Saturday, July 28, 2018

Christmas-painting In July!

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

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

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

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

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

Some of the ornaments from last week:

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

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

Friday, July 27, 2018

Layla -- our 10 year old hetero beige female

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

This is Layla:

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

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Snake Update!

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 21, 2018

"Rare" Chinchillas like Angoras

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

Ha.  Hahahahahahahaha.  Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Ok, I'm good now. 

Got that out of my system.

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 20, 2018

Little Things

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Cage Decorations!

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

Cage 1

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

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

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

Cage 3, angled view

And Cage 3, view of the mini-bridge

Precious, no?

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Waiting List -- Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Rabbits & Turtles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 16, 2018

Adoptions -- Location!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Vacations! What To Do?

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

Their email:

Hey Ashley,

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

My response:

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Freak Accidents

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

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

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

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

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

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

To these pics of some of my cages:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 13, 2018

Rabbit Adoption -- Yaya!!!

Real short post today, but just wanted to update and let everyone know that our last rabbit has found his home today!  After spending most of his life at the rescue and in one of our foster homes, this bun is now in his new home and being well spoiled!

Meet Cheyenne... and... wait for it... Cinnabun!  What a precious name!

May they enjoy each other for years to come 💗💗💗

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Munchy Crunchy Toy!

You may have seen on our website or our facebook post, but in case you didn't... we have a new chew toy!

Ok, ok, I know we've had this at an expo or two, but now it's official!  We have the toy up on our website and up on the webstore, and it is available for purchase!  We also have made a stock of them over the last few days and they are ready for you to come stock up! 

We call it the Munchy Crunchy Toy, and it looks like this:

This is the toy for the finicky chin.  There's pine wood, for the harder chewers, vine balls for the ones that prefer the softer stuff, and apple & oat cookies for those that prefer their sweets!  Little bit for every chin!  Fun fun.  They are now available for $8.00.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Wanted to share a happy post with all of you -- the geckos from those big batches that we've gotten in have ALL been adopted and are now in their new homes!

You may remember that I created a gecko page for them on our website... that will remain, as I have a breeding pair of geckos and occasionally hatchlings, so there still will be a use for that page and it will remain up (though, right now, doesn't have any geckos on it), but they ALL have been adopted!  That was like ~40ish geckos!  Who-hoo!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Snake Update!

Hey, another quick update on our resident red tail boa.  She is continuing to eat (yay).

Now, with the corn snakes that are here, you dangle the food in front of them, they strike at it, and within a minute or two, the mouse is gone.  With the red tail, she strikes, coils around it... and 30 minutes later, is still coiled around it.

So, the last time I fed her, I came back to her enclosure several times after she'd taken the rat, and she was still coiled around it.  The final time, her head wasn't even anywhere near the rat, so I figured she'd decided she wasn't going to eat.  I was going to pull the rat out of there and feed it to one of the corn snakes. 

So, I got my tongs, and I went to go grab the rat, and turns out, she had a death grip on the thing.  At the time, I just figured I'd leave her with it, and see what happened. 

She did end up eating it.

Looking back (this is like the ah ha! moment)... remember, she was fed live rats.  We feed frozen / thawed.  For f/t rats, there's no need to constrict them, they're already dead, just warmed up.  For a live rat, those suckers fight back (which is why you don't feed live, btw), so a snake would need to constrict the prey to death (literally) before the snake could eat it.  The corn snakes, which have never been fed live, start to eat the mouse before it hits the ground, but the red tail (which actually is a constrictor... the corn snakes are not) feels she needs to kill the prey first, hence constricting and holding the prey for some time, before eating it.

And that's your lesson on different snakes eating different types of prey differently.  Say that 5 times fast.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Fostering Again

So, I know I just talked about fostering, but wanted to touch on that shortly again.  We have... four foster homes at the moment.  Three for chins, one for a rabbit.  We had four for chins, and of course, always have people wanting to foster, but never enough cages. 

The fourth foster home had been fostering back in the spring, I want to say they started over the winter.  When their foster chin got adopted, they said they wanted to stop fostering for a period of time, as they were going on vacation and whatnot.  That was back around March-ish.

As of a few days ago, I hadn't heard from them, and so I wanted to check in with them.  Sent them an email and asked if they were still wanting to foster and what was their thoughts on that.  Also, they had actually bought a nicer cage for their foster chin, and so they had my cage to return to me, so I figured I would ask about this in an email as well, because of course, if I had my cage back, I could have someone else foster.

They emailed back promptly (yay) and said that they do want to foster again, just not right at this moment, as they are currently fostering some rabbits for a shelter more local to them.  They said they're unsure of when they can commit to foster, but potentially in the fall, and they will let me know.  They said they can mail the cage back, which is fine with me.

The reason I mention this is because I wanted to point out... our fosters don't have to foster forever.  In a perfect world, I'd rather someone foster at least until their foster animal is adopted, so that the critter doesn't go from here, to there, back to here... all in a short period of time.  If possible, of course, I do understand that things come up.  But the thing is, if someone wants to just foster one animal and then be done, that's fine.  Or just foster for a few months, or whatever.  It doesn't have to be a lifetime commitment to helping out, just whatever people can manage.

Of course, this all falls back on, there's only so many cages, so I can't have 40 fosters if I don't have 40 cages, but I mention this because I think sometimes people are worried about the time commitment, and it isn't always meant to be a forever thing.  Heck, if someone came and told me, they only wanted to foster for 6 months or something, that might change which chin is even getting fostered out.  See, I often foster out the problem cases or the ones that aren't doing well at the rescue, but I could foster out a nicer / friendlier one, if I knew someone was doing it more short-term.  Just some thoughts for today...

Sunday, July 8, 2018

"Let Me Know When You Get In A...."

So, if you've ever asked about getting in something specific, the answer is often, something along the lines of, "due to how many animals come and go and how many people are wanting something specific, I'm unable to keep track of what specific people want without a deposit, though you are welcome to check back to see if we've gotten in something you like."

That of course, begs the question of why I don't have a full bulletin board of, "Jennifer wants a white mosaic with a blaze" post-it notes.  I mean, wouldn't I adopt more animals that way?

The short answer, is no.

The long answer is that this sort of thing wastes my time.  Case in point.  I had someone contact me in April, saying that they'd gotten a guinea pig from here and wanted to adopt another baby guinea pig.  I told them, I would keep them in mind, but that I didn't know of any babies coming in, so potentially it could be some time.  See, sometimes I know, ok, we'll have babies (or animals of a certain sort or whatever) potentially coming next week or something, but I told them, basically, nothing on the radar, but I would keep them in mind.

Fast forward to now.  I have two baby guinea pigs.  I'd saved their email in my inbox for all this time, and I sent them an email saying that I had them and asking if they wanted to see pics.  Their response was that they'd adopted one elsewhere, a couple of months ago.

That's of course, perfectly fine, and their choice.  But I guess for me, I'd prefer if they had said, "ok, you don't have one right now?  Then we'll be looking elsewhere."  Because I mean, a couple months ago was like... May?  So basically, they chilled on my "don't have it right now," response for a week or two, and then went and got one somewhere else.  And I would have been perfectly fine if they'd just said, oh they wanted it right now, thanks anyway.

...and the reason I say this is because this isn't just this one guinea pig person... this is pretty much everyone who wants to know if I get in an animal.  Now, if someone asks for a chin where I can contact another breeder and get the chin in this week, I very well may do that, and then contact them (though, often that's useless as well... I got in a blue diamond for someone who wanted one... who has now fallen off the face of the earth... who wants a blue diamond??).  But most often when people are asking for specific animals, it's something specific, whether it's an african grey parrot (yes, really), a snapping turtle, a white mosaic chinchilla that's really dark with a blaze up it's face, a fading white chinchilla, an angora chinchilla that's coming in as a rescue (ha!  if it ever happens, the chin will never leave)... you get the idea.  By the time I get the animal in, usually they have found it elsewhere.  That's why I tell people, feel free to check back, but I am unable to keep track of everyone.  That is all.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Foster Homes

If you frequent the website, you may have noticed that some of our rescue chins have been getting adopted!  Most notably, Freddy (our resident senior-ish female who had to go to her new home with her cage) went home a few days ago, and a little bit before that, we had Henry & Sweet Pea (our resident senior pair) go to their new home!  All from the same foster home too!

They came by a few days later to pick up another few rescues.  One of our current rescues, Ash, is a standard grey male who fur chews, on occasion.  The previous owners said that their vet said it was stress related, but they learned that he chews less when he's in a large cage and has a wheel.  So, the foster home took home his cage and his wheel (and other accessories, of course).  He'll have his write up available soon.

Since he was going with his cage, her other double ferret nation was open for more rescues, so she also took some of our long-term residents here, Chili Mac and Wife / Daughter!  They are now being fostered, and I know their foster home will get me more attractive pics of all the chins, and better descriptions.  Yay!  These chins are already listed on our website (and other places), but haven't had much interest, so we'll see how they do in a foster home.  But yay for them going to the foster homes and clearing out some space for new chins to come into the rescue!  Taking down the dreaded waiting list!!

Speaking of foster homes...real quick on that... I have a whole slew of people who want to foster.  If you want to foster, you're welcome to contact me.  However... I do not have cages to lend out, at least not at this time.  What this means for you -- if you don't have your own cage to use with a foster animal, I'll need to add you to the long list of people who want to foster, but need a cage first.  It will take some time to get through the list, as most of our really-sellable-cages need to be sold, to keep funding the rescue until we get our funds built back up.  Eventually, we'll get in some cages that are more appropriate for lending out, so of course, if you're willing to wait, it will happen eventually and you can foster eventually... but anyone wanting to foster super soon will either need their own cage, or will be added to the list.  Thanks for your understanding!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Chinchilla Noises

I get a lot of people emailing and asking about chinchilla noises.  Possibly the most common one is when people ask about their chinchilla wheezing.  Just got an email about that today actually, and so I went on youtube and looked up to find a video of their warning call. 

And I did, here

That is a perfect example of the chinchilla warning call.  I think it sounds like squeaking a dog squeaky toy, but I can see where someone might consider it sounding like wheezing as well. 

For sounds... when people are asking me, what does this sound mean, I find it easiest to ask for a video or a sound clip.  I mean... everyone describes something differently.  To me, a bark is sort of a harsh, quick sound.  But if you read my description of a bark, I'm sure 10 people can come up with 10 different sounds.  An actual sound clip or video is super useful in that situation. 

Chins make all sorts of sounds, and some we hear more often than others, so I can see why people don't know all the sounds.  It can be fun sometimes going through chin sound youtube (and other) videos (though... some aren't always correct in their descriptions).

Thursday, July 5, 2018


So... for those of you who've spent a lot of time on my website, you may have noticed there's a page on the pros and cons of fleece liners, here

If you've been here, you see that most of our larger cages do use fleece liners, but... I'm not a huge fan.  To me, the cages look dirty right away, as all the poos sit on top of the liners (rather than fall down into / mixed up with the shavings), and I don't want to wash them in my own washer.  Which brings me to... laundromats!

Oh, the joy of laundromats.  Do you have fleece liners as well?  Well, then you know how much they hate us.

If you live in the general area around me, I should tell you, the laundromat on Broad Street in Griffith, Sweets & Suds, has told me I am not welcome there (and if you want to wash liners there, you're not either).  I wouldn't even bring this up, but hear me out.

For years, I have taken my liners there.  Before taking them there, I shake them out.  I then shop vac them off.  I put them in large garbage bags, and haul them there.  Once they're in the washer, I sweep up any small particles that may have made their way to the floor.  I understand that there still may be things stuck to them that may end up still in the washer, and, well, I am respectful of others' property, so I bring cleaning supplies!  So, once they go in the dryer, I go back to the washer, spray it down, and wipe out the washer until it is clean.  Usually that doesn't even take that long, because of the shaking and shop-vac-ing that gets done first.  If there's any particles on the floor in front of the dryer, I will sweep those up as well.  Basically... you'd never even know I was there.  I take my mess back home with me.

Every time I've gone into that laundromat, when the owner is there, she had made a comment about how I need to clean them better before bringing them in.  She once said maybe I should hose them off first, then let them dry, then bring them in.  Now, personally, the point of a laundromat is, you know, to wash my stuff there, but whatever.  Every time, I tell her, I do shake them off and I clean and all.

This last time though.... she started telling me how expensive the washers are.  How expensive her pump is.  How the washers can't handle it.  I nicely (and I do mean nicely) said to her that I would think that if my home washer can wash these (and it can... but I can only fit like 2-3 at a time so washing these would take FOREVER at home) and it not be "too much" for my home washer, then I would think a commercial washer should definitely be able to handle them.  I guess that foiled that argument, so then she started saying that it's not fair for other people to have to use the machines after me because they're dirty.

So, I showed her my cleaning supplies, and I explained how I cleaned after every time I washed and dried.  She then said, well, she's come in the morning sometimes (it's a 24/7 laundromat) and found dirty machines.  I told her, if she did, they weren't from me, as I ALWAYS clean, and my mother can even back that up for me.  She just shook her head, said, "I don't believe it."  And so I told her, you know, I clean because I want to leave everything as I found it, clean and all.

Her next tactic was to find a piece of poo that must have been stuck to a liner and tell me how OMG FECES!!!! is in the washer.  That was a washer I hadn't gotten to yet, as I had just pulled the liners out.  I explained to her, had she let me clean it, that would not have been there.  She kept going on about the feces, and not to be a bitch, but... I have seen, no joke, people there in the wee morning hours, washing cloth diapers.  I really have.  You're gonna tell me those have no feces on them?  It's a diaper.  So I told her that.  I asked her, since she doesn't like feces, does she tell those people that they can't use her laundromat?  She literally said, "no, that doesn't happen, they don't wash that here."  I told her, "I have seen them with my own eyes, when I've been here late at night."  Her exact words, "don't make things up."  BOOM -- and THAT is why I'm posting.

You all may think I'm a bitch or opinionated, or read some of these blog posts and think, I can't believe she'd say that, or what an ass, or whatever.  And I MAY be an opinionated ass that doesn't always think the most highly of people, but you know what I am NOT?  A liar.  When I said I clean the machines, I meant it -- I clean the machines.  She can choose to not believe it if she wants, but if she came to a dirty machine in the morning... wasn't me!  In fact... maybe it was the cloth diaper people!  I don't "make things up."

Needless to say, she told me, I am not welcome there.  While I was waiting for my stuff to dry, she asked if the one washer (still going) was mine.  I said, "no," and she said, "good, so I don't have to stay here to clean it," and walked out.

You know, I try to support small business, and if you've ever been to this laundromat, it's a small business.  But you call me a liar, there's no more supporting your business.  I will find another laundromat that appreciates the money I spend there.  That is all.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


So, gecko adoptions are always fun.  Well, adoptions in general are always fun.  Had some interesting ones lately.

Had one, wanted to get the gecko for a pet for their teenager, who'd done research and everything. They got as far as filling out the adoption form, submitting it, getting it approved, talking with me back and forth through email... to then tell me, the husband decided they were going to wait until Christmas to get a gecko for their son.

Another one, sent out the adoption form and everything, they hadn't returned it yet, but were asking about the different geckos we have available.  At the moment, we have two adults, but we also have some hatchlings that potentially could go home with experienced homes.  I told them about the two adults, linked them to our Crested Gecko page with the pictures.  They wanted to come see them, and we were working on setting up a time, and then I got an email stating that they decided they wanted to get a young one instead, thanks anyway.  Now, our hatchlings aren't listed yet, as I won't list them when they're teeny tiny, as they're somewhat fragile and probably shouldn't go to clueless people at that size / weight.  So, I emailed the person back and told them, we do have younger ones, they're just not listed on the site yet, and gave them some general info about birthdates and weights and such.  Never heard back.

Most recent one... got a text from someone saying they saw my post about the crested geckos, and asking if I have any males between 45-50 grams.  For the bigger ones, everything I have is what's listed on that page (two geckos in the mid-30 gram range), so I told the guy that, and he followed up by asking if we have any babies.  I said yes, some hatchlings that are 2-3 grams.  He asked for pics, I told him I'd send later that night, as I wasn't home.  He said that was fine, and told me that he was experienced with geckos so he'd be a great home and would love to have a baby again.  I get home, send pics of 5 hatchlings.  He asks the price of one of them and I tell him $40.  This shouldn't be a surprise to him, as our gecko listing states, geckos 1-10 grams have a $40 adoption fee (and of course, hatchlings will fall into that range, being 2-3 grams at a few months old).  Never did hear back.

Also have someone who seems very interested in one of our adults, and I just saw an adoption form come through from her, so I definitely need to look at that and hopefully get one of them in the new home!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Waiting List

So... our waiting list actually isn't ridiculously long right now, and actually, I need to call a few people to get them to bring their chins in, and it'll be even shorter.  Who-hoo!

Sometimes what shortens it, is the people bringing their chins in.  Other times, it's that people on the list have already rehomed their chin elsewhere, decided to keep the chin, or fallen off the face of the earth.  Just to give some examples of how this sometimes works...

One of the chins we just got in, Mango.  He was on the list since November of 2017.  The owner (daughter of person who called me) had moved into a high rise apartment and pets were not allowed, so he had to come into the rescue.  I reached out to the family towards the end of February, and was told that the chin was living with the parents, but the daughter was not yet ready to give up the chin.  I said I would circle back to them in time, but that they should also feel free to contact me when they were ready to bring in the chin.  I heard from them last week, they brought the chin in, a few days ago.

Another person on the list... she had 3 chins that were all caged together, and she said she could bring the cage with them if that helped get them in sooner.  She was on the list since the beginning of February.  Few months after that, she called me to update her phone number, so I would have her correct phone number to call her when I had room at the rescue.  Ended up recently having room, so I called her 6/21.  Spoke with her and she said that she had rehomed one of the three chins, but the other two still needed to come into the rescue.  She needed a few days to see what her schedule was going to be like, upcoming, so she said she'd call me back.  When she did, we set up the dropoff for Sunday (7/1) at 9 am.  She didn't show.

I did text her about 30 minutes after the missed appointment, saying who I was and mentioning about the appointment, and asking if she was on her way or was wanting to reschedule.  Nothing.  So, at about 10:15ish, I called and left a voicemail, basically saying the same thing.  She ended up texting back about 10:30ish, saying they couldn't fit everything in the car and needed to reschedule, and they rescheduled for the following day.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Chins With Malo -- continuation from prev. post

Remember this post about the chinchilla, Parker, who had malo and the owner wanted to surrender him?  See post here

I got an email back from them and wanted to share it with you.  Their response:

Hi Ashley,

 Thank you for your reply and advice. We decided, quite painfully, to have Parker euthanized. I thought it best in light of the fact that, although I managed to get him to eat from the syringe device, he seemed to have stopped defecating. He showed evidence of suffering from bloat in that he would sit in corners upright most of the time and also would take what appeared to be painful stretches, lowering his belly to the cage bottom. It also seemed like it was painful for him when I picked him up for his feedings.

It was a painful decision but the vet put him at peace. We got pretty attached to him even though we never wanted him in the first place. He had quite a personality and will be missed.

Thanks again.

My response:

Hi [name],

I'm sorry to hear that Parker had taken a turn for the worse, but know that with your help, he's no longer in pain.  What you describe with the stretching and lack of poos definitely does sound like bloat.  I'm sure you made the right decision and he would thank you for it, if he could.  They definitely are unique little critters with the ability to grab our hearts aren't they?  I'm sorry that your experience with chinchillas didn't have a happier ending, but I applaud that you were able to do what was needed.  All the best.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Adoption Fees & Delivery

I know you all know that all of our animals have adoption fees.  I'm sure, if you search past blogs, you can even find a blog post about how some shelters participate in those Clear The Shelter Events, and why I think those are about the worst thing shelters can do.  So, yes, we have adoption fees. 

All of our ads specify this.  Many of the place we list our ads, such as petfinder, hoobly, etc... all have a specific category for price, so there's actually a spot, when you look at the ad, where it shows:  Adoption fee:  $100.  For those people who don't want to read the actual ad.  But, should you read the ad, it is in there as well.  There's always a line that says something like, "This hetero beige female, Fluffy, is up for adoption for $100."  So, it is there, and of course, all these ads link back to our website, so in case you missed the adoption fees on the ads, our website has them clear, front and center, for all the animal listings, right above the pictures (and let's be honest, everyone loves looking at pictures, so with the price right above, I hope it's kind of hard to miss).

That said, none of this prevents me from getting emails that read something like this:

is he free and would you be able to deliver to mt. grove MO

Now, if you read what I just wrote, you know the answer to the first part.  For delivery... on a good day, I will deliver to downtown Chicago for $25, provided that I do not need to pay to park somewhere (cause we all know garage fees will cost me more than that).  The main reason for delivering to downtown is because a lot of people in Chicago don't have their own vehicles, and (and this is a BIG and), it's about 30 minutes from here.  So, we're not talking a long drive, and in the even I am delivering, the person has already paid a deposit, so I know I'm actually selling the chin and it would be unlikely for them to not be there.

All our ads also specify, this animal is located in Hammond, Indiana (46324).  Now, they also say that we do not ship, due to PetSafe no longer shipping small animals.  So in case there was any confusion about where the animals are located... the ads explain.  In the event that one of our animals is in a foster home, I mention that in our ad, and specify this to anyone asking about that specific animal, so there's never any question.  Either way... location is in the ad. 

Note, I said I will deliver 30 minutes away to downtown Chicago.  Are you curious where Mountain Grove, Missouri, is?  Just a little?  7 HOURS (471 miles) away.  So, not only should my animals be free, I should also spend quite a bit of gas money and an entire day in a round trip delivering the animals to their new homes.  Um, no.  Sorry, but no. 

I imagine for most people who send emails like this, they haven't looked beyond the cute picture.  Cause I mean, if they had, they'd know the adoption fee, they'd know where we're located... and while nothing says we don't deliver 7 hours away...I mean... I guess for me, that's sort of a given.  But, that's just me.

I do respond to these sort of ads, in case you were curious.  My response to this one:

Hi [name], 

This is Ashley with NWI Chinchilla Rescue, we're the ones with the bearded dragon, Noogie, up for adoption.  I received your adoption inquiry that you sent through petfinder, asking if he's free, and if we could deliver to you in Missouri.  He is not free.  It actually lists his adoption fee in two places on his petfinder page, which is $75 for just Noogie, or $150 for Noogie and his enclosure / accessories.  It also says on his petfinder page where he is located (Hammond, Indiana) which is where he must be adopted from.  We don't deliver, sorry.  If you're interested in making a road trip here to adopt him, just let me know and I'll get you the adoption paperwork.

Have a great day!