Thursday, February 13, 2014

Productive Day

So, yesterday was a productive day.  I bribed a couple (regular customers) with store credit and they came over to help clean and move things around.

Before they got there, I filled all water bottles and put some food in the hoppers (don't want to put too much, cause moving cages tends to jarr those around and the food all falls out).  Natalie showed up first, about the same time as my adoptive home.  Cause.... Carlos went home!  Here's hoping it works out for them :)

So, we got that taken care of, and started on the cages.  Started adding shavings to empty pans and realized, I am a pan short.  Ooook.  Texted Meredith this morning to ask if she has an extra pan.  Well, anyway, filled those up, emptied out all dirty pans in the short stack of runs, and started moving chins from the FNs into the runs.  Moved most em over, and moved onto the run stack that's on the rolling stand.  Well... that stand is going to be taken to the new house this Saturday, so those needed to be moved.  Moved a table across from the stand, and one by one, moved the runs to the table.  Cleaning pans as we went.

So now, all the runs are on tables, both run stands are free, just need to be cleaned off and moved to the new place.

So, we started on the FNs.  The yellow/orange one just needed a bit more wiping down and it was ready to be moved over.  Worked on the others, pulling out liners, sanding down shelves/wood items, spraying/cleaning pans. Toothbrushing doors, sides where the pan meets the metal, wiping off the top of the cage, and wiping the shelf on the bottom.  Took several hours to get this all done, I think they left at like 9:30.

So then I went back down and completely filled all the food bowls/hoppers, re-put all the water bottles on the cage (the runs are heavy enough as it is... much less if you're trying to not tip em in a way that will make the bottles fall out of their holders), added water bottles to cages that needed em.

So tonight, I need to get toys hung up in the new runs, the CN needs to have the water bottle holders cut off of it (they got badly bent trying to pull em off and I don't want to break bars... cheaper to buy new water bottle holders).    Also need to get the run stands vacuumed and cleaned off so they can be moved....

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Moving and Adoptions

Ok, so I finally have a closing date on the house and am prepping to move.  Yay!!  So, been trying to get stuff ready.

Natalie is coming over today to help me clean the FNs so they can be moved with the rest of the stuff on Saturday, if possible.  Will be working on accomplishing that later tonight.

Had two people call about Carlos.  The first was an older lady who recently lost a chin (out of the pair of males she had) and was interested in Carlos.  In talking to her, we discovered he might be more of a baggage-laden chin than she wanted, so she's going to end up purchasing Gypsy's mosaic male.  The one that got a 2nd place at the show this past weekend.  She said she appreciated my honesty / candor about what type of a chin he was, as she said she'd had some not-so-great experiences with adopting critters that aren't really what the rescue said they were.  Yeah, that doesn't happen here.  So I emailed her the care packet, adoption form, and address, and she's set to be here next Wednesday to come adopt.

Then got an email, complete with adoption form (which only happens when the stars line up just perfectly), from someone wanting to adopt Carlos.  They have other males they want to intro him to, and if that doesn't work, they said they may have a sister who will take him, or bring him back, but fingers crossed it all works out.  They emailed yesterday, coming to adopt today.  They wanted to come yesterday, but I was busy digging through my stuff that needs to be packed and missed their phone call and email until it was late at night.

Now, I don't think everyone needs to be that fast.  And that person has just about everything they could need, chin-wise (and the correct stuff to boot), so that does make that person easier than the average adoption.  But note.... they were able to do everything in a day or two.

Versus... when I messaged that lady that had Carlos on hold for two weeks, and then I told her, ok, I can't hold him any longer.  Told her hey, just get me an adoption form, and we can re-start you getting a chin any time.  She was fine with that.  Few days later I put up the post that the large cage was up for offers, and she emailed and said, "well how about x for Carlos and the cage," and I said, "sure, but you gotta pick up within so many days because if I have to move him, he won't be on sale."  And she responded asking about food, and I answered her, and then nothing for several days.  Btw, somewhere in there, I did tell her, I can't put him on hold for her again without an adoption form completed.  Ok so then when I got the call from the lady, which was over this past weekend, I messaged the original person and let her know and asked her how the form was going.  Still, I have not heard back.  Not like it's been any long period of time, I acknowledge that, but she knows the chin isn't on hold for her, so the person coming tonight is going to go home with Carlos.  Simple as that.  And with the way this is going with this original person, I don't honestly anticipate seeing her take a chin home anytime soon.  And maybe I'm wrong, and I'm not above admitting when I'm wrong.  But just from experience, the people who drag their feet and take forever just to get the form back (and I don't mean the ones that live far and have to wait a few weekends for the weather to cooperate) tend to not adopt at all.  That's just what 11 years of doing this has shown to be true.

I have finally realized, its not my place to chase these people down.  They want to adopt, they will get me the form, they will keep in touch.  If not, there is no reason I should baby them and chase them down.  So, no more.

I had this one guy who'd emailed about adopting a beige female before this past weekend.  I told him, after show I might have some available, and the other day, I messaged him saying I now have the one beige female available.  Naturally, haven't heard back from that either.

I think, in running the rescue, the most frustrating thing to deal with is the people.  I like people, don't get me wrong.  But dealing with people is frustrating.  The people who actually turn out to adopt, I don't mind.  I'm happy to answer questions and help educate til I'm blue in the face.  And that's fine.  But the people who email, ask 40000 questions, and then either (a) fall off the face of the earth, (b) are adamant about feeding their chins raisins, (c) are planning to keep their chin outside year round, or (d) planning on keeping em in a fishtank.... those are the grand majority of people that I deal with.  They never end up adopting, either cause they never get back to me with an adoption form (which is probably about 75-80% of people), or if they do, its got such flaws, which they refuse to change, that they don't end up adopting anyway because I'm not going to let them leave with a chin.  That's about another 10% of people.  So out of every 100 emails/calls I get, I'm lucky if I get 10 adoptions.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Michigan Show

So, I know many of you are looking at that title and going... wait... she said she was going to Ohio.  And yes, we did go to Ohio.  For the Michigan show, which, instead of being in Michigan, was in Ohio this year.  Don't even bother asking, I have no idea how that worked out.

But regardless, Friday after work, I packed up some chins and Meredith and her husband showed up, and we all packed into the blazer and headed to Ohio.  Got to the hotel a little after midnight.  Was a bit disappointed that the pool and hot tub were being renovated, but oh well.  Got some food, snacks, pop and got in our room and groomed the chins.  Fun fun.  Filled out the paperwork for the show and finally got in bed at like 2 am.

And then back up for the show at 7-7:30ish.  So we get there, do last minute touchups on grooming.  If I'm remembering this right, the show goes white, sapphire, violet, beige, naturelle (standard grey), black velvet, and ebony.  So I had one chin in the white group, classified as a mosaic (there's also predominantly white, white with dark guard hairs, pink white, white with beige guard hairs).  He got a second, knocked down on size and conformation.  Which I knew, but I wanted to see how he did.  His mom will get another chance and see what she produces, maybe need to switch up what male she's with.

Got to beiges and my other two girls were up in their classes.  They both got 1sts, both were a little rough, both down in conformation (one moreso than the other) and one with loose fur around her backside and hips.  The larger one I'm going to hang onto to see if she improves at all, the other two will be up for sale soon.

Got to the standards and black velvets, which Meredith and her husband brought, her one black, Sirius, went all the way up to reserve black male of show!

After the show, I went up to Ryersons and asked if they'd be willing to sell their beige female (champion beige female of show).  Rich said talk to Jan, and Jan said she'd sell it to me for $200, which is awesome, considering I've paid a lot more for chins that haven't placed that high.  So now I have a puffball beige female.  I'm thinking I will keep her out of breeding until after Nationals, which is next month, so I can show her again and see how she does.

So, we cleaned up after the show, Meredith got her trophy.  Rich gave me the trophy for the beige female I purchased (yippee!! I have a trophy!!).  And we all went over to Jim Ritterspach's ranch (which was literally, around the corner from the show).  He took care of several people who were wholesaling chins to him (apparently, $35 for standards, $45 for mutations) and then found Meredith and her husband some chins, and then looked at my chins and her chins and, along with Brenda Walters (the judge at the show), helped to answer my questions and explain what should have been different in my chins to make them place higher and get higher results.

Cause see, 1st place isn't the highest.  In every class, there's typically a 1A (best animal) and 1B (second best animal) -- 1st place is below the 1A and 1B.  When all the classes for a color, say, whites, are done, all the 1A's compete for phase champion.  The best is phase champ, the second best is reserve phase champ.  Then all of the phase champs compete against each other for color section champ and reserve color section champ.  Then all the color section champs compete for champion male and female.  Then those compete for grand show champion and reserve gsc.  So, first isn't bad, by any means... but it's not quite "up there."

So, we'd been talking to someone earlier and I'd mentioned I couldn't easily tell the difference between a sapphire and a blue diamond, when looking at pics.  They said they had both, if I wanted to see em side by side after the show.  So, I got to see the two next to each other.  Turns out, the blue diamond is more of a powder blue, versus the sapphire being a darker blue.  Was kinda neat to see em together to be able to compare.

So then we went to see Amanda and Jim's dogs (they breed australian shepherds), got to see their new house, and went and played pool and had snacks with them for awhile.  Eventually left to go back to the hotel.  Ordered pizza and other goodies from the pizza place and watched some tv before going to bed.

Got up in the morning, went to pick up our trailer, and luckily they let us take it, because my connector (for the brake lights and turn signals on the trailer) was corroded and they couldn't get it to connect very well.  But thanks to the country-ish guy who ran the u-haul place, they let us take the trailer, with the comment that we might not have taillights once it got dark.  Ok, fair enough.

We almost get stuck getting out of the parking lot, but rock it a time or two and switch to 4wd and make it out.  Cause, of course, it'd snowed like 5 inches the night before.  So, we get it out, and head to the Ryersons, where Meredith and her husband were picking up some holding cages and runs, and I was picking up two runs and some dust.  So we got that all loaded, decided I also needed a bag of blue cloud and some water bottles, and got everything packed in the trailer.

Ok, wait, back up, it wasn't really that simple (though, that would have been nice).  We always pick up supplies at a back building on the Ryerson property.  So, me, being a genius, pulled the trailer back there, and then realized... I didn't have enough room to just easily drive it around.  Oops.  So I asked Ryerson if he could help me.  In all fairness, it was in his best interest to help if he wanted me off his property, but regardless, he was really nice and helped me get the trailer into position.  Not once, but twice, because some of our supplies were at a different barn.  Rich was hilarious in helping me, and very patient.  Cause, if you haven't pulled a trailer, let me tell you, it's not as easy as it looks (at least, not for me).  And Rich said that the small one-axle trailers (like what we had) are actually more difficult to back up than are tractor trailers, because the one axle pivots the second you turn the wheel a little bit.  Which makes sense.  But anyway, thanks to Rich for the trailer lesson.

So we get our stuff, pack it all up, and go, and we're still on back roads, going bout 40 or so on the snow... and start to slide.  With all the snow covering up potential ditches on both sides of the road, we could not slide off the road, so I keep trying to turn it back towards center, but of course the entire thing is sliding back and forth and back and forth until we finally come to a rest sideways across both lanes road.  That was terrifying to say the least.  I actually think the fully loaded trailer helped significantly in staying on the road... because the weight of it, plus the probably 500+ pounds of cages/supplies in it helped weigh us down enough that it acted as an anchor so we didn't go flying off the road.

Got going again, probably didn't go over 30 until we were on the actual highway, and the rest of the trip was relatively uneventful.  Just had to stop a few times for gas and really that was it.  Dropped off Meredith's husband and their supplies, came back to my place and dropped off my stuff, and drove to U-haul to drop off the trailer.  Got there and the dropoff lane was completely full, and there didn't appear to be enough room to fit a car through between the dropped off vehicles/trailers and the already parked ones... so the only option was to back out... which meant... backing the trailer into a spot so I could back out without it behind me.  So the trailer lessons came in handy!  I feel like I did better than I have in the past.  We needed to get it back another foot or too, but the trailer is so light, we just detached it, and I lifted up the tongue and rolled it back myself.  Problem is, no gloves to do that, and holding onto a snow-and-ice-covered-metal-trailer-tongue... not the best idea in frigid temperatures.  I actually think I might have mild frostbite/frostnip as my fingers (where I touched the tongue) are still painful, hot, red, tingling, and feel a bit weird.  Wonderful.

Got home, fed and watered the new female, and went to bed.

Oh but one more thing before I go.  That lady who was messaging about adopting Carlos that was having a hard time getting the adoption form back to me... still hasn't gotten it to me.  Now, this is a simple 2 page form, it is not that difficult.  But yet, I still don't have it, and I told her, I can't put him on hold for her until she gets it to me, cause she's already surpassed the two week holding period where she wouldn't need it.  So, I got a call about Carlos yesterday.  I still need to call them back, but I messaged the original lady and told her, hey, someone else is interested, how's the form going?  Still nothing.  Like, really?  I'm gonna call back that person today and see if they're still interested, but I feel like it's a bit ridiculous when people can't get back to me.  And really, when I think about it... why do I keep asking her if she's got it done?  If she can't be an adult and get it back to me without me babying her, do I want her to have a chin?  Possibly not.  So, if I don't have an adoption form by the time I get outta work today, Carlos will be "available" for the lady who called.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Comments and blog and other stuff

Two people posted comments the other day, and I wanted to respond to them, but when I went to the post where they commented... it said "no comments."  Typical.

So, to answer what was asked -- this blog was not started in response to a prompt or anything like that, I just started it because it occurred to me that people have no idea what goes on at a rescue and this is sort of like a "behind the scenes" thing.  Most people just see when an animal's listed on the website.  If we have a sick animal, it's listed as "medical evaluation."  There's very little information on the website when it comes down it it.  So, the blog expands on that.  If an animal dies, it's taken off the available chins page (where it likely was listed as under evaluation) and moved to the Rainbow Bridge page.  Most people never find the Rainbow Bridge page, and just see the critter vanish (if they even notice at all).  That's why I wanted to start the blog, because some of this stuff is never seen by the general public.  And I hear my average reader is an adoptive home of mine, but still.

I do not get paid to do this blog.  If I did, I'd probably do it more often (cause God knows the rescue could use some extra cash from time to time), but nope.  Just fun and educational purposes.

There was a comment about how I write.  I used to write stories when I was younger, and they would be posted up on a website and comments I would get would be on how I write in a very conversational tone.  It's read as if I'm speaking to you, so I hear.  I write like I talk.  These blogs are rarely edited.  Really, the only non-work thing I edit anymore is if I'm trying not to be mean to someone in an email or something.  But blogs are just like, I think it, I write it.

I think that might've been it regarding the comments.

Things have been slow lately.  No major adoptions, no major purchases.  Carlos was on hold for a bit, but the person kept pushing off getting me the adoption form, and she said she was sick and busy, and I can totally understand that, but I can't keep em on hold forever.  So, when I posted that cage up for sale, the big one, she popped up again saying could she get a deal on the cage and chin, and I told her, yes, but she would need to pick em up before I move.  Cause if I have to move em, no reason for me to give a discount.  The point is to give a discount so I don't have to move them.  Now just waiting for that adoption form again.  He's not going back on hold for her until I get it.

The people who have the beige female on hold also now have an ebony female on hold, they basically need to come and pick.

I have someone emailing wanting a young female chin, I told em, maybe after the show this weekend, but no promises.  Haven't heard back.

Had someone respond to my chin ad in one of the facebook groups I'm in, asking where they could get an adoption form to fill out to adopt a chin.  I told em where it is or that I could email it, we shall see if they actually submit it.

Had another person email about bringing their chin by, I told her, wait until I get back this weekend with the extra runs, and I will see how much of my waiting list I can knock out.

Talked to the person who's eventually bringing over some young chins, she thinks they're both male.  Sure hope so, as the longer she has em, the more chance (if there is a female) that the female could get pregnant.

So, yesterday I was trying to clean up around the rescue.  I went through the boxes of rescue toys/donations.  When I get a package, say from Jean @ TJs, I put it aside in a special container so it just gets doled out to the rescues.  Anything not in there is fair game for all the chins/critters here, not specifically just the rescues.  But when someone sends a care package or something, that's rescues only.  So, went through that stuff, added toy parts to rescue toys in all the cages.  Drilled some wood sticks and coins.  I have like oregano, timothy pellets, hawthorn leaves, some other random herbs that have been donated, those were doled out in small amounts.

Finally cut and glued the last pieces onto the two custom hidey houses that one of my customers has been waiting forever for.

Also packaged up food and hay to send out to one of my customers... but my hatch was frozen shut, so I guess that'll be going out tomorrow after I somehow dethaw that....

Vacuumed out the first open FN and wiped down everything inside.  Sanded the shelves.  Started with a toothbrush on the doors (where grime collects) and same for the sides and back of the cage where the pan meets the bars.  Didn't get very far before I had to go up for dinner and somehow didn't make it back down.
...but everyone was fed and watered when I was originally down there, so all's good.  The guinea pigs knocked a water bottle off their cage, and I couldn't find the metal holder thing.  Will need to make one, but at the moment, they're down to one bottle.  Which is fine, just needs to be filled more often.

Need to get home today and get ready for the show this weekend and try to groom the last chin if I get a chance.  Hopefully....

And then I need to get food ready for a pickup while I'm gone... and then fun away from home for the weekend.  Hopefully the weather won't be toooo bad.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Empty Cages

I had some people over the last few days ask, since I currently have a few empty cages, if I no longer have an incoming waiting list.  Nope, I do.  And actually, I have one person who's trying to find a convenient time to bring in a few chins (first on the chin waiting list) and a person trying to find a time to bring in rats (only person on the rat waiting list).  Those two could fill up at least some of the empty cages.

... but even if they don't, here's the thing.  If all goes well, *fingers crossed,* I will be moving soon.  I am attempting to move with the least number of animals possible.  Once it gets closer to moving date, I will be moving as many of the FN animals into empty run space as I can, so I can clean the FNs and move as many already-clean cages on moving day.  Cause runs keep relatively clean, cause they're enclosed, but cleaning an FN takes time.

Which means, to try to clear out a bit, the animals will go on sale again, for a short period of time, at some point.  And like last time, it will be the whole "this price is only valid if this animal is picked up before ____ date."  Why?  Because some people legitimately can rearrange their schedules to save a few bucks and free me up another cage or two so I can clean before I move them to a nice clean house, and I'm happy to do a discount if I can move clean cages.  I dislike moving grime (and coating a trailer in grime, which also has to move my non-grimy stuff).

I currently have two full double FNs empty, due to adopting out some chins and having my grower chins in holding cages.  Fingers crossed some additional adoptions happen.  There are currently... let's see... ok pink CN has Winx on top, Mama & Baby on bottom.  Pink FN has Toby on top, Carlos on bottom.  Yellow/green/blue FN has Gigi on top and an ebony female on the bottom.  And then I have a for-sale young female in a holding cage.  Mama & Baby will be ready mid-month, Carlos is ready, Gigi is ready, the eb female I'm waiting to hear back on, same for the young for-sale female.    

Oh and after the show, may have some additional chins for sale.  The show is this weekend.  

Likely once I move, I will have additional cages for sale.  I'm hanging onto oodles of cages that I like, and I realize, I am not gonna have room for this.  Most of em will be small and I'll need to hang onto one or two for loaner cages/trial run cages but since I'll be getting more runs, I don't need to hang onto the smaller "pregnancy watch" cages.  So, will have more of those for sale once I move and see just how much room I have.  Oh and they won't be on sale after the move, cause the sale is so that I can avoid moving them.  So if you're looking at one of the used cages, one of the current ones, reasonable offers will be entertained, so I don't have to move em.

As far as moving.... I haven't said anything about moving because the last time I was like "I got a house!!!" it fell through, and I still am getting emails asking how I like living on my own again, when I never actually moved, but I shared it so widely everyone thought I did.  I let everyone know and, in my mind, I jinxed it, so this time it's more hush hush just in case.  That's all I'm saying bout that.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Included Things

Ok, so maybe someone can tell me if I'm wrong here, but I had a lot of people call lately asking about what the chinchillas come with.  Now, I will start off by saying, if they read the ads, they'd know.  But regardless, for regular chins, they come with a bag (2ish pounds) of food and a goodie bag.  Kits (babies) come with a bag (2ish pounds) of food, a kit goodie bag, and a hanging chew toy.  That's it.  Nowhere does it say "and they also come with x, y, and z."  Which is fine, no big deal, but the thing is.... it doesn't say that stuff because.... wait for it... the stuff listed is ALL they come with.  I know, big shocker. 

Now, I know I've seen ads out there for something that shows a TV stand with a TV on the stand and it says "TV not included."  I feel like, in that instance, I can see where people would be like, oh, ok, I get the TV because it's on the stand.  Even though, the ad is for a tv stand.  But with an animal, I mean... you go to a pet store... and you get just the animal.  You don't get food, you don't get treats/chews, nothing.  Here, at least, you get the animal, some food, treats, a toy if it's a baby.... 

...and people still complain.  Even though the critters here cost less than the pet stores, and you get stuff with them... they still complain. 

I have had several people today ask if the chins come with cages.  For $75?  They have got to be kidding.  Now, if they want one for that price, they may be able to find one on craigslist for that price for a chin, cage, and accessories.  But this is a rescue and even though we have ads up on craigslist and other classified ad sites, it is pretty clear from looking at the ads that I'm not just some random person selling one chinchilla.  It's pretty clear this is a rescue that's listing the ads. 

...but people want something for nothing.  Which is understandable, fine, but not from here.  I need to keep the rescue running.  With the cages being on sale for quite some time now, that's money I would normally be bringing in, full price, except I'm trying to get rid of em before I move.  But with the chins.... I hardly think $150 is a lot for a baby and $75 for an adult. 

...just something that's been irking me a bit....