone who adopts, spoils their new pet.  I'm sure they are all cared for.  To what extent they have every toy under the sun, I'm sure that varies.

But there's nothing inherent in saying that you're going to spoil the pet, which will reduce the adoption fee.  For dog rescues, it seems people often ask this about puppies.  But the people are going to spoil them!  So they should be able to adopt for a $50 fee (like for seniors), instead of the $150 fee for puppies.  I've even heard from some rescuers that they've suggested to some people, if they'd like to stick to a $50 fee, they're welcome to adopt a senior.  Oh, no, they want a puppy... but for the $50 fee, cause they're going to spoil it.

Of course, I acknowledge, there's different reasons for different fees.  We also have different fees for the babies vs. adults vs. seniors vs. special needs.  Nothing wrong with that.  But I guess what I find weird about this... are people wanting to adopt an animal... and ignore it?  When these people say, oh they're going to spoil it, and would rather spend money on things for the pet, rather than the pet.. the other side of this would have to be... that other homes are adopting and not spoiling them.  I mean, right?  Is the assumption that other people are spending their last dime to pay the $250 adoption fee, and now don't have money for any supplies?  Gosh, I hope not!

I personally hope (and I imagine this goes for all rescues) that the people wanting to adopt pets have money... not only for the pet, but also for appropriate supplies for the pet, and also a way to pay for veterinary care, if / when needed.  Care for most animals doesn't have to be extravagant.  If you can afford specialized treatment for your pets if they have some illness that can be cured by throwing a lot of money at it, great.  But really... providing for the pet's needs is really all we (rescues) ask.  Spoil them if you want, but just care for them, so we don't have to.  That is all.

Monday, April 23, 2018

April 23, 2018 -- Kailey

We take a moment to step away from our normal chinchilla / small animal / rescue related blog posts, and today, we will have a chat about Kailey, the oldest of my shelties.

This is Kailey:



Kailey was born April 23, 2008.  I bought her from an Uncle Bills Pet Store on 38th Street in Indianapolis, when I was living there, attending law school.  I had just recently moved there and didn't know anyone, so I bought a dog.  Kailey was on sale, as she was "getting too old and too big."  She was 12 weeks old.

Kailey had pneumonia when I got her, and had to undergo months of treatment, including a 3-day stay at the emergency vet, to get through this.  As a puppy, she fell down a flight of stairs, which caused her to limp periodically through bad weather.  Since I got her, she has been my constant companion.  Kailey was with me when I moved back to Munster, after not finding a law-related job, and moving back in with my parents.  She was with me when I bought a house in Hammond, and moved in.

When she was 6 years old, she started to show signs of slowing down, and it was suggested that she might stay more active if she had another dog to play with.  This before all of the recent push for dogs to be on all sorts of joint supplements... not nearly as commonly done 10 years ago!  We welcomed Taffy to our household.  Unfortunately, Taffy was only with us for a year and a half before she tragically passed, and Misty came along. 


Kailey & Misty


Misty sure kept Kailey on her toes... a little too much at times!  You may have heard me refer to Misty as the problem-child, and I do say that she's a fruit loop in a world of cheerios... but she's a good dog, overall, and she does help Kailey stay active.  Kailey LOVES to throw Misty to the ground and wrestle with her, and we all still joke that Kailey's faking her pain... because she doesn't show it, when she's playing.  Kailey also was around when Sky fell into my lap, this past August.  She's been a trooper through it all.  She was even around and a good sport when Sky had her puppies!


During all of this, I spent hours upon hours training Kailey.  She knows a whole bunch of tricks, and has her AKC Trick Dog Titles -- Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Performer.  There's supposed to be a new title coming out this summer called AKC Performer Elite... I will have to see what the requirements are, to see if she can do this or not.  She also has the Do More With Your Dog Trick Titles as well, Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced.  Maybe in the summer we will work on expert...she's only a few tricks away from that title!  She's won a variety of local trick competitions, though her health no longer allows her to participate the way she used to.

Aside from the tricks, she is an awesome, well-behaved dog.  I used to walk her, off-lead, all the time.  Nowadays, that's probably not a good idea (not due to her.... but rather, the stray dogs and cats that are around, and Hammond's leash laws), but she is very good off-leash and she is very obedient.  She actually won the "Most Obedient" Contest at Woofstock: A Bark in the Park in September 2017.


Kailey now enjoys her costume contests, which don't require the same effort on her part, as the tricks.  We won Best Pet & Owner Costumes at the 2017 Pet-A-Palooza in Burbank, IL, last fall...


About a year or two ago now, she started limping full time.  It was the same leg (her front right) that had bothered her, on and off, since she fell down the stairs as a puppy.  We'd had x-rays done then (as a puppy) but they never turned up anything... but we had them done again, and it was found that she had arthritis in her wrist.  She was put on Rimadyl, along with some supplements, and seemed to improve a bit.... until she started limping on both her rear feet as well.  She got to the point where she was really having a hard time walking, and initially, we were going to start her on acupuncture.  However, the cost was looking pretty prohibitive ($75-100 per session, several times a week... possibly reducing sessions eventually to be less frequently... but on-going like forever).  She went into the vet again, to x-ray the back legs, and they found arthritis in both her back ankles as well.  She was started her on a nerve blocker as well, gabapentin.  That didn't help as much as the vet would have liked, but they didn't seem thrilled to try anything else, either.

Over time, Kailey developed allergies and occasionally needs medicated baths, to combat these.  Due to her random onset of allergies and the fact that she started gaining weight, I asked if the vet could run a thyroid test on her.  They said it wasn't her thyroid, and testing wasn't necessary. 

While not solely as a result of this... we did eventually switch to a different vet.  The new vet tested her thyroid, and while it was normal, at least then we knew that that was not the problem.  Her allergies had gotten so bad that the new vet gave her a steroid shot as well as oral antibiotics, and prescribed a new painkiller for her, and sent her home.  We continued the medicated baths once a week (and still occasionally).  A few days later, Kailey became incontinent. 


I called the vet, they recommended finishing her course of treatment and then, if she still had a problem, coming back in.  I purchased her doggy diapers and we continued treatment.  After her treatment was done, she was still leaking full force.  I hadn't had a chance to make an appointment at that point, to bring her back into the vet. 

Over the next few days following her pills ending (antibiotics, so not related), Kailey seemed more stiff and more sensitive in her back-area, than usual.  It occurred to me that maybe she'd injured her back, playing or something.  My other dogs go to agility classes, and the trainers there use canine chiropractors for their dogs.  I asked them who they used, and they referred me to Dr. Lyndsay Klemens at McAfee Animal Hospital in Valparaiso.  I'd actually met her before, at a canine games dog clinic I'd attended with Misty.  So, I set up an appointment.  About two weeks after finishing her meds, but still being incontinent, Dr. Lyndsay saw Kailey, did a chiropractic adjustment on her, and prescribed medication for her incontinence.

The next morning, I got up, gave Kailey her new incontinence pill, took off her diaper, and let her outside to pee.  She would still pee outside, while she was incontinent, but she didn't seem to realize that she was leaking 24/7, regardless.  I didn't really pay attention to if the diaper was wet or dry when I took it off, I just had a bucket that the dirty ones went in, and let her out.  Kailey came back in, I put a fresh diaper on, and went downstairs to work on chin stuff.  Came upstairs, she had her diaper off.  Up until this point, we'd gone about 3-4 weeks of Kailey wearing her diaper, and never once trying to remove it.  I put a clean diaper on, went back downstairs... she removed it again.  I figured, ok, if she took it off, I'll see how bad the leaking is.  She'd completely stopped leaking, and hasn't leaked to this day.  She apparently somehow understood that that's what the diaper was for, and took it off when she no longer needed it.  That was about 9-10 weeks ago now.

Kailey's been back to see Dr. Lyndsay again, and has had another canine chiro adjustment.  She'll go in every few months for these appointments, which are reasonably priced (the initial was... $75ish, recheck was $60ish).  She's never taken another of her incontinence pills, as they haven't been needed.  Apparently the answer for her was canine chiropractic treatment. 



The funny thing about this all, is that I know that in the past, I have heard people comment about the variety of things they have done for their dogs, and I have commented, oh I don't know that I'd do that for mine.  I remember specifically, someone I knew used to chop up chicken and put it in with their dog's kibble, because the dog wouldn't eat enough, otherwise.  I remember saying, I'd just let the dog eat the kibble and be done with it.

Yeah.  About that.  Kailey is getting canine chiro visits.  She is on all sorts of health supplements, which will soon be upped again, due to Dr. Lyndsay's recommendations, and... she will not eat most of them, without having them mixed with wet food.  But before you think, "oh my dog gets wet food too, no big deal"...hold up a sec.  If you mix it up and put the bowl down, she will eat around the pills and supplements.  Misty and Sky, on the other hand, would have scarfed it down so fast, they wouldn't even know what they ate, but not Kailey.  She's the type where if you put a tiny-tiny-spec-sized pill in a huge block of cheese, she'd eat the cheese and spit out the pill.  So, to top off my pooch getting special treatment....twice a day, Kailey gets spoon-fed her wet-food-mixed-with-supplements.  And I used think that adding chicken to dry kibble was something I wouldn't do.  Amazing how perspective can change.

Kailey is my heart dog, and she is worth it.  She turns 10 years old today.  I always tell her she's going to live forever.  Here's to "forever" more years with her by my side.



Sunday, April 22, 2018

Other Rescues' Policies / Our Policies Regarding Vet Care & Adoption Fees -- PART 3

... continued from yesterday...

So, for the other rescue's application... I got farther on theirs before I decided it likely wasn't going to work out (myself getting listed as an approved rescue of theirs) due to my own personal / rescue policies and such... the reason for theirs was due to their adoption fee policy.

One thing that you had to agree with, on their rescue application, was that the animals would be adopted out only to approved homes (no problem there) with either no fee or only asking for a donation.

Oh hell no.

I know I've talked about this before, but I cannot agree with that, and that ended that application right there.  I do NOT agree with adopting out any animal not no fee.  I know I've specifically talked about this when the dogs shelters do their "clear the shelter" events, locally, 1-2 times per year.  The dog that no one wanted, last week, at a $65 adoption fee, now has 10 people fighting over it, because it's free.  Is $65 that much?  If you said yes, you may want to wait to get a pet until you have a smidge more money. 

In no way am I saying $65 is pocket change.  I acknowledge that $65 is a decent amount of money.  However, if you think $65 is a lot to spend for the pet itself, you may be in for a rude awakening as far as what else you may have to spend to keep that pet alive.  A few posts ago, I broke down that if you got all your chin supplies from here, you could probably do it for around $80-ish per year (for one chin).  That's at our prices.  If you go to the pet store, it's going to be at least a few hundred.  So... if $65 is too much, then upkeep is probably also going to be out of budget.  Not being mean, just being realistic. 

Now, I don't say any of this because I'm money hungry.  If you've ever met me, or been to the house / rescue, you know I don't live in a mansion and that I drive a 14 year old vehicle.  I'm hardly getting rich off rescue (though I do get to do what I love! but money-wise, not rich).  It's not that I'm so-dying-to-make-money-off-the-rescues, that I think you should pay an adoption fee.  Not at all.

Rather... society sees pets as throw-aways.  I'm not saying this doesn't happen when people pay for pets, but I have heard so many times, over the years, "oh, we got it for free, it's not working out, here ya go."  Or, even better, "oh, well it was free, so I hate to spend money on vet care / meds / etc, I'd rather just get another one, and drop this one off at the rescue."  Ugh. 

I firmly believe that pets should not be free.  At least, not from a rescue.  Give your niece a free puppy all you want, but adoption should not be free.  Paying an adoption fee suggests that the adopter is aware that costs will be involved in caring for the pet, in years to come, and the adoption fee is just the beginning.  Adopting out for no fee, to me, is problematic.  The people who could never-before afford the pet, now can... because there's no adoption fee.  That's the problem with the clear-the-shelter events... can't afford $65?  No problem, those people can wait for clear-the-shelter, and then adopt... and the second there's a medical concern, bring the dog back, because they can't afford it.  Now, of course, I don't mean to suggest that that's everyone, but... I guarantee you that it's at least some of the people.

Second thing.  Irregardless of whether or not it's a money issue on the part of the potential adopter, there's another slight tiny little issue with charging no fee, and that is, that the rescue needs money to stay afloat!  Our expenses are somewhere in the realm of $25,000-$30,000 every year.  You read that right.  It costs a LOT to care for a ton of furry small animals, and much of that cost is feed, shavings, hay, and so on.  Something has to pay for that.  I'm not independently wealthy, and I have never won the lottery (though if anyone has a winning ticket, feel free to donate!).  These costs are paid for through adoption fees, sales of non-rescue chins, and also, sale of the chin supplies.  All of that just barely covers the costs and not by much (remember, no mansion / 14-year-old-vehicle).  I'm not complaining by any means, but I bring this up so you can consider... what if there were no adoption fees?  The simple answer would be... there would be no rescue.  I already put "my own" money into the rescue yearly, through the sale of non-rescue chins and such... which is fine, but if the rescues themselves had no adoption fees... the only money coming in would be myself funding every cent of it... and you gotta be independently wealthy to do that.  I dunno bout you, but I don't just have $30,000 lying around each year, to spend on rescues.

Same goes for donations.  The average person doesn't know what it costs to care for an animal.  That's fine.  Nothing wrong with that, but if you ask for a donation, you may very well get very little.  I remember one time at an expo, we had our houses for sale there.  In case you're not familiar, they start at $15 and go up to $25 for the largest one.  Someone was there, looking at one of the $20 cottage houses, and asked if they could get one if they made a donation.  I explained, they were for sale, and that the sales benefited the rescue animals, and further explained which houses were which prices.  They said something along the lines of, "oh, they were going to donate like $2 and wanted to get the house."  Now... if we had everything donated... wood, glue, rubberbands, hole saws / augers (which are expensive and break over time), time, effort, etc etc.  The houses would still be worth more than $2.  A cottage house has an 11" x 8" footprint, and takes almost 4' (yes, four feet) of wood to make.  That's not counting the glue that holds it together, the file bands used to hold it in place until the glue dries, the hole saws used to cut the holes... oh yeah, and the hour of labor that is involved in making each house.  So, you can imagine how a $2 donation doesn't even go towards paying for the raw materials, much less helping the rescue make any profit off the house. 

That is what I think would happen in asking for donations.  Sure, there'd be some people who would donate a reasonable amount, but then you'd also have those who would donate $5 and say, well, that money would be better spent on the animal, once they have it (another discussion for another day), rather than the adoption fee.

At the end of the day, the rescue (whether mine or anyone else's) has to have money to stay afloat.  No adoption fees doesn't help that, and as long as people want the average rescue to stay around and continue re-homing animals, most of those rescues will have adoption fees.  I hope, through this post, you can understand why we will not be going to no adoption fees (or donations for adoption fees), and why we will not be joining the ranks of some of the other rescues who believe that no adoption fees are the way to go.  To each their own, but for me, this is why we do what we do.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Other Rescues' Policies / Our Policies Regarding Vet Care & Adoption Fees -- PART 2

So, this is Part 2 (of 3 parts) of the post I started yesterday, about differences in policies / procedures / adoption fees.

In today's post, I'm going to talk about the second part of the adoption process for the other rescues, which was that the adoption application had to be approved by many people.  Again, this is one of those things, I can see how it can be good, I can also see how it can be problematic.

Raise your hand if you've ever asked a group of friends an opinion question, and gotten different answers from everyone.  Yep, that's what I thought.

Now imagine that's all those people reviewing an adoption application.  Will the people who get through and are able to adopt be the absolute best homes ever?  Most likely!  However... will some good homes slip through and not be approved, due to someone not liking how something is worded and not everyone being able to agree?  Also likely.

Let's go back to my Part 1 post for a second.  On my adoption form for the chins, it asks if people have an established exotics vet.  Some people put yes, some people put no.  Here's the thing... if you've never had a chin before, or never had a small pet before... and therefore, never had the need / opportunity to take a small pet / chin into the vet... should a "no" answer be that big of a deal?  I don't think so, at least not in all circumstances.  If someone puts no, I ask them, do they know of a vet in there area that does see chinchillas, should the need arise?  Ideally, people should at least know that.   Now, if someone tells me that they don't have an established vet, because they don't believe that it's worth taking a sick animal to the vet, and would rather it suffer and die... I think we can all agree that's different.  But you see, a "no" answer isn't always the end of the world, and in my case, doesn't automatically disqualify someone.

This sort of thing actually goes for a variety of stuff on the adoption forms.  I've shown some friends adoption forms before (identifying information removed, of course), to show interesting answers to some of the questions.  In some instances, those people have said, it's not worth the effort, just tell them that they can't adopt.  For me... often those people just needed guidance.  Some hadn't read the care packet and weren't aware that some of the products that they put down that they would use (food, treats, etc) were unsafe.  When this was suggested to them, and they were given safer alternatives, many were happy to learn of better, healthier treats, as most people do want their pets to live as long as possible (suppose this shouldn't be a surprise, eh?).  Many of those people return to continue to purchase supplies / food / treats / etc from us, so I know they are continuing their pet on a healthy diet and healthy treats... but if it was up to my friends / other rescues, sometimes, these people would not have been approved to adopt.

Of course, it's a fine line.  You can't approve everyone, and have to draw the line somewhere.  But at the same time, if criteria is too strict, you won't approve as many as could be approved, and many of the non-approved-homes could actually be good homes.  And this is where it can be hard to get everyone to agree on whether or not someone should qualify to adopt.

Sure, I acknowledge, I do sometimes ask my friends and other rescues, something along the lines of, "hey, this person wrote this on their application... what are your thoughts?"... so that I can get insight.  But the reason we don't have basically an approval committee (besides the fact that I can't get many volunteers as it is, much less that many people at all times, haha), is because I think that actually makes the process harder, and can deny some homes that should be approved.  But, to each their own.

... continued tomorrow...


Friday, April 20, 2018

Other Rescues' Policies / Our Policies Regarding Vet Care & Adoption Fees -- PART 1

So, this post was prompted by hedgies...  You may remember, we had hedgies available a bit ago, and someone from another rescue reached out and suggested some helpful info and whatnot.

They also suggested that maybe I should join the ranks of hedgie adopters.  I said I'd look into it.  Long story short, that is not going to happen, but it has also prompted a discussion between myself and some of my friends, which I wanted to share with you.

Let met start by saying, I'm sure these organizations have hedgies' welfare at the top of their to-do list, and I, in no way, mean to write this post to imply bad about them.  I just want to explain some differences in policy, because this sort of thing does come up, now and then.

The one hedgie organization required that all hedgies get vet checked, and have oversight from others in the organization to be approved to adopt to a family.  Vet care is one of those heavily debated thing among different types of rescues.  Some rescues think that every animal should go into the vet for wellness checks every year, regardless of the type of animal.  For dogs and cats -- being animals that do get yearly vaccinations (unless you titer test, but that's a whole 'nother discussion) -- this does make sense.  For other small animals, especially ones that do not get yearly vaccinations and that sort of thing... it's less of a black and white issue. 

Many people have heard me say, over the years, that if you can't tell the chinchilla is sick, often a vet can't either.  Honestly... this is often true, regardless of the species.  I take my dogs in for their shots and wellness checks every year.  If I think the dog is healthy, the dog usually shows up healthy.  Heck, even times when I've thought the dog isn't healthy, bloodwork / testing all came back -- the dog is fine!  The thing is, though... I've never taken in one of my dogs, being like, "ok, this dog looks and acts fine..." and had the vet tell me something was wrong. 

Now, I'm in-no-way-saying... that that couldn't happen.  It could.  But the same has gone for other animals that have gone in over the years, both here and at other rescues and with other people I know.  When a rescue takes in a dog with a stinky mouth and open sores, the vet will find dental issues, and skin issues.  When I take in a drooling chin, the vet will find teeth spurs and / or malo.  But take in a health dog / chin / cat / whatever... often the vet finds that the animal is healthy.

Assuming the animal is otherwise in good health, and not on any long-term meds... this begs the question... is it useful to take them to the vet just for a wellness check?  For some animals, maybe.  Notably, the ones mentioned here... if they are on meds.  My dog Kailey gets bloodwork done every 6-12 months, as needed, due to the fact she's on prescription arthritis meds (and a buttload of supplements), and her liver enzymes and bloodwork needs to be monitored, to see that the meds aren't negatively affecting her body (so that the meds could be altered / changed, if needed).  For her, it makes sense to go in, to get the bloodwork run, to make sure we don't ruin her insides, before she's ready to leave us. 

What about for other animals?  I know of another chinchilla breeder / rescue who took a chinchilla into the vet.  The chinchilla caught bortadella at the vet's office, brought it home unknowingly, and most of this person's chin herd also caught it, and was wiped out.  Um, oops?  Honestly, this is a risk you take, anytime you take any animal to the vet.  Am I saying  don't take your animals?  Of course not!  You just need to weigh the risks and benefits, and decide, is it worth taking the animal.

Our stance on taking the small animals to the vet is, if it's not broke, don't try to fix it.  If the animal appears healthy, until there's some sign that the animal is not, in fact, healthy (for example, lethargic, not eating, change in behavior, watery eyes, squishy poo, etc etc), we assume the animal is healthy.  Honestly, most animals that are sick do not drop over dead with no signs.  Sure, it happens, on occasion.  But in reality, when I think of animals that have passed here at the rescue over the years, the ones that come to mind are typically ones where they weren't eating as well, acting not as perky, and so on... and then soon after, passed.  To some people with busy lives, this may completely go unnoticed, as it's not always glaringly obvious signs that something is wrong.  But rarely do most animals just up and die, without some warning. 

But without that warning... well, it's just needlessly spending money.  Last year, we adopted out something in the realm of 270ish (if I remember correctly) chinchillas and other animals.  Of course, a few people had questions after adoption about care and wellness and whatnot.  While I acknowledge that it may give some people peace of mind to know that their animal is vet-checked and given a clean bill of health, it is also costly.  The local vet charges $59 for an office visit to see a small animal.  $59 x 270 = $15,930.  If someone would like to foot that bill, by all means, I'll think about taking each and every of these animals into the vet, but in reality... I'm pretty positive (like 1000000%) that the rescue never makes anywhere near that kind of money, and only stays afloat because I put plenty of my own money into it every year, over what it generates on adoption fees and supply sales.  If all of those 270 animals would have checked out healthy at the vet... let me ask you... is that money well-spent?  I'm not so sure.

... continued tomorrow...   

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Was just minding my own business, taking chin pics, and...

So, the other day, I was just minding my own business, taking chin pics.  I had on sandals (which I love cause they're so easy to slip on and off), and I felt a prick on my foot.  Thinking maybe a pointy shaving fell on my foot from the picture-cage, I ignored it.  Another prick, and I looked down.

There sat a day-old baby tan chinchilla, chewing on my foot.

Pictures momentarily on hold, I picked up the kit and brought it to my cart.  I got out my binder where I keep track of babies, and just as I'd thought, none of my chins had had a tan baby anytime recently.  Crud.

So, the baby was kinda cold and lethargic, so I rubbed it between my hands and took it upstairs.  Not knowing how long the baby had been out, I set it down in a box where it couldn't go anywhere, while I got out goat's milk.  Fresh goat's milk is sort of an odd commodity when you're not in the country, so the last time I had a quart of it, I froze what wasn't needed in an ice cube tray, put the cubes in a tupperward container and put that in the freezer.  Went to get a milk-cube, went back downstairs to get a syringe.  Had to microwave the ice cube to get it to be liquid so it could be fed, and got as much into the baby as possible at that sitting. 

Baby went back into the box.  Temporarily, since he was still cold (though not as lethargic), I set up one of those plastic kritter keeper enclosure things, with a heating pad under one side.  Two hours later, came back and fed him again.  By that point, he had definitely warmed up and was considerably more perky.

Before the next 2 hour feeding arrived, I was feeding my chins downstairs, and ran across a new litter.  The parents have had tans before, and have (so far) always had two kits... but this time, they only had one.  Figuring that was his parents, I put him in with the mom, and he is still doing fine to this day.

Wanted to share this little story with you all... but also, I was telling this to someone else, and they pointed out, this sort of thing is sometimes why things take longer, whether it's orders, or returning phone calls, or whatever.  Whatever I was doing that day was momentarily put on hold, so I could take care of the baby.  Best laid plans don't always work out the way we think.  So, thanks all for being understanding. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Adoption Statistics

Ever wondered about adoption statistics?  How we've grown over the years?

Had a journalist ask about the increase in chin sales, and asked if I had numbers for her, so I compiled numbers.  While doing chins, it was just as easy to do the other animals as well, so here we go:



Yes, I acknowledge, that could be a better pics, but you get the idea.  Chin adoptions have really taken off over the last few years, and on years when chin adoptions were little less (like compare 2017 with 2016), then we had more of the other animal adoptions, so it all evens out. 

And look at the final total, at the bottom right, we've adopted out over 1000 animals!  Who-hoo!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Have a little consideration...

So.. had someone call last night, asking if we take in guinea pigs.  Yes we do.

They said they would call in the morning to drop them off (this was from the 12th).  I explained, I was going out of town midday, and if they wanted to drop off that day, they'd need to bring the guinea pigs with a cage and supplies, so I could basically just set them down, so they'd be ready for my pet-sitter, and I could go.  I also explained, they'd have a page to sign, saying they would be signing them over.  Yeah, no problem.

So, the morning comes, they call crack of dawn.  I'm asleep, they don't leave a message, but they do call again, and I answer the phone.  They ask if now is a good time to drop off the guinea pigs, and I say yeah it's fine, so they tell me, it'll be about 45 minutes cause they're coming from the city.  That's fine.  I ask if he wants me to text him the address, he says yeah that'd be good, so I do.

Get a call, around that time later, the guy says he's here.  Now, mind you, I've told him to go to the side door so we can get the guinea pigs and their stuff inside and sign the forms.  So I go to the side door, he's not there.  I wait there for maybe 5 minutes, cause some people text before they are actually out of their cars, and then when no one has still shown up, I text asking if he's sure he's at the right house.  No response.

I look out the front door, and there's a car parked in front of my house, with a guy standing there and his dog peeing and pooing on my front lawn.  This goes on for about 25 minutes.  Considering I was just told that the guy was "here," I figured that was the guy.  I watched him and the dog for a little bit, before I decided, if he's just gonna let the dog randomly romp around, I'm going to go back to packing.

I really wanted to go out there and say something about the dog pottying on my lawn (cause you know, that's totally how you repay someone for taking in your unwanted pet..... let your dog shit all over their lawn), but I knew it wouldn't come out nicely, so I refrained.

Almost 25 minutes after that first call saying he was here, he called again, saying he was at the side door.  Cool, so I go to the side door.  STILL no one is there.  I give it a few minutes, then text saying that I am at the side door.  No response.  Few minutes go by.  I text again, describing the house and the cars in the driveway.  Still no response.  It's now been about 10 minutes since the person said they're at my side door.

I hear my dogs start barking, which makes me think maybe someone's at the front door (and you know, people go to the front door all the time), so I go to the front door.  Greeted by this:


Now, who remembers that I said I need a cage and all supplies with them, raise your hand.  Yeah.  Lovely cage and supplies.  I get that places are full, WE ARE TOO.  SO STOP FUCKING BEING ASSHOLES PEOPLE.  If someplace is NICE ENOUGH to take in your pets, when everyplace is full and every place else is turning you away, and specifies that the ONLY WAY they will take them in, is with supplies / cage... which you SURE BETTER HAVE to own the pet, you need to f-ing bring that stuff to the rescue.

This is literally what I get for being nice.  I tried to help out someone who needed to find a place for their guinea pigs.  Even moreso...on a day when I am packing to go out of town, already busy... this person wasted plenty of time.  From when they first called to say they were here, then had their dog shit on my lawn for 25 minutes, then said they were at the side door, then had me stand around for 10 minutes AT MY SIDE DOOR, waiting for them to arrive after they said they were at the side door.  Then I GET the pigs, and because they don't have a cage with them (which they were supposed to), I had to spend another hour putting together cages and getting them water bottles, food bowls, etc etc etc.  Obviously, this is all done for the good of the pets, but I mean.... what an asshole to not care and to leave the pigs outside.

Oh did I mention, I texted the guy after I brought them in, and asked for info.  Names, ages.  That's all.  The asshole couldn't be bothered to even text me back.  While I acknowledge, yes, they are in a better place now... it irritates the hell out of me that he couldn't be bothered to bring a cage, sign surrender paperwork... especially since we talked about this.  Why even CALL if you're going to just drop them on the porch??

The thing is... without info... I can tell they're both males.  But how old are they?  Young adults?  Adults?  Seniors?  Do they live together?  (the answer to that is clearly not, they do NOT like each other... but I could have been TOLD that).  Are they healthy?  Why are they being given up?  I mean... this may seem like no big deal, but it's a LOT harder to adopt out an "adult male guinea pig, sorry, no other info available" than a "3 year old male guinea pig, given up because the family no longer had time, previously got along with another buddy guinea pig, who sadly passed..."  Not having the info only hurts the pet's chances of adoption, that's the thing.

I do realize, the likely reason the guy left the pigs outside, rather than bring them in and talk to me, was cause he KNEW that we had talked about him bringing a cage and signing forms, and for some reason he didn't want to do that stuff.  Really... I imagine I would have squeezed them somewhere anyway, even if he'd shown up without stuff for them... but with him just plopping them on my porch, oh that makes me mad.

All I ask for, is a little consideration.  If you want me (or any rescue, for that matter) to take your pets, be nice.  If they ask for something and you say you'll bring it... bring it.  Don't waste their time when you get there.  This isn't hard stuff to do!  But so few people do it...

Further, these are their nails...




Those look like hawk talons, not guinea pig nails.  See that last pic of the clippings?  I bet they feel a lot better...   Anyway, I did not hit the quick ONCE!  Which means they could have been cut even shorter, but I was hesitant to cut any more off, as they were already not happy piggies and were gritting their teeth at me an at each other.  But these nails did NOT get this long overnight... this is neglect to not cut them that long, and I guarantee, was painful for the pigs.

So, these are some pics of the pigs.

This first guy is a male Abyssinia:

True-to-life color.... see more pics taken with flash for features...


And the other pig...appears to be a sheltie / crested mix?



Not sure if he was trimmed (ha! if they didn't cut the nails, probably didn't cut the hair either) but he's got a weird cowlick in the back of long fur... the rest of him is more medium-ish length.  Time will tell how his fur looks and grows out.

Neither looks to be in horrible condition, but they definitely should get more plumpness and more shine back to their coat with an appropriate diet, regular nail clippings, and so on.  Ugh.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Donations

Someone donated a ream of paper the other day. 

Awesome, cause I mean... if you've ever adopted, you know that there's four pages for each adoption (minimum) -- pickup form (details which animal is going home), adoption contract, health guarantee, and invoice.  If there's more than one animal, add more pickup forms.  The adopter gets copies of this, so however many pages there are, double that.

Plus, everyone gets a care packet, and that's... maybe 6-8 pages, plus a coverpage.  The other animal care packets (non-chin ones) are shorter, but still 3-5 pages plus coverpage.  Everyone adopting a young chin gets two handouts -- what to expect when you take home a young chin, and do's and don'ts for young chins.  Plus, the adoption form is printed out and stapled to all of this for my records... so you can see how we use paper.... and this is just for adoptions, specifically.

So, someone donated a ream of paper, yay!  As of 5 minutes ago, it was still sitting where I set it, which prompted me to write this blog.  It's now put away, so I have it when I need it. 

If you are ever looking to donate... I understand not everyone has gobs of cash to donate, or chin cages lying around... I get it!  So I created this page on the website -- List of Needed Items -- which details basic items that we go through all the time.  Some off the top of my head would include paper towels, reams of paper, simple green, white vinegar, sharpies, notecards, packaging tape, and so on. 

Yes, I do realize (though thank you to the people who have pointed it out) that the list does not include things like chinchilla food, dust, hay, etc.  Honestly, most of this stuff we're already getting cheaper than the average person, anyway.  For example, you can get chinchilla dust at a pet store... it's usually $8-10 minimum for about 2-3 pounds, which works out to about $3.50ish per pound.  If you only have one chin, maybe that's totally reasonable.  But here's the thing... I just bought two 50-pound bags of dust last week, for perspective on how much we got through.  I'd have to look up exactly how much those cost (I bought a lot of stuff... it's part of the grand total...not quite so sure of the breakdown), but I'd bet you that I didn't pay more than $50 for those two bags.  So, $50 for 100 pounds of dust is $0.50 per pound... as compared to $3.50 per pound.  Comes down to... if someone wants to spend $10 to help the rescue, there's better things to spend it on than a tiny canister of dust.  Sure, if that's what you want to buy to help us out, feel free... but my personal opinion on that is that it could be spent better.  $10 for dust, or $10 for... $3 simple green, $1 pack of notecards, $2 -- 2 rolls of paper towels, $3 white vinegar gallon, $1 dish soap... see what else we could have for $10? 

That's why I made the list.  I think the average person can understand, yes, we need chin food, yes, we need hay, yes we need bedding.  And yes, you're welcome to donate any and all of those, plus more things not on the list.  Someone donated sterilite tubs last week.  Can always use more storage (thanks Kenneth)!  Doesn't have to be on the list, but those are just ideas.  We had someone else donate hay (thanks Aleks!)... their family ordered 50 pounds of hay, and wasn't quite aware just how much hay makes up 50 pounds... so they took what they wanted, and brought us the rest.  There's probably 35-40 pounds left, and that will last, oh... about 2-3 weeks, so it's appreciated!  The list is just meant to be less expensive suggestions... basically... things that you might not necessarily think of, when wondering, "hmmm what does a chin rescue need?"... but things that we definitely go through on a regular basis, and can always use more of.  So, if you're ever looking to help out, but stay within budget... keep that list, and the rescue, in mind!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Appointments

Sometimes you all are funny.

This happened a bit ago, but just remembered it now.  Had someone wanting to come see some geckos, and I asked if they were ready to make an appointment.  Their response:

Yes this Saturday mourning 9am if anything changes I will let you know

Which... if I was going to be home on that Saturday, and had that time open, it would have been fine.  But... I was leaving that Thursday to go out of town, and coming back the following Tuesday... so... I would not be around Saturday.

All I ask... is that you all think about what you're saying, and maybe ask, "would this work?" rather than just pick a day and time, and assume it's fine.  While some days I do only have one appointment, others I have people all day.  When you pick a random day and appointment time out of the air... you have no idea what I might be doing that day, what other appointments I might have, if I even might be in town... and so on.

For this person, I emailed back and explained, I would not be in town, specified what days I would be gone, and asked when else they could come.  It's not a big deal, but to me, it's courtesy to ask, "does this work for you?" rather than just specify that I'll be somewhere at a certain time.  That is all.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Sharing Pics & Stories

So, we had one of our foster homes here the other day, dropping off Finn to be adopted from the rescue and picking up their next fosters... their kids took some pics while they were here, and eventually sent them over so I could see.  I'm sharing them with you below.






Now, these are pictures of chins and prairie dogs at my place, but I also get where people share pics and stories of chins or other animals they've adopted.  It's always nice to know how the animals are doing and see pics of them enjoying their new lives and new families.  Always feel free to share that sort of stuff, I love seeing it :)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Choices for Payment

This was actually kinda funny.  The other day, in the same day, I had two people who gave me options for payment... and so I said, ok, this, and then they said, they'd rather do this.

First one, someone wanted to put down a deposit on a chin.  They asked for instructions, and I asked how they wanted to pay, paypal or a credit card.  They said a credit card would be good.  Ok, so I told them, easiest to call with card info, so it's not floating around in cyberspace.  Their response... they didn't want to give their credit card number out over the phone.  And that's fine, but without the card in front of me... I gotta get the cc info somehow, to input, to run the card.  So, they went with paypal instead.

Second one, they needed to pay for a food / supply package that was going out.  They asked if I'd prefer Zelle (a bank to bank transfer) or them calling with a credit card number.  Now, I've had a few people ask about using Zelle before, and someone did try to send me a Zelle payment before... but something was wrong (like they spelled my name wrong, or something) and it didn't go through, so long story short, that person (back when) paid another way, so I never did get to see how it all goes.  But I thought, since this person had mentioned it (and mentioned using it before), I could use it and see how it works.  So I said, let's go with that.  Their response, "well, I think the better choice is credit card, I'll call you tomorrow."  So... why even ask which I'd prefer?

Here's the thing.  For the most part, I don't care how you pay, as long as you do pay.  If you don't want to give me your credit card number, that's fine, then use paypal, where I'll never see it.  If you don't want to use some other option, just don't suggest it.  Paypal, cash, credit cards... those all work great for me.  Of course, cash is king, and I'd prefer everyone pay with cash, but like in these instances... it doesn't matter...

Here's what you shouldn't do, when we're talking about payments:

The other day, someone sent me an adoption form for a specific chin.  This was right when the sale started at the beginning of the month, and all the chins were getting deposits... so I email the person back, letting them know their adoption form looked good, they were set to adopt, and asking when they wanted to come.  Day goes by.  Their response was that they'd have to check their schedule (which....to me... check it, THEN email back.. but whatever).  So I emailed them back and asked if they wanted to put down a deposit, and explained, I don't hold chins without a deposit (especially not during a sale, and especially not when other people were already asking about it).  A day passes after I send that email, they email back and ask how I'd like them to pay.  I tell them, I can do paypal or a credit card, and I give them my number to call me, and tell them, if they'd prefer paypal, let me know and I can send them an invoice.  Day goes by.  Another day goes by.  No missed phone calls, no return email.  Eventually, I emailed the next person in line, who was asking about that same chin.  Emailed them at 2:17 pm... had a deposit at 3:48 pm. 

Now, I'm not saying that everyone has to be that on-the-dot to get a deposit down or a payment to me.  Not at all.  That was exceptionally quick.  But here's the thing... if I'm waiting on a payment, I do appreciate some courtesy... like in this situation, if I tell you that I need a deposit to hold, that doesn't mean, let's wait several days to get it.  And as of now, I still have never heard from that person.  Again, common courtesy.  Like with the choices, mentioned above... don't want to pay a certain way?  Don't want to adopt a certain chin?  That's fine... just let me know.  Simple as that.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Taking Offense

So... I honestly try to be as helpful as I can, as far as offering advice, and matching people up with chins and other pets...without trying to upset anyone, or anything like that.  Had someone the other day, they started off with asking if the chinchilla was still available (like specifically those words).  I asked which one, they said they were interested in Freddy.

I told them, I had two people who had just contact me about Freddy, and I had just sent return emails to both of them.  In the one email, it seemed the person had like really read over Freddy's ad and mentioned specific things that made me think she'd be a great home for Freddy.  Of course, I never ended up hearing back from this person.  The other person didn't specifically reference how Freddy is a bit reserved and will take some effort to come out of her shell, so just to check that this person had really read the ad, rather than just looked at the cute pictures, and seen the "chin comes with decked out cage part" (which attracts a lot of attention, by the way), I added a line into my return email that basically asked if this person had noticed this.  Never heard back.

But let's back up for a moment.  Before all this happened with these people flaking out, I was texting back and forth with this person who was interested in Freddy.  I told them that I was waiting to see if these other people would get back to me (while I don't hold chins without a deposit... if you send me an email about a chin and I send you one back... I will probably give you some time to respond [assuming you didn't come off as someone I won't adopt to] before I re-home the chin to someone else).  I also asked this person if there were any others they might be interested in.

Their response was to ask if I had any other ones that were $150 or less.  I said sure, and asked if they were looking for a male or female.  They didn't care, and asked if the other chins came with cages as well.  I told them that the main reason Freddy came with a cage was that her owners had dropped off the cage (most people surrendering just drop off the animal and nothing with it) and wanted the cage to go with her and that usually I don't have cages to send with them (even if I wanted).  I told this person, most of the chins are cheaper, like the adults are $75-100, so the extra money saved (versus $150 adoption fee) could be used to pick up a cage.

They asked if I had pics, I referred them to the page on the website.  They asked if I knew where they could get a cage for the price difference, I told them to check craigslist or facebook marketplace.

Next day, they texted and asked if I could let them know if Freddy actually gets re-homed.  I told them sure, and I told them that I was still waiting to hear back from those people.  I had someone else, in the meantime, who had asked about Freddy, but wanted her brought back to the rescue so they could see her... Due to the fact that Freddy comes with her cage and all that, she can only be adopted out from her foster home in Island Lake, so I told them, sorry, but they'd need to find a way to get out there.  This isn't a game to see how much we can shuffle the chins around before they finally make their way to their forever home.

Anyway, due to this, I thought, I should ask this person (who was texting), would they even be able to head out to Island Lake?  Because if they couldn't, no point to continue the convo. 

They said yes, and then asked if I could lower the price.

Now, you all know how mad that question always makes me.  Short of craigslist, where can you find a chin WITH a cage that retails for $120 new, plus wood shelves, a house, accessories, toys, metal poo guards, etc... for $150?  Nowhere.  I would actually sell the cage for more if it wasn't with Freddy, but obviously since the previous home wanted it to go with Freddy, it's cheaper in combination with her.  The adoption fee for Freddy and cage is $150.  PERIOD.

I HARDLY think that is a bad price.  The cage is literally like-new, as is much of what's in it.

My response:  No, sorry.  Honestly if you can't afford $150 for a chinchilla and a cage, you'll never be able to afford caring for one.  The cage that's included with her goes for $120 by itself and there's all sorts of accessories in it.

I feel like... that's the truth.  Not saying chin care is ridiculously expensive (it depends on where you buy stuff, but...), but if $150 is breaking the bank, heaven forbid you ever have to take the chin to the vet... or if you're buying supplies at the pet store, heck the 3 pound bags of Oxbow are $15.  At that rate, you'd spend more than $150 on food per year, for one chinchilla.

Even if you get everything here.  Let's figure this out really quick.  Chins eat 2.5ish pounds of food per month.  So on Tradition ($0.75 per pound), that's 2.5 pounds x 12 months = 30 pounds x $0.75 = $22.50.  Say they eat 10+ pounds of hay per year, at $1 per pound, that's $10.  Say they use 10 pounds of dust a year.  At $1.25 per pound, that's $12.50.  Say they go through 5 chew toys, and you have purchased the $4 ones = $20.  Let's say you use two bags of bedding per year, at $8 per bag, so $16. 

$22.50 (food) + $10.00 (hay) + $12.50 (dust) + $20 (toys) + $16 (bedding) = $81 per year.  Yes, I agree, cheaper than the pet store ($150 just for pellets), but still... if $150 is breaking the bank, is $81 per year in routine costs affordable?  Cause keep in mind, this doesn't include treats, hammocks, replacing anything that breaks, vet care, etc etc.

Their response:  How would I not be able to afford one?  It's not like I need more than one cage, after that it's basic needs.  I'm pretty sure my reptiles cost more than a chinchilla.  Just a high school kid trying not to "waste" money and find the cheapest way.

... which begs the question if they're even 18, for the purpose of adopting... but we never got that far. 

My response:  Basic needs aren't super cheap, there's still food, dust, hay.  I'm not saying that's super expensive, but $150 for a chin and cage is pretty cheap to me.

So, few days pass, and I still haven't heard from those people who had emailed, so I thought, well... the texter's response to me seemed kinda like it was written with a tone, but I thought, I can ask, just in case... so I texted them, letting them know that the other people hadn't gotten back to me, and that I wanted to know if they were still interested.

No response. 

Here's the thing.  I want what is best for the chinchilla.  I don't want to send you home with a pet, just cause you've been dying to have one for years, but know nothing about it.  I want to educate you.  I want to be sure you are an appropriate home.  I want to know that that chinchilla will be cared for, and if for some reason it can't be, I want to know it will come back to me, so I can find another (better) home for it.  At the end of the day, what's important is that you will be able to care for the chinchilla, whether that's having enough time, or having enough money, or whatever.  If that's not do-able, that's fine, but I want to find that out, before you take one of my animals home.  They come first.

People ask for discounts all the time.  My usual response is, wait for a sale.  They'll eventually be on sale, and the sale drops the prices $10-50 for the chinchillas, depending on what their initial prices are.  If you can't afford the full price, the sale may drop one into your price range.  It's rare to get a discount other than a sale, with the exception being someone adopting multiple chins (then we have our multi-chin discount of $25 off for every additional chin -- which does not apply during sales).  But when you ask for a discount on something that I already think is a steal... there's about no chance I'm going to give one.  Nothing against anyone specific, and not trying to offend anyone.  I didn't mean to make that person mad or upset or whatever, when I said that if they didn't have $150, they probably can't afford a chin.  I think that' the truth!  The purchase price of the pet... whatever pet... is a tiny fraction of what you will pay out for it over it's lifetime in care, so if the purchase price is out of budget (and I'm not talking about a $500 chin... but something reasonable), I honestly think people should look into either a cheaper pet or no pet.

As far as the price being a steal already... I sold one of those Feisty Ferret cages not all that long ago, with considerably less stuff in it than what Freddy's cage contains, and in not nearly as good condition... for $100.  With all the stuff in hers and what comes with her, I might have upped it to $125, if I was selling it as a decked out cage without Freddy.  Freddy, being an adult standard grey female, goes for $75, so that would have been a total of $200 (for her and the cage).  Because the two are going together, I dropped it down to $150... so in my mind, people are already getting a discount.... which further irritates me when people then want it dropped even lower.  I know I've said it before and I'll say it again... this isn't a garage sale.  If you don't like the adoption fees, that's fine, keep scrolling... maybe you'll find one in your price range.  If not, there's always craigslist.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Rescues Helping Rescues

I know I have interesting opinions on stuff, often... but there are plenty of great people around as well.  Unfortunately for them, there's not usually as interesting stories to tell about them, and the stories are much shorter.  They go something like this --

Hey, I met this great person, we had a great chat about chins and our mutual hate of PETA, and they asked for more pics of two chins, so I sent them a video of each of the two chins... they had a hard time picking, so I said, forget picking, get both... so they put down a deposit on both. 

That's a lot shorter than some of the bad-potential-adopter stories, eh? 

But really, there are a lot of great adopters and adoptions that go perfectly smoothly.  There's also other rescues that reach out to help, when possible.  I got in the geckos due to someone I know, knowing someone else, and suggesting to that person that I could take them in.  You know, people recommend people they like and know.

Other times, I post something and get comments.  Not always the most useful comments... I'm sure you've heard me talk about how I post rats, and sometimes (ok, often), I get emails saying they think my color description is wrong, or I shouldn't have them on wire, or this or that.  It happens.  They mean well, but it doesn't always come off that way (or that's what I tell myself, at least).

But sometimes, people reach out and are super helpful, and word it in a nice way, rather than a "you idiot, you're doing it all wrong, how do you not know this stuff?!?" way.  Case in point.  I listed the hedgies and a few days later, I received an email from Elaine at the Roanoke Rescuer Hedgehog Welfare Society & International Hedgehog Association.  The email went something like this:

Please print out a care sheet for the new people, to help Bella and Spike get proper care from the start: http://www.hedgehogwelfare.org/ Under Health/Education, scroll down to care sheet or http://www.hedgehogwelfare.org/Hedgehog_Care_Sheet.pdf We have FAQs, adoption applications, vet list, rescue stations, links to other hedgie info. sites, plus yahoo and facebook chat groups for any questions as they come up. https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/hedgehogwelfare/conversations/messages https://www.facebook.com/groups/98972897221/ You can also use the International Hedgehog Association site for similar info: http://www.hedgehogclub.com/care.html There's also FREE e-book with up to date care info on lots of different specialized issues: www.westcoasthedgehogs.com/files/hedgehogbook/download.html Please email if you or the new people have any questions! Thanks, Elaine, Roanoke Rescuer Hedgehog Welfare Society and International Hedgehog Association elainebecker@yahoo.com

How nice!  My response:

This is Ashley with NWI Chinchilla Rescue, we're the ones with the hedgies available on petfinder.  You sent me some info and links to different hedgie information pages.  Thanks so much!  I actually have compiled a care packet of my own, but of course, very happy to have additional (good) sources of info, as there's always places with conflicting information out there!  I made sure to add the links you provided into the links section of the care packet that goes home all new hedgies, which potential adopters also are required to review, prior to adopting or even filling out an adoption form, for that matter.  I will keep your info, should I, or the new potential owners (when the hedgies get adopted) have questions.  Thanks so much!  

It is good...  you know I talk about it all the time with chins... there's so many sites with conflicting (and clearly wrong) info out there... it's good to have legit links, suggested by someone who knows.  Sometimes when you just google something, the first sites to pop up aren't always the most reputable... but there's not always ways to know that.  So, help is always appreciated.

Should someone have hedgie questions, her email is up there, as well as the links, and I have added them into the care packet.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

"Around 4"

That little statement above... drives me insane.  Yes, I acknowledge, this is not a doctor's office, as far as being on a strict schedule (most of the times... we do have busy days).  But... my time is valuable too, and I never know what to expect when people say that sort of thing.

"Around 4."  Does that mean they'll be here 3:30?  4?  4:30?  At what point should I just give up and say they're not coming?

I have my planner and it's one of those ones that can fit in your purse, so I can't write down every word someone says, so like today, I had "4 pm" written in my planner, by the appointment.  When it was 4:23, and I hadn't heard from them, I looked up their email to see what we'd said in the email.  The exact words were, "I'll see you around 4." 

It is now 4:36, and I have yet to see them. 

The reason this matters is because I'd rather not head downstairs, only to have the doorbell ring as soon as I hit the bottom step (though... that's a pretty surefire way to make it happen).  I've been working on emails for the last, oh, 45 minutes, because I wanted to make sure I was upstairs (not running upstairs, out of breath, panting) for when the appointment arrived and all.  I have plenty to do downstairs, but I'd rather be ready and waiting.... and I'm still waiting.

I did send an email a few minutes ago, and I'll check my email again in a bit to see if I get a reply.  If it wasn't for the "around 4," I would have emailed long ago... but that phrase means different things to different people.  Personally... I'd much rather have people say that they'll be here at 4, and show up at 4.  Few minutes early or late is no big deal... and a bit more than a few minutes is cool too, especially if I get a call / text / message asking if it's cool to come by early or that they're going to be late.  But... this sort of thing is the exact reason I do the deposits.  In looking at the email, this specific person actually asked me if I'd hold them a gecko... I said not without a deposit, but that they were welcome to check in the night before, and see if the gecko was still here... never heard from them since we set the appointment, and lookie this, they didn't show up.  Exactly why I don't hold without deposits...

Monday, April 9, 2018

People's Opinions

An interesting day in the life of me....

I talked with one person the other day, who called to put down a deposit on a chinchilla... and will be putting down a deposit on another this upcoming week.  We talked today on the phone, and she said about how she was thrilled to get them from me because I'm a reputable breeder and she knows that I'm caring for them well and using and selling safe products and all that.  She said that several times, made me feel good.

Like all good things, that was short lived.

Then I got this form submission through my website:


Let me start off by saying... no one wants the chins?  I re-homed 250+ last year.  Just today, I've had people put deposits on four, I'm waiting on someone to put a deposit down on another two... yeah, no one wants them.  For sure.  😉

Moving onto the hedgehogs.  Apparently I stole them from the wild or something.  I mean... I MUST HAVE, why else would this person be so adamant that I should be ashamed (surprise, I'm not) that I have hedgehogs up for adoption.  That's about my only guess, because short of taking them out of the wild... I mean... what's so bad about re-homing hedgehogs?  They were surrendered to the rescue by someone who was unable to keep them.  They were both captive bred, out of captive bred parents, out of captive bred parents.  Whether anyone agrees with it or not... hedgies have been pets for years!  They would NOT survive if you set them out in the wild.  So, I'm re-homing them.  Shame shame, how HORRIBLE of me!  😁

Mind you... even the person from earlier today... we exchanged a few emails about which chins she was wanting, where she asked about how the deposits worked and all, but I didn't put anything in their drink or anything, they just made all the nice comments after viewing my website and all.  Second person views the website, and tells me I should be ashamed of myself, and clearly doesn't think highly of me.  They saw the same website, nothing major changed over the course of today.... completely different opinions on it / me.  Interesting, isn't it?

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Lake County Pet Expo

So, I said I'd post a blog about this, so here goes.  This is what happened with the Lake County Pet Expo.

We've attended this expo... I want to say every year they've had it, with the exception of one year, where I was actually in the ER with breathing issues related to my asthma, the night before.  Needless to say, I didn't go into a expo building full of pets the next day.

So.... exchange of emails (mine in blue, theirs in red):

Hi,

I am emailing to invite you to attend this year's event.

The contract is being edited, so will be a few days coming, but was hoping to get an RSVP to this email. We like to limit shelter/rescue participation to 25.  So please let me know if I should get a contract out to you.

PLEASE REMEMBER YOU MUST BRING ADOPTABLE ANIMALS TO THE EVENT. WE ARE ENFORCING THIS WITH THE OVERWHELMING INTEREST BY RESCUES TO PARTICIPATE.

So let me know if you can attend and that you will have adoptable animals to bring. Thank you!

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Hi,

Yes, definitely get me a contract, we would love to attend.

We always bring adoptable pets to the event, so this isn't a problem :)  We'll have some furballs with us.

Talk to you soon! 
Take care,
-Ashley
amgajda@sbcglobal.net

NWI Chinchillas
http://www.nwichinchillas.com/


Southside Shelties

(normally I won't be attaching my full email signature to each of these, but I am here, so you can see what my emails look like, in the event you've never received an email from me)

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Hi,

I apologize for the oversight, but we didn't realize you were a dog breeder as well. We are withdrawing the original invitation to participate given this fact. 

Apologies for the confusion, but it is against our mission to support dog breeding at our rescue event.

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The chinchilla rescue is completely separate from the dog breeding (obviously, they're two distinct animals).  If you don't mind my asking, how is promoting a chinchilla rescue also supporting the dog breeding?  Not sure I understand.    

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Hi,

Your website mentions you also breed chinchillas. 

Unfortunately we just can't have a booth run by a person that is involved in breeding operations.  

We spend hours and hours and hours of our lives attempting to educate against breeders and to help eradicate the overpopulation of companion animals. It is just not in keeping with our mission, especially given that we turn other 501c3 rescue entities away. 

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I've bred the chinchillas (responsibly, as well... I'm a member of both chinchilla professional organizations, bred and show, and have won National placings and breeder awards) for about as long as I've had the rescue.  I guess it's just confusing because it's never been a problem before and I'm pretty positive that when I used to talk to Vivian, she knew that I bred and show chinchillas and I still was able to attend.  That's fine that I can't, it's just different, so I just wanted to clarify.

Personally, I can't agree with you that all breeders are bad.  Sure, there's definitely ones that are breeding willy nilly, breeding whatever animal to whatever animal, with no regard for health testing or anything like that.  I would agree, those are adding to the problem, regardless of what type of animal we're talking about.  I don't think that's all breeders though, so I guess we'll have to agree to disagree there.

It's actually kind of funny -- I actually told a different expo that I would be unable to attend their expo, as I had already committed to being at the LCPE that day.  I actually had gone as far as already listing the LCPE on my website, as a place we would be attending.  I always have more supply sales and more adoptions resulting from attending the other expo, but, I was holding loyal to LCPE.  Apparently that was misplaced, but that's ok, because now I can go to the other expo and rehome more pets (which is kind of sad, as I try to support the local market, and of course, the other is further away).  I'm sorry that I'm unwelcome at this one, as I really did enjoy being a part of this expo.

They couldn't be bothered to email me back.

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Oh, and at the same time these emails were being exchanged, I sent a message on facebook to the previous head of this expo.  She used to stop in the pet store where I worked, and I swear we talked about the chins, chin shows (I know we talked about this, because I know that we'd had the discussion about me not being able to always get time off at previous jobs, to attend chin shows where I'd show my *gasp* bred chins).  I probably even talked about breeding the dogs back then, and she never batted an eye (and I was at last year's expo, which would have been later in time, than when we talked).

I sent her a message, just basically asking if she had any insight to this.  As I'm sending these messages... this is facebook, so I can see that she's reading the messages, and not responding.  The last thing I said to her was, I mean, is it literally as black and white as, my dog was bred, so I must be a horrible person and could never be a good person, even though I've done rescue for 15 years? I just can't quite wrap my head around this... still no response.  I responded "apparently so."  I really wanted to reply, at the end, with "thanks for all your help!" since she did such a great job of ignoring me, but I refrained.  Honestly, if she'd just replied, "hey, new policy, sorry."  It would be totally different.  But I have supported their expo for years upon years, and now they're going to take my personal life, and use it to exclude my rescue... even though, having rescue chinchillas there, at a booth selling supplies, which support the rescue chinchillas... to me... in no way, supports my dog / chinchilla breeding, which are completely separate.  It'd be one thing if I was bringing pedigreed show chins or baby chins out of show lines, or puppies... But whatever, to each their own.

So there you have it.  They spend hours and hours of their lives attempting to educate against breeders.  That is a total PETA mentality.

In case you're curious why being against all breeders might come across as irritating, let's have a quick chat about this.  Two different scenarios: reputable breeders stop breeding, or everyone stops breeding.

If reputable breeders stop breeding, what happens?  The only people left breeding are backyard breeders, who have no care for the health concerns and welfare of the animals.  You know how they say to stay away from puppy mills?  Those dogs aren't health tested, aren't raised in a home, no care for the health or welfare of the animals, just the almighty dollar -- THOSE are the people who would still breed, if reputable breeders quit.  Guess what happens then?  Breed standard goes to pot, you end up with a lot more mixed breeds (heck, go to pet stores now... there's already boxer / poodle mixes and other random ones... selling for $1000+) and whatever dogs remain are super unhealthy and health issues will get bred in, and over time, the dogs will become even more sickly and  unhealthy, due to no one watching to ensure that dogs with health issues are not bred.  Obviously, not a good outcome.

If everyone stops breeding -- well, this won't happen, cause just like the way drugs are banned, and magically, people still have drugs -- but let's say, all the dogs of the world are magically sterile and can't breed.  Give it, oh, 10-20 years, at best, and there will be no dogs to own.  They'll all die out because no one's breeding them.  Since the people at the expo are against all breeders... this is apparently the desired end result... which is the PETA philosophy, that none of us should own any pets.  Say bye to your cats and dogs and chins and small animals.

I understand they're rescue focused.  I totally get that.  I have no problem with that, rescuing animals is great (imagine me, thinking this, after having a rescue for 15 years now).  But as I told them in the email, I can't agree with the blanket mentality that all breeders are bad.  Sure, there are bad ones.  There's also the good, reputable ones, that aren't the problem.  And sure, you can find people who argue both sides.  Like this expo, which argues that all breeders are the problem, they view every animal born as being one more potentially in the shelter.  It could be, sure.  But reputable breeders take them back, when it doesn't work out, so, considerably less likely.  And, as mentioned above...if no one breeds, that's the end of having pets.  Can't agree with the PETA mentality, sorry.

I originally thought I'd be at another expo that day, with the LCPE withdrawing my invitation.  Turns out... there was a chin show that we thought was May 19th & 20th, which Jim had the dates wrong on (kind of funny, considering he reserved the hall)... it's actually May 5th (same day as when this expo and the other one were).  So, I'll be skipping expos that weekend, and focusing on supporting chinchilla breeders instead.  I know, how horrible of me.