Monday, June 25, 2018

"Terms / Phrases" and their Use

Now, you all know how much I value people being on time.  With that, I acknowledge, people mean different things with slightly different wording, heck, even with the same wording.  For example. 

"I will see you at 6" versus "I will see you around 6"

If you say, you'll see me at 6, I anticipate a more punctual 6 pm arrival, versus "around 6"... maybe you show up a little before or a little after 6.  How much before or after is "around"... I suppose that depends on the person.

Myself, personally, if I say I will show up around 6, it probably means not much earlier than 6, but potentially as late as 6:10-6:15.  To me, 6:30 is not "around 6," but again, that is my interpretation, and I understand that people interpret differently.

The one phrase that is currently on my phrase-shit-list is "right away."  Again, I acknowledge, people interpret things differently.  However, when people call, wanting to come the same day, and I say that I am home now (when they ask if they can come "right away") and they say ok, great, they will see me "right away"... and an hour and a half later, they are not here... to me, that is NOT "right away."  Maybe 30 minutes time is right away, depending on where they're located of course, but I, personally, would not tell someone, "I will be there right away," and show up an 90 minutes later.  To me, that just isn't right away.  Maybe that's "in a while" or "in a bit" or some other phrase.

I'm sure the people who do this sort of thing are not the same people who are reading this blog, but I put this out there, so hopefully everyone can remember, when you're coming over to someone's house... someone who may be waiting on you to arrive, so they can leave / do other things... your terminology is important.  That is all. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Waiting List

I'm starting to think that no one has any patience, anymore.

I have one person (will use this as an example).  Maybe 3 weeks ago, they contact me, wanting to surrender their chinchilla.  I tell them, there's a waiting list, several people ahead of them, I can add them if they'd like.  Yes, they want me to add them.  So, I add them.

Not 7 days later, they contact me, asking if there's room to bring the chinchilla in.  I look on my waiting list to see where they are, and they are on there... with 5 people in front of them.  I inform them of this (and I did tell them, definitely people ahead of them, chins need to get adopted to bring more in, so on and so forth), and they say, ok, they'd rather get in sooner rather than later (but to a good home, of course).  Well sure, so would everyone on the list (get them in sooner), but unless people are stepping up to adopt (or foster), the waiting list is what it is. 

I get a text a few days ago, maybe two weeks since the initial contact, saying that I can take the person off the waiting list, as they listed the chinchilla themselves.  That's perfectly fine (and hey, the list shortens for the people after this!).

But the reason I mention this all... I can't make people adopt chins.  When we say we're full, it's cause we're full.  Sure, I have little cages open.  If these people would like their chins stuck in a 14 x 14 holding cage, I can probably take in a few more.  However, I understand that these people are surrendering their pets, and they don't want their chins in those small cages.  So that means, I have to wait for a big cage to open.  Some chins that come in get adopted right away.  Others.... well, you notice certain names on our website that just seem to sit there?  Chili Mac and Wife & Daughter come to mind... those two are taking up two of the big cages and have about no interest.  The "less adoptable" chins take up room until that perfect adopter comes along.  Since we are no-kill (which people like, until it means we have no space to take in their pet), just because a chinchilla isn't some flashy color and winning-you-over-personality, they just chill with us until they're adopted, whether that's days / months / years.  So, people have to wait for there to be room.  Have patience.  All I can do on my end, for the most part (other than posting their ads and hoping the right person sees them), is wait as well.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

So... I know it's hard to read... but...

So, I know it must be hard for some people. 

I understand our ads are long.  But even with short ads, this happens:

So, I have our ads a bit longer, hoping to cover many of the questions that people will ask, as believe me, I already get a zillion emails a day.  Of course, still not every possible question can be covered in the ad, that's understandable... but one thing that IS in every ad, is this line:

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

So, when I get emails. and I do mean a LOT of emails that are like, "hey, I'm in New York (or insert state of choice) and I saw your chinchilla available, can you ship him to me?", there are days when I'd really like to nicely ask the person, can you please go re-read the ad, and let me know if you find an answer?

Just this morning, I got two of them and it's not yet 11 am here.  It's not a big deal, but it could save not only my time, but theirs as well.  Cause I figure, they could be sitting on their end, thinking ooooh maybe there's a way I CAN get that chinchilla!  Where, had they read, they'd know that's not the case, unless they want to drive here... So, it would also save them heartbreak, if they would read the entire ad.  Maybe one day!

Friday, June 22, 2018

A Quick Hi from Chi-Chi our Current Boarder!

Hello!  My name is Chi-Chi, short for Chicago!  My mom is out of town right now and will soon be out of the country, so she dropped me off at my original-mom's-place for something they call "boarding."  I don't know what it means, just that I'm not home in my spacious cage and my mom's not here.  As you can tell, I'm not thrilled about this, and I make sure to bark at her every chance I get!

She put me in a smaller cage, though I guess it's alright.

See me?  I'm in the top corner.  That's my FAVORITE perch.  I can see when original-mom comes down the stairs and kack at her BEST from that spot.  Look at me sitting there like the princess I am:

Original-mom says I have something called "resting bitch face."  I don't know what that is, but I don't think it's a compliment. 

I realized I can hide in this log-thing today.  It's a little short, but I totally succeeded in scaring original-mom when she looked in the cage and couldn't find me!  I eventually poked my head out so she wouldn't have a heart attack.  She has to be alive to feed me, after all.

Tonight was the best EVER!!  I discovered that original-mom put a hammock in my cage!  How thoughtful of her to give me a bed!  Maybe this place isn't so bad after all!

Chi-Chi signing out.  Goodnight!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Updated on the Snake!

So, you may have read our post about the red tail boa that came in a bit ago.  If you didn't, it's here.  Wanted to give you a quick update on how she's doing, now that it's been about 3 weeks since she came in (we got her May 24th).

We feed our snakes on Fridays.  She ate a mouse the day after we came here, and then the following week (June 1st), refused to eat.  Just showed no interest.  She hadn't poo'd either, and with how skinny she is, it was a concern as far as whether everything internally is working alright.

I was at an expo on June 2nd, and picked up small rats for her.  Rats and mice have different nutritional info, as far as the amount of protein, fat, and so on.  Red tails are known for eating rats, whereas my corn snakes typically eat mice.  So, I picked up small rats for the redtail.

Following week (June 8th), I heated up a rat.  Absolutely no interest.  No poo either.  Boo.  My one corn snake enjoyed an extra big dinner with that rat though...

Following week, on the 14th, I had an adopter coming by to look at our adoptable hedgehog, Ox (didn't know we had one, did you?  If you're ever curious if we have a critter that you don't see listed anywhere, feel free to shoot us a message!  sometimes I can't get them listed fast enough!).  She asked what was in the enclosure (that held the red tail) so I told her the story of how we came to get her and all.  Turns out, she has a red tail of her own, so we were talking about her, and how she's teeny tiny based on her age, and I lifted up her hide, so this person could see her.  There was POO!!!!

I tell you, when you deal with unhealthy / sick animals, you sometimes get excited over the weirdest things.  In the poo was shed (snake skin) a LOT.  I'd never seen that before, but the person informed me that sometimes snakes will ingest their own shed if they are nutritionally deficient / starving.  Well, that wouldn't surprise me.  Removed the poo.  Had her out of her tank for a little bit, she was a good girl.

Fast forward to the 15th (next feeding day), I heated up a rat, and dangled it in front of her and she ate it!!!!  So happy for her!  I even messaged the person who was here to let her know the good news!

I feel like this may be one of those pics that needs an explanation to go with it.  Her head is at the bottom right, upside down.  See where those two coils are towards the bottom of the pic... the white coming from the right side is the underside of her neck, and when it curves to form the U-shape, you're looking at the bottom (upside down) of her jaw, holding onto the rat.  And she ate it!!  Who-hoo!!

A lot of recovery (for any animal) is getting them to eat, and put on the proper weight and such, so... eating is a BIG deal.  Super super happy she decided to eat.  Now, to see this trend continue!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Introducing Pets

When introducing pets, often people hear of everything going well.  Often, that is the case.  However...sometimes, it's not.

We have had several unsuccessful pairings in the last few days, as have other people.  One family got a chinchilla from us at an expo, and took it home to pair with their two chins.  Their chins weren't a fan of the new chin, so she came by today to return the chin, and hopefully find one that her pair would like.  Her pair had other ideas.  They liked each other, and didn't want a third wheel.  This resulted in no injuries, thankfully.

Not all introductions do, though.  We had someone the other day, who adopted a guinea pig.  She'd brought her guinea pig here to see how they'd do together, and while they were both acting a bit dominant, there was no immediate cause for concern.  She decided to adopt our guinea pig, and put them in a cage with a divider so they could get used to each other.  Her guinea pig decided to take a chunk out of ours, and she promptly brought ours back later that night.

Now, to be honest... while the adopter was absolutely freaking out, that looks worse than it is.  Though the nose is sort of hanging there, the bite did not go deep enough into the nasal cavity and will not affect breathing or eating, which would be the main concerns with a facial bite.  Basically, it'd a really bad flesh wound... that will heal just fine.

Mind you, that is from ONE bite, when the chins were separated by a cage divider.

We put blu-kote (antiseptic) on it, and have been checking on her, and she is feeling better and on the mend.  

Will update another blog with pics in a few days.  She will be fine.  This all said...if they were together, without the barrier, who knows what might have happened.  

This is why, when people ask, I always tell them, there's no way to know if any two animals will get along, without literally trying it out.  From my own personal experience, this guinea pig (Bonnie) is super sweet and loves other gp's.  Heck, when they were here, she was even grooming the other person's gp and trying to snuggle up to her.  The other person said her guinea pig has a similar personality... yet look at the outcome.  Some animals get along great... some not so much.

Update!  As of two days later, this is how it looks (see pics below).  Healing up nicely.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Pink whites vs. mosaics

Wanted to post a quick educational post on pink whites versus mosaics, as a lot of people have asked the difference over the years.

Both colors are considered "whites" for purposes of showing chinchillas.

A mosaic is a chinchilla with a white gene.  The base color of this chinchilla is white, and they can have grey / silvery markings over their body.  Mosaics have dark ears.  The chinchillas pictured below are all mosaics.

 A pink white is a mosaic with a white gene and a beige gene.  They also have a white base, and the have beige markings over their body.  Pink whites have light ears, which tend to look pink, hence "pink white."  The chinchilla pictured below is a pink white.

That pink white (above) has very little beige markings.  However, just like the mosaics, pink whites come in all sorts of markings, from almost all white, to dark beige markings.  For example, this picture (from is also a pink white.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Chins Watching TV!

Ever heard people talk about leaving a TV on for their chins?  Some people do! 

One of our adoptive homes told us that their chins like to watch The Simpsons -- their favorite show!  I replied, saying that I'd love to see a pic -- this is what she sent:

5 out of their 6 chins are at the front of their cages, watching.  Can you find them all?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

What Happens When Someone Emails With A Chin With Malo?

So, today's post is going to be about what happens when someone emails wanting to drop off a chin that has malo.  In case you were curious.  This is the email I received:

Message : Hi, we have a male (his name is Parker) and we think it best if we surrender him to someone/some place that will give him the care he needs. 

Here is his story: one of our daughters is an Activities Director at an assisted living facility and one of the elderly residents had an alcohol addiction problem. The resident lived alone at the facility so for companionship she would routinely get a pet of some sort. She owned a cat and then a dog prior to obtaining the chinchilla. Because she sometimes overindulged her drink, her cat or dog would get out of her apartment and roam the halls. The cat and dog had to be confiscated so the resident bought a chinchilla. 

She ended up going into rehab so my daughter and the facility management took away the chinchilla since he was unattended for several days. She asked my wife and I to look after him while they searched for a suitable home for him. They never did find anyone to take him so we gave him a home and purchased a ferret cage so he'd have plenty of room to jump around. The kids named him Parker. 

I think he's about 4 years old and about 2 years ago, I noticed that he would swipe at his cheeks when he ate so I took him to the vet who ended up doing dental work to remove "spurs" from his molars. All was well until 2 weeks or so ago when I noticed Parker had stopped eating so again he went to the vet. 

They removed pieces of some of his back teeth and said he may have other issues with other teeth and/or jaw bone, and that a vet that specializes in exotic animals would need to see him for further treatment. His recent issues cost us almost $600 and the vet guessed it would be over $1000 more at the specialist. I am retired and on Social Security so we can't afford the treatment he may need. 

We have been feeding Parker a special formula by hand through a syringe and giving him antibiotics and anti-inflammatory meds since he came home from the vet but he still doesn't take the food willingly and it needs to be administered several times a day. We can't continue in this manner and don't want to have Parker put down if it can be helped in any way, but we are also concerned about his quality of life. 

So, I searched the internet and found your website. Is there any way you could take Parker or, being that we are in Illinois, do you know of any facility like yours more local to us who would be willing to give him a home? I would provide his cage and the food and meds we currently have if they are wanted or needed. 

Thank you. 

And this is my response:

This is Ashley with NWI Chinchilla Rescue, I received your message about Parker and what he's been going through, health-wise.  I understand what you're saying about the cost of his care, and the quality of life.  Honestly, when the chinchillas have dental issues like what you described, the kindest thing for them is to put them down.  Treating the dental issues with the constant filings (they usually get to be about 1x a month or more frequent, as the dental issues progress) and constant feeding of the critical care is very stressful for the chinchillas.  The anesthesia is hard on them, as they are not an animal that does well with anesthetics, especially that often.  There's no research that specifically says how much is too much, but the research that does exist, says that they don't tolerate anesthesia well, and it is hard on their little bodies.  Further, the constant filings and handfeeding significantly reduces the quality of life of the chinchilla, and the best way I've come up with how to put it is it's sort of like terminal cancer -- you can extend their life, yes.  In the end, though, it will be what kills them.  Similar to how some cancer patients choose to forego chemo, because of the side effects and the fact that it doesn't always extend life that much, doing the filings has side effects and is painful in the meantime, and may not actually do much to extend life, or more importantly, quality of life.  

Think about it this way -- the reason for the handfeeding -- after filing, the teeth are painful for the chinchilla to eat on.  So, you get filing done, handfeed for awhile... but since the chinchilla is not eating the pellets, just the critical care mush, the teeth are not being worn down... so by the time the chinchilla does feel well enough to eat, the teeth are already overgrown again (and that's just the surface... nothing can be done about the roots), so you get a little time of the chinchilla eating on their own, but then you need another filing... and the cycle continues.

There's really no quality of life in that.  Don't get me wrong, I have taken in chinchillas and gotten their teeth filed, handfed, and repeat... many times.  Never was the outcome any different... the chinchilla always continued to decline and eventually had to be put down, due to the dental disease.  It's heatbreaking, and I wish there was another option to save these little guys, but I would rather end their suffering a minute too early rather than a minute too late.  When we get in a chinchilla like Parker at the rescue, or one that we determine has dental issues, they are put down to end their suffering.  I'm sure this is not what you want to hear, but I've been doing this now for 15 years, and after all the chinchillas that have come in with similar stories and unfortunate outcomes, this is what it's come to.  I'd rather them go out, without experiencing bad quality of life, and enjoying what time they had.  They all get lots of treats (if they will eat them) before they go, since at that point, it won't matter if they cause ill health problems... but there unfortunately is no "fixing" dental issues.

As far as other facilities like you asked about, the reputable facilities I know of have similar policies.  Quality of life comes before anything else, and unfortunately, even with a high quality of life, it is about impossible to find an adopter willing to pay $300/month (filing cost at the specialist vet in Chicago) for the rest of the life of the animal, for continued treatment.  There's one place that I know of that probably would take him (but I would not recommend -- I'm letting you know so you don't take him there), it's called FurryLovables in Wilmington.  I would, under NO circumstances, ever take a field mouse there.  They are basically known as the pond scum of the rescue world... They would probably take him in... but not treat him.  They are very money-focused, as they breed their rescue animals, without thought to health / genetics / etc.  I know of several people who have adopted out terminal chinchillas from there, that the organization said were perfectly healthy.  For the adopters, well, they took the chins to the vet, who told them basically that these issues did not develop overnight, and any normal person would have known they were going on.  Unfortunately, they were lied to.  One that I know personally (who I met long after this happened), adopted a chinchilla with such bad dental issues that her whole mouth was abscessed and filled with puss that was dripping out.  The roots were overgrown as well.  The vet found no traces of food in her stomach (on necropsy) and said the chinchilla looked dehydrated and starved... basically, that no one could have not noticed that she wasn't eating and wasn't doing well, but this organization not only adopted her out, but adopted her out as being in good health.  When this person contacted them after the vet visit (where the chin was put down), the organization literally said, "oh, sorry for your loss," and that was it.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not for badmouthing other organizations... but this one is one I wouldn't recommend for anyone.  They put on a good front, online and in person, but in reality, they have no concern for the welfare of the animals, and that's something I personally have no tolerance for.

If I can help you further, don't hesitate to let me know.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Low Ballers

I love you all, you know that.  But jeez people... there's not only a sale, there's a sale on top of the sale, right now.

So, when I get an email that references one of the chins, and it asks what the lowest I'll take on the chin is... pardon me when I email you and tell you (nicely, though), that that IS my lowest price.

One of the emails I got, for example, was on the blue diamond.  If you happened to read her ad (and even if you didn't, I'll tell you here), her normal price is $450.  She wasn't here for the Spring Fling Sale, but had she been, she would have dropped down to $400.  With our Summer Fire Sale (which, the prices are basically further discounts off the Spring Fling Sale), she's dropped down even further to $375.  This is a $75 discount in price...some of my chinchillas don't even cost that much to adopt, and this is a discount on a chin.

Now... blue diamonds are a double recessive, they require both sapphire and violet to be expressed, to get the powdery blue, blue diamond color.  With the genes required to create a blue diamond, you have a much better chance of getting a sapphire violet carrier, or violet sapphire carrier, for babies, than you do a blue diamond (statistically).  So, you could have a pair that could, in theory, produce blue diamonds, and go several litters, possibly even years, without producing one.  Because of that, they tend to be on the higher side, as far as price goes.  And... that's assuming you can even find one for sale.  Since there's not a ton of them born, if they're decent quality at all, most breeders will hang onto them and they won't be available.

So, I guess what it boils down to, is... when there's a sale, on top of a sale, don't ask for further discounts.  Especially for the chins that are down to $55-65.  By the time I feed the critters, I'm losing money at that point.  Which is fine, if they're finding good homes and enjoying life there, more than they would here... but keep in mind, we need money to run, and asking for further discounts doesn't endear me to you.  That is all.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Everything Happening All At Once

So, let me tell you about the other day.  I'm always talking with people and telling people, "oh something came up," and I wanted to share with you a good example.  Sometimes I think, maybe people think something really didn't come up, and I just didn't get back to them, or whatever... but quick story for you.

So, I had a potential adopter who wanted me to pair some chins for them.  We talked about it, and the night before, I told them that I would let them know how the pairing went in the morning.  In the morning, I sent them a photo of the chins snuggled up together.  They were happy, and through texting, they said they wanted to put down a deposit.  This was... 10 am?

I didn't get back to her right away, because I went over to my parents' house.  Drove my blazer the entire time... to their house, to the movies, to Lowe's, to Bath & Body, to Panera... everything seemed fine.  Go to leave from their house, the blazer won't start.  I figure it's probably the battery, as it had been acting up lately.  For example, it'd turn over, but the radio would reset to 12:00.

My parents have a trickle charger for their convertible (for the winter), so I hooked that up to my blazer and let it charge for awhile.  Still wouldn't start.  Decided to push the blazer back a bit, try to jump it with one of my parents' vehicles.  Still no.  Decided to leave the vehicles hooked up for a bit, to give it more juice.  Nope. 

Decided to rev up the rpm's on the parents' vehicle to start the blazer (bigger engine on the blazer vs. smaller on the car).  Who-hoo!!  It started!  Un-hooked, got about 10 feet backed up down their driveway, died.  Ugh.

My mom and I pushed the blazer onto the street and parked it near the curb, where it wouldn't be in the way.  Sat there, tried to think of who could call.  I could technically go get another battery myself, but I didn't have tools at my parents' place to swap it out, and even at my place, finding the tools would be the problem (I may not always be the most organized person in the world, especially for stuff I rarely use).  Finally, it occurred to me to call Roadside Assistance, through my insurance.  Went through that whole process, finally got a call that the tow would be there within 40 minutes.

In less time than that, the tow showed up.  I had put down that I wanted it towed to the address that was Autozone, as I could get a battery there, and they could put it in for me, and I wouldn't have to dig out any tools of my own.  The wrecker driver made sure that I understood that he was just dropping me and the blazer off, and leaving, and if I was wrong about it being just the battery, I was stuck there.  I told him, I understood, I had someone waiting by the phone in case there was a problem, but I really thought that it was the battery.  So, he tows the blazer to Autozone.

We get there, and there's like no one there, so the two employees in the store are watching out the window as my blazer is unloaded from the wrecker.  At this point, the battery has completely died, and the wrecker driver can't get it out of park and into neutral.  He has to pull out his jump pack, and gets it started just long enough to get it into the spot, reminds me that it could be my starter (no, replaced not long ago) or my alternator (better not be, just replaced within the last 1-2 years), but that he doesn't think it's the battery... and then he goes.

I go into Autozone, explain that I need to purchase a new battery and need it installed.  The guys are totally like, "oh we don't do that here."  Some people, who don't know, would have been like, "oh shit," and panicked, but not me, cause I know, so I said to them, "oh yes you do," and they started laughing.

They checked everything, was the battery.  Sold me, and installed, a new battery.  Started right up, all's good.  Would love to tell that wrecker driver, see, it really was the battery.  I don't have to be wrong, just cause I'm female...

I got home... at like 9 pm.  I walked in the door to a phone call from that person who wanted me to pair those two chins for her.  She was a bit curious about why I'd fallen off the face of the earth all day, and wanted to be sure that she really was getting the two chins.  I explained all of the above to her (and I should mention, my phone died somewhere in the middle of all of this) and she was super understanding.  No problem there.

The reason I mention all of this is just so you all can see how wildly things can go askew.  I intended to be home, early afternoon at the absolute latest, get a ton of chins listed, a ton of work done.  Versus 9 pm.  I still got stuff done that night, but not quite like I'd anticipated, and while of course, this sort of level of insanity doesn't happen on a daily basis, it's not uncommon for a day to take a twist, especially if someone calls about an urgent rescue, or something happens with a vehicle, or something.  I try to get everything done as quickly as I can, and get everyone's emails and questions answered in a timely manner, but I just post this to remind that life does happen sometimes, and just keep in mind, I do my best to work around it!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Going On's / GoFundMe

So, if you frequent our facebook page or our website, you have probably seen our recent GoFundMe campaign.  In case you haven't already run across it, you can check it out, here -->  Replenish Stolen Rescue Funds

It's sad, isn't it?  When you think you can trust someone, and then they not only betray your trust, but do so in a way that significantly affects your livelihood?

I do have a new worker, and while he's going to be leaving for college in the fall, in the meantime, he's pretty awesome.  We can knock out cleaning cages in record time, doing it together, and with his help, I'm trying to piece back together what I can.

I was talking to someone earlier about how I've had this guy here working, and they said, well, if I don't have a lot of money, how can I afford to have help?  Well, basically, how can I not?  There's a lot going on here on a daily basis, and while I don't need help at all times, and while certain things need to be done myself, there's a lot that can be accomplished with an extra set of hands.

The safe was stolen back in April.  I discovered it was gone on April 18th.  Since then, I've cleaned cages myself, and until about two weeks ago, I had almost no help here.  That's fine, don't get me wrong. but adding cage cleaning, on top of all the other work and responsibilities, got me a bit behind.  Not to mention, before all this, I had almost daily help from the guy who was stealing, and then went almost a month without anyone here working... it's easy to get behind in a situation like that.  Now, Issa and I are working on making toys and houses.  Organizing the basement.  We already did the garage the other day, and moved the used cages downstairs.  Those will soon be set up with shelves and available for sale.  We're working on knocking out orders.  Right now, we're down to just a few orders.

Yes, I agree, I'd rather do this all on my own, without help... or at least, without paying someone for help, as that would keep more money in the rescue fund.  However, to keep moving forward requires money (among other things, but the bills don't get paid with hopes and dreams), and the way to make money is to have toys to sell, have houses to sell, have the used cages ready to go if someone wants them.  I want to keep this place going, and I am doing everything in my power to do so.

Right now, every cent coming in is going directly into paying for feed / shavings / bills, and so on and so forth.  That's where the GoFundMe comes in, there's already been several donations (thanks to all who donated, and to all who left kind comments and well-wishes), and I hope some more keep trickling in.  Every little bit helps,  I'm trying to do everything in my power, and I hope that people can see that, and if they feel so inclined, can donate in one way or another.

Some people have asked about donating things other than cash -- sure!  We can always use stuff.  We actually have a list on our website of possible items to donate here,  As you may notice, there's not "chinchilla cages" or "dust" or "bedding" or whatever on the list... though people are welcome to donate those items as well... I just made that list to be sort of general, easier to find, not-necessarily-pet-related things, that we use a ton.

Other people have asked about volunteering.  Volunteering is something I can never get enough of!  If you want to help, I guarantee you there is something you can do to help out.  Whether you prefer donating to the GoFundMe, donating items, donating your time / volunteering, or heck, even adopt a chinchilla or purchase some supplies.  Every little bit helps keep us going!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


So, we all know, a picture is worth 1,000 words. 

Some of us know, lighting can affect these pictures tremendously. 

In my basement, I have a drop ceiling with those long tube bulbs, hidden behind those semi see-through panels.  But, there's some dark corners, and so there's track lighting on the one side. 

Someone wanted to see a pic of this one medium ebony chinchilla, and I thought, rather than get out my cage that I use for pics and all, I'll get a great pic under the track lights. 

Yeah, no.

Now, I should mention... those lights do NOT point down.  They point out and to the left, and the chin was right below them.  But you can see, looking at that photo, how yellow the whole thing looks (being on wood, which reflects the light, undoubtedly didn't help), and how the chin looks all off-color, and (at least to me), very unappealing.

Versus these photos...

... which are the same chin, in case you didn't catch on.  That's literally not 10-15 feet away from where the first pics were taken.  At least to me, the chin looks considerably more appealing in those photos (and with much better color!).

I've had many people ask, over the years, about taking good photos.  It's common to hear people say about how the chin is blurry or the color is off or doesn't look true-to-life, or something.  This is where something as simple as playing with the environment and the spot where the photo is taken can make a big difference.  I sometimes think... people must think I take one photo, and it's amazing.  No, I take like 200, and end up with 4 good ones.  Play around!  It's fun.  Just thought that'd be an interesting post for today.

Monday, June 4, 2018


So, I ran across something the other day, this was kinda funny.  I took some screenshots, for fear it'd be taken down before I scheduled this blog post...  you gotta see this!

So, I know we have our Trial Run Program (which has been updated, and is functional again, go check it out!), but that's like a preface to an adoption.  This is amusing, cause... they're not selling the chins... they're basically renting out playtime with the chins.

And heck, at $30/hour, man am I missing out on this market!

Plus... I have to say, at least 3 out of their 4 pictures are like googled pictures of chinchillas that I have seen countless times over the years.  Not sure if that sort of thing irritates anyone else, but I always feel like... take a pic of your own chins when you're selling / marketing them, don't just find a cutesy pic on google...

That is all!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Red Tail Boa

So, here's one more post not dealing with the fluffies for the moment.  We got in, last week, a redtail boa.  I knew pretty much nothing about the snake, going into taking it in, but I was meeting the owner at their workplace to pick up the snake. 

Seems there's plenty of bad / neglectful / couldn't-possibly-care-less owners, regardless of the species.

So I got there, the owner seemed like a very nice person.  I asked her, how old is the snake.  Her answer was that she's had her 1-2 years.  Ok, unfortunately that doesn't answer my question, so I asked again.  Same answer.  Ok, I asked, how old was the snake, when she got her.  She didn't know.  I asked, was she the same size.  Yes. 

Well, that's kind of odd.  See, redtails are kind of like weeds.  You blink and they're twice the size, especially as youngsters.  If she had her for 1-2 years and she was fed correctly, there's no way she should have been the same size now, as when this person got her.

So then, she tells me, the snake has some stuck shed, so she looks kinda bad right now.  She said I might have to mist her to get it off, and I said no big deal, I'd sauna her and get it off if it was that bad. 

I asked what she eats.  Live rats.  Bad bad bad.  In case you're not a snake person and not familiar, feeding live is bad.  It's traumatic for the rodents, but even for the snakes, the rodents can attack the snakes before / while being eaten, and rats can actually kill snakes.  So then I asked, ok, when was the last time she was fed?  She didn't know. 

She then explained, she had originally gotten this female redtail to breed.  Then her other redtails died and she handed this snake off to her grandparents, and they'd been caring for it for 1-2 years.  Wait, she said she only had the snake for 1-2 years.  So... the grandparents had it 99% of the time? 

I asked if the snake had a name.  Oh, she did.  But she couldn't remember what it was.

Then she told me, something was wrong with the snake's lower jaw.  She wasn't sure what it was, but said that it might have to do with the stuck shed.  This was followed up by informing me that because the snake is temperamental (greeeeeeaaaaaaaat), she wasn't even going to try to mess with that.  She even gave me a snake hook, in case I needed it.  Double great. 

She ended up the whole thing by saying, she didn't have a spot for a big snake.  That's sort of like saying, "I don't know why I got a great dane, I live in a studio apartment."  Redtails can get to 10 feet long, and 50 pounds, as adults.  They are NOT small snakes.

Anyway, I just had to share the backstory for this snake, before I show you the pics.  So... I was actually on my way to dog class when I'd picked up the redtail, so I had to pack her into a carrier to take her into dog class (amazingly, after all these years, no one asks anymore, "what's in the carrier?" lol).  Being careful, I get the snake hook and hook her into my carrier, get her in.  She didn't seem overly hissy or strike-y, but better safe than sorry. 

Pics from the carrier:

Yikes.  That's more than "a little stuck shed" -- uh... there had to be like 0% humidity in the tank, for it to be this bad.  It shouldn't look like the snake is wearing torn fishnets.  So, I got her home, put her in a small container with warm water and a washcloth, to help get the shed off, in the reptile / herp world, it's called a sauna (makes sense, right?).  Let her soak, replaced now-cold-water with warmer water... rinse and repeat, several times over.

Sauna-ing the snake:

That jaw / under-the-neck problem area (see pics below)... turned out to be layers upon layers of stuck shed.  After several soaks, I was able to start peeling it all off, and got about 80% of it off the first night.  Within the next few days, I was able to get the rest off, and am now peeling away the little flakeys that are still appearing here and there.  The pictures do not adequately show how thick the section under her neck was, it was basically like leather.

See how her mouth doesn't quite close?  The person said she didn't get her like that, and it doesn't appear to be due to the stuck shed.  It was tight, but not that tight... I've talked with some snake people, and the consensus seems to be that she could have gotten bitten by one of her dinner rats, and the scarring caused it to heal funky.  So now, when you hold her, she drools, since her mouth is open.

I was able to get the rest of her body shed off... after all those soaks, I let her slither through my hands, while holding on tight enough (but not tight) that the shed would stay behind in my hands, and then rinse and repeat.  This took several attempts, but most of the shed came off the first night, and I was able to get her tail tip shed off (yay! that can constrict blood flow, and can cause amputation of tail tip if left on), the second day.

So, these are two pics from the first night, after I got as much shed off as I was able.  She eventually did start getting antsy, but never did try to bite me or act hissy.

The sad thing is, she's only 3 feet long (yes, I measured).  For a 2-3 year old redtail, that's considerably small.  So, I suppose it won't surprise you to know that she is a super thin little thing, with her spine being easily felt through her scales.  Bad bad bad.

So you might be wondering, due to the mouth issue, can she eat normally?  And also, since she was fed live (which she won't be here), will she take a frozen / thawed mouse?  Turns out, the answer to both of those is "yes."  I will pick up some frozen rats for her at the next expo (there are calcium / protein / etc etc etc differences between mice and rats, even if the size is similar, i.e. small rat vs. xl mouse), but for the moment, I have mice here for my corn snakes.  The day after I got her was my typical feeding day for my snakes (Friday), so I defrosted her a mouse and (to my happy relief) she ate it. 

She is currently still doing well. 

She did show her hissy-ness the other day.  Issa was here, and we had her out to put her in the new tank, but in the meantime, I had her draped over my shoulder, drooling all over me, while we switched the tank.  He sort of leaned down in front of me, by her head, and leaned in to get a closer look at her, and she struck at him.  Course... even he said, he shouldn't have gotten up in her face.  She's awesome though.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Connected Chin Community

So, sometimes it's kind of funny... but like everyone in the chin community, pretty much knows everyone in the chin community.  I'm not necessarily saying that people try to hide things, but it's amazing how surprised some people can be, when we find certain things out.

Quick story for you.  The night before our double expo weekend (Hammond Saturday/ Wheaton Sunday), I had someone messaging me on the NWI facebook messenger... at around midnight.  They wanted to get a chinchilla that weekend, and asked for pics.  I told her, I didn't have pics of the un-listed chins (and I really didn't), because, knowing the expos were coming up, I didn't take the time to take pics... only to sell the chins at the expos.  I told her, she could come out to the expo and see what we had. 

This went back and forth for awhile, and eventually she said she thought she had to work, and wouldn't be able to make it, which begged the question of, well, how was she going to get a chin that weekend then?  Anyway, that's beside the point.

So, fast forward to 1 am, this person is asking me for pics, and I eventually told her, she could go look at our Available Chins page on the website, as she could at least get an idea of what we have, and I told her, we also have other colors as well, but I just didn't have pics of them at the moment.  So she goes and looks, and she's asking all sorts of questions, so I'm happy that she's learning about the chins.  At 1:30 am, she asks for pics again.  I thought, maybe I'm misunderstanding this... so I asked if she wanted them that night.  She basically said, yes, if I don't mind.  Um, no offense to anyone... but I am not getting pics of chins in the middle of the night.  You all can wait until morning.

Since she said she didn't think she could attend either expo, and I wasn't going to take pics until after the entire weekend was over... we basically settled on this: after the two expos were over, she wanted to see pics of all the baby chins that were left, so she could pick from those.  I asked her if she could narrow it down, as taking pics of 20+ chins... takes some time.  I even asked what age range she was looking for... some people think of a baby as just 2-3 months, others are open to older, say maybe up to 6 months... she said age didn't matter.  Ok, so lots of pics, but after the expo. 

She continued to ask questions, and then told me how wonderful I was, and how great it was that I responded to her, since some people were ignoring her (um... at 1:30 am... some people are... sleeping), and she said she'd leave a great review (she didn't leave one at all).  Then we got to talking about her coming to see the chins, as I told her, maybe it would be easier if she came and saw them in person.  She thought that was a great idea (which I do too... you can pick more based on personality, versus how photogenic the chin is), and so she said the following weekend (Memorial Day weekend) would work for her.

At the time, I didn't know when my parents and I were doing our cookout, so I told her, I would need to check with them, and then could get back to her.  Her response:

Well!  Thanks SO MUCH for your time, have fun at the expo!  I'd like to meet up so talk with your parents, let me know if next weekend works for you, if not, I'd be happy to wait for the next weekend!  But I've messaged a lot of people and sometimes I get impatient and end up going for it... lol I'll try to wait!

She even made sure to end her last text that night with, "Well thank you!  Please don't forget about me"

You can see where this is going, can't you?

The following day, I'm in the middle of the expo, and one of my chin-buddy friends contacts me, that person just got a chin from her. 

Now, I don't care... she can get a chin wherever she wants... and I'm sure she got a great chin from my friend.  What sort of irritates me is that I stayed up, trying to help her out, when no one else was responding... especially since she said she would do her best to wait until the following weekend... basically she was waiting  for me to get back to her about my plans for the weekend...and she couldn't have waited a literal 12 hours! 

So... I sent her a message, basically saying, hey, I heard that she got a chin, and I wanted to know if she still wanted pics of the remaining chins after the expos, or if she still wanted to make an appointment.  Of course, the answer was no, but she was absolutely flabbergasted that I knew that she got a chin.  It's a small (chin) world after all. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Gecko Pics!

Since we talked about geckos yesterday, I wanted to share some gecko pics with you...

That is Tiger, one of our adopted geckos, in his new home.  Curled up in a 0.5 ounce feed cup.  For size reference (since I showed you a pic of a less-than-1-gram gecko yesterday), this is a 7 gram gecko that is 1.5 years old.  Tiny tiny.

And then this is another of our adopted geckos.  Photos courtesy of @tttaylorrr

Without looking him up, I don't remember his weight off hand, but I believe he was a 30-40 gram gecko, several years old.  Definite size difference!

That's all for today!