Monday, March 2, 2020

Foster Chins -- Introducing Henry!

Henry is another chin of ours that is currently in a foster home.  He is fostered in Chicago.  He was not initially a chin that was a candidate for a foster home, as we usually send the problem chins.. .but then he decided he wasn't comfortable here at the rescue, and started losing weight and eating less.  Long story short, after moving him to a foster home with more schedule and consistency, he has gained weight, is eating well, and is doing awesome!

Henry is the chin who's been here the third longest, after only Livia / Miracle and Cheechee.  He was born 6/2013, which means he is currently 6.5 and will be 7 years old in a couple months!  He is an awesome little guy! 

Because he didn't do well in the busy rescue, we don't believe he'd do well in a super busy household with a lot of kids / pets / things going on.  Here's what our foster had to say about him

Henry is a very vibrant and energetic chinchilla. He loves to cuddle and play outside his house with his humans in a safe play space. He’ll need to go to a home that has the time and energy to devote to him and he’ll require a chin spin (wheel) for his extra energy. Since he seems to love human interaction, I’ve found that he is happiest when at the very least I give him scritches when I walk by and spend a few minutes with him on a consistent basis. He’s really good at begging for attention with this super adorable face (he wins 9 times out of 10)! He’s been good with children 7 and up.

And of course, some recently updated pics of him below!

Henry is available for adoption for $65 during our current sale.  This guy wants a nice home of his own... is it you??




Saturday, February 29, 2020

Foster Chins! -- Introducing Livia & Miracle

Hi all!  Our longest chins here at the rescue right now are a pair of chins in a foster home -- Livia and Miracle.  They have been here the longest... by a bit actually.  On our Petfinder account, we are able to see how long ago we listed chinchillas... Livia and Miracle have been listed for 7 months... the next longest chinchilla has been only listed for FOUR!  (that's Cheechee, for anyone wondering).  And while Cheechee still chilling here for a bit makes sense, due to her winning personality (hahahaha), Livia and Miracle still being here doesn't make sense. 

Let me tell you why.

Livia and Miracle are a mother / daughter pair of chinchillas.  They are both hetero beige chinchillas, with mom being a furchewer.  We know that Miracle (the daughter) was born in April 2017, which means she will be upcoming on 3 years old soon!  Unfortunately, Livia (mom)'s age is unknown.  Here's the sad thing... based off my notes, this pair came in in April, so come April 2020... this pair will be here for a year.  Come on, no one wants to take them home?

We were initially told that Livia occasionally bites... but our foster home said this is not the case and only got minorly nipped once, on the first day.  Why do we mention this?  Because we are transparent and don't hide things, the way others might. 

These girls are fostered in Iowa, but they can be brought back to our rescue for adoption, or adopted out directly from their foster home.  They are very sweet girls and enjoy playtime and chilling in their cage.  Want to know more?  Their listing is on our website, on this page -- https://www.nwichinchillas.com/available-chinchillas-1 and of course... photos below (showing up kinda odd for me, sorry)! 

These girls are available to adopt for $200, and that will drop down a bit more during our upcoming sale (shh, you didn't hear it from me).











Thursday, February 27, 2020

Things We List in Our Ads

Wanted to bring this up, because I am totally aware that our animal ads are long, and things can get lost!  I can definitely be guilty of including too much info, to the point that people may skim the ads, I get it!

...but rest assured, the one thing that we always include -- the location!  You see, we're not only concerned about our own time -- but also yours!  Of course, I want to help everyone as much as possible.  There's a very nice lady in Washington state who calls periodically asking for chin-advice, and we talk about what's going on, and I'm happy to lend an ear, and give suggestions / advice.  But note, that's suggestions / advice.  Unfortunately, it does little good to have hour-long conversations about adopting if the person is far away and has no desire to set up some sort of transport for the animal.  It takes away time from other potential adopters for us, and just as important, it means that whatever pet ultimately will get adopted by that family, has to wait longer, as often that family does not realize that they're not in the same general locale as the rescue they are conversing with.

Now, our rescues are pretty centrally located.  We are primarily a home-based rescue, and we have a couple foster homes as well.  Most animals are located here, in Hammond, Indiana.  Our one foster is in Chicago, and the other is in Iowa.  What this means to you --> all animals are within a 3 hour radius of northwest Indiana (yes, even the Iowa one). 

Is that intentional?  Yes and no.  While we don't restrict how far out our foster homes can be, we do require them to come to the rescue to pick up supplies, and also, to bring the chinchilla back here within 3 days, should an adoptive home want to adopt directly from the rescue (as opposed to from the foster home).  This tends to result in foster homes that aren't ridiculously far away, because otherwise this is an undue burden on the foster home to accomplish this.

At the end of the day, we are called NWI Chinchillas -- NWI meaning northwest Indiana.  We don't have foster homes in Texas, as we are not Texas-based.  However, we do understand that our ads can have quite a far reach, and we often DO have people apply to adopt animals from far away.  Heck, as I write this, I am getting ready to prepare three chinchillas / supplies for a trip to Ohio with me later this week, and then going on a transport to Pennsylvania, a couple days later, to their new home. 

This all is why all of our ads have location on them. 

Now, on our website, all animals are presumed to be located here at the rescue, with the exception of the ones that specify, this animal is at a foster home located in [city].  I try to make the website not as long and cluttered, but our stand-alone ads (think, petfinder, hoobly, adopt-a-pet, rescueme, and so on) all include much more info including what comes with the animal, contact info, and of course... location!  In fact, it's usually right above the adoption fee, and specifies, for example, "this chinchilla is located in Hammond, Indiana.  Sorry, but we do not ship."

I guess to me, this is pretty straightforward, no?  I suppose if you get to that line and read it, yes.  But, if you have skimmed it, you maybe didn't see it.  But just for your knowledge... I promise, in every ad, there is the location of the chinchilla.

If we can prevent just a couple people who message, all interested, all super stoked to adopt... and then they message... ok so where are you located?  Oh, Indiana?  I'm in California... so how am I going to get the chin?  It will be worth it.  Can't hurt to have it in there anyways!

Now that I've yapped on about very little for this long... I'm going to bed.  Goodnight.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Some Toy Changes & Additions!

So... if you've been here at all recently, you may have heard that we are expanding our toy line a bit and making room for more toys on our toy-wall.  We cleared out another one of those white chests-of-sterilite-drawers, so we have somewhere to put the mulberry toys (when we have some, none in stock at the moment) and some of the other things we have in mind coming up.

We've also had requests to revive our critter's delight toy.  Remember these?


Well, we can no longer get those cardboard circles, and unfortunately, the cardboard tubes that are are occasionally donated (the ones we cut up for putting in goodie bags) are not nearly large enough to try to replicate this toy with.  I have left them up on the site, marked "sold out," just in case we might find some alternative, and so up until recently, nothing.  BUT!!!... we may have found a solution (one that may require a slight raise in price, but albeit, a possible solution).  Check back for that...

I'm also trying to make my life easier.  I know, hahahahahahahahahahaha right?  But seriously... I've looked at some things we do here, and I have tried to figure out, how can I make it so that I'm not constantly stressing out about so many things.  One of those things that tended to cause frustration, was our one toy, the zany loofah toy.  This one:

--no idea why the pic is sideways, but you get the idea--

... ah... but now, going forward... also...





...you know why?  Because it is absolutely impossible to dye / color the exact same number of red, yellow, blue, green, and purple loofah.  So, undoubtedly, what happens is that we dye / color loofah, make some toys... and then are out of (for example) green.  So, we dye / color more green.  Well... then we end up with way more green, then run out of red.  And the cycle continues.  Which is fine, except you can imagine, we'll have tons of dyed loofah, yet we'll be missing one of the specific colors required to actually MAKE one of the "original" zany loofah toys, and then someone will order one, and we will scramble.

For our last order that included a zany loofah toy, Jennifer got the fun job of digging through our colored loofah bags (you know, the four packs) to find appropriate colors... and then had to re-pack them, so we can still sell what's left.  Pain in the ass.  Double the work, for really no gain.  And to her credit, when we talked about changing this toy over to a whatever-colors-we-feel-like-it toy, she did point out that it's called the ZANY loofah toy, so in that theme, it could totally vary what colors are included.  So from now on (well, as soon as I update the listing), our zany loofah toy will be "colors may vary" (and the photos will show some of the possible color options, which are actually quite endless, as we have many more colors than shown).

We also have a toy in the works that hopefully looks like a cupcake.  Another that may have some antlers on it... well, we shall see!  We've got some ideas!  Now just to have the time to work on them.  But for the moment, we are working on re-stocking the current toys we have, cleaning up downstairs, and slowly moving forward.


Sunday, February 23, 2020

Leaving Voicemails

Hi all!  I know it's been awhile since I posted, and I hate to make the first post something that's like... please do this... sort of thing, but I've noticed this lately...

A lot of people call from one number, but want me to call them back at another.  Often, the first number is like their work number or whatever, so I totally get it!  But then, the second number is completely mumbled so that I have to listen to the message 10x to try to figure out what that number is.

I had one of these instances.  I thought I had the correct number... called... nope!  Wrong number.  The last two digits, I thought, were 2 and 8.  Swear the last one sounded like an 8.  My phone (where it writes out the voicemail) thought the last number was a 0 instead of an 0 (doesn't sound like a 0 to me, but ok).  So the next number I called was the one ending in 2 and 0, and left a voicemail for them.  However... if that's NOT the correct number...

I'm pretty sure of the first slew of numbers.  It's that last number (which I would have SWORE was 8) that was really mumbled, and which was the hard-to-understand number.  Long story short, after I left a voicemail for the number... and then had the thought about... I could technically call 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, and 29 still (as the last two digits), a friend chimed in and said, try calling back the number they called from.

Now, normally, if you ask me to call a different number, I do, simply because often people don't want calls at work or whatever, but in this instance, I might have called a ton of different numbers, so I did call that original number, and got the person I wanted to.  So that all worked out.

But long story short... and I suppose I could have totally summarized this all in one sentence -- please, PLEASE try to speak as clear as possible when telling me what phone number you would like me to call.  If you think of it, even REPEAT it  (if I've ever called you and left a message, you may notice, I repeat the number twice, juuuuust in case you didn't get it the first time).  In fact, the best thing you can do would be to leave relevant info twice (if you're feeling generous lol).  So, "hey, this is Chris, my number is xxx-xxx-xxxx, I'm calling about a white female chinchilla, please call me back.  Again, this is Chris, and my number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.  Thank you!"  I tend to repeat myself at the end, but if I know I've called someplace before that has a very short recording time, that ^ is exactly what I do, and it's a good thing to practice!

That is all.  Thank you!!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Messages!

Hey all!

Just wanted to give a quick announcement -- if you ever call, or text, or email, or whatever... and DON'T hear back... try again!

I occasionally get someone, like today, where they send an email.  The email basically says, in so many words, that hey they reached out through the contact us form on the website... and they haven't heard back.

Now, sometimes, I admit, we get behind.  Well, *I* get behind, there's no "we" in checking and responding to emails / messages / etc.  Especially after long expo weekends, or vacations, or whatever.

Anyway... the thing is, I can check for messages that come through my website, through either the adoption forms or the contact us forms... and sure as shit, I WAS able to find the person's initial message.  However... I NEVER received the notification of such. 

You see, normally someone submits a form, and I receive an email which includes whatever they typed and their contact info.  Most of the time this works!  But sometimes... I guess not.  The same can go for messages and whatnot.  People have sworn up and down that they've left a voicemail... that is completely in-existent. 

I definitely do not mean to ignore anyone, so if you've ever felt like that, I apologize.. and likely was just behind... or possibly didn't ever get the message. 

So if you don't hear back and you still need something -- reach out again!  Thanks!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Donations vs. Recurring Donations

So, awhile back, we talked about how a customer suggested that I set up the ability for people to be able to sign up for recurring donations.

...we're now talking about it again, because someone... well... either didn't realize what they did, or didn't know how to cancel it, or... something.

So, someone signed up for recurring donations, of $5 / monthly, back in October.  October donation comes through, no problem.  November donation comes through... and the person opens a PayPal case against me, saying that I caused them an unauthorized transaction.

Somehow, one would think that PayPal would be able to view the history and see that this person signed themselves up for the recurring transaction, but whatever...  I logged on, and there were several options.  One of the options was simply to refund the transaction.  It didn't say that refunding admitted fault, or anything of that nature, it just said, you can refund the transaction.  Stupid me, I thought that would make it go away... so I did.

I also sent an email to the PayPal account that had started that recurring donation, advising them that I believed that THEY had to cancel the recurring donations, as they had started them.  I did not receive a response.

A couple days later, I received a message from PayPal-- see below --


-- it says they debited the amount from my account.  As in... the refund I sent?  Or a second time?  Not sure, since my PayPal account is showing a ton of stuff pending right now...  AND, did you also notice the $20 penalty they are throwing at me for this?  That's bullshit.  I refunded to end the thing... had I realized there would be a penalty in just refunding and moving on -- even though this transaction was NOT me fraudulently charging someone's account -- I would have contested it.

Maybe this isn't clear to a lot of people, so I want to show you a screenshot of my site, and how it looks if you go to donate (and I love everyone who donates!  Just don't get me a penalty of $20 for your $5 donation, please!).  The donations page is here -- https://www.nwichinchillas.com/donations.htm --:


Let's just make that even a bit clearer, as I know that's teeny...



So as I have marked, the one on the left, where it simply says "Donate" -- this is meant for a one time donation.  Of course, you are welcome to go back as often as you'd like, and donate more, if that's your thing (and we wouldn't complain a bit), but the point is, it does not re-occur for you.  Now, if you would rather set up a recurring donation, the one on the left, which says "Donate $__  month / $___ USD -- monthly" -- that is for recurring donations.  That bar is a drop down menu where you can select the amount you'd like for your recurring donation.  Then, that day that you set it up, the amount you selected comes out of your account... and that happens every month following, on the same date.  So if your first donation is 10/1, then your second will be 11/1, and then 12/1, until you stop the recurring donations.

I guess to me, recurring means, well... you know... it re-occurs.  It's going to happen again.  That's why it says "monthly," right?  Well anyway, please only select that one if you really do want to donate monthly to our rescue. 

I somehow was able to turn off this person's recurring donations -- thankfully -- but I would rather not do this again.  In the future, should this happen.  I will try to again, figure out how to turn them off... but I'm not so sure that I will just "refund" -- because of that penalty.  Mind you, it's not that I DON'T want to refund (like, say, if someone wants to stop their recurring donation and is unsure how... though I'm not sure opening a case is the best way to do that, but I digress)... but if I get enough of these cases opened and decided against me... that will be the end of my PayPal account.  That will be the end of the webstore, and Etsy, and all that.  So please, watch what you are selecting.  Thank you!