Monday, January 16, 2017

Understanding the Available Chinchillas Page

Worth mentioning, because I had someone today who messaged me and asked if I would have any of a certain chin ready by the time this one show comes up. 

We always have on the website, a list of the available chins.  If you want to get really specific, there's a list of currently available chins, then a list of chins under evaluation (to be available soon), and then a list of critters on hold. 

As is often the case with rescue... there's a lot more animals here than typically get pics and descriptions on the website.  Oh, they may be listed... it may say, "2 month standard grey male," but that chin may find a home without ever having a picture up or description or anything.  Some people don't necessarily look at our exhaustive list of chins available...and why not?  Well, it's only THIS long:

  • Electra (8-10 year old standard grey) & Cinder (1 year old dark ebony) -- female pair of chinchillas
  • ***courtesy listing*** 4 year old ebony male chinchilla -- "Diesel" ***courtesy listing***
  • 3 month old goldbar male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 9/14/16
  • Melo -- 6 month old hetero beige female chinchilla -- dob approx. 6/13/16
  • 4 month old pink white male chinchilla kit (baby) -- *special needs* -- dob approx. 8/16/16
  • 2 month old white mosaic male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 10/20/16
  • Benny -- 3.5 year old hetero beige male chinchilla -- fur chewer -- dob August 2013
  • Weezy -- 1 year old standard grey male chinchilla -- special needs (seizures -- NO playtime / wheel) -- dob November 2015
  • 7 year old hetero beige female chinchilla -- fur chewer -- culled breeder -- dob 2009
  • 3 year old tan female chinchilla -- culled breeder -- dob Nov. 2013
  • MNWI F74 -- 2 month old goldbar male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob 10/21/16
  • ---
  • 1.5 year old TOV white male chinchilla -- dob approx. 6/2015 -- retired breeder -- allergies -- (see upcoming chins)
  • Cheerio (previously known as Chincie) -- 8-9 year old hetero beige male chinchilla -- dob June 2008 -- (see upcoming chins)
  • 3.5 month old dark ebony male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 9/1/16 -- (see upcoming chins)
  •  3 month old white mosaic male chinchilla kit (baby) #1 -- dob approx. 9/10/16 -- (see upcoming chins)
  • 3.5 month old black velvet male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 9/1/16 -- (see upcoming chins)
  • ---
  • 3 month old white mosaic male chinchilla kit (baby) #2 -- dob approx. 9/10/16 -- (info coming soon)

Other Animals:
  • Nio -- Abyssinian male guinea pig -- 11 months old -- dob 1/22/16
  • Ratticate -- black hooded male rat -- 1ish year old -- dob approx. October 2015
  • Chomper -- 6 year old white w/ agouti spots male rabbit -- dob approx. Nov. 2010 -- fostered in Highland, IN
  • Nessie -- American crested female guinea pig -- 11 months old -- dob 1/22/16 -- (info coming soon)
  • Toffee & Fatty -- pair of male guinea pigs -- dob Dec. 2014 (Toffee) & June 2015 (Fatty) -- (info coming soon)

Chinchillas & Critters Being Evaluated (can be put on hold now and taken home soon!):
  • MNWI F70 -- 2.5 month old hetero beige female chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob 10/3/16 -- available soon
  • 2 month old black velvet female chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 10/21/16 -- available soon
  • 3.5 month old tan white / ebony pink white male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 9/1/16 -- available soon
  • 3 month old light tan female chinchilla kit (baby) -- front leg stump -- dob approx. 9/10/16 -- available soon
  • 4 month old standard grey female chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 8/10/16 -- available soon
  • 3.5 month old standard grey male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 9/1/16 -- available soon
  • 3.5 month old hetero beige male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 9/1/16 -- available soon
  • 3.5 month old white mosaic male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 9/1/16 -- available soon
  • 2.5 month old standard grey male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 10/1/16 -- available soon
  • 3 month old tan female chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 9/10/16 -- available soon
  • 4 month old brown velvet male chinchilla kit (baby) -- dob approx. 8/10/16 -- available soon
  • Thisker -- 4-5 year old standard grey male chinchilla -- dob approx. June 2012 -- available soon
  • Zoey -- 2 year old standard grey female chinchilla -- dob approx. 1/1/15 -- available soon
  • Tikii -- 5.5 year old hetero beige male chinchilla -- dob approx. June 2011 -- available soon
  • Mija -- 2.5 year old standard grey female chinchilla -- dob approx. June 2014 -- available soon

... most people choose to scroll past all of that and look at the pictures of all of the fuzzballs.  Nothing wrong with that, but believe me, if all you look at is the cute pictures, you're missing out. 

Right now, there's pics and descriptions (including "up and coming chins" and "on hold" chins) on the website of a total of 21 critters (chins, rabbit, guinea pig, and rat).  However, look at that list of how many are actually here?  Regardless of them being available or not, there are 37 animals total here that are listed.  That means, 43% of the animals here do not have pictures or any information about them on the website.  

Now, knowledge is power.  See a chin that's not available yet (or at least, not marked as such)?  Ask!  We had someone ask about F70 the other day... they said she's been listed as "under evaluation" for over a month now, and they wanted to know if maybe we'd decided to keep her, or if she was on hold for someone, or what.  When we weaned her from mom, she actually had some fungus on her nose and we were treating it.  Now, most of her fur is growing back in, but before I list her as available, I want to be sure that the fungus is completely gone, so I'll give her probably another week, and then look at her again and re-check fur growth.  If she looks good and the fur's all working on growing back in, then she'll be moved to available.  If not, she'll get another fungus treatment, and we'll go from there.

It's not necessarily that I don't want to list all of the chins.  Rather, there's only so many hours in the day, and in addition to listing chins, there's quite a few more things to accomplish, so if you're wondering about one that doesn't have pics or a description, you don't need to wait for that chin to be listed, feel free to inquire!  

Some of the chins on the evaluation list haven't been here long enough to be available.  Adult rescues are housed for 30 days to ensure they are eating, drinking, pooing, maintaining weight, and generally doing well.  Before that 30 days is up, they can go home if someone really is dying to take them -- but without a health guarantee.  The grand majority of people want that health guarantee, which is completely understandable, so they wait the 30 days for us to list them.  Still within their initial 30 days are Thisker, Zoey, Tikii, and Mija.  Younger chins don't necessarily need to stay as long, provided they're doing well, but going along with not necessarily always having time to list them, occasionally, chins may not have been moved to the "correct" category yet.  For example, I can tell you that right now, several of the chins that are listed in the "under evaluation" category are actually available and ready to go.  Which ones?  Well, I don't know off the top of my head, but I have them marked, and need to move those chins to another category.  Again, what this means for you -- if you're waiting to see a chin be moved to "available" -- feel free to ask if the chin may already be ready, as sometimes, we get behind (I know, you just can't imagine that, right?).

Finally, also worth mentioning... if you are looking for something specific, feel free to ask.  Someone today was asking about curly carrier females.  I don't have any listed, and I don't intend to have any young ones upcoming, but I do have a chin that I took out of breeding, which might be of interest to them.  She's nowhere on the website, which is intentional, as she'll have to clear her pregnancy watch before she would go to a pet home... but this is another breeder asking, so she could go home before that.  Even for chins not-for-breeding-purposes... if someone emailed me asking for a violet wrap, I may not have it... but I can sure try to get it.  Or sometimes people want an older chin that's sweet and calm, and I will admit, if I'm switching up breeders, I may pull some out of breeding and have them chilling in a cage for awhile before I think, I could have had that chin listed this entire time.  Notably males, which can't be pregnant, obviously, but I had a white ebony male that sat around for at least 6 months before he was listed.  If anyone had asked about him, he was available, and he did find a great home, but he wasn't on the website for the longest time.  If someone had asked, hey, did I have an adult male... often I will actually physically go down to the basement to see what I have, and I would have noticed him and told them... 

And I suppose what this all comes down to is, if record keeping was perfect and if I had all the time in the world, I could have the website perfectly up to date, and there would never be discrepancies between which chins are available, or there would never be chins that are available, but not listed, or without pictures, or whatever.  But... let's be real.  This is the real world, where real life keeps us on our toes and typically behind schedule, and we do what we can.  So, that said, if you're looking for something that's not listed, or want to know about something that is, ASK.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Volunteering & Signing Forms

So, this happened a bit ago now, but I wanted to write about it then, and I'm finally getting to it now.  I suppose I likely don't have this posted anywhere, but the way I've always handled signing volunteering forms (for school, clubs, whatever), is that I will sign them or fill them out on the day the volunteering is being performed.  As in, that is the only time I will be signing them. 

I want to say the ONLY time there's been an exception to this, was we had someone doing community service here, and needed a letter for the court from the rescue, stating that they completed the requisite number of hours, what they did, etc.  This was after, mind you, like 25 hours of community service / volunteering.  So, that's a tad bit different... at the end of the 25 hours, I wrote the letter for the court.

However, the average person volunteering comes once or twice, for 2-3 hours at a time, and usually, if they are doing the volunteering for school or whatnot, they bring the form with them.  I will sign it, fill it out, whatever needs to be done -- that day.  The reason for this is because, if 2 months later, someone asks me to sign that they volunteered... sometimes these forms asked what they did.  For volunteers that are here for an hour, maybe they only did one task, but if they were here for multiple hours, you can bet they did multiple things, and you can also bet, 2 months later, that I may not be able to recall what those multiple things were.  Not that there aren't typical things that volunteers tend to do, but I like to have these forms be accurate, and a sure-fire way to do that is to fill them out that day, when I know exactly what the volunteer did.  Plus, I know exactly how many hours they spent there... there's no guessing about this, months later.

This has only been a problem once

I had someone adopt some chins from the rescue, and then later bring them back to the rescue when they couldn't care for them any longer.  This person would occasionally bring their teenage daughter to volunteer, and drop her off for a few hours at a time.  Well, on this one occasion, the mother texted me, saying the daughter wanted to volunteer that upcoming weekend, and informing me that I had a form that I needed to sign.  So I told her, ok, bring the form with when you bring the daughter.  Well, as it turns out, she needed the form ahead of time, that day to be specific.  She needed it that day, because they had waited until the very last day to turn in the form, and so they had to get it signed and turned into the school that day.  The weekend was a few days away, so the daughter wasn't going to volunteer for a few days.  Because she had volunteered in the past, I told the mother, ok, if you know the daughter is going to stay for 3 hours that weekend, I will fill out the form for 3 hours, with the anticipation that the daughter would actually come by and stay three hours volunteering in the following few days.  This wasn't quite what the mother had in mind.  She said, well, the daughter had been volunteering in the past, and I needed to fill it out for x hours, and sign it.  Now we're not talking about that weekend's to-be-volunteered hours, but for previously volunteered hours.  So, I informed the mom, that's not typically how I do things... I fill out the forms when the people volunteer.  HOWEVER, I did tell her, because I did know that the daughter volunteered before, I would sign the form that one time, for the previous volunteering.  I told the mom, that I was letting her know, for the future, that I needed the form on the day of volunteering.  Oh, apparently that was too much to ask. 

First, she went off on, how dare I ask her to have the form the day of volunteering, when I knew the kid volunteered before.  Yes, she did, and that's why I had said I would sign the form, this one time, even though it wasn't what I usually did.  To me, that's being nice.  Then she said, well, did she have to bring the form all the way to Hammond?  Well, yeah, I mean, that's where I was, that's typically how you sign a form, in person... and she says, well, but she's all the way in Crown Point, she'd have to drive to Hammond, then back to Crown Point, then to the school to drop it off.  Note, it wasn't my fault that she waited until the last day to get the form signed... so she proceeded to ask, could she just sign it for me?  I told her no.  I said, then what happens when I sign the next one, and the signatures don't even vaguely look similar?  She didn't care.  She literally wanted to forge my signature.  Since I wasn't willing to either drive to Crown Point to sign the forms for her, or let her forge my signature, she basically let me have it, telling me the rescue is completely for-profit, and how dare I use volunteers to make money, how dare I re-home her chins and make money twice off of them.... and how she would never have her kid volunteer for me again... and so on and so forth. 

I never did see them again.  I thought about calling the Crown Point school system and telling them that if they received a volunteer form with my signature, that it was a forgery, but I'm not quite that mean.  I wouldn't want to punish the kid...  But I did think about it, as I was trying to be nice, agreeing to sign the form, way after the fact, and her blowing up and basically saying I was being unreasonable, and how dare I not bend over backwards for what she wanted.

By the way, I should mention, this happened in Fall of 2016... I looked up when the daughter had last volunteered, after all this went down, just out of curiosity -- it was early Spring of 2015.  So literally, she had volunteered a freaking year and a half prior and wanted to use that as her "current volunteering" that she had to do for some school thing.  Apparently, every 3-4 months, they had to do so many hours of volunteering.  Not many, like 4 hours or something.  And apparently, four hours of volunteering is too much, so she wanted to use volunteering from a year and a half before, to fulfill the requirement.  Personally... that's asking a little much.  And then, further, to want to forge my signature to save some driving time and effort... yeah, no. 

So... if you volunteer and want a form filled out... bring it when you come, because I will not be offering again, to sign a form later. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Setting Appointments

This is one of those things I wanted to share with you, purely because I think many will read this and understand just how much I sometimes want to bang my head against the wall. 

Little back story here.... I had a person set to come for their appointment, and they texted to cancel:

Them:  Not going to be able to make it today.  My next time off is the weekend.
Me:  Ok, when are you thinking for the weekend?
Them:  Whatever is good for u
Me:  Ok well let's start with, what day would you prefer?
Them:  Saturday?
Me:  Ok so Saturday I will be home until 6 pm.  Does a time before that work for you?
Them:  Yes
Me:  Ok, what time are you thinking?
Them:  What time is good for u
Me:  Would you rather come in the morning or afternoon?
Them:  Morning
Me:  Ok, how about 10 am?
Them:  Can u do 8?
Honestly... the reason I ask people when they want to come, is to give them the opportunity to tell me, like in this case... "hey, I want to come Saturday at 8."  This conversation was a complete waste of effort on both our parts.  She keeps asking me when's good for me... and then when we finally narrow it down and I specify when is good for me... she wants a specific time that's NOT the time I specified.  So what was the point of her asking when was good for me?  I guess I don't get it.

She really could have said, "hey, I can't make it today, can I come Saturday at 8?" and had this conversation turn out the same way.  Really.  And it would have saved us both some effort. 

I don't bite, people.  If you want a specific day and time, ask for it.  If I'm not around, I may tell you that, and maybe it won't work out for that specific day and time, but there's no point to dance around it like this.  That is all. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Shipping (other animals)

Since people have been asking about shipping lately, and then today we had someone ask about shipping our rescue rat... I wanted to do a quick blog post on this.  We are only shipping chinchillas at this time -- and without sounding like it's all due to the money... it somewhat is.... but also, due to the time and effort involved.

Let me explain.  The two times we have shipped this year (well, last year I guess) were three chins each.  Both times, the total cost of chins was $575-600 and then of course, shipping was $200-250 because of weight differences.  Now, out of that $200-250, most of the cost is taken by the actual shipping.  The flight ranges from $97-143, plus the crate which ranges from $30-40.  Let's add in gas to and from the airport, let's roughly say that's $30 for my gas guzzler.  So, adding this all up, we have a total of $157-$213.  Yes, I realize, that's less than the cost of $200-250... by a range of $37-43.  Yes, that's money the rescue makes for shipping the critters (and we'll get back to these numbers), but let's keep in mind that to ship these animals, I need to book the flight, get the pickup address at the destination, get the chins to the airport and then get back home... and have all this work with the schedule and life of the adopter on the other end.  At all points in time, both us and them have all the flight information, we're communicating back and forth about which day for the flights, which flight, what time the flight will arrive, how the new owner will go about picking up their new family members... you get the idea. 

On shipping day, between getting the carrier ready, packing up the chins, going to the airport, shipping the chins, getting home... it's easily a 4-5 hour ordeal.  2-3 hours are spent just traveling to and from the airport, then there's an ungodly amount of paperwork when we get there, plus of course, getting the crate ready and... perhaps most importantly... taking pics of how the crate opens and closes, and what the new owner will need to do, in order to open it when they get it (as this is not necessarily obvious)...and passing this info along to the new owner. 

Further, because shipping is weight-dependent, where we would normally include a goodie bag and 2 pounds of food with each chin... we typically cannot just strap this onto the crate, because it would push us over the weight limit and into a higher weight class (and higher shipping fees).  So, for both instances when we shipped, we also sent a medium flat rate priority mail box to the new owners with their food and goodie bags.  We absorb the cost of this, as these items come with the chins, and we want their new owners to have these.  But note... this also costs us.  So, that box costs $13.45 to ship.  So hold on, that $37-43 that we were making on shipping?  Oh yeah, it's now down to $23.55-$29.55.

The reason I mention this all is not to complain, or to gripe about the cost.  Shipping is great, and if the new owner wants to splurge for it and get a chin or chins from us, hey, more power to them.  The reason I mention all of these costs, though, is to show that we're not getting rich off shipping.  As you see, it breaks down to $23-29 bucks for 4-5 hours of work.  Honestly, I'd do better sitting here making houses or dyeing loofah, or doing just about anything around the rescue, to make more money than that for the rescue. 

Which brings me to the topic of this post -- shipping other animals (as in, not chins).  It's fine to say, ok, we're close to breaking even on shipping, making $20ish, when we're bringing in $500-600 in adoption fees.  Heck, even one chin adopted at $200 would be worth a good amount of effort.  But the reason we've been telling people that, sorry, but we cannot ship the guinea pigs, or sorry, we cannot ship the rat, is because honestly, it is not worth it.  The rat has an adoption fee of $10.  Bless his heart, he's a sweetie, and deserves a great home just like the chins... but for a $10 adoption fee plus $20ish that we make, for 4-5 hours of effort, it's just not going to happen.   While $10 is $10, effort and time spent has to count for something.  Unfortunately, there's not enough hours in the day, already, for me to accomplish everything I'd like to get done, much less for me to find 4-5 hours to make a combined total of $30.  We've always been able to find good homes for the other animals locally, and I have no doubt that we can continue to do so.  Shipping is a luxury that's available for some, but we are restricting it to chinchillas at this time.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Typo's in regards to chins, appointment times, etc...

So, I'm writing about this because it's come up twice in the last few days.  If you make a typo, and it's obvious, or even fairly obvious, I may notice.  For example, if the typo is something spelled wrong, I may notice it.  "I want to come at niht."  See the typo?  Ok, good, I do too.  And chances are, you, like me, know that that word should be "night."

But let's try some harder ones...  

How bout this one:  "I will see you at 4!"  --  Where's the typo?  Don't see it?  Let me tell you... it's the number "4."  So, this person showed up at 3 (because that's what they meant to type, that's what they had in their head), and I wasn't home yet, because I had them down for 4 pm, because, well, they literally typed the number "4." 

How bout this one: 

Me:  Which chinchilla are you interested in?
Them:  The 3 month white mosaic male
Me:  That one found a home, would you be interested in a similar one, same color, similar personality, but a few weeks younger?
Them:  Sure

They get here, I pull out the 2-3 month white mosaic male.  Oh... no they meant to tell me they wanted a grey chin to be put on hold (which I have none of right at this moment).

I'm not sure I'd personally call these "typos," but that's what these other people are calling them, and I suppose at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter.  But here's the thing... I just want you all to know that I'm not magical and I can't read minds.  If you type "4 pm," I will assume you mean, gosh, well.... 4 pm.... and that's the time I will have you marked down for, and that's the time I will be here for as well.  Same with the chin one... I don't actually know which chin they wanted, because I even went back and looked, and they very clearly had typed "3 month old mosaic male" -- and I had one of those (that had gone home earlier that day, hadn't had a chance to remove it from the site), so it seemed reasonable.

I guess the point behind all of this is -- when you send an email and it's referencing which chinchilla you want, or what time you want to come, please, proof-read so that you don't make any typos, so that we're all on the same page.  Cause I honestly won't know you meant something else...