Sunday, October 26, 2014

Awesome Friday!

So, Friday was the best day the rescue's had in a long time.  No adoptions or anything like that, but we had volunteers!  It was AWESOME!

I had one set of people I set up for Friday... then remembered I had someone else who emailed me their work schedule... asked if they could come.  Then remembered I had someone else who had said they were available Friday... and I checked if they could come.  And EVERYONE showed up!  So from something like 3:30 pm until after 10 pm, I had volunteers!

Before they all came, I cleaned out the drawers in my toy cart, so there'd be no toy crumbs or anything like that, so we could get started.  We made just about every toy we have here, except for the fun chewies toy and the pinesical toy (neither of which are huge sellers).  The pinesical toy doesn't even have a drawer in the cart, if that hints at how many of those sell per year.  But the other toys -- anything goes, muncher's delight, pumice & triangles, and critter's delight all got made!  Yay!  This may not sound like a lot, but almost none of these were ready to make, everything had to be sanded and drilled and sanded again.  Wire had to be cut, everything. 

Also managed to get help getting everyone fed, watered, hay'd, given apple sticks and toilet paper rolls.

Also made some healthy treat mixes, but didn't have enough of the stickers that go on top of the jars to make more than three.  Note: today, I found the labels I use for these jars and the mason jars, and I printed out more of the labels for the healthy treat mix, the supplement, and the herb sampler.  So I will be able to make more of the healthy treat mix whenever... the others I need to get the mason jars for, first.

Also, got all the toys in all of the cages filled up with wood, and hung some new toys from Jean (TJ's) in the rescue cages.

Very very productive day.  Now if I had every week, even with one volunteer, I would not be nearly so stressed.  It was awesome to have some help, as doing this all myself would have taken days upon days, instead of a few hours.  Thanks to everyone who came and helped! 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Moving Back to Home Country

Ok, so this has been bugging me lately, and maybe it's just me.  But... I've had two people in the last month who have emailed me about bringing their chins to the rescue because they're going back to their home country.  Don't get me wrong, that alone, I have no problem with.

Problem is... for both sets of people... they KNEW they were going to be in the US for a limited time.  Without sharing the personal details, both knew they'd be here for a few years, and then go back.  Yet they got pets.  To me, this isn't very responsible.

I know, some devil's advocate will email me and will say, "well, maybe they didn't know how expensive it'd be to ship the pets back to their home country."  Ok, I ship a box of mazuri to the next state over and it's $18.  We're talking shipping a live animal overseas.  A plane ticket for an animal in the US, typically runs as much as a plane seat for a human.  An expensive plane seat, meaning $300+.  Imagine overseas.  I try to ship a box to the US with a hidey house and it's $20.  Try to ship it to Canada and it's $60.  Think of that in terms of shipping an animal.  Almost no one except the super rich are ever going to do it.     

And for both, they literally waited until a few days - a few weeks before going back to email and say they need to bring their chins in.  Yes, just expect me to dump my entire waiting list to take in your chin because you couldn't plan ahead.  Which actually, is exactly what happens.... cause if people are losing their house, or need their chin gone asap, I try to find a way to bring them in.  But I still don't think it's fair.

Anyway, the first set of people was very nice, dropped off their chins, supplies, etc etc.

Second set, which is the one I'm chatting with now, had emailed me about dropping off three chins and their cage.  Was supposed to be set for this weekend, but something came up.  They emailed again and said, oh, they thought that their 2 other chins (on top of the three) had a home, but that didn't happen.  Wanted to know if I could take all five.  Also wanted to know if I could buy the chins a new FN and they'd pay for it.

Now, I could be wrong, and god knows I've been wrong before.  But first thing that pops in my head when someone says, buy em a new cage is, "I want all these chins to go together, with the new cage."  And maaaaaan, would that be a difficult, expensive adoption to pull off.  In fact, it'd be downright impossible.  I have a hard enough time adopting out two chins, since most people want one.  So I emailed the person, asking if I understand this correctly, that they want all the chins (four of em, since the 5th is housed alone) adopted out together with the cage.  I told them, if that's the case, I can't promise that.  I told em, if they're adamant about that, I can't help them.  Told em, I won't lie to em and say I'll adopt em all out together and then adopt them out separately, but I told em, most people think 2 chins is too many, much less three or four.  Plus, a lot of people have their own cages, so saying, take four PLUS a new expensive cage... would be super expensive.  Let's be honest here.

Four chins, let's just say they're all adults.  If you adopt a pair when you don't have to, it's $25 off the pair.  But when it's a pair you have to adopt together, there's no discount.  So let's say they're all grey adults that's $75 x 4 = $300 just for the chins.  Figure, a new FN, I saw one somewhere the other day for $175.  Well, for a used cage I normally charge 60%, but one that's been used a super short time would be more like a new cage, so say 75%.  So, $175 x 75% = $131.25.  So that, plus the chins, $131.25 + $300 = $431.25.  Now, who wants to get in line to adopt four chins and cage for $431.25?   Anyone?  No one??  It's not actually a bad deal, don't get me wrong.  But I can't think of one person who's going to step up to adopt that.  Not one. And figure, that doesn't include any food or anything else that those chins need.  And four chins eat a bunch and need a ton of chew toys and stuff.

I told him, pairs would be fine, but I can't promise four.  And I will not get myself suckered into any sob story about why they have to stay together.  If they have to stay together, they can "have to stay together" elsewhere.  Nothing against those chins, but trios might as well become permanent additions to the rescue due to people saying, "oh that's too many chins to take on at once."  And I won't have my rescue fill up with chins that no one will adopt because of insane previous home requirements.  Since when can you drop off your dog at the humane society and say, well it can only go to a home with no kids, and a nice old lady, and they must have a doggy door.  Oh wait, you CAN'T!  Even if you drop it off at a private rescue, they can't promise that and they will adopt out the dog to whoever they think is the best fit.  They may lie and say they'll try their best to adopt someone's 10 dogs out to the same family, but they know they're lying and they know it won't happen.  I won't do that, I won't lie to the people, but at the same time, I won't even make life 400x more difficult for me by saying I will try it.  Because I won't.

Technically, I don't yet know if that's what this person meant.  So, we shall see.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hi all

So, lots going on.  Well, not really.  But lots of emails.  Mostly ones where I've been writing out long responses to people's questions, and then getting nothing in return (yet), but fingers crossed this week will be different.

This Friday, I have a couple coming to volunteer!  Yay! 

Had someone call today, saying they were here awhile ago looking at chins and cages.  And they were, maybe a month or so ago.  Asked about a $65 cage.  Well, it was on sale then.  The sale on the cages ended, and it's back to $90 now.  They were disappointed. 

Thing is, it's just like a sale at a grocery store.  They don't go on forever.  They end sooner or later, and when they do, the items go back to regular price.  And if you miss the sale... you just end up paying regular price. 

It's not unheard of, by any sense of the word, for me to get calls after I take down a chin sale that says, "hey, the chins were on sale last week!!"  Yes, they were.  And why didn't you call last week?  Try going into a grocery store and pulling that.  Will get you nowhere.  Sorry, will get you nowhere here either.  Especially since the cages were on sale from like March - late September.  That's an awfully long sale.

Anyway, on a positive note, someone emailed about Gilly while I was in Kansas, so I just emailed them the care packet and adoption form today. 

Got another email from someone who's moving out of country and can't keep their chin, and waited until the absolute last minute to email. 

Got an email from someone who got a rabbit for their kid, now the rabbit's destroying the house, and they want to give it up.  Passed that along to Megan at Cottontail.

Got another email from someone asking if we take in / buy chinchillas.  Told em, we don't buy em (don't need to!), but we do accept surrenders, though we're full right now.  But told em, if they want to get on the waiting list, they can.  I can pretty much tell ya, they won't, though.  The people that expect a rescue to pay for their chinchilla -- don't quite understand what a rescue does. 

Got an email from a family that adopted some chins awhile back.  Last year, they picked up supplies at our St. Charles / Kane County Expo... they want to do the same this year, so I will be getting their list and their supplies ready for when that expo comes around.  Which is another thing -- if we're going to be at an expo that's close to you, we can bring supplies for you, if you want.  If you don't want to come to the expo itself, we can meet you once it's done for the day, or whatever, we just ask that you please show up, so that we don't have like 50 pounds of food and several bags of treats and hay and then we have to bring it all back home with us.  But we have no problem bringing extra with us if someone wants to stop by where we are and pick it up.  Just fyi for the future, cause sometimes we may be a lot closer in your area at these expos.

Got an email from someone who dropped off two chins awhile back, wanting to know how they were doing.  The one chin had unfortunately passed (I hate sending those type of emails), though it looked like in her sleep, so I told him that, and the other's still here, still doing well. 

Got an email about two chins at a shelter that wants to transfer them here....

busy busy busy

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I know, I know....

I know it's all been negative posts on top of negative posts lately, but people... that's what's been going on.  I've had people actually contact me and say, "post something positive."  Like what?  That I cleaned cages and fed the animals?  Because since the last post, I've gotten 5 more emails about people wanting to surrender chins and exactly 0 emails about people wanting to adopt.  No one coming to help.  No one donating.

Not to mention, the person who was going to foster the rabbits, never got back to me about when would work for them to come by.  So I messaged them the other day, asking if they still wanted to help.  They said, oh yeah, and we set up a time, for today, between 10-11.  Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, it's 11:43 now and they're still not here.  Besides this being total and absolute bullshit, you know what I call this?  An utter waste of time.  For someone to say, oh, between 10-11ish works for them, I will make sure to be here between 9:30 and 11:30.  Not that there's not stuff I can't do at home, but it almost never fails, the days I need to hang around here, waiting for people to show up (who never do show up), are days I need to be out and about doing things.  And they never showed up, so certain errands never got done, and now I need to go to work.  And still, those rabbits are here.

I find this very disappointing.  I'd like to think, in general, people are good, people are helpful, people really do want to help.  But then, no one shows up to volunteer, no one shows up to foster, people waste my time, no one returns my phone calls, when I call people back -- 90% of the time, the same day, they've already gotten an animal elsewhere cause they couldn't wait an hour for a return phone call -- remind me again why I'm doing this?  And don't say "for the animals" cause they bite me make my asthma horrible and I really can't say I even like the animals all that much anymore.  These people have ruined this for me. 

Also, another thing that's going on that, probably because of all of the negativity currently going around, is rubbing me the wrong way.  Who's seen the story of Freeway, the chinchilla that was thrown from a vehicle onto the freeway?  If you're on facebook and in the chinchilla groups I'm in, you likely have.  Well, they started a chip-in for him (or whatever they call it now, now that half those sites have closed down), and at the time I'm writing this, they've raised $512.  Don't get me wrong, I think that's great that people care and want to chip in.  But let me ask you -- why is it that people will run to donate to a single chin that had a bad time at life, yet when actual rescues need help, no one lifts a finger or opens their pocketbook?  When I posted about how horrible the rescue was doing, lack of sales, lack of adoptions, lack of time to do orders so people are backing out of them, one person -- ONE PERSON -- donated.  And I thank that person, I really do.  But if you look at that chip-in, that $512 wasn't one or two people, it was a lot of people donating a few bucks here and there.  It's a lot of little donations that help.  Unfortunately, we're getting almost none of those either. 

Same with when I had my rescue at the Pet Supplies Plus.  I'd talk to the people about how expensive it is to care for these critters, they wouldn't donate a freakin penny in my donation box, but then would go to the cat donation box and donate $20.  Wtf?  A lot of people that day even donated the change from their purchases.... to the cat or dog rescues.  That change adds up.  But we don't even get that. 

We used to have multiple people purchasing food and supplies from here.  Now, we routinely have two families that stop by for food and hay.  And both do donate a little extra every time, which I greatly appreciate.  But it doesn't make up for how it used to be when 20 families consistently purchased food and hay from here.  I don't even get it -- it's CHEAPER to buy from here than to buy from the pet store, and most of these people are SUPER local, yet they go to the pet store and pay 3x the price to get the same item.  When we had that many families consistently buying supplies, I didn't need as many donations.  But now, when sales are pretty much nil, something has to pay for the critters.

But it still boggles my mind how everyone can bond together over one chin, and donate gobs of money for one chin, when chinchilla rescues are full of TONS of chins from bad situations.  Maybe not the same situation, but bad situations nonetheless, and pretty much no one cares about those chins.

One person who wanted to help, well, their daughter wanted to help, said they couldn't bring their kid any further north than Crown Point.  I hate to sound like an ass, but what good does that do me?  They never adopted chins (and returned the rats they adopted anyway), so, no offense to them, but they wouldn't be any good to have at an adoption event at the PSP store, cause they have no idea about chin care... which is the basis of the rescue.  Now, if I was going to bring rabbits to a chinchilla adoption event, I'm sure they'd do fine.  But I typically bring chins, cause hello, this is a chin rescue.  Other than an adoption event at the store, this is one of the people who said, oh, bring stuff by their house and they'll do it.  Yes, because the prep time for me to do that is nothing.  Nada.  Oh wait, prep time to bring houses so they can sand them... prep time is at least 50%, and if I can barely keep cages clean, having houses made 50% of the way, multiple all at once, not happening.  And I get that gas costs money and people's time is valuable, but think about what it says to me when you say you don't have time to bring your kid any further than just a bit of the way from your house to volunteer?  To me, that says you just don't care enough to volunteer.  Those people are fosters for some rescue, not sure which one off the top of my head.  They said they could foster for my rescue.  But while my work is flexible, I'm not going to be bringing rabbits and cages and whatnot to work, for them to pick up, because they can't come out to the rescue.  I can't push it with my work, and for fosters, they have to come here to pick up food and supplies as well -- I'm not about to start lugging food and hay and whatnot to work all the time because people won't come by the rescue.  Fosters are supposed to make my life easier, not more difficult.

I have the rescue in my house.  My house smells like small animals 24/7.  Pretty much all my free time is devoted to fuzzy small animals.  I'm doing my part.  But no one else feels like doing anything.  

And all of you that keep saying, oh you'll bring the cage and you'll bring everything with.  I don't fucking care.  Are you going to move in too?  And help clean the cages and keep everyone fed and watered?  Because if you're NOT, I don't have the TIME.  I could fit about 50 more cages in my basement.  But those animals would sit in filth because there's not enough hours in the day to keep everything clean, fed, watered.  So it makes no difference that you're going to bring everything with the chin, because if I don't have time, I don't have time.  I can't make myself 48-hour-days just cause they would be useful.

One more thing.  I've had several animals returned lately because people have found them to be "too much work."  I have, right now, four guinea pigs, 5 rabbits, something like 40 chinchillas, 2 prairie dogs, 2 dogs, and a pac man frog.  And some plants.  If I can do it all (while complaining, but still can do it all), I find it almost lazy to hear people say that that ONE rabbit has become too much work.  You know what it makes me think?  You simply no longer feel like cleaning the cage, making the effort to feed and water the animal, and so on and so forth.  Because it's not that hard.

I'm done with this rant for today.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

This weekend

So, this weekend was a chin show.  Got off work at 4ish Friday, came home, Kyle Lemler met me at the house, I got my chins ready, and we went out to the show.  Show was in Barneveld, WI, and due to a Badgers home game, just about everyone had problems finding hotels.  So he was staying with one of the local chin breeders, so I dropped him off at the show hall and went in search of our (Meredith, Brandon, and my) hotel room which was in Mazomanie, WI.  Found it, cute little place.  Got the chins settled, groomed the chins, and laid down.

Meredith and her husband arrived a few hours later, came in, groomed their chins, and then we got up bright and early for the show.  Well, it would have been earlier, except either the alarm didn't go off, or we all slept through it.  Sounds about right.  So we get there, get all the paperwork done, and they ask Meredith and I to help with classifying.  So that was a new experience, which I promptly made a mistake on and had to re-do part of.  It went smoothly after that.  

New judge from Colorado, took his sweet time with the chins.  My pink white got a 3rd, due to loose fur and something else, I have it written down.  Said may be baby fur, hang onto and show again, so he'll be shown again in December.  The other chin I brought with was a rescue chin from a local humane society, he got a 2nd.  Funny that, the rescue chin does better than a purposefully bred show chin.

We had lunch and dinner with the chin people and at one point I had to move my blazer, which a few people know has been having brake issues for awhile.  Well, Bill Bonnier (a chin person getting out of chin breeding) had been planning on looking at it, but due to my money situation (or lack of money, rather) because of my job, I hadn't been able to make it to his place with any money to pay him to look at it.  But he was there, and the grinding was enough for him to say, he wanted to look at it before he left.  So, he went outside and crawled under the blazer and asked, "who worked on this?"  Well, just fyi, it was Munster Marathon, and they suck.  I'm missing both hinge pins on the caliper on the passenger rear brake.  Bill said this was that they put them in, super loose, and the bolts basically walked themselves out.  The grinding was that the caliper was rubbing against the rim, and literally wearing it away.  So he said it was unsafe to drive because the wheel could lock up, blazer could flip, etc etc.  Joy.  So, he went and got a metal coat hanger from inside and his tools from his vehicle -- which he said, he had a feeling he should bring with (glad he did!!) -- and jerry rigged up the brakes so that it wouldn't grind on the way home.

Next morning, went to the show call to break down the show.  They provided eggs, bacon, orange juice, and coffee, so we had breakfast and then left.  Meredith and her husband were supposed to follow us home, in case something happened with the brakes, but Meredith wasn't feeling well, so her husband drove, and they got so far behind (and took a different road entirely) that had anything gone wrong, they wouldn't have been in the spot to notice.  But, luckily, nothing did go wrong, and I got home fine.

Had a phone call, when I got home, from someone wanting to ask questions about chins.  I guess to adopt.  Called em back, they said, oh they already picked up two guinea pigs.  WTF?!?!?!?  No one has any patience anymore.  Give me a day or so to call ya back before running off to get another animal or an animal from someone else.

Oh, also, Gypsy (aka Evil) is no longer with NWI.  She went with Jim for research.  Now, before you all get up in arms about a chin going to research, think about this.  What happens to a dog that's aggressive and bites people?  It's rehabbed, or if it can't be rehabbed (for example, if it bites without provocation for absolutely no reason), its put down.  That was Gypsy.  I couldn't even grab a toy that fell in her cage, nowhere hear her, without her turning into attach chin and lunging for my hand and repeatedly biting.  That is not a chin that should be reproducing, and that is not a chin anyone would ever adopt.  That's not even a chin that can safely be kept as a sanctuary chin, just to live out its life, because you can't fill a food bowl without being attacked.  So, rather than put down and no use of her, she will likely be used for ear research, where they will study her ears (as chinchillas have the most similar hearing to humans) to better understand how to treat ear conditions in humans.  So, she will benefit society, despite her ways.  And I will stop getting bitten.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Killing me

You people are killing me right now.  Absolutely killing me.  Had one person who was wanting to adopt two chins and a rabbit.  Sounded good, knew how far they were away.  Then yesterday I get a text, oh they're not going to be able to make the drive, but they'll buy a few hammocks to make up for it.  Just fyi, a $17 order of hammocks, most of which is taken up by the cost of materials and my time, does not make up for freeing up three cages.  But that's beside the point -- the reason this person couldn't adopt is because they don't have a car and they needed someone else to drive them.  They asked that person, could they get a ride?  And that person said no.

Now, let me ask you.  How difficult would it have been for that person to ask their friend, BEFORE contacting me, "hey, will you drive me to NWI?"  Course, they waited until they told me they wanted to adopt three animals, had me send them all the care packets and adoption forms, had me send them all sorts of pics and talk to them for a few days via text, and THEN asked the friend, could they get a ride.  Absolute waste of my time.  Since I started this job, I have nowhere near the amount of time to spend with the rescue animals or to deal with this bullshit as I did before.  And, to go with it, even less patience for shit like this.

Don't get me wrong, I know this is the world where people schedule appointments and cancel them 40 times, and that's why doctors offices have that thing where, if you cancel your appointment within 24 hours of the appointment, they charge you $25.  Because it gets really old and it wastes their time.  But we're talking about live animals here.

This is not my job.  That would really be nice if someone wanted to donate enough money to the rescue that I could quit my job and do only the rescue for the rest of my life, but I don't think that's going to happen.  This is just what I do after I come home from my 50-plus hour a week job.  Which means, if I've spent several days talking to you, sending you pictures, etc etc, expect me to be a little peeved when all of a sudden, you can't make it.

Had another person who wanted to adopt, who found out they can't have animals in their apartment.  Which is weird, cause they had a rabbit, and I guess went to tell the apartment, oh they were going to get a chin as well, and now the apartment was like, "wait, you can't have those."  Which is a slightly different situation, because in this situation, this person had been told, previously, that they could have caged pets (but apparently, the employee of the apartment complex who told them that was wrong about that). But the end result is the same -- now, this person is finding someone to care for their rabbit, and not adopting the chin that's here.

Also in recent news, I had someone request a refund for their order, since I wasn't able to get it out fast enough to them.  They didn't even give me a full 24-hour day between sending them email asking for the refund and opening a dispute with paypal.  Funny thing about having a dispute open, is that, while it's open, you can't refund their money.  So I contacted her, asked her to close the dispute so I could refund her money.  Which she did, and I refunded it.

Again, that (above) comes back to, no volunteers, no time to do all these orders as quickly as people would like them.

Then I got an email wanting to adopt some chins.  With just about everything on the app filled out "what they are used to."  That's not an answer.  Problem is, Mazuri isn't easily found in stores.  So, unless this person is going to come back to the rescue to buy food for the life of the chins (which most people don't), they won't be able to feed "what the chins are used to."  Same with the hay.  Same with the dust.  For the bedding, they just need to pick what works for them.  The chins are used to fleece bedding, but I hate it, and the average person owning chins doesn't use fleece, and my recommendation isn't going to change most people's minds on that.  Not to mention, these people put down that they don't have a cage and won't have one until they purchase them.  Well, shit, they need a cage first.  If I let all chins go to new homes without knowing the type of cage, half the adopters would put them in 10g aquariums.  So they need to answer that question.  For the question that asks, where are you going to keep the chins?  They put, "in a room."  No fucking shit.  No, I thought they'd keep them in their car.

And you all wonder why I'm constantly crabby.  Because for the last week, these people I just wrote about in this blog are the ONLY people I have dealt with regarding adoptions.  Oh, and I have maybe 3 more emails sitting in my inbox that want to bring animal here.  And it's not like one animal gets adopted and everything's all right.  There's maybe one adoption for every 20 people like this.  And that one happy moment doesn't make up for the 20 aggravating people.  That is all.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Quick update

Just wanted to post a quick update.  Lots of people have been commenting lately, when talking to me, oh its so nice that when you posted the status about how no one helps and you're overwhelmed... that everyone wanted to help.  Let me clarify.  No one, and I mean NO ONE has been here to pick up any animals to foster, and no one has been here to volunteer since posting that status.  Which was 12 days ago.  In almost two weeks, not one of those people could manage an hour or two, or time to come by and pick up a foster?  My best friend since middle school sent me a donation for the rescue, after seeing the status.  But that's it.  No one else has moved a muscle towards helping.  And this, exactly this, is what gets so old.  Everyone says they want to help... but no one actually helps.

And I'm still way behind and everyone keeps emailing asking where their orders are.  Sorry, no help, super slow orders.  The animals are priority, and I'm not even able to clean the cages as often as I'd like, at the moment.  Much less churn out orders.