Sunday, March 31, 2019

Fake Inquiries

Yes, we really do get these!  Most aren't all that obvious, until they start asking really weird questions, like can they eat the chins?  Can they pelt them?  Can their snake eat them when the get tired of them?  Oddball stuff. 

But this one that I received was actually kind of amusing, so I wanted to share.  Here's a screenshot of the email:

Now... I routinely get these adoption inquiries from where, I should note... I DO NOT POST MY ANIMALS.  Somehow that website must grab listings from other websites and post them to there as well... and while that sounds great, almost no adoptions come from it.  Mostly because people are far away.  So, as a result, the first thing I do when I receive one of those adoption inquiries is type in the zip code and see where they're located.  If it's like east coast or west coast or whatever, I might as well just ignore it. 

So note, this one has the zip code, 01234.  Whether or not you know anything about zip codes, let me tell you, there really are some zip codes that start with 0.  They're pretty much all on the east coast.  But I figured, I would look it up and see exactly where.

... ok.. no.  So then I look at the rest of the listing.  Look at the phone number... (123) 456-7890.  Also look at the name -- Jane Doe.  So it's all fake... but look, they did put down that they have 8 birds and one cat in the house! 

So... what exactly is the point of this?  I suppose if I'd looked at the entire thing, top to bottom, initially, it would have been more clear that it was fake to start with... but why even take the time to write all that out... like other than to waste someone's time?  Just don't get it I guess...  ah well...

Friday, March 29, 2019

Adoption Time Frame

One thing I get asked a lot is how long adoptions take.  Do they submit the form and hear back in a day?  A week?  Can they do it in person?

For chinchillas and guinea pigs, I will usually let the people do the adoption forms in person, though for other animals I'd prefer the forms be filled out ahead of time.  Mainly because, let's say for a hedgehog, while I understand how to care for them and whatnot, if someone really doesn't, I don't know all the info off the top of my head to lecture.  For chins, what temps should they be below?  74, preferably lower, got it.  For hedgies... uh... they need it warmer.  I can guarantee you, in my care packet, there IS a temperature range, I just don't know it verbatim.  And what I don't want to happen is for someone to get here, tell me, "I know nothing about hedgies, educate me!" (which, by the way, happens ALL the time with chins), and then I need to share all the useful info.  Plus, if I'm honest... I feel like people should do some of this research ahead of time. 

Sometimes that works out, sometimes not.  I had someone call the other day, asking if we still had the hedgie, and I told them yes, we do, and then they asked if they could come over and see him, that day.  I told them, they could, but first, we had a care packet they'd need to look over and an adoption form to fill out, since this is a rescue.  They said that's fine, I wrote down their email, we talked about making sure they checked their junk folder for the email... and I immediately went upstairs and sent them the docs.  Never heard back.  Could I have adopted out that hedgie that day?  Possibly... but chances are, I would have had to help that person, every question of the way, with the adoption form... and again, with the more exotic animals like the hedgies, I'd prefer that people read the care packet and fill out the form PRIOR to getting here, so... guess that one didn't work out.

But I actually didn't write this post to yap about that specifically (it just worked it's way in), but it's a good example, because I told them, if they submitted the form that same day, I would look at it, and provided everything looked good, they could come over and adopt, that same day.

Sometimes it's fine to wait, sometimes not.  I always tell people, I don't hold the animals without a deposit, so if people dilly dally too long, someone else may scoop one up.  With the guinea pigs recently, I had someone message me, asking about single guinea pigs that could be adopted.  We had two single females.  So we went back and forth on emails over a couple of days, sending pics, ages, whatnot... until we got to where I linked them to the guinea pig care packet and adoption form.  Let's say I emailed them to that on Monday.  In that email, I told them, when they fill out the adoption form to let me know, so I am sure to go look at the completed doc.  The following Monday (a week later), I received a "Will do!" email back from them. 

Sounds good, only thing is that that on Sunday, the first of the single guinea pigs had found a home, and that Monday (got the email in the morning), I had someone coming later that day to see the second single guinea pig.  If they ended up adopting, that meant there were no more singles for this person.  I mention this, because sometimes waiting a week would be perfectly fine.  The previous person who was interested in some of these guinea pigs had originally told me, oh they'd have their payment in a few days, yadda yadda... in the meantime, no one else was inquiring, so it didn't matter... I never did hear back.  But the point is, it was maybe 2-3 weeks where there was no interest... and then this one person emailed asking about single guinea pigs, and pics and whatnot... then I had the two more (the one that adopted, and the one that was coming the following day) both send adoption forms in the same day.  You just never know.  For both of those people actually, they sent in adoption forms, I emailed / called them... for the first one, she came the next day, the second one came the day after.  So, sometimes it really is that quick.

This is why I also tell people about the deposits.  Believe me, it's not because I'm dying to send out invoices or take people's card info down over the phone (because there's at least a chance I'm paid in cash in person)... but rather, I can't guarantee any of this.  I can tell you, if you call me up and say, ok, I submitted a form... I can, more likely than not, go look at it within a couple of minutes or even a couple of hours, if I'm in the middle of something.  And if it looks fine, you may be able to come by the same day.  And that's why I mention the deposits... some people will yap in emails for weeks on end, and that's fine... just... the chin (or other critter) isn't on hold, and in the meantime, it may be just that quick *snaps* for someone to adopt it.

If you're reading this and thinking, well, that sounds like selling out from under the one person, let me share with you -- I have my fair share... let's say at least 40-50% if not higher, of people who will send emails after emails after emails (or even phone calls), and then *poof* vanish.  Like, I don't get an email that says they changed their mind, or anything, just *poof* gone.  People without deposits, obviously.  Knowing how frequently this happens, if someone says they want to come, in person, and look at the animals, and possibly adopt... and they physically show up and are here, are approved, and want to adopt, you bet they get to take an animal home! 

I've tried to be... I don't know exactly what word I want to use for it... more lenient, more understanding... whatnot.  But I can't tell you the number of times I have told someone who is physically here, "oh, someone online is getting back to me about that one."  And sometimes that person does... but more often than not, I never hear back, and then the animal that could have found a home is still here.  Go figure.  So, now, if there is a good home in front of me, they trump someone who is just "asking about" the animal online.  At the end of the day, that's the only way the animals find homes.  That's all for today!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Guest Writer - Chinchilla food

Hello again from NWI volunteer Chris!

I'm writing today to talk to you about chinchilla food! Feeding your chinchilla quality pellets is one of the best things that you can do for your pet. It's also one of the things that is the most confusing for new owners!

It can be so intimidating to walk into the pet store and see soooo many different bags of food! You want to trust that anything with a picture of a chinchilla on it is safe for chinchillas, right? Unfortunately...wrong!

If you look closely at these bags, many of them have "extras" mixed in with the brown pellets, like seeds, nuts, or dried fruits. These things are not good for chinchillas, even though they like them! I like to compare these types of food to "Lucky Charms" cereal. Isn't it much healthier to feed kids "Cheerios", without all those extra sweets?? The same idea applies to chinchillas.

"But all my chinchilla will eat is the food with treats! So I HAVE to give it to him!" No, you do not. YOU are the owner, YOU are in charge, not the chinchilla. If a human toddler only wants to eat candy, do you submit to them and only give them candy? No of course not! You give them healthy food and  know that they won't starve themselves, eventually they will eat the healthy food. Chinchillas are the same way.

"What are the best foods?" Your best bet as a pet owner are Oxbow Essentials, Mazuri, and Tradition (a.k.a. Hubbard Life). Oxbow Essentials and Mazuri are commonly found in pet stores, though a little pricey! Many well-known breeders (such as NWI!) feed Tradition to their own herd, and lucky for you, sell it as well! Since breeders purchase in bulk, the prices you pay buying from them is often FAR cheaper than pet stores! Yay!! Cheaper, and healthier... Why WOULDN'T you go that route?!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Adoption Fees

You may or may not have seen this... but I did... so I will share with you...  on our facebook posting for Snowflake, the hedgehog, someone commented, "I might consider adopting the hedgehog assuming you would give me $100 for taking it off your hands."

My response was, "Pretty sure adoptions work the other way around... the adopter pays the adoption fee.  Why would we pay for someone to adopt?"

Which brings me to a quick chat that we can have about adoption fees.  Adoption fees exist for a reason.  While the animals are here, they cost money.  Whether that's food, water, dust, bedding, vet bills, and so on, it all adds up.  Sure, for some animals, there's less cost than others, but then you watch another animal come in that will cost 10x more than all the rest, due to needing to go to the vet, or take special meds, or a special diet, or whatnot.  So, the money gained from adoption fees that don't go right back into that animal, go into the one that needs more.  Or, go into paying the bills, or that kind of thing.

If you have ever talked to me, or read the posts about, those "clear the shelter" days, you know that I feel strongly against those kinds of things.  If you're unfamiliar, those are where the big humane society-type shelters waive adoption fees for a day and the animals are free to adopt.  Yes, the people still have to fill out the paperwork and whatnot... but my worry is always... for the people who either (1) thought $60 was too much to adopt a dog, or (2) couldn't afford $60 to adopt a dog... is it GOOD that these people get a free dog?  Can they afford vet care?  Can they afford BASIC needs for the dog?  A bag of decent dog food is like $30+.  So, at least here, there will never be "clear the shelter" days, or, for that matter, PAYING anyone to adopt.

I suppose I can sort of vaguely understand the concept where someone might pay to get an animal out of rescue.  Not specifically paying, necessarily, but like... if we have a really health compromised animal that's unlikely to get adopted, we try to get it into a foster home.  There, they'll get more attention, more of a "home environment," and whatnot.  And in a sense, we are "paying" for it to leave... we provide the fosters with the cages, food, treats, bedding, whatever they need... but... BUT... we are only providing what we would use ourselves... we're not giving them a money incentive, on top of that, to take the chin., sorry, not ever paying anyone to adopt.

At the end of the day, money has to come in to keep the rescue running.  No money, no rescue.  Pretty sure that's how everything works in life, right?  Money makes the world go around.  And on top of that... if I was so dying to have the animals leave that I would pay people to take them... I wouldn't be taking them in, in the first place.  That is all.

Saturday, March 23, 2019


So, many of you have probably already seen this, as we've posted some pics here and there, had them at expos, and posted on a chin group or two, but juuuuuust in case you haven't... we now have chinchilla (and guinea pig) keychains! 

Just look at them:

...aren't they just precious!  If there's enough of a demand for a custom color, we can always do some of those as well!  Feel free to contact with any inquiries.  

Interestingly enough... this is one of those things that's grown... due to people just like you!  One of my good friends makes these, and she brought over two small pieces of vinyl to show me the color, and those ended up being the first two colors (the grey and the white).  Then, when she brought over the finished keychains, she also brought a scrap of what is technically called "opal" (*raises eyebrow*), and to me, that looked beige-y / goldbar-y, so that became that color.  Then another friend asked if we could make it in black.  So, that became the black one.  Then one day, the original friend showed up with three pink ones.  The pink ones gave me the idea to ask her if she could make some in purple, like a violet chinchilla.  And though I would never have guessed it, the violet have outsold every other color by a ridiculous margin.

(and somewhere in there, she also showed up with the guinea pig ones, which are also hella cute)

If you would like some of these for yourself, we do tend to have them at the rescue, like if you're coming here for supplies... though right at the moment, you might want to check first, as I'm filling initial orders for these adorable things.  We've also been bringing them to the expos.  And of course, you can always buy them on our website!  They're under the "human items" section... here's the link to that -- -- as always, all proceeds benefit the rescues, and what a better way to do that, than with your own furball keychain, right??

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Reading & Comprehension

I know I've talked about this many times before, but I really think people don't read.  Or maybe, if I'm nice... they read, but don't retain a thing. 

I have had people tell me, on the way here, they read the care packet.  And then said oh yeah I can't wait to give my chins fruits.

I understand, we can't remember everything.  I get it, I do.  Maybe we should start thinking of it as "allergies" or something.  Course, I have friends that don't remember I have a nut allergy, and offer me peanut M&M's all the time... but that's beside the fact.  If you are a parent, and your kid has an allergy, surely you remember, right, and surely you don't give the kid what they're allergic to, right?  Why?  Well, because you don't want them to suffer from ill effects.

Well, it's the same with chins and fruits and veggies. Or chins with plastic.  Or chins with whatever else they shouldn't have.

I actually feel like chinchillas are relatively simple in their requirements.  Not saying everyone agrees with that, but when I have a guinea pig or a rabbit, I need to actually go and look up, ok is this veggie good for them?  Some are, some aren't.  So you have to KNOW which ones are and which ones aren't, or constantly look it up. 

With chins it's easy -- NO fruits, NO veggies.  To me, that makes it so much simpler.

Same with treats... people are always asking what they can give as treats... so I tell them, the human foods would be things like cheerios, unfrosted wheat squares, old fashioned oats... for non-human items, it's mostly dried flowers and herbs.  Again, I find this relatively simple.

But you know I get all these questions about, well what about this seed treat?  No.  What about this dandelion drop?  No.  What about this yogurt treat?  No.  What about this thing with carrots in it?  No.  Can I give my chin a piece of my dinner?  Double no.

Like I said, to me, I find it easy to care for them because there ARE restrictions.  I guess I need someone to explain to me WHY people know the restrictions and yet feel the need to still want to give EVVVVVVVVVVVVERYTHING else out there, as well.  To me, it's easier to say, here's the limited list of things they can have.  If it's not on the list, don't give it....

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Phone Calls -- From Me and You

This has been a "problem" for years, and I guess I just don't get it.  And this goes both ways...

I've had people call here... leave a voicemail... so I call them back.  I understand most of these people are not going to have my number in their phone, but... I can't tell you how many times I get sent to voicemail!  Like where it rings once or twice, and then straight to voicemail.  Call again, even LESS rings, so it's intentional.  The best part is when I get someone on the line, and say, "this is Ashley with NWI Chinchillas," *CLICK*  Like... they called me.  So, why they're hanging up on me, or sending me to voicemail or whatever... I just don't quite get it?  Maybe someone can explain it to me.

Other phone calls... I got one today that asked if I was Critter Camp, which is a guinea pig rescue located not all that far from here.  I explained, no, this is NWI Chinchilla Rescue, and told them about the guinea pig rescue. Oh that's ok, they wanted tor reach me.  Bullshit, they wanted to reach Critter Camp.  I'm not stupid, come on.  Then they asked me if I took in animals... as usual, we are full and have a waiting list, so I told them about that, they said thank you and hung up.  Probably now they will call the actual Critter Camp 

Same thing goes for adoption forms.  I can't tell you how many people fill them out, I respond (usually email, but sometimes I phone call depending on situation), and I never hear back.  I'm not even talking about someone who's waited a week to hear back from me, most often this is people who've sent one and I've replied the same day!

I guess my point for all this is -- there's very little follow through for people nowadays, and myself, I find it insanely frustrating!  Why apply to adopt... if you're not going to answer the rescue's emails / phone calls?  Why call about something, if you're just going to hang up, or send the call to voicemail when they call back?  At the end of the day, it's a waste of my time.  Not that adoption forms take that long to look at, but that's actually beside the point.  If I look at 5 of them and respond to all 5 (and the responses are what take a while, since some people put down some really oddball stuff), and only 1 person gets back to me... why did I even bother?  I understand, people may have second thoughts... but maybe that should be thought through... prior to contacting?  Just my thoughts, anyway...

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Chinchilla Sponsorships!

So, quick blog post today, but I just wanted to say that you all have been extra awesome lately!  We have had LOTS of awesome people lately. 

Have you seen the website?  More specifically, have you SEEN how many chinchillas have been sponsored?  Normally, we're lucky to have one chinchilla sponsored at any given time, yet as I write this, I just received a paypal payment for a 3 MONTH SPONSORSHIP of one of our chinchillas, and we already have 5, yes FIVE, chinchillas sponsored, and another ONE that someone sponsored a name for!  How awesome is that!?

If you're reading this and you're like... what is sponsoring a chinchillas?  Let me tell you!  For a low price of $10, you can sponsor one of our chinchillas for a month.  The $10 goes towards the care of the chinchilla, so basically the food, dust, hay, treats, toys, and whatever they need.  You can even pick the chinchilla you want to sponsor!  Cool, right?

For sponsoring a chinchilla (or any furball or scaley or animal here), you receive:

  • a blurb on the chinchilla's listing, saying it is sponsored, by your name (first name, last initial), for however long you chose to sponsor
  • a donation thank you card mailed to you
  • a photo of the chinchilla you are sponsoring (we will pick one for you, if you do not choose one yourself) with some info about the chinchilla, mailed to you
    • photo currently in black and white, as my printer is out of color ink, sorry all
  • your name / sponsorship added to our Donations page on our website
We also have the option where you can name a chinchilla, which has all the benefits of a sponsorship (see above), and also is $10, but rather, you get to NAME the chinchilla whatever you would like!  

The naming obviously is only done once, and it can be applied to any chinchilla here that doesn't have a name, though you can choose to do the regular sponsorship of a chinchilla for as long as you want!  The sponsorship I just received is for 3 months!  What a lucky chin!

If this interests you, you can find both the regular sponsorship and the name sponsorship options on our webstore:

...or feel free to contact us with any questions or if you'd rather help in some other way.  Thanks all!! 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Empress National Chin Show

So, this was back a few weeks ago now, but I never did post about it... because Jim is judging at the MCBA Nationals and my chins are boarded at his place, I can't show at that Nationals this year (or likely next year), so this year I took a leap and went and showed at Empress Nationals!  Quite the jump for me, considering... I'm not sure I have EVER showed at an Empress show before, much less Nationals, right?

The chins did ok.  The judges were tough, and focused a lot on size, unfortunately (in my opinion and the opinion of several others I know), some of the higher placing animals were big... but lacking in other areas that many people felt were very important as well, but you know, each judge has their own method of critiquing the animals, and that's why there's quite a few judges!

Notably, one of my standards got a 1st place, a nice dark standard male.  For my mutations, they were sort of all over the place, as I did show a goldbar and a curly, and those don't tend to do all that well at shows that DON'T put a lot of emphasis on size, much less the ones that do!  But... also notably, had some good mutations!  The two that stand out to me (in looking back at this, a few weeks later) is that I had on litter, out of Marty (a hetero ebony) and Cupcake (a pink white).  The two kits, a tan and a homo ebony, were one of the last litters born here at my place in Hammond, before the herd moved out to Ohio.  Both males were good enough to hang onto and grow out.  The ebony received a 1st place, and the tan male went National Champion Tan Male!  Who-hoo!!!

This is him:

So that was awesome.  And even on the not-so-highly placing animals, I got good comments that helped clarify what I plan to do with them and if I plan to keep them.

The show itself was awesome, everyone was great.  We also had a vendor table there:

...and sold quite a bit of stuff!  Great weekend with great people, hopefully we'll do it all again next year!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Cage Dedication

If you've been at the rescue recently, you may have seen that one of our cages near the entrance now features a large cage dedication.

If you haven't seen it, this is what it looks like:

Bonnie and Ed Reinhart have been customers of the rescue for years.  They have adopted two chinchillas from us over the years, and have donated many times.  Back when I used to do everything myself and had no help here, I used to occasionally close the webstore so I could get caught up on orders.  If you've been around awhile, you may remember that.  It was sometimes closed for months at a time!  Often when it was closed, they would send me a donation to make sure that the rescue would get back up and running again. 

The last I saw them in person was 3 years ago, in March of 2016, when they adopted their second chin... though they order food and supplies all the time.

Unfortunately, this past February, I received an order and a donation, with the note that Bonnie had passed away.  Ed mentioned, he still wanted to use her name in donations.  These people were a very sweet couple, always supporting me / the rescue and donating every time they could.  The donation that I received with the most recent order was $200, which is quite a sizeable amount!  Their other donations were less, but they've all added up over the years!

I talked with Chris about all of this, and she came up with doing a cage dedication for Bonnie.  I found someone to make the sign you see above, and that's what we got.  I also printed out a picture of Ed and Bonnie with one of their adoptive chinchillas, framed it, and mailed it to them.  Ed was very happy and touched by the cage dedication here and the photo we sent him. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Always Ask Questions

So, this is probably a given... but I feel like in all situations of life... if you don't know, or are unsure of something, always ask questions!  I honestly don't feel like anyone should ever feel afraid to ask or whatnot, if you don't know, ask!

We had a group of students from Purdue call us about using the rescue for a group project.  All they said was that they needed to talk to me about a problem the rescue had, and as a group, they would discuss the problem and come up with a solution.  I vaguely remember doing something like this in one of my classes way back when, so I told them, that was fine.  They said they had to get permission to use our rescue, and would contact us back.  Some time passes, and they get the ok, and they tell me they need to interview our workers / volunteers who are at the rescue a considerable amount of the time.  So I talk to Jennifer, get her permission to give them her phone number, and pass that along to them.  I tell them, there's me and her, and that's it.  There's not a lot of routine volunteers, though I do occasionally get the court appointed community service people... but not a lot of people who volunteer and stick around. 

Next email I receive is that there's four people + the initial person who contacted me, and they each need to interview someone.  My response back was basically, well... there's still just me and Jennifer.  Never did hear back from them.

In all fairness, I didn't ask for more info about their project, and they also didn't volunteer at any point, in the two weeks prior to telling me about the 5 interviews, that they needed to do 5 interviews... had we known, they could have moved onto a different place much quicker. 

I guess my point is... they didn't know... and they didn't ask. 

Maybe they thought there would be volunteers out the wazoo here.  Or that I have a ton of employees, rather than occasional help when I can afford it.  But the reality is... we don't get a lot of volunteers, and a good chunk of everything is done by myself, helped by Jennifer when she's around.

And to me, I feel like this is a perfect example of... had they started out saying, "ok, we have this class project, this is what it's about... now the one thing is we need to do 5 interviews, are there 5 people who we can interview?"... I feel like this whole thing would have gone differently.  Obviously that's not how it went, and it's too bad that they wasted time that could have been spent on a different business.  But this is why it's so important to ask questions!

I'm sure many of you have heard me say, if you don't know the answer, it's not a stupid question.  I mean, there's all stuff that we don't know!  So we just gotta ask!  I know that can be hard sometimes... but if you don't ask... you may never know!  That is all for today.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Chinchilla Supply List

As you may have read in our recent guest blog post by our wonderful volunteer Chris, one of the things she did for us was to check out prices at pet stores, so we could update our Chinchilla Supply List.

In case you're unfamiliar with this, we have a supply list on our website, here -- which compares the prices of items that you can purchase here at NWI, or at the pet stores.  The last time we gathered data for this supply list was back in 2013, when I went to Petsmart and gathered prices for comparable items to items that we sell.  As it's been 5ish years... time to do it again! 

In talking with Chris about this, she graciously volunteered to go check prices for us, and sent me an email a few days later with lots of good info.  I compiled it, created a new chart with all of the current prices / info, added it all up for totals and whatnot, and it is now what you see on the website.

As you can see in the list, we carry everything the pet stores do (and often, even more), at similar or even lower prices! Some things we have are priced similarly... our food bowls are $4.00, and Chris found similarly sized food bowls priced at $3.99 and $2.99-$3.99 at the pet stores.  To be perfectly honest, buying ceramic food bowls in bulk is not something that there's a lot of options for, so I'm happy with just being competitive in the pricing.  For other things, you can see where there's significant pricing differences.  The one that stands out, even after closing the page, is hay cubes.  At the pet store, they are over $8 per pound!  Insanity!  We charge $1.25 per pound.  Now, not everyone uses hay cubes, but even hay from us is $1 per pound, versus $4+ per pound at the pet store.  And all you lack, in getting it from us, is the pretty chinchilla on the packaging.  But come on, we know that's not that important to you, right?  We all just throw away or recycle the packaging anyway! 

Anyway, so that list is very currently up to date, in case you were ever wanting to compare prices, there ya go :)

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Guest Writer - Volunteering & Pet store prices

Hi everyone! My name is Chris and I'm a volunteer for NWI Chinchillas. I've gotten involved in volunteering for NWI over the last few months. I thought there might not be too much for me to help with, as I'm about an hour away from the location, but I was wrong!! I've done so many different things like assisting at pet expos in my area, helping compose forms for adoptions & fostering, and posting listings for available animals across multiple websites.

My latest task involved going to pet stores in my area to check on prices for a variety of items. Ashley wanted to update a pricing list of items she carries in her supply store, comparing them to pricing of similar items in the "big box" pet stores. I was so pleased to find that not only does she carry MORE safe options than the pet stores do, but at BETTER prices!! We all love to support small businesses, but with that, usually comes slightly higher prices in order to support that business owner. But not at NWI! She is able to buy these great items in bulk, and passes on the savings to you!! Much of the profit that is made is fed back into the rescue, which helps care for chinchillas who need specialized care, TLC, and time to look for that perfect forever home. Who WOULDN'T want to support that?!

I was also shocked to see how many items at the pet stores had pictures of chinchillas on the packaging, when they were in fact, NOT chinchilla safe at all! Things like yogurt drops, veggie treats, or paper bedding are all displayed as suitable for ALL small animals. Many small animals have different needs from one another, and shouldn't be all lumped together! And if you're instead buying from a small business who specializes in one kind of animal, you can rest assured that you are getting the best products possible for that particular animal. And isn't that what you want for your furry family members?

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Surrendering Chinchillas... With/Without Cages

So, wanted to do a quick post today about people surrendering chinchillas.  Well, any animals for that matter.

Well, let me back up.  In order to surrender an animal to the rescue, it's as simple as reaching out, getting on our waiting list if needed (and there almost always is a list), and then when we have room, bringing it in.  While we appreciate people bringing in stuff with their chinchilla, some people do and some people don't, but the only thing we officially ask for is for the previous owner to bring some food that the chinchilla was eating. 

Interestingly enough, a lot of people seem to run out of food and then decide they need to bring their chin in.  I kind of wonder if it's maybe, hey, we can either buy more food, or give up the chin, which should we do?  But I digress.  The food is the only thing we ask for.

I've had a lot of people talking to me lately about how some rescues either charge surrender fees, or require cages to be dropped off with the animal.  We've never charged surrender fees, and I don't see a situation where this would change... but basically, it's a fee for dropping off an animal.  The money goes to help care for the animal and fund the rescue of course... but my worry has always been, what about that person that doesn't want to spend the $50 to drop off the animal, and, when this is brought up to them, decides that it's better to just let the animal go outside?  I want to say the one humane society locally has a surrender fee, and they get animals dropped off on their doorstep, to avoid this.  Last I heard, they have posted a sign saying they will prosecute people who drop animals at the doorstep.  While I get the intention behind it (wanting people to come in, rather than drop the animal at the doorstep)... what do you think the real result of this prosecution thing is?  You got it!  The animals no longer are dropped off at the humane society, but rather, are just "let go."  Now, how did that solve anything?

The other thing is that many rescues are requiring that people bring the cage with the pet.  We've had instances where we've asked for this, like if we're trying to squeeze an animal in, due to special circumstances, and our cages are full, but in general, we do not require cages.  Again, I understand the rationale -- if people still have the cage, there's always a possibility that they are just getting rid of this pet, and will go get another one... and the cycle will continue.  In reality, I think more people that I want to run into are selling the cages and supplies, rather than giving them to rescues. 

The reason we don't require cages to be given is again, because of the concern for the animals.  We get in chinchillas here, from people who have told us, well, that other shelter requires we bring in a cage.  So, what happens if every place requires a cage?  You know where doesn't?  The kill shelters.  And you know what happens when they get overrun with small animals?  Especially when no one is bringing them a cage?  Oh yeah.  I'd rather be the one that's a bit lax with that (and people do bring cages... not all, but a decent amount of people) and make sure the animals are going to a good rescue, rather than having that requirement, and then making people go searching for other places to take in their animals, because they want to keep / sell / whatever that cage. 

I try to make it easy.  Granted, some of these people probably do get other animals, which may end up at shelters later, but let's be honest... if we took their cage, they can just buy another.  I'm worried about the current animals here... I'll deal with the ones in the future, when they get here.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Adoption Forms... and What Will Get You Denied

So, if you've talked with me in any depth about adoption forms, you've probably heard me say that they're not meant to be difficult... and they're not.  They're not meant to see how many hoops I can make you jump through to get a rescue animal, but rather, they're to check that you have a basic idea on how to care for the animal you're trying to adopt, and that you have the appropriate cage / accessories for this animal.  That is all. 

Short of major red flags, most people do get approved.  Some people seem horrified at that thought, but again, I'm not asking if people are going to be stay-home-chin-moms, but rather, if they can afford vet care, what kind of cage they have, and so on.  Most people are approved, and I honestly believe that that is because... the average person can care for the average small pet that we have up for adoption.  If you have the appropriate cage and accessories (or are willing to get those... as we do sell them or can point you in the right direction if you'd rather), and are willing to learn, we are willing to help.  It's really that simple.

So what gets people denied?  There's a few things that unequivocally will get you denied -- keeping the animals outside or in some area that's unheated / un-cooled.  Having an inappropriate cage (not as in, it's too small, but rather, keeping chinchillas in an aquarium).  Lying on the adoption form and myself finding out.  You lie once, you don't get a second chance.  I think I have a blog post from years ago about how someone told me they had all these wonderful cages to use... showed me pics even... and turns out, the pics were all random cage pics off of google.  Not even stock pics, like the one pic was a cage that had an animal in it, and the person went as far to say something along the lines of, well, don't mind the poos, I will clean it first.  When confronted with the fact that these cages were not, in fact, theirs... the person told me, well, they didn't have a cage yet, but didn't want to get denied due to that.  Sad to say... but I would have helped them get a cage in whatever way I could... but lying to me, especially in this case, multiple times... nope.  Done.  Because how should I know the next thing isn't a lie?

With many things people put down on adoption forms, I will send questions back.  If there's any doubt regarding an answer, I will ask for more info about it.  Because of this back and forth, this is why many people get approved to adopt, because with more information, I'm satisfied that the home would be great.

But some people are just... difficult.  I had one case from about a week ago that I wanted to share with you all, and I snapped a screenshot of the one part that just made me shake my head.  First off, they didn't put their name or contact information.  They also didn't sign the bottom of the form.  You might think, oh no big deal, but get the form from a generic email address... so should you not fill out a phone number or email... even if your form is wonderful, I have no way of contacting you.  And in case you're thinking, oh, well maybe they just missed it -- the questions on these forms all require an answer.  You will not be able to submit the form without them being answered (well, there's a few that have a different setting, but not most).  This person in question, for every question they didn't want to answer, put a dash ( -- ) for the answer.  So this had to take a little time to do!  But let me share with you the fun screenshot:

So... "I know all of this but why would I need to write everything down?" -- how about... because I asked for it?  Because you won't get to adopt without you writing down an answer?... and by reading those answers, I approve the adoption form?  Maybe this is difficult for people, I don't know.  But if there's a question, it needs to be answered.  If the question isn't answered in a way that I think is complete enough, and I want more info, you better bet that if I ask you for more info, you're not getting any farther in that adoption until you give me that additional info I asked for.  Why is this so difficult?  This is how adoptions work! 

This is one of those things -- I'm happy to help people.  Really I am.  If I can help, I'm glad to.  Even the people who I whine about, I'd rather help people learn than not.  But... I'm only human as well.  These things wear on me, and I get more adoption forms that are like "I don't have to tell you what cage I have" than I should.  And I restrain myself from responding back, "I don't have to let you adopt..." I just delete and move on.

Most people get approved... but the ones that don't... make the best stories.  lol