Thursday, June 19, 2014

We. Don't. Meet.

I feel like plastering a huge banner on all of our ads that says, we do not ship, we do not deliver, we do not meet.

Who knows why we don't meet?  Raise your hands.  Ok, for those of you without hands raised, let me copy and paste the response to someone who, though he has a legitimate reason for not wanting to meet, does not change the fact that we don't meet. 

While I can definitely understand why you would not want to drive a long distance, we don't meet.  Chinchillas are very fast.  Unlike dogs, which could be put on a leash to keep them contained in a smaller area, there is no good way to secure a chinchilla other than a carrier -- and I've even seen some chew their way out of those.  No one wants to "meet" a chinchilla in a carrier with the door closed.  They can't touch it, they can't see how it reacts when they hold it, and so on.  We have chinchillas routinely dropped at the rescue, and in a small room, it typically takes at least 10-15 minutes to catch them.  Meeting somewhere else, out in the open, if the chinchilla was dropped, we would never catch it, and would make all of our driving time for nothing (not to mention, the people that entrusted the rescue to find a good home for their chinchilla would be less than pleased).  It's not even a matter of having a good grip or having years of experience -- I've been doing this for 11 years and occasionally one will still wriggle out of my grasp.  It's just not practical for this type of animal, they're too fast and too easy to never see again.

While I do appreciate your willingness to pay more, unfortunately, my car gets 15 miles to the gallon, and it would cost more in gas to get to a midway point than the rescue would make on the chin.  Maybe gas is less by you, but here, it's about $4/gallon right now -- for the cost of me driving one hour there and one hour back (say, 60 miles each way), the rescue could feed a chin for over 1 year.  With numbers like that, for the longevity of the rescue, it makes more sense to sit here and feed the chins and wait for people to come here.  They mostly get adopted out in 3-4 months, so it's almost never a question of feeding a chin for a year versus going somewhere to drop them off.      

Maybe that's mean.  I know, over the years, the rescue has really ticked some people off with the whole "do not meet" thing.  But is it that hard to understand?  You drop the chinchilla, and now all the time it's spent at the rescue, any vet bills we've incurred, any costs as far as feeding it, watering it, cleaning the cage, all that, is for nothing.  We will never see it again.  Not to mention, my time.  Having the rescue is like having a full time job in itself. I spend almost all of my free time doing rescue-related things.  There's days when it really gets old and I want to say, let someone else do this shit, I'm tired of it.  But I still do it.  But the second I get 5 minutes of free time, people want me to meet them.  At some point, enough's enough.  The rescue's great, and I love when an animal finds a great home.  Don't get me wrong, that's awesome.  But I've been doing this for 11 years now, and the rescue has ended a LOT of friendships, a LOT of relationships, heck, the last time I had a boyfriend was BEFORE I had the rescue.  Smart guys.  The rescue has kept me from having a LOT of time and fun with my friends cause I can never leave the house for more than a day or so cause NO ONE will watch 50+ animals.  Ha!  I can get one person to watch on dog, and that's about it.  I'm almost 30 and due to the rescue, I've got like 3 friends and a million people who know my name but wouldn't recognize me if I didn't see them at a chin show or a pet expo.  One from high school and everyone else I know is animal related, which means we NEVER talk about anything else, which also gets old.  I have a house that I'm not crazy about, but it had the perfect basement for the rescue, so I got it.  I liked others better, but the basement was too small.  In retrospect, I should have gotten them and downsized the rescue, but noooo I cared too much about the animals, but I'm frankly getting sick of them.  I have an ankle that's killing me because I fell down the steps to the basement, which I'd almost never go down, if I didn't have the rescue.  Doctors tell me I likely tore a ligament or something, but since I don't have the money for an x-ray, much less an MRI, they can't say for sure.  But, it doesn't matter, because it could take years to feel normal again if I don't stay off my feet, but wait!!  I have cages to clean.  Animals to feed.  Orders to fill.  Oh hell, that ankle will never get better.  And you people want me to meet?  After all this other shit I do for the rescue and give it all my freaking free time..... if I can spend upwards of 40 hours per week on rescue stuff and I'm STILL on February orders.... you all can drive 2 hours to get here if you want to adopt.  

I am completely sick and tired of giving it my all and people don't want to make the slightest effort on their part.

Now, there are some people who drive.  There are people who don't throw a fit.  But lately every other email I get wants me to meet someone somewhere, on their schedule, at a time that's convenient for them.  Usually at something like 6 am,  at a location 10 hours from here (so, I guess I'd have to leave the night before and either not sleep, or spend more rescue money on a hotel... um... no).  I understand this is the world of delivery, where you want a tv?  You can buy it online and best buy can drop it off at your front door.  But these are live animals.  The tv doesn't run away if you drop it.  If you drop the box and the tv breaks, you can get a new one.  If you drop the chinchilla, it probably dies a horrible death out there, run over by a car, or eaten by some animal, or something, and you sure wouldn't be getting a new one from here.

I'm going to bed.  Hopefully will wake up less frustrated. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

More and less chins.

So, I went down this morning to the rescue, and Evil 2 (also known as "homo beige female" when I had to write her name anywhere on paperwork had passed away.  I'd noticed the day before yesterday, she seemed a little off, and then yesterday she spent a long portion of the day laying down.  Which, itself, is not a sign of anything, but she seemed off.  I called into the vet, and neither vet that saw small animals was there, so they said come in tomorrow.
Well, I get up today and she was gone.  And Benji (the male she was with) was sleeping on top of her.  I went down later in the day, and he was in her cage looking for her.  :(

And then I got an email from T, my rat person, saying that Catnap had chins and wanted an experienced chin person to take them, so she gave me their email.  I emailed, and they called back saying they had someone who could potentially bring them all the way here (I normally try to arrange meeting points when animals are coming from another rescue, as the rescues that we typically get critters from are several hours away.  I was cutting the grass, so by the time I got back inside and listened to the message, Catnap was closed, but I let it ring and ring and ring so that I could leave a message, and mid-message someone picked up. 

So, the chins were dropped off here.  Two females and a male.  Likely mom and babies, as there was apparently an adult male chin as well, which died.  The two babies were thought to be females, but nope, one's a male.  So they're now all separated and housed here.

And I just wanted to share with you the perfect example of what an un-educated owner uses as a chin cage.  Before anyone goes off, saying how I use the runs for the breeder chins, keep in mind that is one chin per run.  They had four chins in this cage:

^ it is next to my carrier for size reference.  For FOUR chins.  And notice that ramp.  Chinchillas can jump to that shelf, no problem, but the angle that ramp is, those chins are never walking up the ramp.  Notice anything else?  No?  That's cause there isn't anything else.  I take it back, there is a food bowl that sort of blends in with the carefresh, but there's not a single chew toy in sight.  One little shelf.  Nothing to stimulate them..... well, it'll be better here....

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Good day and bad day.

I ideally would like the first, and not the second, ^^, but then, that wouldn't be the way life works.

So, today was going well.  Accomplished some major non-chin things in the morning, and then came home and went through quite a few emails related to adoptions.  So hopefully some of those pan out.  Fingers crossed.

Purchased (the other day) a one of those storage shelving unit things for cages, because I have quite a few small cages for the rescue, and always seem to need the bottom one.  Set it up today and started cleaning cages before I set them on it.  The one cage that must go on top due to size and won't-break-down is like this_close to the duct-work above the shelving unit.  PERFECT fit.

Clipped the rabbits nails.

The guinea pigs are separated into cages, male and female, and the cage with the males is a lot smaller (because usually there's only one in it -- my male, Truffles... but now he's got babies accompanying him).  All my other cages I can clean about once a week and be ok with that, but this cage needs cleaning like every 2-3 days, so I cleaned that and gave them fresh dry bedding.

Watered everyone.  Discovered free water awhile back, and by free water, I mean, I have a dehumidifier running in the summer.  While that water itself does not go through any filters, it is water pulled from the air, so it is relatively clean.  Well, I have a katadyn filter system where you pour the water in the top and as it filters, the water goes into a bottom chamber with a spigot so you can get it out.  So, when the dehumidifier is full, I pour that water into the filter.  Free water.  And considering, like today for example.  I filled up water bottles 2 days ago.  So, with only two days of use, to fill all those bottles to the top again (mind you, most were only down a little, cause it was only two days), it took almost 3 gallons.  So,  I can use free water if I can get it.

Organized some stuff in the basement.  Had a big box of cardboard bagels that didn't fit anywhere else, so they went in a bag and went on a high shelf in the storage closet.

I bought (a while back) a four-foot table that fits perfectly between the wash-tub and the pump that pumps the water out, and bought (also awhile back) three dish-drying racks and those little drying towel things to set them on.  That way, there's no more washing chin stuff upstairs and coating the kitchen sink in grime, and, with the three drainers, I can wash a lot of stuff at once.  Which usually isn't an issue, but my parents weren't too fond of me  washing chin stuff in their kitchen sink (they didn't have a basement sink), so it's sort of piled up.  So right now, I'm working on getting the number of random things that need to be washed down to a way smaller amount.  So I washed and filled the three racks.

Spent a while scrubbing down this one cage I  have for the rare occasion I have mice, gerbils, or very baby rats.  Still needs a good scrub, but I got enough in for one day.

I suppose all of this doesn't sound like a lot, but a lot of what I did can be summed up simply by saying: organized the basement and cleaned.  Which is really what it needs right now, as the rescue is coming together, but it's still not where it needs to be.

So, the bad day part.

I was just about ready to go upstairs, and was organizing stuff on that little cart that you all see me roll around.  I was standing in front of the runs and heard what could only be a baby's cry.  And my first thought was YAY!  But remember, this is bad news.

So, the baby was dry, and just laying there, which isn't a good sign for a baby.  Picked him up, and his head was ripped open.  A good quarter-sized chunk of scalp was missing right where his forehead and higher should have been.  You could actually see the whitish yellow of his skull.  The skin that was there on his face was ripped badly to the side.  His eye-hole (in the skin) was nowhere near where his eye actually was.  His ear wasn't actually attached to his body, but it was still attached to the skin on that side (the skin that was hanging off).  His lower jaw was ripped in two.  And he was still alive and those little paws were gripping my finger as I held him.  I went and got a good size dose of pain meds, and slowly got it into him.  I held him and petted him and told him he was a good chin, and he passed.

He was a big kit.  75 grams.  Had he lived, at that size, I would have hung onto him to see how big he would have gotten for show.  
In case you want to see --  I don't personally think it's that graphic, but then, over the years, I've seen everything, it's harder to make me panic and go "eww" over injuries than it was in the beginning, so I have provided links instead of posting the pictures... 

--Size of baby (body shot):

I get so tired of getting emails from people who want the cheapest chins they can find to breed.  Everyone thinks it's all cute babies and rainbows, but in reality, this sort of thing happens.  I want to say that this is the third kit to die this year, and I don't even think we're up to 10 total.  The first was born stillborn, the second had an eye problem and died a few days after birth, and then this.  This is not cute, this is not pretty, but this is the reality of what happens when you decide to breed.  Not all the time, of course, but I just wish people who want to breed would stumble upon these sort of stories and these sort of things before they think of how many cute babies they'll have when they breed.  And, while I didn't pick up the mom chin, I believe this was the only baby.  I'll check her again in the morning just to see, because sometimes labor can go on for hours and hours, but in reality, she spent four months with this baby inside her, for nothing.  Now, don't get me wrong, to me, I love her, whether she produces babies or not, but for someone who just sees the babies and dollar signs, to them, that's four months of gestation wasted.  

Hopefully tomorrow's better.

Update:  today just got worse.  Got an email from someone asking about getting a baby male grey chin, and off the top of my head, couldn't remember exactly what I had here, so I went down to look at the babies.  Open the cage of Lexi, a female who had her babies, oh, maybe 2-3 days ago, and there's only one baby.  Wait... what?  And... the run cover is off (the run cover keeps the male in the run and the mom and babies in their cage).  So, basically, either Lexi or Ace (the male chin) pulled off the run cover, which allowed the male baby to get into the run, and into my other female's cage... where she ripped open his skull and killed him.  Wonderful.  Why is it that all my females, when another chin gets into their cage, they feel the need to maim?  I had this similar situation (practically scalped), but for an adult chin (Nikki) last year when another chin got into Nikki's cage.  Ugh.