Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Had someone ask the other day about breeding.  Well, actually, happens all the time, but the other day was notable, because they actually asked reasonable questions that would help determine if they wanted to breed.

I believe they decided against it.

But let me share with you just one kind of interesting tidbit on why it's not your get-rich-quick scheme, and it actually is work.

One of my runs is a mosaic male, and he has three standard females.  I got them back sometime in the summer, and they've been in breeding.  Maybe a week or two ago, one of his females littered.  Two babies.  All standard grey. 

For those that don't know, a mosaic x grey pairing should result in about 50% white / 50% grey babies.  Pay attention, this will be important later.

So she has her two babies.  Maybe a week later, another of his females has babies.  Three of them, all standard grey.  So out of 5 babies... all grey... at least two should have been white.  But nope, all five, standard grey.

Now here's where the money part comes in... guess what color flies off the shelves?  I'll give you a hint, it's not grey.  So all those people who would think, ok they stuck these pairings together, going to get lots of white babies to sell for lots of $$$, the world works against you sometimes.

So, the chin that has three babies, one of hers gets out.  The feeder was empty, and the baby literally crawled up the inside of the feeder and out of the cage.  Caught him and put him back.  Filled the feeder up so this can't happen again.  Few days later, I have people here, and they tell me something small ran across the floor, maybe a baby chinchilla.  Sure as shit, same one.  We catch him, put him back.  Turns out, that cage they're in has one small section of wire that's missing a crossbar... yep, the turd got out from there.  So I put more wire on top of that and now he's secure. 

And then a day or so later, one of the three babies die.  Which of course, is sad, but statistically, chinchilla mortality is right around 20-25%, so that's about right, for 1 in 5 to die. 

So even for the person considering that they were going to have 5 standard babies to sell, now it's down to four.  And mind you, again, they're standards.  I love me some standard greys, and one of my customers the other day said something I really liked -- that the standard grey is the "classic" color (haha), I like how he put it -- but pet people often want something unusual.  I'm actually surprised how many violets and whites I've found homes for this year.... but not nearly so many standards.

Some people want the standards because, in general, they tend to be less expensive.  But the grand majority of phone calls I get start out something like, "I want a chinchilla... but do you have something other than grey... I'd like to get an unusual one..."  Just saying, those standards will have a hard time moving.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Colors & Combos and Whatnot

Ok so I know on my ads that it says something like, if we don't have what you're looking for, let us know and we'll see if we can get it.

And often, we can get it something specific.

But I should note, these requests need to be in the realm of possibilities as far as chinchilla genetics.

For example.  Let me share some basics about the color beige, as far as genetics.  The beige gene, in any form, comes with red eyes.

They can be jellybean red, like this...

Or they can be ruby, like this...

...but regardless, they're red.  The beige gene comes with red eyes.  And just so we're all on the same page, that means any color with the beige gene.  Beige comes in two main types, homo (lighter more champagne-y color) and hetero (darker beige).  Tan chinchillas also have a beige gene.  The lighter ones look like a regular beige, where the beige color wraps around the belly... and they extend out to dark tans, which look more brown / chocolate-y in color.  But tans are also beiges, they are beige + ebony gene.  Pink whites, sometimes called beige mosaics, also have a beige gene.  They have beige + white gene.  So, all of these colors are going to have red eyes, which again, can vary from jellybean red to dark ruby red.

... and the point of all of this is that no matter how much you want it, I can't get in a beige / tan / pink white... with black eyes.  It's just not in the realm of possibilities, because genetically, those chins are going to have red eyes. 

Now, I can take pictures to minimize this.  See the tan pictured up above?  If I took pictures with a flash, her eyes would look more red.  In real life, they look like the pic -- but if I flash the pictures, this chin will look completely different.  So even if you think I've somehow come up with a tan with non-red eyes... I haven't.  I've just learned over the years that the glaring red eyes turn people off, and since the eyes often are not nearly so glaringly red in real life... I can take pics to minimize them.

One more color that people have been having fun with lately are the mosaics.  I think of the term mosaic as referring to an actual mosaic, like a white with some grey chinchilla.  But really, just about every color can have a mosaic.  All it is is adding the white gene to an existing color.  So, there is such thing as a beige mosaic (pink white), sapphire mosaic (white sapphire), violet mosaic (white violet), and so on.  They all have varying degrees of the original color on their body, but the base color is white, for mosaics. 

I should note, these are not paint by number chins.  I  have had quite a few people lately who have said, oh well, they'd like one with a white nose.  Oooh but a dark face.  Oh wait, can it have a blaze up the face?  Oh and maybe like a really dark spot somewhere on it's body?  As neat as it would be to custom-color a chin.... again, it's not realistic. 

And neither is getting super stark differentiation between body colors.   Unlike guinea pigs, where you can see red, and then super stark demarcation line, and then black... you don't see that very often in chins.  They tend to have more of a blended look.  Because of that, when you do see one with very stark demarcation between colors, everyone goes OOOOOOOOOH PRETTYYYY.  Like this:

...you may recognize her as Owl, one of my chins.  If I had a penny for every time someone said, oh well when she has a baby that looks like her, I want it... I could have retired years ago.  It's unusual.  It's a fluke, and it doesn't reproduce itself.  She's had I think three babies here so far.  I'd have to check my herd book, to be certain, but they've all been just your average chin.  The current one is here, growing out for show, and he's just your average pink white.  Mostly white, has a light beige spot on his rump.  But the point is... none of them have looked like her, or even had super unusual coloring... you just get what you get. 

Again, all this said, someone looking for a blazed mosaic... I can probably find that.  Someone looking for a silver mosaic, I can find that.  But not your blazed, spotted, white nosed, zebra striped chin... if it exists, I probably can't find it....

Friday, November 6, 2015

Well now...

...someone got their panties in a twist.  Was it you?  Hi!!  *waves*

Don't know what I'm talking about?  That's alright, I'll share.  I've gotten multiple comments from "anonymous" to quite a few blog posts over the last 24 hours.  All of which are bitchy, nasty, and some downright mean.  And because they clearly want attention (I mean, why else would someone keep reading the blog and keep posting negative comments if they think I'm such a horrible person... other than wanting attention), might as well give it to them. 

Just in case any of you saw the comments (which I am leaving up by the way), and wondered, "hmm, I wonder how Ashley would respond to this..."... I will tell you.  That's what this blog post is going to be about. 

Let's start with the first one.

The first comment references the post I made about people being late for appointments.  Post -- http://nightsatthechinchillarescue.blogspot.com/2015/10/appointments.html -- in case you don't care to read it, it's short and talks about people being late to appointments, and I mention that I don't think people would forget that the had doctors appointments (versus they do that to me all the time).  That post earned me this comment:

You honestly compare your time to that of a doctor's? You think you are that important?
Really! You're freaking UNEMPLOYED and people might interrupt your LAUNDRY?

Guess what?  I sure do!  In all honesty... which should I value my time any less than anyone else's?  What makes the doctor's time more important than mine?  What makes my time more important than anyone else's?  Nothing.  But that's exactly the point.  I try my best to be on time for things.  In all the years I've been doing this, I can only think of one instance (which I blogged about) when I was not here when I said I would be (and in all fairness, I left 45 minutes after a scheduled appointment when they did not show up...and then they showed up [so they said] shortly after I left).  I do my best to be courteous to other people's time.  All I ask is that people be respectful of my time. 

Let me add that my state of employment is none of anyone's business.  This will come up again in more comments from this person, but it should not matter if I am doing laundry, or cleaning house, or feeding chins, I feel like if I schedule someone at 5 pm, I expect them to show up at 5 pm.  If that is considered "high expectations" in today's world, boy the world is going to hell in a handbasket quickly.  The point is, it doesn't matter what the person is interrupting if they show up late... it's simply that I feel that we should all respect each other's time.  Let's be honest.  If I was supposed to drop off supplies at someone's house and said I'd be there at 8 pm.  And I don't show up til 10 pm.  Let's say they're in bed.  Well, I'm only interrupting their sleep, according to this stream of logic, right?    *shakes head*

Moving on...the next one revolves around vet bills.  The post in question -- http://nightsatthechinchillarescue.blogspot.com/2015/06/sad-day-today.html -- talks about a few months ago adoption where the chin got sick and the people took her to the vet.  I offered to pay up to $600 for vet bills (as that would have left the rescue with super low funds), they wanted me to pay more than that, keep her overnight at the vet, and pay for another few tests in the morning (which easily would have brought the bill to $900).  The comment I earned:

Shouldn't YOU have money for vet bills?

...yes and no.  Yes, I should have money for vet bills.  However, the amount spent should be reasonable.  Paying $600 for vet bills is hardly petty cash.  When I ask on the adoption form, "do you have money for vet bills?" -- the main thing I want to know is, can they afford to at least take the chin to the vet.  I'm not saying the people have to drop thousands on the chin, but at least be able to take the chin in, see what's wrong, and potentially treat, or if not possible, put the chin down.  That's all.  I've met people who've spent $10-$15,000 on chinchilla vet bills, and my personal opinion is that it's not worth it.  Everyone's got their limits, but mine is lower than that.  I have no problem with someone spending a few hundred on vet bills and then getting to the point where they say, ok, they can't afford anymore, and they put the chin down.  At least it ends the suffering.  However, I feel like offering to pay $600 (and I did end up paying very close to that for the final bill) is plenty.  I don't feel the need to bankrupt the rescue to save one chin, especially when (in this instance) the vet agrees with me that the chin is likely to pass anyway.  I have money for vet bills, yes.  But I have a limit as well.  And I think everyone should.

Moving along.  We have several comments on the one post about the recent claim show -- http://nightsatthechinchillarescue.blogspot.com/2015/10/show-and-blue-cloud-and-other-stuff.html -- this is a longer post, and several things are mentioned.  First, I talk about how I find it frustrating that many people expect that we will deliver chinchillas, then I talk a little about the blue cloud mine being shut down, and then just a little paragraph about my chins placing phase champ and 2nd place at the claim show.  Which earned me three comments (who-hoo, popular post):


Only a second at a CLAIM SHOW? Pathetic! And you have the nerve to criticize others, especially those new to showing, for their slow performance? AND some for their health problems?
Oh, I forgot. You are NICE. Sad that you still live with mommy and daddy, even though your health is fine. Minus the dizziness that you whine about. Other people have REAL health problems. Yet you judge them. I've seen it.
Most rescued don't rip people off like you do. Why buy a rescue standard for Oct $100 when you can get a pedigreed standard for the same? 

Pathetic?  That's funny.  Have you ever been to a show?  Let me educate those of you who are reading and have not.  Let's say you go to a show.  Let's say you watch how some of the big breeders place.  Whether we're talking about Ritterspach, or Ryerson, or Jags, or Hummel, or whoever... these people have all won high awards and surely some Grand Show Champions at some shows.  But at those same shows, often some of the animals they have brought along have earned 2nd place awards.  Sure, it's not anything to write home about, I'd like my animals to place better of course, but it's not like getting no award (which doesn't happen often, but has happened over the years to some people).  2nd place is hardly pathetic.  And I notice, this person failed to mention that my other chin got Phase Champ.  I'm going to guess that's somewhat above pathetic, but see, they want to bring me down and focus on the one that didn't do so great (which mind you... she got a second because she was smaller than some of the show bunnies, not because of being off color, or loose fur, or other faults). 

Reading this post, I have a decent idea of who (or a friend of who) might be behind these posts.  The ONLY person I have EVER commented negatively about at a show was one person, who was a backyard breeder.  There are several breeders who are starting out now, who I've talked to, who can tell you, I have been perfectly nice to them, I have never put them down, I have never said anything bad about them or to them.  If someone wants to breed, the right way, by all means.  I'll help however I can.  Advice or whatever.  Heck, talk to Meredith, she started breeding after she got a chin from me and then several from elsewhere and learned about the right way to do it -- she can tell you I'd never not help someone out who wanted help.  Heck, I post occasionally about how I answer emails when people have all sorts of questions and never intend to adopt.  I don't care. 

Here's the problem with this backyard breeder who I have in mind, who is literally the only one I can think of that I would have talked negatively about and about the health of her chins (all true stuff, by the way... sorry if the truth hurts).  She went to large chinchilla breeders and would ask for their cheapest runt chins.  The $50 ones, to breed.  Ones that should never be bred.  She'd buy chins that she knew didn't come with a pedigree, from good breeders, and then later bug the breeders for those pedigrees (even though they were sold as pet only, not for breeding), so she could breed them.  She'd get fur chewing chins and breed those.  It got so bad -- she had 300 chins SEIZED from her house in Waukesha with 2' of chinchilla feces surrounding the foundation of the house when the house was declared uninhabitable (due to the toxic ammonia levels and filth) and her children were taken away.  Is that the wrong way to go about chinchilla breeding?  YES!!!!!!   A BIG RESOUNDING YES!!!  I'm sorry if you all don't like to hear it, but I will NOT condone that sort of thing.  I will post about how bad it is so that people know the difference between how it should be, and how some people do it the wrong way, which only harms the chins (and the poor people who get them) in the long run.  I don't care if you all think it makes me sound mean or cruel or what, but some of us are breeding to try to better the species and create better chins, and people like that, who just breed anything together, and breed chinchillas with KNOWN health concerns, is just irresponsible and should not be done.

Don't quite get what the comment about me being nice has to do with anything. 

But oh, by the way.  I have lived on my own since about Feb / March 2014.  That means... going on 2 years in a few months.  Guess this person isn't as up to date as they think.  I have my own house.  Surprise?  This person says (later) they know more than I think -- apparently not this!  And this isn't recent either!

And I'm glad to hear my health is fine!  Thank you for the update!  How wonderful of you to notify me!  Would you like to pay my ER bill from a month ago, and would you like to see and pay the neurologist bills for the dizziness, migraines, nausea, etc, that go back to high school?  I do not feel the need to share everything about my personal life on this blog.  It's a chinchilla blog, so of course, sometimes my health does come into play as I am allergic to the chins and dust and bedding and my health (for example, feeling dizzy) can impact what I can do with the chins if I'm not feeling well on a certain day.  However... just because I don't post on facebook "oh poor me, I have this and this and this health problem, feel bad for me, poor poor poor me" doesn't mean I feel great all the time.  It's called being an adult and doing what you need to do to get through the day, despite how you feel.  As far as the comment saying some people have real health problems -- sure, people do.  I don't deny that.  Others fake it though, for attention.  The problem is when someone states, "oh they're in the hospital cause they're dying," and their facebook post tags them 50 miles from a hospital in their home address at that exact time...pardon me when I don't believe them.  I believe those with real health problems, not those faking to get sympathy.

As far as ripping people off, you say you could get a rescue standard in October for $100.  Um... rescue standards in October were $65 (as they are now, since the sale was extended).  So, best guess is maybe you meant that I have standard babies in October which are $110.  And the one I had, which just went to his new home, didn't come with a pedigree because he was the runt and was tiny tiny. Not good conformation, loose fur.  His siblings look nice, but he looked very "pet" -- which is fine, so he went to a pet home.  And like a responsible breeder, I didn't feel he should be bred, hence, no pedigree to the new home.  I suppose that's the ethical way to go about it, but not everyone knows what that means...

I want to mention something, that I'm not sure everyone realizes.  The website is NWI Chinchillas.  Not NWI Chinchilla Rescue (that is a page on the website, but it's more than just that).  Therefore, not every chinchilla listed up on the website is a rescue, and does not have to be, as my website encompasses the rescue, but also just chinchillas for sale in general.  Rescues are $75 for grey adults, $100 for mutation adults.  On sale, those drop down to $65 and $75.  If that's too much for someone, look for another rescue to adopt from.  Yes, I have heard that there's some rescue in Indiana that has chinchillas for adoption for $20.  If you prefer that adoption fee, by all means, go there and adopt one.  This isn't Walmart, we don't price match.  My prices and adoption fees are staying what they are.  If you, or anyone, feels it's a ripoff, feel free to go somewhere else.  I'm not holding a knife to anyone's throat and making them get chins from me.  But it's amazing how many people do...

Oh, and one last comment on that post... a $100 pedigreed standard... probably isn't that great of a chin.  Not saying you can't find a great one if someone's selling out or something, but your average person is going to ask more than $100 for an awesome standard that would be worth breeding.  Just saying.

Second comment, same post:

You've been doing this for how many years? I've seen you badmouth fairly new breeders for not placing well at National shows. Spotlight you, with all your knowledge (ha ha ha) be WINNING speed by now? Especially since you claim to work for a big name breeder?  

For most of this comment, see above.  But I should mention, I did get reserve white male at Nationals last year (2014).  That means, he was the second best white male at the National show.  Amazing how that goes un-noticed.  I think that's pretty decent for a small breeder with something like 20 breeding animals.  I acknowledge that I could potentially be doing better, overall.  I could be showing more chins.  However, even this year, I'm only up to about mid-teens as far as the number of kits born, and the number of those that I've kept to grow out and show has not been all that many.  Look through the show records.  Most years, I've showed 5 chins or less per year, and many years, I only went to Nationals, or Nationals and the WI show.  It's only within the last year or so I've ventured out to Ohio and further for shows.  To show, animals have to be the right age, be in prime, etc etc.  If you only go to one show a year, and only have maybe 15 babies born a year, guess how many are perfectly ready and in prime for that one show?  Maybe one or two.  Likewise, if I selected the wrong chin to grow out, then when it got older, and it turned out that it liked to lay on its back in it's pee, it'd go to a pet home.  Nothing wrong with that, but point being, that chin wouldn't get shown (and I can think of a beige male who I would have shown, except he loved doing that).  Sure, there are small breeders who are doing wonders with their small numbers of chins.  Wendy comes to mind.  But there's also a lot of smaller breeders who occasionally produce some good chins, but often don't have oodles to show because they just don't have oodles of babies as it is.  And that's how it is here.  Which is partially why I've upped the numbers of chins here, so I do have a better chance to have chins to show, as I do enjoy it.

And I "claim" to work for a big name breeder?  Call up Jim.  He'll vouch for me.  I'm actually set to start delivering to pet stores with him this upcoming week.  Think it's a joke?  Call.

And third comment, same post:

And what's got you sooo riled up to badmouth this person? You should mind your own business. Shame on you that you don't know all of the circumstances. 

I'm not positive whether this is aimed at me or one of the previous comments, but if it is aimed at me...

Lying, deceit, the wrong way of doing things.  Should I go on?  I don't appreciate people faking health concerns for sympathy.  I don't appreciate people breeding any two chins that happen to be male and female together because they feel like just randomly having babies, regardless of the health concerns of the parents.  It's unethical.  It's wrong.  It's not good practice, and this person in mind is a disgrace to the chinchilla industry.  When the 300 chins seized story hit the news, people saw that and I read many comments on news site about how all chinchilla breeders are horrible and how dare we all be monsters like that.  Um... no.  Most of us want our chinchillas in great health, great clean conditions, and so on.  This person painted a horrible image of what the chinchilla industry / community is, and that hurts all of us, not just me.  And I should mind my own business?  Who's the one commenting on all my blog posts?  

Oh wait, one more comment that I almost missed.  Same post: 

I know more than you think. Ashley has her head up a fairly major breeder's arse, so that's why people badmouth her anonymously. She's earned it. She knows it. 

Let me start by saying -- you know more than you think, but you missed that I have NOT lived with my parents for almost 2 years now?  Really up-to-date on my life, oh yeah.  

As for the rest -- excuse me?  I work for Jim.  Call him.  Ask him.  You know how that started?  I asked if I could come by and learn.  I started helping to grade out chinchillas.  It progressed and now I help do that still, move around breeders, do stuff around the barns, build shipping crates, epoxy cages, and so on and so forth.  My friends in the chinchilla community actually tell me that I'm lucky to be able to be there so often and to learn what I do.  And I tend to agree.  I have learned quite a bit and picked up some little things here and there.  Useful use-able info.  My head up his ass?  No idea what you're talking about.  He says I work hard and we get a lot accomplished when I'm there and he has another set of hands to help put on valves and run the chinchillas around and such.

This is directed to Anonymous herself -- since you say I've earned the badmouthing and I know it (that's a good one!) -- tell me, what have I done to earn it?  All ears.

^ I don't honestly have a clue what that's about.  I go over there, do what is asked as far as helping out with chinchilla stuff, and go home.  Badmouthing for what?  Only thing I can think is maybe people are jealous.  But.. Jim says if other people wanted to come and learn, his doors are open... but almost no one ever wants to.  So... who's fault is that if they're not coming?  So I am interested to learn what I'm doing to earn the badmouthing.  Can't wait to hear this...

And the last post that has comments on it: http://nightsatthechinchillarescue.blogspot.com/2015/10/taking-advantage-of-niceness.html -- that post talks about how I had two people who wanted chins held over my normal holding period, and how I was being nice and doing that for them.  But I basically say in the post, people are taking advantage of this, and other places aren't this lenient, so I probably need to toughen up.  Which earned this comment:

What a bitch! No wonder you can't get people to adopt from you.
By the way, which is it? Are you between jobs? Or is there a "guy you work for:?
Funny, as long as I've known who you are, you've been between jobs. That's not BETWEEN jobs. That's unemployable. 

A bitch.  Really?  Let me ask you all, this is a question for everyone.  Let's say you're having to rehome the family dog, and someone tells you, they need to think about it.  So you say, ok, take a few days to think about it, let me know by Saturday.  Saturday comes, Saturday goes.  It's like a week or two later.  You haven't listed the dog anywhere as needing to be rehomed, because this person you think will come through.... but they're not getting back to you.  But more and more time passes, and you try to call them and they don't call you back that day, or the next, and then just as you're thinking, ok, fine, they're not interested, they call.  Doesn't that make you at least the tiniest bit frustrated?  Come on, I feel like if we're all honest, that's not that far of a stretch.  This is exactly what I'm talking about.

I feel like we all have expectations of how long things should take.  For the rescue, we actually have set guidelines.  7 day hold without deposit, 30 day with.  I don't think it's asking too much to say, ok, if you can't decide or pick up within 7 days, or put down a deposit, the chin will no longer be on hold for you.  I feel if they know that's the situation, that's fair.  Period.  And I don't feel that I should need to keep stretching this for people.  I honestly feel, if people feel like they won't be able to pick up within 30 days, then they don't need to be putting down a deposit yet.  Simple as that.

Oh, and I can't get people to adopt from me?  Honey.  *laughs*  In 2015 alone, from Jan. 1 - Sept. 29 (that's as far as my Happy Customers page is completed thus far), I have had 95 animals (mostly chinchillas, with a guinea pig or two and a rabbit) go to their new homes.  NINETY-FIVE.  As in 95, five shy of 100.  Plus the animals in October (which aren't listed on there yet), PLUS I have three more going home tomorrow.  Oh yeah, I TOTALLY cannot get people to adopt from me (*dripping sarcasm* -- in case you couldn't tell). 

Unemployable?  Hardly.  Again, see above, I don't share every detail of my job life on this blog because, hello, chinchilla blog.  Not blog about my life in general.  So just because someone has heard me say that I'm not working at that exact time means I'm unemployable?  Not quite.  But just to humor everyone...I worked for 8 years at Meijer in different positions.  Cashier.  Planogram clerk.  Fashions clerk.  Eventually left there to work at two different law firms as an attorney for awhile.  Never did like the desk job, and was eventually let go from both, because neither had time to train (despite both knowing I needed to be trained when hiring me...but then realizing... nope, they really didn't have time).  So then I worked at Pet Supplies Plus for almost a year as a manager.  Liked that better, but had bitchy customers, and one of those went to corporate and complained, and you know the saying, the customer is always right.  Yadda yadda.  Lied through her teeth, but you know, that's who they believe.  So here I am. 

Out of the entire time since I was 18 and started working at Meijer, I have had all of 17 months that I have not been at one job or another.  17 months.  Since I was 18, and I'm going on 31 now, so for the last 12-13 years (which, psst, is 153 months, since I'm almost 31), I've only not worked for 17 of those.  17 divided by 153 =  11% of the time, I have not been working.  Hardly all the time, and definitely not as long as I've known most people.

Well... that's it as far as responding to blog comments.  We'll see if this post gets me any more comments, or if they'll be able to resist.

Before I go, I want to note something though.  Anyone who knows me, knows this about me -- I'm a very straightforward person.  If I have a problem with someone specifically, like a friend is aggravating me or something, I would much rather tell them, so they are aware.  And vice versa.  If I'm driving someone absolutely nuts, I'd much rather they just tell me, because I very well may not realize it and may be able to correct whatever it is I'm doing. 

However... this whole talking behind the back thing... I feel like it's cowardly.  I feel like, whoever this Anonymous is...if they have this much of a problem with me, they could have easily contacted me and talked with me.  Not doing so, in my opinion, just makes them look hateful and vindictive.  I actually had people message and text me today asking what's up with the blog and asking if I made anyone mad recently.  I don't think this stuff reflects on me as much as it reflects on this person, to go through all my blog posts and nitpick everything.  And really, if someone doesn't like what I'm doing, how I'm running the rescue, or whatever the case may be... don't read it.  Don't look at my facebook page.  Simple as that.   

At the end of the day, this is a country with free speech -- I have my opinion and am entitled to it, and they're entitled to theirs.  But someone posting this sort of stuff on the blog anonymously just seems childish.  Which is about, sadly, what I would come to expect from this person who I think might be behind this.

Going to bed now... we shall see what the morning brings..... oh and we'll be at the Kane County Fairgrounds tomorrow and Sunday for the Chicago Pet Show in St. Charles, IL.  Come by and see us!  10-5 both days.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Taking advantage of niceness

People, please don't take advantage of the fact that I'm nice.  I really shouldn't be, and as the years have gone on, I can even tell, myself, that I'm less nice than I used to be.

Case in point.  I have a dark ebony female here with a pedigree if someone wanted it.  She's about 5 months old, and I was going to sell her as a pet, most likely.  Well, someone emails asking about a dark ebony female for breeding, and I asked them what age they're looking for.  Well, 5 months or older.  Ok, so I mention her.  So, this is literally October 1st.  So, we go back and forth, she wants to know about the parents, colors, weights, ranch brands, what's in their lines.  Don't get me wrong, this stuff is important if you're going to breed. 

However, what is also important is my time and my policies here.

Including the policy that we only hold for 7 days without a deposit.  Well, that passed way at the beginning, when she was still asking questions about the pedigrees.  Fine, I thought, ok, well she's going to come get the chin, and I hadn't listed the chin yet, so that saves me effort if she buys one I haven't had to list or anything yet. 

Until she starts taking about a week and a half to respond to my emails.  On October 17th, she tells me that, after I've told her everything under the sun about this chin, that she's very interested but she's unsure if she's going to be able to make the trip, and not sure she wants to put down a deposit because she's not sure she can make it here in 30 days.  Which I feel is fair and honest, so I tell her, the 30 days is flexible (which it is, to an extent), but I would need to have some idea of when she's coming to get the chin.  So she waits 9 days to email me back (26th) and finally says, she has to talk to her husband.  What was she doing for the 9 days???

My patience has worn out, as this chin still hasn't been listed, and is now a month older (and harder to find a home for, the older they get), and she's no closer to adopting.  She also mentions, in this email:

I am very interested in a good size female. The male I would want to eventually pair her with is only about 600 grams. He is young and may get a tad bit bigger but he won't be huge. 
He's a tov white and I am hoping to put him with a nice dark eb female.

I may also be looking for a nice mosaic female soon to pair with a dark eb male I have.

... which I feel is a crock of shit because we've already gone over how large this girl is, how large the parents are, and all that... and then she says this.  So this was my response:

I mean no offense, but I need to hear back from you with a firm decision in the next, let's say 5 days -- so by the end of the day on the 1st.  Since your original email at the end of September, I've hung onto this chin because I kept telling myself that you were going to get back to me and come here to adopt her.  As time's gone on, more time as passed between getting emails back from you, and really, I do my best to be fair.  We only hold chinchillas for 7 days without a deposit.  I tell that to people all the time, so why I've hung onto her this long (I told you about her on October 1st, so 26 days), is a good question.  But what it ends up coming down to is this -- most people I sell chinchillas to are pet people.  Sure, the ones that do well at shows, those tend to go to breeding homes with other breeders, but many of them sell as youngsters, and the older they get, the more difficult that is.  Right now, I'm between jobs and selling quite a bit of chinchillas that I might otherwise keep, and the older she gets, and the longer I hang onto her for you, the harder she will be to find a home for if you don't end up getting her, which is why I feel like I have to set a firm time frame on this.  I've already been more than lenient on that 7 day hold, I just feel like I can't continue this forever.

As far as your email -- the only way to know a chinchilla's adult size is to buy an adult.  Sometimes you put two large chinchillas together and get a small one.  Sometimes you put two small chinchillas together and get a large one.  Somewhat it is the genes, but it's also the individual chin.  The guy I work for breeds chinchillas, and when he weans them, he often marks babies with notations for red, small, lacking veiling.  It's amazing how many he marks small, when weaning, that end up being huge later on.  But the thing is, you don't know until they're full grown, exactly how they're going to turn out.... which is why you often see people buying chinchillas to breed at a show, or after a show, when the chinchillas is at least 8-10 months old, usually full size or almost, and already having been evaluated. 

Another note on size is this -- weight isn't everything.  I have a chinchilla here who looks like she might easily be 1000 grams.  She's more like 650.  While you definitely don't want to breed a small chinchilla, as that's not the breed standard and definitely don't want to run into problems with birthing, most of the show chins are in the 600-800 range, and the fur is what makes them look "large."  I used to buy chinchillas at a show and think, omg it's huge! and come home and weigh it... and it would be 600-700 grams.  Not saying they're all that way, but some of what goes into them looking large (and on the show table, it's how they look, not how much they weigh) is their conformation and how long their fur is.

For males, 600 grams is plenty.  Could go bigger, but don't want HUGE.  Most breeders will tell you, you don't want a huge male, because the huge ones tend not to breed.  Most people use males that are smaller than, or the same size as, the females, because you also don't want a huge male impregnating a female and then having her unable to pass overly large kits. 

I don't have any mosaic females that are any older than I think like 2-3 months right now.  And as with this female, could not easily say how large they will turn out.  That is just the gamble you take with buying one young, and why most breeders will buy one that's full grown so there's no guesswork.
...which is the truth.  You want one that you FOR SURE know is going to be exactly what you want, especially for something like breeding, buy an ADULT.  I could see this person turning into one of those who would get a chin now, and then complain later when it doesn't mature into the right size or right build or whatever.  I could just see it.

-----Moving along to my next case in point-----

I have another chin here, Hershey, and a critter nation cage that are on hold for someone.  This person originally emailed me in the middle of September and decided they wanted to put down a hold on Hershey and this cage, and I received their money order for the deposit on October 1st.  They were set to come get him and the cage somewhere in there, and ended up having to back out.  They're from WI and had been planning on coming to see some friends in Chicago and I guess that didn't work out.

Well, I tell her on the 1st that I get the money order, and ask if I missed any emails, cause I hadn't heard from her about pickup.  Nope, I didn't.  So, I have the money order for the hold for 30 days, so not a big deal, but I don't hear from her for a bit, so on the 15th, I send her an email asking about when she's planning to pick up, and reminding her she only has 30 days total to do so.  I get an email two days later, saying they basically haven't been able to work out this Chicago trip with their friends, and that maybe they'll just come down and stay in a hotel.  And so then they ask me what hotels are around, and ask about coming November 1st.

First, I am not Travelocity, if you're able to find me, surely you can find hotels near me?  I emailed her a few that are around here, but specified that I don't know what they're like because I've always lived in this area, so I've never stayed at any that are close to my home.  And then thought, why am I looking up hotels?  Can't she make the effort?  She's the one adopting.  Anyway...

So moving along, I emailed her back that day to let her know that the 1st would work, but is filling up with appointments, so we need to set a time asap.  Today is the 26th and I have yet to hear back.  So today, I called her AND emailed her.  On the phone I left a message saying I need her to call me back, as her 30 days is almost up, and I told her I'd send her an email as well.  Mentioned that I will extend the 30 days by another 10, until the 11th, because I understand things come up, but that's it. 

When people put down the deposit, I ALWAYS specify that you have 30 days.  Can't make it in 30 days?  You don't need to put down a deposit and you don't need that specific chin.  There are almost no occasions when I feel like hanging onto a chin for months and months while you get your act together to get over here.  There's just not.  I can have that chin listed and someone can come and adopt it in the meantime.  Same with that cage she wants -- I could have had it sold 10x over in the past month if she didn't want it.  No problem whatsoever.  And she wants to look at a used wheel I have so that's been sitting around waiting for her to come by as well. 

I told her, if she isn't able to come by to adopt, by the 11th, she can still adopt, she'll just have to put down another deposit to hold the chin / cage (if even here) for more than 7 days.  And she'll have forfeited the 1st deposit.  Don't like it?  Tough cookies.  Even before I revised the sales policy, this 30 days with non-refundable deposit has been this way forever. 

...and the thing is, all these people are taking advantage.  The first person has been taking advantage of me being nice and hanging onto the chin without a deposit and (in my eyes, potentially) dragging everything out so she has more time.  Nope, come the 1st, that chin gets listed if I haven't heard from her and don't have a deposit.  Same with Hershey and the cage on the 11th.  A humane society wouldn't hold for freaking 1 day for you.  Someone gets there 5 minutes before you, guess they get to adopt, and you get left out.  Sorry.  I try to be nice, and that's why I do the 7 days, because I understand people work, and since I travel a lot, I'm not always home either, but that's what gets me walked all over.  And from here on out, it's not going to be this wishy washy shit.  You can't pick up in 30 days?  Don't put down a deposit until you know you can, because otherwise, day 30 passes, and you lost that deposit.  So sorry.  Don't let the door hit you on the way out. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Show and blue cloud and other stuff

Let me start with the thing that's on the top of my mind.  Adopting.  Let me share with you a few snippets of emails just from this morning:

Hello my name is Anthony I would like to adopt a chinchilla but I would like to know if I have to pick up the chinchilla.


I live in Brookfield, Wisconsin 53005, I was wondering if there is a way you can bring a chinchilla here for adoption, or...

...keep in mind, these are just from this morning.  As in, give it a week and I'll have a minimum of 10 emails or messages or texts asking this.  Here's the short answer:

YES, you have to come to the rescue to adopt.

The only, and I mean ONLY time when that would not apply would be if I was going to a show, and you happened to be going as well, or lived in that area and were going to meet me at the show or at my hotel near the show.  So, in a year, you'd have maybe 5-7 opportunities for that, and you would need to be in either central Ohio near Jenera (well, I'm there all the time), near Madison, WI, or near Auburn, IN.  Otherwise... you're outta luck.  And for example, that WI one... is once a year.  You miss it by a week or two (for example, I don't know where Brookfield, WI is, but even if it's close to Madison... they shoulda emailed me a few weeks ago when I was in the area...), and you're outta luck, cause I won't be back until next year.

Here's the thing.  If you can't drive to the rescue or find some way to get here, what is there to make me think that you're going to drive to the vet, if needed?  Yes, I know, you can ship in all supplies, whether from me, or from Amazon, or whatever.  But you know what you can't ship in?  Vet care.  If your chin gets sick, yes, I realize, a cat and dog vet can come to the house if you pay enough (though, you usually see this in cases where the animal needs to be put down, not emergency care).  If your chin needs an x-ray, or fluids, or a wound sewn up, do you think a vet is going to do this in your living room?  The answer is no, they're going to tell you to bring it in. And if you say you can't, well, they're not going to be able to help you.

I feel that coming to the rescue is an important part of adopting.  It shows effort on your part.    You want everything handed to you and the chin delivered?  That shows lack of effort, to me.

For the persistent people, I have told them, I can bring you a chin, that you have paid for in full and filled out all docs for beforehand, for 50 cents per mile roundtrip.  So if you're 30 miles away from here, 60 miles x $0.50 = $30.  Which would also need to be paid ahead of time.  No one has ever taken me up on that.  No, they want free delivery.  And mind you, most people that I'm talking about aren't 20 minutes away.  No, they're 4 hours away, so 8 hours roundtrip.  That is an absolute minimum of $50 worth of gas, if not more.  And that's just gas, we're not including that I probably need to eat sometime in that 8 hours.  Plus, it's 8 hours of my time.  Plus, I either need my phone or a gps to find your place... none of this is free.

Let's just say all we consider is the gas, which is $50.  For someone adopting a baby standard grey, which are on sale for $110 right now, that brings the price down to $60 that the rescue gets.  $50 currently adopts you a senior chin, $75 (down to $65 right now for the sale) adopts you a standard grey adult.  So by delivering you a baby standard grey and eating the gas cost, I've basically given you a considerably more expensive chin for about the price of a senior.  If you can give me some awesome reason why I should do that, by all means, I'd love to hear it.

To be perfectly honest, here's the reason why it's not worth me eating the gas cost and using my time and paying for food and the effort to bring that chin to you (unless you really are going to pay mileage) -- because I could drop the chin cost and have someone else drive to my door to get it.  Do I want to eat the $50 and 8 hours of my time and deliver it to you?  Or do I want to list a baby standard grey as $60 and watch people flock to my door to get it?  I think, if that's all I'm going to get out of it, I'm going to do the second, and never have to leave my house.  Hence, mileage, if you want me to drive.

Personally, I don't care if you think it's reasonable or not.  You want a plumber to come out to your house?  $60 service call.  You want the electrician?  $75 service call.   Why should a rescue be any different?  In fact, you're likely going to be paying the rescue LESS for the chinchilla than you would ever pay these service people, who charge you a fortune to come out to start with... so why should we not charge anything for our time?  They have no problem doing it, and most people have no problem paying it.

Moving along.  In case you didn't hear, the blue cloud mine has been shut down.   Apparently, it was on Bureau of Land Management land, and some environmentalists didn't like that they were mining on BLM land, so once the current supply of blue cloud has been exhausted... we all very well may be out of luck.  The blue sparkle mine is still running, but blue cloud has stopped.  Just so everyone's aware.  I don't sell blue cloud, so this really doesn't affect anyone buying dust from me, but affects people showing.

Moving along again.  Went to the claim show in Ohio on Saturday.  Brought a beige male who got phase champ (best male in the dark beige phase), and Pancake, who got another 2nd.  Their main comment was simply that she's not big enough, and she is a bit smaller than some of the show bunnies, but I was talking to Jim and he looked at her and said she's definitely still too nice to sell as a pet, so she's likely going to go with either that one chin I have that looks like his butt was dipped in white paint, or a pink white male that I have here.

I also want to post about the change in my sales policy and health guarantee, and I will do that, but either later today or maybe tomorrow.  Too long to add to this post and I need to get some other stuff done...

Monday, October 19, 2015


Frankly, I'm sick of people being late, forgetting about appointments, etc.  Let me be more specific.  A few days ago, I set an appointment with someone who wanted to come see the hamsters, for 11 am today.  11 comes.  11 goes.  11:15 comes, 11:15 goes.  I'm working on laundry and other stuff, and I intend to go upstairs and get their phone number so I can text them.  By 11:25, I'm upstairs and texting, and ask if they're still coming.

Oh, their son is sick and they're home and "OMG they completely forgot."  Seriously?  Would you forget if you had a doctor's appointment?  I highly doubt it.  If nothing else, if you couldn't make it, you'd call, apologize profusely, and reschedule.  But yet, people think oh they can make an appointment at a rescue and oh if they forget, no big deal, I have nothing better to do than sit home and wait for them.  Right?  Oh wait, their time is valuable.  But apparently, MINE isn't.  It's getting old.

Someone I know in the chin community just implemented an appointment fee, and after this recent influx of people not showing up or showing up super late (within the last week or two, had four people show up over 30 minutes late, or not at all, and only ONE of them texted to let me know they were going to be late).... it's sounding quite appealing.  So here's how it works:

To make an appointment, people have to put down a $15 deposit.  If they show up, within 15 minutes of their scheduled appointment time, that $15 is credited towards whatever they buy / get / whatever.  If they show up late, forget, never show up, whatever, they don't get that $15 back.  Tough cookies. 

I like this.  I think I will be implementing this soon.

Current Stuff

So, we have a sale going on.  You may have noticed.  So as usual, multiple chins are on hold.  Since my computer's still in the shop, the website's not up to date, which is not helping anything.

And people wanting to look at multiple chins when they come by, which is fine, but holding multiple chins, not so much.  You want to look at all the available females when you come by?  Great, I will gladly show you them all.  You want me to hold them all until a week from now so you can see them all?  Uh... no.  Sorry, but no.  Our holds (without deposit) are for 7 days, for ONE chinchilla.  You may still get here, and decide you don't want to adopt that one chinchilla.  You may pick another one.  You may decide you don't like any, and go home without one.  But I won't hold 5 and prevent 5 from being adopted for a week, and then you come here and go home with one.  Sorry, no can do.

Moving along, if we don't have an appointment set up yet, and my schedule changes, I apologize... but it happens.  Had someone email me the other day, asking about a certain day, and I told them, yep, have that day open.  So they said, oh they'll email closer to that day.  That's fine.  In the meantime, my schedule changed and I won't be here that day.  Well, if I'd had a scheduled appointment, I might have been more concerned about the schedule change... but if I had a penny for every person who said they'll "email me later" and never did, I'd be rich.  So I don't bank on it.  So with no appointment, wasn't concerned about the schedule change, and now I won't be around for them to come that day.

Which brings me to my next thing.  I have had people email and ask, well can someone else help them (on a day I'm not available).  That's actually kind of funny.  Who else?  I can't get people to help me out at a one-day expo, much less someone else come by and help out with adoptions and questions and stuff that actually requires some knowledge (and knowledge of all the chins and products here and all).  In case it's not clear (which, maybe it's not)... everything that's done.. is me.  I update the website.  I post the chins.  I make the houses.  I clean the cages (with help).  I answer the emails.  I fill the orders.  I mail the orders.  I feed and water the critters.  I handle the adoptions.  I handle supply sales.  I book all the expos.  I find (usually less than successfully) help for the expos.  Not saying any of this is rocket science difficult.... but it's all me.  So, no, there's no one else to help someone with an adoption, or really, with anything.  Just me.

Which can be kind of funny on phone calls too.  Cause people tell me they spoke with someone about adopting.  Always me.  The best part is when we're talking about food, or treats, or something, and basically we're disagreeing.  Like they'll say "oh I give a box of raisins everyday," and I'll tell them, "that's not good, you'll want to stop that, because..." and then their next statement is, "well I called your rescue last week and spoke with someone and they said the raisins were fine!"  Um.... I know *I* didn't say that, and I'm the only one here, so unless they called the wrong rescue... that didn't happen.  Which, I suppose for that, is kind of convenient that I'm the only one here, because I know what I said or didn't say.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Feast or Famine

I know, I know, the title could reflect my ability to write these blog posts as well.  I hear from many people, either I write 10 in one week, or none for a month.  Yep, that would be me.

Well, things have really picked up in the last few days.  Things were going slow, slow enough that I was (and still am) planning on doing another sale, but in the last few days, had lots of inquiries about chinchillas. 

Been keeping busy around here.  We had the Darien expo a bit ago, sold a decent amount of stuff (very nice amount for Darien), and made $8.50 in donations.  Nothing to write home about, but better than the $3 (over two days) we made at Celebration of Wildlife last year.  Well anyway, few good days, then I went off to work in Ohio and came back and immediately landed myself in the ER because of asthma complications.  So, things ground to a halt for a day or two, I called up people and rescheduled appointments, but for the most part, things are back on track.  Still don't feel well, the pills they have me on for my cold (which is what triggered the asthma flare-up to start with) are making me not feel so great, but I am plowing along and trying to keep things going, cause this is the busy season!

Unfortunately, we missed the Lake County Pet Expo, which was super disappointing for us, as that's the only expo that gives back to the rescues, and every year, each rescue in attendance gets a share of the profits, which is usually something like $200.  As rescues never have anywhere near enough money, that would have been awesome to get, and would have helped out tremendously, but we'll do fine without it.  That was literally the day after the ER visit, and I could not risk my health to spend all day there (and not at home resting).

This weekend, though, is going to be Celebration of Wildlife.  This will be our second year, and we're hoping people come out and see us, it's at Sunset Hill Farm in Valpo from 10-5 on Sunday..... last year, over two days we had no sales, it was too hot to bring the chins, and $3 in donations... so this year is sort of going to be the test year... if it's that bad again this year, we likely may not go next year.  But we shall see.  In the meantime, all the supplies and everything are still loaded in the blazer, and on my to-do list today is to add in a few more items (things we sold out of at the last expo), and then that'll all be packed and ready for this weekend.

But been keeping busy just around here as well.  Chins have been getting adopted.  We had one lady and her family who moved out of the house due to an abusive husband... the thing they really wanted was a chinchilla with everything and wanted to do it for under $200.  And it is do-able, and we made it work.  The key is, they didn't get a baby, they got Chinchy, a 5-6 year old grey male who is super sweet and would do great with their family with kids, plus my handpicking of supplies and cage and shelves and such.  But it is do-able to do it cheaper...(just not with the opinion that you're going home with a baby chin). 

So he went home.  Lee also went home.  Lee actually went home with a buddy!  We had a white extreme mosaic male here who we'd had to spray with blu-kote because he got injured in a tussle with some other chins, and Lee's new family wanted Lee to have a buddy (if at all possible), and so we got the two of them together, and they went home yesterday.

This morning, we had a little violet girl go home.  Had someone email saying they wanted to come by and get supplies and wanted to get a little chin, came by, picked out their girl, and we got them set up with a nice cage and everything they'd need.

Have several other people scheduled to come later on this week, and the one person I was talking to had asked about cages, so I sent her pics and prices.  And she asked if I could go any lower on the cages, and I told her, unfortunately, I couldn't.  I'm sure I've gone over this a million times, but let me one more time.... the large cage which we sell for $120 (without shelves).  I have bought three of them this year and paid $299.91 for those (combined -- the price fluctuates).  That means for three cages, I have made $60.09.  Don't get me wrong, $60 isn't nothing.  But often people look at it and say, "oh the cage is $120, shes making $120."  No, most I'm making might be $20-ish.  If I can't get the cage on sale from the place I get it, the cage may go up to $110 for the cage.  Well, then, add in tax and we're at $117.70 and and all of a sudden I'm making $2.30 for selling the cage.  Thing is, the exact amount doesn't matter too much, the point is, I want to have those two different cage options here for sale so that when people want to get a cage, they have good cage options at reasonable prices.  But it's not like you spend $120 and I make $120.  It's like you spend $120 and I make $20, if that. 

Same goes for the toys.  I dunno how I managed to do it, but I already blew through my last order of loofah.  Yep, cut it all up, dyed it all, and now need more.  And when I order from the place I order, I literally clear them out.  Like I will type in a quantity until it says "only x in stock, reduce amount for checkout" and then I will order the exact amount they have.  Right now, it's somewhere in the 50's.  Anyway, point being.  I made like four halloween loofah toys today, I have more dyed loofah that I need to use to make zany loofah toys.. but I still need to order more, because now I'm fresh out of loofah.  And because I have to ship this stuff, it's not economical to get just a few pieces, so I just put in an order for like $175 worth of loofah.  Now, I can't easily quantify how many toys and loofah bags and whatever that will make, because what I will be using it for will depend on what sells.  I do cut up and dye a lot of loofah at a time, but typically it's to make a certain toy, or bagged loofah, or whatever.  But I get a lot of people who give off the impression that the prices of my toys (and everything else) are solely profit... not so much.  The loofah itself... or wood itself... or whatever itself... it all adds up.  I realized I'm getting low on the 2" x 3" wood blocks I use in all my toys, so I emailed the guy who cuts those for me (I don't have a wood planer, and don't plan to get one).  Well, the last time I got blocks, it was like $150-200.  Sure, the toys go for more money than the parts they're made of, but it's not all free (though that would be nice!!).

So I looked at my list of the things we sold at the last expo, and packed up those items for the Celebration of Wildlife.  Started putting more grommets and hooks on the new hammocks and got some pics of those on my phone, so I can start listing those.

Received an email from Celebration saying to not forget our raffle basket, so I made that up, so that's all ready to go now.  Yay.

Realized that some of the hammocks and cuddle buddies that are on the webstore... aren't here anymore.  Whoops.  Deleted those items. 

So then today I cleaned the critter nation that's set to go home soon, and then that same person wants to look at this one used wheel that we have, so I washed the wheel and the washers and wingnuts are drying right now. 

Cleaned another of the cages that I need to fix up to sell, and started spray painting it... until I ran out of paint.  Guess that will wait for another day.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Shipping of Packages

Wanted to bring this up... you'll see why.

I posted on facebook yesterday about how (in a nutshell), I had scheduled a package pickup with USPS, had put four packages on the porch, and had received email notification that the pickup was complete.  Yet... the packages were still on the porch the next morning, so I called the local post office and they said they would send someone out to pick them up.... yet they did not.  I was out of town for the following two days, and the packages sat on my porch that entire time, while I received mail every day, and yet didn't get picked up. 

So I posted on facebook about this, and about how useless USPS is, and saying sorry that the packages haven't gone out yet.

I noticed, shortly after this, that another vendor had posted on facebook something about, they go to the post office IN PERSON (they used the caps), because it's more personal, and how it's sad everything's automated.  I don't know if that was intended as a jab at me and the rescue store, but I feel like it very well may have been, which is why I'm writing this post. 

Let me tell you why I ship the way I do, and why I cannot do (at least, not all the time), what this other person does --

This other vendor only sells non-perishable items.  As in, no chinchilla food, no treats, no time sensitive things, like when someone is gonna run out of rood and orders more.  They have houses, hammocks, etc etc, but things that can wait.  So, there's no rush for them to get out of orders, cause no one's chinchilla is gonna run out of food while waiting on their non-food order.  AND... they posted that they ship in batches, only TWO times per month.  I ship almost every other day.  A lot of times it's just one or two packages, but it's OFTEN.  With it being that often, it's really not practical for me to run to the post office every time.

The post office touts their package pickup, which is free.  They even have commercials for it on TV, saying the mailman will already be here, they can pick it up.  Clearly, as shown in my example, that doesn't work as flawlessly as they'd like people to think, but it is a service the offer.  And a useful service, because when it works (that's the key, isn't it?), I don't have to drive to the post office, wait in line, drop off packages, and so on.

Now, let's also talk about price.  This other vendor has several hammocks available, and they are nicer (shape-wise... like they're not squares) than mine.  She has for each of them, $6 shipping.  And maybe she's shipping them in a little priority mail box, I don't know.  But for $6 shipping, per hammock, she can afford to go to the post office.  You know what my hammocks are set at for shipping in the webstore?  $3.50.  And at that price, maybe I make $0.25-$0.50 on shipping.  You order two of them, and it'll go up to $6.50, but chances are, you will end up with some of that refunded, cause it really won't cost $6.50 to ship two.  I usually ship hammocks in first class envelopes (assuming the order is only hammocks or other small items), and can get maybe 4-5 of them in there, probably for under $5 total shipping.  I'm not making much on shipping, and that's fine, because I feel that gouging on shipping is ripping people off.  You want to make $10 profit off your item, fine, raise the price so that you make $10 profit, but don't have an item that costs nothing to ship and charge a fortune for shipping.  Packaging just doesn't cost that much.

Anyway, reason I wanted to talk about price is because price is different when you go to the post office versus when you ship at home.  Did you know that?  If you get an account with USPS and print out your own labels and such and stick them on the package themselves... you can save yourself and your customers money.  Lookie dat.  If that vendor is really going to the post office in person, that's great for her, but her customers are paying more than they need to for shipping.  Sometimes it's not a lot, but sometimes it's the difference between $40 shipping and $20 shipping on heavy packages going far, no joke.  Which is yet another reason I use USPS's automated shipping, is because it's cheaper.  Then, once I've paid the shipping cost and sent out the item to be shipped, I can refund the excess to the customer, who is typically happy to get back some money.   

So I'm not doing it because I don't want to deal with real life people, or don't want to support people with real jobs, or whatever else reasons people might say "horrible automation, go away!!!"  I'm doing it to save myself time, which gets orders done quicker if I'm not driving to the post office all the time, and to save the customers money on shipping.  I'm trying to help the customers out, and in no way is it meant to be non-personal or whatever... but until someone wants to volunteer to go for me to literally hand the packages to the mail man at the post office... things will be done this way.  If anyone would like this to change, by all means, volunteer, and you can stop by every time I have a package ;)  haha

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sale Ends & Life Goes On

So, today was the last day of the August Sale, and was rather uneventful.  Which is fine, but almost funny, considering yesterday people were scrambling to get here and adopt.  No biggie though. 

Today was more relaxed.  Which is kind of nice, considering Monday is cleaning day.  For those that don't know, for maybe a month or two now, I've had a local guy come by to help clean on Mondays.  Everyone say hi to Joel (that's Jo-EL), since quite a few of you have met him when you've stopped by on Mondays.  He conveniently lives three blocks away and works at one of the local bars as a cook / cleaner... so fits right in with the cleaning I need done.

So anyway, he was cleaning some of the cages today, and after his cages were done (he does the ones with the pull out pans... everything else is on me), I opted to hang onto him for a bit more labor, and he sanded some stuff for me and then I showed him how to wash water bottles.  Yes, our water bottles do get washed, despite the way they always look.  Once a month.  Moreso, if a chin is sick or if the water bottle looks especially icky (then I'll swap it out with a clean one with new water), but since they are glass and don't breed bacteria the way plastic would, once a month typically suffices.  Well... it's the beginning of the month, and time to clean again.   So I showed Joel how I wash the bottles, and he was highly amused by the trial-mascara-brushes that I swipe from make-up-counters-at-the-mall to clean the water bottle tubes.  He cleaned maybe 15-20 before he had to leave (had already called his ride before he knew I wanted him to stay and work extra), and happily, he cleaned them as good as I would have.  If there's anything I hate, it's having to re-do something after help does it badly the first time (I hate doing double the work), but thankfully, he cleans and washes water bottles well.

When he was leaving, he made the comment of, how do I normally do this all by myself?  I just do.  I told him, even if he wasn't there, I'd just take down a few at a time, wash em, refill em, rehang them.  I use the katadyn filter to filter the water, and since it's not an endless supply, I told him, I'll do as many bottles as I can fill... then come back to it later.  Heck, even right now, when he left, I washed more bottles, and used all the water I had.  Refilled the filter, and came upstairs for a bit, took out recycling.  I wasn't originally going to go back down, but then I realized that I wanted to set out packages for pickup tonight, and I left a package to mail downstairs.  So, I will go back down and get that, and when I do, I'll take whatever water has filtered down in the bit of time I've been upstairs and fill and hang some more bottles.  And then fill the filter, and next time I'm down there, repeat.  It takes longer with just me doing it, but I get it done.  It's just a lot of time spent with the critters.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

People amaze me...

So, I suppose people never cease to amaze me, but there's occasionally ones that stand out from the rest as even MORE *shaking my head* than usual.  Was sitting here, got a message on facebook that popped up in the corner of the screen (for the rescue page) that said basically, looking for a white female, 2 years of age or older.  As that little window only shows a little portion of the message, I clicked on it.  Thinking, ooh, we have Salt.  Yeah, well, this person isn't adopting.  Here's their short (but very problematic) message:

Looking for a white female 2yrs plus in age... Where are you located? I have a grey and a cage to trade...

I told the guy, we don't trade, this is a rescue not a swap meet.  But there are so many problems with this!  First, this just SCREAMS that this guy thinks animals are disposable and don't have feelings / emotions / however you want to put it.  Oh, tired of the color you have?  Swap out for another!  It's the same thing, right?  Cause you know, you're not happy with the black fridge, take it and trade for the silver one, right?  Not for live animals, you don't.  

Second... this is a rescue.  I've seen all sorts of trade posts on reptile sites between private owners and such (and really, even that I think is kinda odd), but for a rescue?  Try walking into a humane society and bringing your mutt in and saying, hey can I trade for that nice purebred doberman?  See how well that works out, and watch the looks they give you.  They won't adopt to you either.

And thirdly... people, READ.  It says RIGHT on the About Us page (on facebook... and if you go to the website, in multiple places) where we're located.  And when I just had the chins on the website and a few other classified sites, people complained they weren't listed on facebook.  So I created a facebook album for the available critters and now I keep that updated as well.  And people STILL "oh do you have this?" -- how about, could you make the slightest bit of effort and then get back to me?

Had another person like that the other day.  Wanted to do a trial run, but one of the chins they were interested in was already on hold.  I told them I would snap them some pics of the other chins we had here when I got home (the next day).  She asked where I was located, I told her, and then she asked if we did delivery.  Mind you, this person wanted to do a trial run -- where you put down a $50 deposit and get to try out a chin with all supplies for a week -- and wanted me to deliver all this stuff and two chins to her -- FOUR hours away.  Might I mention, the rescue doesn't make a CENT from trial runs, because assuming you bring back the chins and cages and all, you get your deposit back!  But no, I should spend 8 hours round trip of my time (and GAS) to deliver chins to her to figure out if she likes them or not.  And what do you bet, if she did, she would have wanted me to drive to her to pick the cage back up.  And of course... is the vet gonna deliver services?  I told her we don't deliver and said I would get her pics.  And I did, and of course, never heard back.  Guess they were really counting on me spending a day of my time, and all that gas, potentially for nothing (if they didn't end up adopting).

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Labeling Colors

Wanted to touch on something real quick.  This is come up (in my mind) because we've had so many white / mosaic chinchillas come in lately, that we've had to get more descriptive when listing them. 

I remember when there was another breeder in Indiana who used to list a lot of their chinchillas as "panda mosaics" -- for them, this was a selling term, and a reason to "up" the prices on those chinchillas.  A regular mosaic may have been $175, a panda mosaic was $200.  In the chinchilla world... that's more or less unethical.  A mosaic is a mosaic.  Don't get me wrong, some people may be willing to pay more for a chinchilla that is all white.  Or one that has radical markings.  But in general, both genetically and otherwise... it's still a mosaic, and there's no real difference between an all white chin, one with spots, a silver mosaic, and so on.  All mosaics.

So the reason I bring this up is because I was listing chinchillas today, and noticed that I listed one as a predominantly white mosaic, another as having a saddle stripe, and another as having a silvery face.  None of these chins are listed this way to suggest that one is more valuable than any other, they are simply descriptive terms.  You may notice, the prices of all these chins are the same. 

The thing is, we need descriptive terms when we don't have names.  Most owner surrenders come in with names, which is why most of our older chins can easily be differentiated.  But we still run into people, occasionally, who call us up and say they want the adult male standard grey chin.  Ok, which one?  Often we have multiple.  Same for the mosaics.  Someone says they want the mosaic female, we have two.  Mosaic male?  We have four.  If people can call up and say, oh the one with the spot... that helps.  We know which one to put on hold and have here for them when they come to adopt.  But that's all it is.

Just in case anyone was wondering.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Adoption Fees

So, I post our available animals up on craigslist, all the time.  Lately have not been having problems with flaggers, but we go through spurts.   May start having issues again, wanted to share an email I got today:

Your fees are much higher than Animal Welfare League.  I will flag all "selling"
And my response:

Animal welfare league is a government funded shelter. We don't have that luxury, nor do we have vets on staff to lower the cost of vet care for all the animals in our care.  Keep in mind, they're also a kill shelter, we're not.  It costs way less to care for an animal for a week or two and then put it down when it's not adopted than it does when animals are in the rescue for months on end...  Really, comparing US to them is comparing apples to oranges. Animal specific shelters, or breed-specific shelters for dogs, for example if you go to a Great Dane rescue, they're going to have higher adoption fees than if you find a Great Dane at any local Humane Society. That's just how it is, because they specialize in the breed and can tell you a lot more than the average shelter can about if that pet is right for you.  A lot of the chinchillas that come in this rescue come in because someone got them off craigslist because they were (for example) $20, and the people can finally afford it. They couldn't afford the vet care for it, or the correct cage, or any of that, and so we end up with the sick chins. Or we end up with 20 chins at once when someone thought it'd be a good idea to have brother and sister together and now there's quite a few more than those two... Point is, there's more than just one reason why our adoption fees aren't super low, but all of it is for the good of the animals.  The people who really want a rescue chinchilla, and want to know that it's coming from a good place, aren't quibbling over a few bucks. And frankly, if there's someone who thinks our adoption fee should be, say, $30, instead of $75 for a gray adult, and that's going to make the difference in adopting, I would hate to see what happens if the animal needs to go to the vet. We probably don't want that person adopting anyway. 

Personally... they're gonna flag me.  What are they all high and mighty?  Ooooh I'm afraid.  Most adoptions we get are through the WEBSITE, so even if craigslist goes down for a bit... so what?

Let me expand on a few things.  Humane societies, especially ones like AWL that have vets on staff, are naturally going to be able to charge lower fees.  Not just for small animals, but for dogs, and every other animal that comes in the door.  Now, this person clearly has no idea, but I have horror stories I could tell you all about AWL, that would make no one ever adopt from them.  EVER.  Just cause they have cheap adoption fees doesn't mean a place is ethical, is out for the good of the animals, anything like that.  Cheap adoptions fees are just that, cheap.  Should I mention how most of the critters that this rescue has ever gotten from AWL -- AWL has been WRONG on sex of.  Has said -- two males.  Nope!!  Male and female.  Can't even tell them when they're DIFFERENT.  That's just the tip of the iceberg, and I won't even get into the rest.  Cheap, yes.  Sick animals, DING DING DING DING DING, tell em what they've won!! 

Any time you go to an animal specific shelter, it's always going to be more.  Someone told me, way back when, Hobart Humane Society adopts out guinea pigs for $5 each.  And asked, could I lower my adoption fee (for one specific guinea pig) to that.  Uh... no.  You want one for $5, go to HHS.  Oh, they don't have the one you want?  Guess you gotta pay our adoption fee if you want the one we have.  This is not Walmart, we do not pricematch.  Sorry.  I personally think it's funny... they like the adoption fees of other places better... but want our animals.  Hmmmm.  But back to the animal specific.  You go to the local humane society, often you could adopt any animal in there without much scrutiny, go home, and decide to return it the next day.  And guess what -- happens all the time.  I used to volunteer at one of the local humane societies and their returns were insane!  Versus us, we get back MAYBE a handful of chins every year.  You know why?  Because just like any breed-specific rescue, we know what questions to ask, we know what's important in a good home, and check that out before the animal goes home.  I guarantee you, you go to adopt an animal from AWL, say a hamster, and you pay the $10 (or whatever) and take it home.  Do they know what type of cage you have?  Probably not.  What type of food you plan to feed?  Eh.  Have they asked if the hamster is for you or a gift for someone else?  Doubtful.  We would.  And that's why we have some percentage of people who would adopt, decide to not adopt, because they realize, you know what, not the pet for me.  And that's fine, I'd rather people realize it ahead of time.  But the thing is, we know our animals.  You go to a sheltie rescue, they're not gonna adopt out a sheltie to someone who can't stand barking.  Cause they bark.  Just like we wouldn't adopt out a chinchilla to someone who wanted it to play with their 1 year old unsupervised and let their 2 year old carry it around the house 24/7.  But because breed-specific rescues specialize... and only deal with one general breed... it tends to be more expensive to adopt from them.

And believe me... I cringe when I hear, oh this place adopts out chins for $25.  I know someone told me there is a place in Indiana like that.  I cringe and wonder if we're getting in their chins and not knowing it... because unfortunately, it is the truth.  The people who can't afford a $75 chin, but can afford a $30 one, and think it's a good idea to get one at $30  (but think it's totally unaffordable at $75)... probably should not have the pet.  And I know I've said this over and over, it's not that I have anything against poor people, because I, too, am no stranger to charging vet bills, if needed, but I do believe that if the difference of $45 is going to break the bank, that person should really think about adopting the animal.  We have sales now and then, because the appeal of "getting a deal" usually is pretty effective at finding some good homes.  Not that $65 is much cheaper than $75, but people see it as something they should jump on.  We have given discounts before (ya gotta ask for them... we don't just offer), because a good home is worth more than $20 more in the rescue's pocket.  But that all said... if $20 is the difference between affording the pet and not... probably should wait.  I know for me, when I got Taffy (younger sheltie), she was $600, and I would rather have spent that amount and then spent a few hundred on toys, crate, shots, etc etc, than spent $2000 on her and not had money left over for the other stuff.  So I can totally understand saving some money on the animal itself and using it to put towards the animal.  Sometimes when I have sales, some people seem to purchase more supplies (as compared to animals not on sale), which may be because they're saving some on the critter.  But what I want to avoid is adopting out animals too cheaply, and then having the people not be able to afford proper vet care.  You may remember when Chong (renamed Cheerio by her new home) went home, and came to find out that they couldn't even afford the gas to get to the vet, and I had to call up the vet and put my card on file so she could be treated.  Yes, she was still under the health guarantee, but if it was a week later, she wouldn't have, and those people would not have had the gas to get her to the vet, much less any money to treat her, or even to put her down.  We want to avoid that.  I get a lot of emails from people who have a sick chin and can't afford medical care.  Sometimes it's something we can legitimately help with.  Sometimes not -- I've gotten calls about chins needing various surgeries over $1000 each... we don't have that kind of spare cash to spend on a single animal at one vet visit.  Now, if an animal repeatedly gets sick and needs vet care and visits, it could add up to that, but not at all once.  But the thing is, sometimes it's a relatively cheap vet visit... but people still can't afford it, and I don't want any of these chins going to homes like that.

Anyway, kind of interesting turn of events... I got an email back:

thanks so much for taking the time to clear that up.  So kind of you to explain.
Thing is... I will defend my position, but I'm not a mean person.  I'm sure sometimes I may come out that way, on here, because I feel like I can say more of what I think on this blog (to an extent, of course)... but there really is a reason why things are the way they are.  It's just taking the time to understand it...

Monday, August 17, 2015

People being late.

Ok, so I officially think I'm going to add something in the email about being late.

Get an email back from the people who I waited for over a half hour yesterday...

From my understanding it was anytime after five. After our hour drive was extended due to traffic we arrived around 5:45. I did not have your phone number to contact you and tell you we where running late, however you had mine and could have contacted me. I was really set on adopting a chinchilla from a rescue but after this falling through I'm not so sure. Please understand that your house was not a drive down the road, it is over an hour for me. 

...um.  Not quite.  True, I had told her, I would be home anytime 5 or later.  But let's compare -- call up a doctor's office and they'll tell you they have morning appointments available.  Does that mean you can come anytime in the morning?  No, you set an appointment.

My response:

When we talked about setting an appointment, I had said that I would be home 5 or later.  You replied with, "that time would work tomorrow."  I took "that time" to mean, literally, the only specific time that I had mentioned, which was 5 pm.  I actually had sent you an email as well, which had said that I had marked you down for 5.  I understand now what you meant, but its too bad that you had not replied saying that you meant 5 or later... because I would have emailed you back saying we needed to pick a more specific time.  Appointments are just that -- time slots.  When I said I would be home all night, I meant that in the sense that we could pick a time and I would make sure I would be home for when you got here....which would allow me, for the time before and after that appointment, to not be here, if necessary. 

I apologize for the misunderstanding.  However, I did not know where you were coming from, and without any contact saying you were running late or were still coming, I needed to get other things done.    
So.. if she wants to be snarky and say, ok, now they're not going to adopt -- fine.  Won't break my heart.  You can't pull this shit anywhere else, where you think you can show up any time you damn well please.  It says on the website, and I know I say in my emails to people, that we need to set an appointment.  An appointment is not "anytime 5 or later," no, an appointment is 2 pm, or 3 pm, or whatever.  The most I'll ever do is when someone's coming from far away and says they'll be here between 10 and 11.  Ok, so I won't schedule anyone else until 12, just in case they come at 11.  But I will never leave the entire night open for someone.  Sorry, just won't do it.

And I'm sure she doesn't like me very much right now, but I don't feel like I'm being difficult.  Because in all reality, I feel like my time is just as valuable as theirs... but they have no problem wasting my time.  Well, no more.

So... moving along.  Had someone I've been talking to about coming to adopt a chin, and they have all their paperwork and everything in, just needed to set an appointment.  Well, they wanted to come Monday (today) [email was from a few days ago], and I had emailed back saying that was ok, and asking what time.  So, didn't hear back from them until 2:30 today, saying they thought they would be here by 6-7.  Nevermind, you know, the fact it'd been several days, and I could have scheduled several appointments in the meantime... but anyway, I didn't have much going on tonight, so I emailed back saying that'd be fine and would see them later.  Well, 7:45 comes around and they finally arrive.  Said something about getting lost, but no sorry or anything.  No email or text or anything saying they would be late.  Just frustrating. 

Lots of adoptions, some frustrations... the usual

With the sale going on, been having lots of adoptions.  Been working on orders, way more caught up than usual. 

Even with paperwork -- we are actually UP TO DATE on paperwork.  Who-hoo!!  Now just to keep it that way.

But... been having a lot of flakey people lately.

Had a person who wanted a bridge and a tunnel made for them, few months ago.  I got it done, emailed them early / middle of July (no longer have that email).  Got an email back from them July 12th that they need more time to pay because of some assistance not picking up some of their gas bill, and they only get paid once a month.  So, they said August 1st, I'd have payment.  And here it is, August 16th, no payment.  So I emailed a few days ago asking if they still want the stuff, and if so, when they're going to pay.  Cause it's sat here, packaged up already, in a LARGE box that is, perhaps unsurprisingly, in my way -- because I have nowhere to store things like orders once they're made and packaged up.  Got an email that says "I'll let you know September 1st."  *head explodes*  Really?  Apparently couldn't be bothered to send an email saying, hey, you know, can't pay this month either... maybe next... and I can almost guarantee you, September 1st will come and go, and I'll email again.  People.  Don't order unless you plan to pay within a reasonable amount of time.  This person wanted to know cost with shipping... of items I don't normally make... which means, only way to figure that out, is to literally make the items, package them up, and so on.  So I got her the cost and now I wait....  ugh.

Moving along... had someone call me from Michigan, was going to pass through this area this weekend, and wanted to stop by and look at some chins.  So I told em about the care packet and adoption form and proof of cage and all that, and emailed all of that to them, and they said they would bring it all with.  Supposed to come at 7 pm yesterday.  Called around 4, asked if they could come earlier, and I said sure.  So they were maybe an hour away at that point, so just before 5 (right around the time they'd be stopping by), I get a call that something came up and they can't made it.  Now, in all fairness, I appreciate them at least calling to let me know, rather than just not showing up, but still, frustrating.

Moving along to today.  Had someone contact me yesterday, thinking they wanted to adopt, but before they did that, they wanted to come by, see the facilities and all that.  Fine, so we set up an appt for 5 pm.  5 pm comes and goes, 5:15 pm comes and goes, 5:30 pm comes and goes... and they're not here.  I had somewhere I needed to go, and I'd already waited a half hour... so I wrote a note for them, taped it to the door, and left.  Note basically said, I waited a half hour for you, had you been here at 5, I would have stayed as long as needed, but since you're not here and I've already waited this long, I need to leave,  email to reschedule.  Now, they didn't say where they were coming from, they just sent an email saying they wanted to come see the place.  So in all fairness to them, I don't know if they might have been coming from somewhere in a different time zone (because when I got home, the note was gone)... but I feel like, especially when I don't know where you're coming from, it's not my responsibility to know if you're coming into my time zone.  I feel like, if you were to make a doctor's appointment in the next state over, and weren't sure, you'd sure ask them, are you on Central Time?  Eastern Time?  Because if you were wrong, and showed up an hour late... good luck seeing the doctor that day!  Well anyway, the note was gone when I got home, hours later, but I have no phone call, no email, no communication at all from them.  And I did say (in the note) that I apologize for any inconvenience, but the truth is, I just can't wait around forever.  If I was to assume they'd be an hour late, I could wait an hour... and then when they show up, say they stay an hour... now I've sat around for 2 hours, for a one hour appointment.  And here's the thing... say I sit around assuming they're coming in an hour, and it turned out, they weren't coming at all... I could be sitting around all night.  Not practical.  I don't know if maybe there was a time zone thing... but even if that was the case, I feel like they could have emailed back and said, you know, they got the time wrong.  But so far, nothing.  And it's been hours, so I imagine, if I haven't gotten anything yet... I likely won't be hearing from them.  Which is fine.

But brings me to my next point, which I know I've gone over and over a million times -- people view appointments here (and at other rescues) as considerably different than at, say, a doctor's office.  Yes, I get, they are different.  Sure, they are.  However, at the same time... it's still an appointment.  If you tell your friend, you're gonna have lunch with her at 1... surely you show up around 1.  Maybe not on the dot, cause maybe it's informal, but you sure show up around 1.  Or if not, you call, or text, or whatever, to let the friend know you're gonna be late.  Not here!  If I posted every time I make an appointment and someone doesn't show up.  Or shows up an hour late.  Or two hours late, with no apology, no explanation (suppose it wouldn't make any difference, but I feel like then they might actually care that they wasted my time), no nothing.  It's insane how much that happens, and I bet you, it doesn't happen nearly as much for things like doctors appointments.  And I'm going to change how people do this, cause it's frankly getting old.

I think what I'm going to do, and this has been suggested by a number of other rescues as well, is add into the last email (the one that talks about, when you come, here's the address, bring a carrier, bring cash / credit, and so on) a short paragraph about being on time.  Something to the effect of, if you are going to be late, we will wait 15 minutes on you.  If you haven't contacted us via email / text / phone call within that 15 minutes to let us know you're going to be late, be aware that we may leave, or may move on to the appointment after yours (if there is one).  If you show up late and we are here, but with another appointment, we will finish up with that appointment before we will take care of you.  If we leave due to having other things to do, you may reschedule the appointment one time.  Please be aware that our time is valuable, just as yours is, and while you are an important customer / adoptive home, so are our others, and we cannot neglect them, nor other things we need to do, while waiting too long on anyone.  Also, please be aware that we are on Central Standard Time, in case that impacts you getting here on time, please check what time zone you are in, and plan out your trip accordingly.

Enough of that...

But... good news has been happening as well.  That critter nation that sat here for ages and ages, because that one girl never paid and I kept saying ok well, pay a little, and she didn't... it's now gone.  Remember those people who didn't want to come to Hammond because they said they'd get shot driving down the street?  Yeah, they were here a few days ago, adopted a chin and bought the cage.  Yay!  One less big thing.  I have another cage (not quite as large... but still good sized) that I moved over to the other side of the basement, where I'd had the CN, and that one needs to be worked on next.  It badly needs to be painted, so I will have to take all the shelves out of it, take it upstairs and outside and paint it, bring it back in, and reassemble with shelves and all sorts of fun stuff... and get it a new pan, since the current one has two holes in it (and people wonder why some of these used cages cost a bit).  But anyway, selling the CN allowed me to move that other cage over to that side, so the actual rescue area is looking a smidge less crowded.  Yay.  Baby steps.

Hammocks are on their way to being ready... as in, more than the two options that are currently available.  I have about half the pile (so... at least 16 prints x 4 hammocks each = 64... so 32ish) sewn... need to be flipped, sewn shut, grommeted, etc etc.  One thing at a time though, I am getting them all slowly sewn and ready.  Yay for that.

Hmmm what else... lots of chins to list.  Pitronila delivered a stillborn baby the other day.  Which is, of course, sad.  But also, in a way, a positive, because now we know that, after this, she is not pregnant, so a few more days of checking her weight and assuming she does well and maintains, she will be able to leave.  Otherwise, she would have been here until the middle / end of November to complete her pregnancy watch.  Lil Chin, on the other hand, not so easy to tell.  She's gained some weight while she's been here, but that said... Pitronila gained all of 20 grams (which really is nothing to write home about), so I would not have guessed that she was pregnant (or at least, not far along)... until she delivered.  So unless Lil Chin delivers, she's got until the end-ish of September to hang around on pregnancy watch.  So, we shall see.

Art should be ready to go in a few days as well, he dropped a little weight here, but then, he and Pitronila were both being fed an oddball brand of guinea pig food (that the prairie dogs love!), so a small weight loss doesn't really surprise me.  He should be ready to go, but I want to weigh him a few more times just to be sure he's doing well, and then will get him listed.  Along with Chinchy, Lee, and whoever else I'm forgetting to list...

Ok, enough for tonight...going to bed.