Monday, June 29, 2015

Cage Costs and other things

So, I get often, people tell me, oh the cages look great.  They would love to replicate the cages.  And I tell them, it's one thing if they do it themselves, because there's not the labor cost added into making the stuff.  You know, like if I make shelves for one of my cages, or for a cage I sell, it costs the rescue the price of the wood and the price of the hardware... not the price I'd charge for the shelf.  Like anything, if someone else makes it for you... it costs more.  IKEA furniture versus furniture anywhere else.

So, just to illustrate.  We have someone who adopted a chin a bit ago, and is looking to adopt another.  So they asked about doing shelves and accessories for their cage, and they have a feisty ferret, which is similar to ferret nation cages that I have, so I suggested they go on the website and check out the cages for ideas.  Well, they liked this cage.

...and wanted replicas of everything in it.

So I numbered everything on a piece of paper and started figuring our prices.  Without getting prices for the four items (the wood perch in the top right, the bridge, one of the houses, and the corner shelf) we were already at $100.50.  And mind you, that doesn't include things like the flying saucer, the ceramic hidey house in the bottom back corner, the cuddle cup in top left, or the fleece tunnel, or any of the toys.

Because I realize that not everyone's got endless money to spend, before I figured out everything else, I sent the person the numbered pic and the price of the items I'd already figured out, and asked if there was anything they wanted to take out.  So they took out a few things, and I went and figured out the price of the other things.

Anyway, the point for all of this is that I have people tell me all the time, oh make the cage look just like yours.  Cause they really like the cage, and some of the stuff in these cages is purchased (not made by me) and so I usually tell people, these cages didn't come together in a day, mainly because of cost.  Things were bought and added over time, to make the cages what they are now.  And the cost is why.  I can try to create or replicate just about anything you want (artwork aside, I can do my best).   But at the end of the day, I do have to build it, and cut it, and sand it, and put in hardware, etc etc etc.

Most of this stuff isn't actually expensive.  Most items are under $10, but there's just so many of them... it all adds up.  Long story short, we worked out what items they wanted, and they're right over $100 for maybe about 2/3 of the stuff in the cage (not counting the wheel, some of the fleece stuff, pans, etc).  So I'm working on that at the moment, because they're picking up the chin at the expo this weekend.

Moving along, I had someone order like 30ish toys.  I think, of those 30, I have like four made.  And at least 10 of the ones he wants have to be dyed, so that ought to be fun.  Working on that at the moment. 

Moving along again.  Had two people across the country want to adopt Dewey.  Not sure what exactly is special about him that makes the California people want him, but I believe both people were from that area.  First one asked if there was a way to ship them, and I mentioned, but told them, when I look at the small animal (as in, something that can be easily kenneled in a small crate), it's still $200-600 to get them a few states away.  Not cheap.  Haven't heard from them again.  Second person texted today asking about getting Dewey out to them in California, and when I asked them how they planned to do that, they said they wanted to ship him by airplane.  I told them, two things, it's too hot this time of year, and even if it wasn't... we don't ship, and that's on 95% of our ads (the new ones... some of the old ones are missing it) and most definitely on the website.  I mean heck, we actually have a page on the website devoted to why it's we don't ship and why it's really not practical.  Chins aren't geckos that you can stick in a deli cup and stick that in a priority mail box and send cross country.  It has to be the right temperature.  They have to have a vet certificate of health.  They have to go through the airlines.  Have to have a special carrier.  Have to be picked up by the airlines.  Even if the adoptive home wanted to pay the costs of the vet bill, carrier, etc.... there's still the fact that the rescue would be making $75 adoption fee off the chins, and frankly... it's not worth the time and effort for $75.  I drive to an area around O'Hare occasionally, and gas there and back is $25.  All of a sudden, that chin's adoption fee is, effectively, $50.  Waiting at the vet for the health check, which I can almost guarantee you, my vet has no idea how to do the paperwork for, would probably be several hours.  How much is that time worth?  Even at minimum wage, I could be cleaning cages or making toys or whatever, at minimum wage, two hours work is about $16, so effectively, adoption fee just went down to $34.  Heck, if I'm going to make that amount, I might as well list the chin at $35 and not ever have to leave my house, cause at that price, it'll be adopted that day.  Needless to say, the guy said thanks anyway, hope Dewey finds a home.  He will, just not through airline shipping....

Alrighty, so, spent some time packaging things we're taking for the expo, and working on the shelves and hammock for the people who we're bringing supplies for. 

Got a phone call from someone interested in one of the chins, sent them the care packet and adoption form.  Got an email back that it must not have attached, so sent it again.

Got an email from someone showing a pic of an awesome cage that they were asking if it would work.  Cage would definitely work, just needed some wood shelves... but not to be paranoid, but it looks like something I've seen online somewhere.  Which, it's totally possible I have, most cage companies make multiple of their cages, like, hundreds.  But I told the person, for them to adopt with that cage, I need to see it with wood shelves in it.  So, if it really is their cage (or one they're looking to get for their chins),  and put in wood shelves, there should be no problem.  The person seems very nice from the email, but so have most people who've been trying to pass off cages that aren't their own as theirs.  Though it doesn't show up on a google image search.  That's alright, I'll be perfectly happy to see what they do with it with wood shelves.

Someone finally filled out the app for Marble (the guinea pig), and is just working on finishing their 3' x 5' C&C cage, so as soon as that's done, he will be going to a new home.  Yay! 

Had someone stop by to get food today, and plan when they'll be bringing their chin for chin sitting.  So now that's all planned out.

Posted on facebook about us being in Newcastle and Anderson over the weekend.  Already bringing along two chins for some people, along with over $100 in supplies, and someone else is returning a chin that they've only had for a bit that's meeting us down there, so while we're down there, might as well see if anyone else needs anything.  Nobody else has chimed in yet, but we shall see if anyone does.

Monday, June 22, 2015

...and more chinchillas

Well, today was uneventful... mainly because I didn't do much in terms of rescue stuff (but will be taking pictures and listing critters later on today).

The main thing was that I had someone comment on a picture on facebook, wanting the adoption form and all that... got it to them.  Haven't heard back.  Not to be pessimistic, but the people who tend to adopt, tend to get those back to me asap, so I try not to get too hopefully if too much time passes...

Had another one, where they called me in the morning and left a voicemail, and I somehow missed the call, and I marked on my to-do list to call them back, and before I could get some free time to do so, they called me again and asked how they'd go about adopting.  So I told them, care packet, adoption form, yadda yadda, and we went over all of that, and they said yeah, send it over.  So I did, and they sounded really enthusiastic about getting it back to me and adopting asap... that was like early today, still nothing.

And in case you say, oh those are the oddballs out, other people will adopt.  Sure they will.  I'm not worried about it.  It's just one of those things, for every 20 emails / phone calls / contacts I get, maybe 1 adopts. 

...and some bring them back.  I had people who adopted chinchillas back in 2011 call the other day, wanting to bring chinchillas back.  Since they were my chins, I told them that they could (everyone else is on a waiting list, but when people sign the form stating they have to return the chins... I try not to make them wait, if possible).  So they called today to check they had the right address, which makes sense, because when I talked to them today, we realized they came to my parents' house back in 2011.  Anyway, so they came by and dropped off the chins.  Paco and Kazi, now known as Tinkerbell, mom and daughter chins.  I asked them why they couldn't keep them and they said the chins were their first pets, but now they had dogs.  My mom was here at the time, and I said to her (after they left), "yeah, chins were my first pets too, and they'd be here until they died even after getting the dogs."  But not for everyone, I guess.  Guess for some people, one animal trumps another. 

Don't get me wrong, I totally appreciate them bringing the chins back to the rescue (and I told the people as much).  Because I really do appreciate when people make that effort.  But the excuses.....

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sad day today

It must be hard being honest when filling out an adoption form.

Let me back up a bit.  A chinchilla went home the other day.  They noticed next day, it seemed a little tired, but didn't really think anything of it.  Called me yesterday (several days later), saying she was acting a bit off, I said see if she was still that way today, and if so, give me a call and we'd go from there.

They called in the early evening, the chin still wasn't acting right.  They said she was worse than yesterday, acting lethargic, looking like she was going to fall off the shelf.  So I told them, take her to the vet.  And I told them, the way it works is they take her, pay the bill, and they send me the bill (or fax it, or send a picture, or whatever) and I reimburse them.  And I tell them (as I tell everyone), that it has to be within reason, because if they charge up a $900 bill, they will bankrupt the rescue and there won't be one next week.  Cause let's be honest, there's no money in rescue, and we don't have that kinda money to spend on one chin (or to spend at all, really).  Well, she says she doesn't have that much either.  Which is fine, I don't expect anyone to spend that much.

But I explain, they pay the vet bill, I pay it back once they get me a copy, and we go from there.  Well, the mom calls me.  Says she's behind several hundred dollars on paying everything, and can't even afford to take the chin to the vet.

Now... what part of "do you have funds to cover vet bills for this chinchilla, if needed?" is not clear?  What part of "are you aware that veterinary care for exotics (chinchillas) is usually costly?" is also not clear? Cause both of those questions are on the adoption form.  For the "do you have funds?" question, they put "yes, if needed" and for the "are you aware" question, they put "yes."  And now, not even a week later, neither they, nor their mother / family, has the money to front the vet bill so that I can pay them back.  Amazing how that works.

Before we go on, I suppose there's one main point to this (with several facets) -- no matter how well I, or any rescue, screens adopters, we can never be 100% sure that the home is good and can adequately care for the chinchilla.  Because she put on the adoption form that they have money for vet bills.  Yet, they don't.  And really, how would I know?  I'm not going to ask to see bank statements.  And just as easily, the chin could have been healthy and they could have not needed any money for the vet.  But they said, if needed, they have money.  Yet... in reality... they don't.  And, in this case, if these people had really said, they don't have the money for vet bills... they would not have been able to adopt.  Simple as that.  Not saying that to be mean, but in real life, you need money for vet bills.  Maybe not thousands on the side, but a bit.  If this was two weeks after they got the chin (instead of being within the health guarantee period), and if I wasn't paying for this.... I guess they wouldn't be taking her to the vet.  Which is not what's supposed to happen when you adopt a new pet.

They said, the only way they can take her to the vet is if the vet calls me and allows me to pay over the phone with a card.  And that was with me saying, don't go over a few hundred before you call me.  They don't even have that.  Said they couldn't afford the vet at all without me paying over the phone.  Should they have chins?  You may disagree, but I say no.  I told them what vet to go to, cause they're in Indy, and I have a vet down there that I like, and used when I lived there.  Well.... they don't know if they can make it that far cause they only have 3 notches of gas in the car.  Case in point again.

So... I gave them the number for the vet, told them to give me a call when they figured out something.  Based on their description of the chin, things did not sound good, but I waited, and eventually the vet called.  Turns out, the chin was dehydrated, underweight, lethargic, you name it.  I talked to the mom, told her, you know, this chin has two cagemates, so while she showed no signs of weight loss here, but....with two other chins in the cage, there's no way to tell if any one specific chin is eating or drinking.  Cause as long as the others are, the water and food levels will go down.  But the chin hadn't been apparently drinking (they said she was eating, I think) for the last few days, to be dehydrated. 

So I talked to the vet, and cause this was after hours, at an exotics vet, the fee just to walk in the door was $155.  So they checked her out, told me what I said above, and I asked about treatment.  So the vet says, they'd like to do aggressive treatment, a catheter, sub-q fluids, handfeeding, hospitalization, bloodwork, x-rays... you name it.  Those are the ones I can remember, but she kept going.  So I tell her, the reason she's talking to me about this payment and all this, is because the chin is a rescue chin that has a health guarantee still going, and I don't have thousands to work with.  So I ask, what's a good thing to start with.  She said that they could just do basically life sustaining treatment, and that would be the least expensive option.  Only problem is... that doesn't tell us what's wrong with her.  So I said that to the vet, and she said next options would be x-rays and bloodwork.  So I said let's do x-rays first, and if that doesn't help us, bloodwork. 

So they do x-rays, which would have shown something like a gastrointestinal problem such as a blockage, stasis, etc.  Unfortunately for this chin, nothing showed up on the x-ray.  So I got a call back from the vet, and I questioned, I thought we were going to do bloodwork.  Well, apparently since the chin was so dehydrated, they didn't believe they would be able to do bloodwork without trying to get her a tad bit better first, with the overnight care. 

Well, that's where we started to run into problems.  With overnight care, plus the x-rays and visit fee, we would have already been at $450-500.  Bloodwork in the morning would have been another $125, plus whatever treatment would have cost... if the issue was treatable, of course.  So, I must have gone between talking to the vet and to the adoptive home multiple times, and I think we started aggravating the vet, because they finally said to me, you're the one paying, you need to make a decision.

Problem is, the vet wasn't sure that even if we did overnight care, with the intention of doing bloodwork in the morning, that the chin would have even made it until the morning.  She said it was a very real possibility that she could come in the morning and the chin could have passed sometime during the night.

And the concern was, even if the chin lived until the morning, if we did bloodwork in the morning, we'd easily be over $600, and that would be without any sort of treatment.  I told the vet, at that point, I'd only be able to afford basic antibiotics, once we got into those sort of figures, and she said those wouldn't likely help at that point (which was what I suspected).

So I talked with the adoptive home's mom, and I asked her what her thoughts were.  I threw out the option of me paying up to a certain amount.  I said I would pay up to $600, but that would basically bankrupt the rescue except for maybe $100 to feed the animals here, and if she wanted to continue treatment after that, she could.  Didn't want to do that.  As I understood, didn't have money to do that.  So I asked, after her talking to the vet, what she thought would be best.  As really, it was her family's adopted chin, not mine, even though I was footing the bill.  So she tells me, the kid wanted a chin regardless. 

Well, that opened another can of worms (and probably frustrated the vet more, because we went off on another tangent).  I told the adoptive home, I meant no offense or harsh feelings, but the fact that they couldn't even go to the vet without my paying up-front for everything, and the fact they barely had gas to get there... made it so that I could not, in good conscience, adopt them another chin.  I told them, I would gladly refund their money if she died or we had to put her down, but because of the money situation, I wasn't comfortable with another of my chins going into the house.  And I told her, I don't think it was anything they did to get the chin sick, or anything like that.  But I noted, on the adoption form, they marked that they had the money if needed for vet bills, and they knew vet bills could be expensive.  And she said, well, they had more money last week, but then one of the kids graduated, so now there was less... and I told her, it doesn't matter if she was a millionaire last week, if she has none now, well, the chin is sick now.  It matters what she has now

And I told her, the thing is, say I dropped my phone in the pond at work (and I don't have a laptop, so I would have no access to email until I came home) and was gone for 3 days when this happened... what would she have done then?  I wouldn't want the chin sitting at an adoptive home suffering because they couldn't get it to the vet.  And she said, oh they would have figured something out, they would never adopt without finding a way to pay the vet bill or borrow the money or something.  Funny, I told her, that wasn't what you said earlier when she told me there was no possible way they could go to the vet unless I paid upfront.  Got quiet then.  

So she got super defensive and told me her finances are none of my business, and she's a single mom with two kids, and finances are none of my business... and so on, she repeated that multiple times.  No, they're not, but the care of the chinchillas IS my business.  That includes their future care (or lack of) at their new homes.  Because if they're not going to be cared for well, they might as well stay here longer until the right home comes along.  And if I don't feel comfortable with them going to a certain home, for any reason under the sun, I don't have to adopt to that home.  And that's where it matters about finances to me.  I don't want these animals to suffer because people have to have another pet while they wouldn't be able to take their current ones to the vet if they got sick.  Should I mention, they have another chinchilla at home?   

So, back to talking with the vet, and the vet reminds me it's my decision, and that putting her down would be a very reasonable option considering how sick she is, but that I should take into consideration that the family is very attached to her.  I mentioned to the vet, but not so attached that they want to pay any portion of this vet bill, even if I foot $600 of it.  "Well, that's true."  Yeah. 

So, the decision was made to put down the chinchilla.  I told the people, I was sorry there wasn't a better outcome, but with the way chinchillas hide that they're sick until they're at death's door, it can be hard to notice a lot of illnesses until it's too late. 

The discussion turned to money again, and she told me that she expected to get a healthy chinchilla, and then she wouldn't have had to worry about this.  Told her... the thing is, if this had happened another two weeks from now... she would have been footing the bill (or not, as the case may be, I don't know).  And she said, well, she expected to get a healthy chinchilla.  Which I told her, that is not unreasonable in any way, but in almost 13 years, all the chins I've adopted out, I've only had 3 (and that includes this one) that have died or had to be put down shortly after being adopted.  And I've adopted out hundreds of chinchillas, so three is pretty decent.  Just statistically, the number should probably be higher than that, so I'd like to think I must be doing something right. 

...and in all fairness, the point of having a health guarantee is to make sure that in case the animal isn't healthy, the family does not have to suffer for it... which is why she was not paying the bill...

But here's the thing -- I don't adopt out any animal that I think might be sick.  If the animal is set to go home and develops something that can be treated at home, depending on what it is, I may ask if the new home wants to treat it, or wants me to treat it, and them pick up the chinchilla when it's done with treatment.  Granted, that's often for something like loose poos, not for life threatening issues.  But really, the idea is the same.  The animals come with a health guarantee, so I don't want to adopt them out if I think there's anything wrong with them, because frankly, I'm more comfortable taking them to the vet myself, and making the decisions when I am physically there with the chin, than doing things over the phone when I'm hours away.

The way she said that she expected a healthy chinchilla from the get-go was actually kind of harsh, like almost as if I had intended to give her a sick one or something.  And she actually agreed, the chin seemed fine when they picked her out, so there was no way to know if something was already wrong at that point.  If I had thought something was wrong, I would not have adopted her out.  Simple as that.

So, I paid the vet, and they're gonna email me a copy of the bill on Monday, and I talked again with the adopters.  They asked about the refund, and they paid with cash, so really the only thing I can do is write them a check and mail it.  So I told them that, and they said that would be fine.  They wanted to make sure that I would get it out tomorrow, and asked several times to verify.  And want me to email when I get it out. 

So I told them, they will be getting $60 back (which is what they paid for the chin).  They asked if I would reimburse their gas, because they came here from Indy.  Um... no?  I nicely explained, I can only reimburse money that actually comes into the rescue, and while they did have to pay for gas, it wasn't me they were paying for it.  And in all fairness, I had this chin listed for $75, and they asked if I could lower it to $60 because they were coming from Indy, and I did... so they already had a gas discount in there.

So between the vet bill and the $60, we're right over $400 for a chinchilla that unfortunately is no longer with us. 

I believe this (above) may be the only picture we have of her -- she wasn't listed at the point the family inquired about her, so I snapped this pic to send to them.  This was Chong, a 7 year old grey female.  We currently still have her two daughters, Chupacabra and Bigfoot, here (and I need to list them, once I check them over with a fine toothed comb). 

Obviously it's sad that she's no longer with us.  But what I really hate is when the money is spent and nothing really comes of it.  You know.  They spent about 5-6 hours round-trip coming up here to adopt and drive back home.  They called yesterday to say she wasn't doing well.  They called today and between talking to them and the vet, I was probably on the phone with different people for a few hours today.  They had to spend those few hours at the vet.  Plus, of course, the actual monetary cost of over $400 for the vet trip and refunded adoption fee.  And at the end of the day... if the chin lived, we could say, at least it was money well spent.  But at the end of the day, she didn't make it. 

Don't get me wrong, I do believe we made the right decision.  I don't think she would have lived through the night, and the vet agreed.  But it's still tough.  And right now, that vet bill nicely halved (if not more, I need to do paperwork) the money the rescue has.  I hate having very little money to play with, especially considering one trip for picking up Mazuri is usually between $150-200.  So it's easy for me to use up the rescue of the money that we have... so I guess I will get started cranking out toys and anything else to hopefully build back up the little bit of money the rescue has.  If anyone wants to donate anything, now's the time.

One last thing I want to note, before I go to bed (cause it's almost 2 am here).  I don't mean this post to bash the people or anything like that.  But the thing is, I appreciate honesty.  If you don't have the money, that's fine.  But don't tell me you do, if you really don't.  I had someone message me the other day saying their chin died (not from me) and they only had $20 to get another one.  I nicely explained, cannot lower the adoption fee that much, but if they save up, and make sure to put some aside for vet bills (if needed), I'll be happy to help them pick out a great chin for them.  So, they're saving up.  I just don't like to be lied to.  I'm perfectly fine with people saying, oh if something happens, they'll charge it.  If my dog or animals get sick, I will gladly put it on a credit card or care credit or whatever, if I don't have the money.  To an extent of course, because I have to be able to pay it off sooner or later, so I can't spend $400 on every rescue animal.  But the thing is, I'm fine with people that will actually do that.  Because I do think that's a valid option for a lot of people.  But I don't like the people that say they'll do that, or find a way... and then turn it around to say, oh they can't.  If these people had gone to the vet, and even been able to pay $150 of the vet bill, and said, ok, that was all they could cover, but they were able to do that -- to me, that would show me they were willing to take her to the vet, spend something (especially cause I still would have been reimbursing it), and I probably would have given them another chin to replace this one.  But with them not being willing to do anything without me paying up front for everything, that shows me that financially, they're not in the right place to adopt, and again... I don't like when people tell me, sure they can afford it, and then can't even afford a basic vet visit (which I think we can all agree, $150 is about the cheapest you'll ever get at the vet).  I know for sure they have another chin, not sure if they have other pets.  I hope, for those animals' sake, that they stay healthy.  As I explained to the people, not trying to be mean, but at the end of the day, the animal's well-being is really important to me, and I don't want to see them not being cared for.  But if they couldn't afford to even take the animal in... I just hope their other animals stay healthy.

Going to bed now.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

People not minding their own business

Let me share what I find incredibly annoying.  Know-it-all's.  And mainly, know-it-all's that want to share just how much they know.  And assume, as a rescue, that we must know nothing.

Now, that said, I do know of several humane societies that mainly take in cats and dogs, and when they get a small animal... they might as well have taken in a monkey, for all they know how to care for it.  But the animal rescues that tend to focus on one animal, or small animals, typically know their stuff.

But people seem to think lately that they see things we can't.  I emailed someone pics of chins they wanted to see.  They responded back with, well you don't have toys??????  No, I do, but they weren't in the pics.   Let me share.

First pic is of a baby born here, taken in one of the holding cages that I have.  Now, anyone who's been here (and anyone who's even helped out) knows that those cages have 3 toys per cage (cause that's all that fits).  They're all on the front of the cage.  Second pic actually HAS a chew toy in it, see the left side of the pic.  Besides that, this is the top of that cage:

The pic was from when I lived at the last place, but... the cage is literally the same with the exception that the wheel is now a chin spin (and the prairie dogs have their leo braun back).  Look at all those chew toys.  And currently, I think there's actually a few more on the doors. 

So let's go to the third pic, which is actually the bottom of the same cage.  Here's the entire cage. 

Again, there are definitely chew toys in the cage.  Maybe not in the exact pic that they saw, but in the cage.  But the thing that also drives me nuts... see all the wooden shelves?  I value chew toys, don't get me wrong, but if the choice is between chew toys or shelves, I will tell the person spending the money to go with shelves.  Because.... chins can chew on the wood shelves.  So even if there were no chew toys... they'd have something to chew on.  But what this all boils down to is this -- people caring too much about stuff that's not theirs.

Another case in point.  I just listed Marble, the guinea pig.  Got an email today in response to one of the ads I put up, and all it said was "he looks sick."  Now, I saw that and went back and looked at the pictures of him, and then asked a guinea pig rescue to look at the pictures of him... we all agree he's fine.  Sick guinea pigs have standing-up fur, hunched back, bad looking eyes... he has none of any of that.  Let's take a look.

....looks happy as a clam to us.  And just in case anyone wants to say he's bored or has no chew toys....

...just makes me mad, cause it seems like people have nothing better to do....

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Getting stuff done....

So... doing lots today.

Had someone want to know about shipping a cage and shelves out to them on the east coast.  Even without figuring it out, I knew it was going to be expensive.  Figured it out -- $50.  Yikes.  Guarantee they won't be getting that.

Got another order ready, just need to find a box and package it up.

Put together the loofah toy that I have had on my to-do list forever, the zany loofah hanging toy.

Dunno why the picture is sideways, it's an up and down toy.
...and then listed that toy ($5.50) and the stoplight loofah ($2.25) and colored anything goes toys ($5.50 each) on the website.

colored anything goes toys

stoplight loofah

...and then checked my email and I have yet more people wanting to surrender their chins.  One guy emailed and said, well, there's a rescue closer to him, but they're full.  Um... read the website buddy... so are we.  I told him I could add him to the waiting list, but that's about all I can do at the moment....

So, I tried to put Shani and Summer together.  In a few words, it did not go well.  Shani started beating up Summer, and I couldn't easily get them apart, cause Shani kept going after me when I reached in the cage, and Summer wouldn't come out from under the wheel, and I was panicking, because Shani could easily kill Summer, so I posted on facebook... and Peggy (of Rescued Rat Adoptions) posted something about, I need a net.  I have a net!  I use it to catch the difficult loose chins, and so I used that and then was able to get Summer out.  Summer is NOT happy and wants to chew on me now, but doesn't look too bad.  I think I'll have to split the cage in two, but that's for another day.  At the moment, they're separated.

Got a picture of the bridge I made for someone and got that to them.. they like it that length, so I just need to figure out shipping for that.  Tomorrow.

Made up some more loofah toys until I ran out of red loofah.  I think that was like 6-7 toys, so that should last me a little while.

Cleaned up the rescue a bit more.  Finished dusting the chins in all the FN cages, and weighed all the fluffballs that haven't yet been listed.  All the little chins are ready to go except for the beige male.  Who in all fairness, is probably ready to go, but I want to see him gain a little more, cause he's still tiny.  So now I have my list of chins to list, guess I will be getting to that over the next few days.

Had my only appointment of the day show up, after several hours of driving and construction, and picked out Clive and Amethyst to take home.  So those boys are happily in their new home now.

Monday, June 8, 2015


So today was a busy day.  Spent most of the day just cleaning up random stuff around the rescue.

Washed tons of random rescue stuff, until I ran out of soap.  Had to go upstairs to get more soap, but came back down without soap several times.

Cleaned the rat cages.  Gave the rats food, their cereal mix, and some yogurt drops.

Was going to just spot clean the guinea pig cage until I got a good whiff of it, so I changed the entire cage.  So now he has clean fluff in the cage, and I had a lot of partially-full carefresh bags that I was able to use for that cage, so now I have marginally more room in storage.  Yay.

Cleaned out the bottom FN that had the two pink white boys in it.  Put in a new liner and moved over Salt.  Removed all the stuff from the cage she was in, and put more stuff in the wash pile.

Fed everyone.  Supplemented everyone.

Scooped the wet spots in the rabbit cage where the rabbit didn't quite make it to the litter box (but he seems to be doing well!), dried that.  Gave him more food and hay.

Noticed when putting away stuff that my blue pocket folder (which has all the forms and docs used at the rescue) is awfully thin and light.  Took it upstairs and reprinted multiple copies of all the forms.  Well, at least until the printer started running out of ink.  Then I cancelled all the remaining print jobs and figured I'd wait at least an hour to try to print a thing or two again.  I will get every last drop out of these cartridges.

Decided I should take some time to look at emails.  Well, there's one person who had emailed me about adopting.  But they didn't know when they'd be able to adopt.  Well, then they decided, they wanted to finish decking out their cage and everything before they adopted any more.  Which is fine, by all means.  And then they say something about, well maybe they're going to breed and their breeder is going to set them up with some chins to breed.  Ok.  Well, then I post the thing saying we're full, and I get an email, ok they want to adopt, but in the event their family (who I assume they live with) isn't ok with an additional chin (because they weren't thrilled with this person getting the original ones... can only imagine how that family would feel about this person breeding), they would give the chin they adopt to the breeder.  Um... no.  I know who the breeder is, no problems there, they're a nice person and I'd trust they'd take just fine care of the chin.  But I told this person, if the family isn't on the same page with the current chin, I'm not comfortable adopting them any more, especially considering, they'd have to sign the adoption contract which states that the critter needs to come back to US if they can't keep it.  Well, here's the problem with that.  With as full as we are right now, the second a cage opens up, I will call someone and they will bring their critter and the cage will be full again.  Well, then what happens when two days later, the family says that adopter can't keep the chin and they're gonna bring it back?   Well, then I gotta find somewhere to put it, and god knows right now, I have a million guinea pig cages (because everyone and their brother who has dropped off chins lately has had them in a 25 x 12 x 12 type cage) that could hold a chin no problem, but I'd rather not start stacking cages upon cages because people aren't including their families wishes in the decision to adopt.  No thank you.

Added someone to the waiting list.

Had another person email who is supposed to drop off their chins, and say they will contact me when they're ready, need to get some things in order first.  Wouldn't mind if that's another few days.

Had an email about an order from one of my adoptive homes.  Marked down what they want, totalled it up, and emailed them.  Have everything here and (for the most part) ready, except for a perch shelf, so we'll see when they want to come by.

Realized, due to an email inquiry, that I still have ads up for chins that aren't here any longer.  Opened up all my classified ads, website, and facebook, and took down ones that aren't relevant anymore.

Had someone email asking about one of the chins that won't be ready for a few weeks, and asking about pairing him with one of our other chins.  Unfortunately, no way to know, and I want to have them email me back before I put the chins together and then never hear from them again.  So I emailed them back and we shall see.

Had someone ask again about where their order is.  I apparently need to bold, underline, 40 point font, and highlight the portion on the webstore (when you go to pay) that says "Please be aware that I work a full time job in addition to running the rescue and the supply store.  Orders are typically worked on during weekends and during limited free time during the week.  If you are not able to wait potentially two weeks or longer for your order, please contact me to see if I can get your order out quicker."  Cause no one reads.

Somewhere in here, I went to get hay.  As is typical, it was dry the entire way there, and when I got there, started to downpour.  I only got two bales (I normally get 4-5), because they're cutting this year's hay this week and will have it ready within another week.  Well, I won't get that until I'm done with these two bales, but that way, with these two bales, I can get hay for the people who've been wanting hay, and have some hay for myself for a bit of time, and then I can pick up fresh hay in another month or two or three, and have fresh hay over the winter.  Not that this is bad hay, by any means, it's just last year's cutting (which is exactly the same cutting as I sold out of, a few weeks ago).  I'm glad I got it when I did, though, because I got home, backed the back end of the blazer into the garage so I could get the hay out without it getting wet, and got it down in the basement.  Well, now it's downpouring.  So... good timing. 

I finally did remember to take soap downstairs, and ended up putting away a bucket of clean items.  I apparently don't say that too much, but since a few people have asked... since a lot of what I wash is heavier or bulky (think, food bowls, glass water bottles), I can't carry all that much of it in my arms, so I have a 5 gallon bucket that I'll fill with stuff to put away and then cart that around to put everything away.  So when I say, I put away a bucket, not a literal bucket.  Like a bucket of random crap.  Anyway, so that gave me room to wash two more drying racks worth of stuff, so I washed more stuff.

Then I realized, I still have some of the new breeder chins in their carrier, and I had to get water bottles on the new runs to put them away.  Well, that was sure fun.  The common runs that the average breeder buys are meant for water bottles, but the huge breeders use water systems with edstrom tubing.  And yep, that's how these were, not intended for water bottles.  I did get bottles on them, but it took almost 2 hours to get 24 holders on.  Not counting, of course, getting the glass tube in the stopper, actually filling and putting on the water bottles...  Ick.  On my other runs, the water bottle holders are removable.  Not for these, I attached these and clamped them on, so I never have to attach them again.

Oh and then I dyed more loofah.  Now we have some purple loofah as well.  Sold my second bag of colored loofah yesterday, just need to work on getting it up on the website.

Cleaned all the original runs and cleaned the holding cages.  Put shavings in allllllll of the new runs, so as I get in the chins for those, those cages are ready.  Put more water bottle tubes and stoppers together, still need to do at least another 10 of those just to take care of what I'll need here (much less what I need to have ready for customers, because I sell those).

Had some people come by to pick up supplies... they had been possibly interested in the one critter I was going to get in.  And then like 5 minutes before they came in, I got an email from the original home that someone else was going to take the pet.  Which is actually super right now, because it saves me space.

Can't think of what all else I did, but the rescue looks a lot better and more organized.  Of course, I got the new breeders out of their carriers and got them settled in the new runs.

I shared these photos on facebook, but since some people who read this are not on facebook, and vice versa, here we go...

Bentley -- dark / extra dark standard grey male -- phase champion at Atlantic Chapter Show 2015

Bessie -- light / medium standard grey female

Dixon -- mosaic male

Hanna -- standard grey female

Jazzy -- hetero beige female

Jersey -- homo beige female
Love these new chins.  So far they all seem to have nice personalities, I only got barked at a few times by Jazzy, but no bites.  Bentley is just the sweetest thing.  A little on the small side for males that I like, but his fur is what Jim calls a "barn burner" and he'll get super females to improve that size.  I'd have to look, but one of these standard females (I think Hanna) is actually a half sister to him and she's huge.  Needed a large collar.  Dixon is a very nice boy.  Nice fur, but not the classic huge show bunny because there was a problem with his water tubing and he wasn't getting water, and it was a bit before anyone realized (and yet another reason I like my bottles, as much as I complain), so his growth was a bit stunted.  Hanna is just the sweetest thing.  Like I was able to put on a collar on her with her just chilling on my rolling cart, she loves to be petted.  Super super calm.  Which, naturally, means she'll either die next week or never have a baby.  Really, she's an awesome chin with awesome fur that I'd love to have some babies out of... so fingers crossed!  She will actually be going with a super nice standard grey Hendryx male (Nova) that's been chilling here for a while with no girls.  And then Jersey is a bit of a loon.  My last homo beige was as well... hopped out of the cage several times while I was trying to take pics (hence, you see the pic I got of her).  Super energetic female.  And the rest are nice as well, these are just the notable ones. 

Well, I need to go do more chin stuff, get more chins ready to be listed.... 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

In case you think it's been slow.... hasn't.  In fact, the reason for posting is because while adoptions have settled down, surrenders are waaaaaaaaaaay up.

Let's recap:

On 5/9, we got in four chinchillas.  Cheech, Chong, Chupacabra, and Bigfoot.  Cheech and Chong are the parents, a 9 year old male and 7 year old female.  They have been separated since having Chupacabra and Bigfoot, the two female "babies" who are now going on 2 years old.  All grey chins.  The owners developed allergies.  These chins are all very sweet, they hang out together.  Cheech is by himself, but since he has lived with the other chins, he (in theory) might accept a male cagemate.  Chong, Chupacabra, and Bigfoot are all living together.  In a perfect world, the three could go home together, but more realistically, the sisters (Chupacabra and Bigfoot) need to go home together, and the mom can go home by herself (or possibly could be a cagemate for another chin).  All very friendly chins, no biting or spraying.

Then we got in Salt and Pepper.  Salt is a 2 year old pink white and Pepper is a 3 year old standard grey.  The lived together until Salt got her foot caught in the side of the cage.  They were separated so Salt could heal -- the owner had contacted me at the time and opted to go with amputation of the leg (which was broken), and ended up having to handfeed for some time to get Salt back on her feet.  When she tried to put them back together, Pepper would spray Salt, so now the two are separate.  The owner had to give them up due to a change in job that never left her home.  Salt is hilarious and just precious at the same time.  You can't tell that she's a tripod unless you know it, she gets around just fine.  Needs no special accommodations for that missing back foot.  She sleeps in her upside down hidey house, which will come with her, and she loves her hammock, which will also come with her.  She is just friendly to a fault.  Pepper is friendly, but I've been told she can spray if aggravated.  She hasn't sprayed me, or anyone here who has tried to pet her (and you'd be amazed how many people have reached in to touch her through the bars), so hopefully that continues to stay something that occurs rarely to never.  Neither have bitten.

On 5/19, we got in a 2 year old male chinchilla named Didi.  Didi was a pet that someone got, living in college (?) and with their stipend going down this upcoming semester, they are going to no longer have their own room, and don't want to put him out in the hall.  They have another chinchilla, but because the two aren't together, I believe they couldn't squeeze both cages in the room.  Didi loves hiding.  He spent the first day bunching up the liner I gave him (a super thin one) into the hidey house.  Now that he's been here a bit longer, you see him out of his house, but he took the first 2-3 days to not look into the cage and wonder if he was really in there.  He's a sweet boy, just a little shy.  Hasn't bitten.

On 5/27, we adopted out Cookie, our 1 year old dutch female rabbit.  We had someone on our waiting list, so I messaged them on facebook.  The next day, we got in a 6-7 year old dwarf himilayan buck named Funny Bunny.  Funny Bunny gets hairballs and is currently hacking, so he's getting lots of hay and veggies / leafy greens to help push that through.  But apparently that's just a thing for him.  Very sweet rabbit.  He has a litter pan in the cage, we will see (over time) if he uses it.  Can't tell how much he eats yet (as a dwarf, he will eat less than Cookie who was 5 pounds, but...), but I put in hay and he went nuts!  Loves his hay.  Probably veggies as well, not sure if they mentioned veggies (but I didn't ask either), but we will see what he likes.

And then we got in Illi Chilla, Lil Chin, and Potato Chip on the 28th.  Illi Chilla is the dad, Lil Chin is the mom, and Potato Chip is the "baby."  These three were dropped off at an animal hospital somewhere in Illinois back around November, and the manager took them home.  Turns out, they were more work to care for than she anticipated, so she brought them to the rescue.  Unfortunately, though the owner knew that they were not all the same sex, Potato Chip kept escaping out of her spare cage, so the three were together up until they came here.  She brought the spare cage with her, and did tell me that Potato Chip had escaped from it, from time to time, because the bars are bent on one side.  Said something about, oh, not likely anymore.  I wouldn't have thought so either, until I came down the next morning and only saw Illi Chilla in the cage.  Found Potato Chip pretty easily, but definitely moved them out of that specific cage.  Illi Chilla is 1-2 years, so is Lil Chin.  Potato Chip is around 6 months.  Dad and baby will be available in another month or so, Mom isn't big, but will be here for four months, just to check she's not pregnant again.  Illi Chilla is a pink white, both Lil Chin and Potato Chip are black velvets.  All these chins are very sweet.  Owner said she tried to work with them on handling, but they actually do about how the average chin does with handling, so that's a good thing.  No bites from these friendly fluffballs.

And we have Jordan, who came to us on the 29th.  Jordan is a 2 year old grey male chinchilla who was bought for the kids, when the kids begged, and the dad (who dropped him off) seemed to have very good intentions of him being cared for very well, but unfortunately, the kids lost interest.  They amazingly regained interest and the whole family got mad at the dad when he told them he was bringing in Jordan... but he said (and I agreed), that that would have been short lived, had they kept Jordan.  Having only had him a day, I can only go by what's been said, but apparently he loves having his ears and chin scratched.  He settled right into the hammock in the cage I put him in, as if he was right at home, so I don't think adapting and adjusting will be too hard for him at all.  No bites from him either. 

Now, don't get me wrong, we've had some interest in the chins, but there's still others on top of these that have emailed and want to bring in their chins and other critters.  Plus, there's other people who we've already told can bring their critters... just not quite set a day yet.

Plus we got in 6 more little ones from the ranch.

Speaking of all these chins, I think I'm going to go clean and feed....