Monday, December 31, 2018

Getting Pets While Not Able to Afford Vet Bills

We've taken in quite a few sick animals lately, so I wanted to touch on this.  Not that I think any of you would do this, but still...

If you want to get a pet, you need to be able to afford basic vet care.

Now, I'm not talking about affording a $1000 vet bill.  However, you should be able to afford to take the animal in, and at minimum, be able to afford that initial vet bill and possibly ending the animal's suffering if the problem is that bad.

The two cases that stuck out were actually both guinea pigs.  The first one was a guinea pig that was passed around several times.  Turns out, Person 1 had the guinea pig and gave it to their cousin, Person 2... we assume because of it's skin (and other?) issues.  Person 2 takes the guinea pig, knowing it has skin issues, while only working one day per week and knowing she cannot afford to take this guinea pig to the vet, and tries to treat these skin issues at home.  I don't know with what, I didn't ask, but my guess would be... anti-dandruff shampoo (as that's what people seem to think will fix all small animal skin issues).  She calls us, turns out she's now had this guinea pig for 1-2 months, has been treating it at home the entire time, and it's only getting worse.  Imagine that.  So she brings him in to us.  Poor thing didn't even have a name, and looked (if he was a dog), he had mange.  Most of his fur missing, what was left was patchy.  All the skin on his body looked crusty / inflamed / itchy and boy was he scratching.  He was dropped off in the evening, and I didn't want to treat him late at night (our first treatment for a skin condition like that would be a blue dawn bath) so I could be sure he would dry off properly, so I gave him some bedding, hay, water, all the things he needed, and left him for the night.  He unfortunately didn't make it through the night.

Whether he passed from stress or another condition secondary to the skin infection, I don't know.  What I do know is that whatever he passed from, he may have had a considerably better chance at life, had people not spent all that time on home treatments (and yes, blue dawn is a home treatment... but might actually work, whereas anti-dandruff shampoo just reduces flakes but doesn't treat anything).  Maybe, maybe not.  Of course, the previous owner called a few days later asking how he was doing, and I had to break the sad news to her.  She wanted to know what he died from, and I told her, I didn't even have a chance to treat him or get him in to see a vet, had the treatment not worked.  It's unfortunate, but I only had a few hours with him.  She had a few months, and while it's not her fault that she didn't have the money to take him to the vet... my personal opinion is that she shouldn't have had him as a pet then.

Second person.  Also calls with sick guinea pigs, has a bonded pair and doesn't want to separate, but can't find anyplace to take them since the one is sick, and has something going on with it's back and it's eye.  For sure, this one was using anti-dandruff shampoo, as she brought that with.  She said it looked like it was getting better, but she wasn't sure, and of course... she had no money to take them to the vet.  So, we welcome in Rain and Star.  Rain is the one with the fungus, on her face and back.  I did take pics, shown below.  The pic of her back doesn't quite accurately show the extent, as I was holding her with one hand and taking the pic with the other, but it is about a quarter-sized patchy spot that looks like it was scratched (or something?) until it bled.

I covered her spots with blu-kote, which is an antiseptic and anti-fungal... Rain has now been treated twice, and for sure her back is improving, but her face will take more time.  Fungus has an easier time getting started on the face, as the area around the eyes / nose / mouth provide a nice wet environment in which it can take hold and thrive, so those areas will likely take longer to treat.

The people got these guinea pigs from a pet store.  Guinea pigs are what, $35ish each at the pet store?  So they could afford a new cage, two guinea pigs... all that... but not vet care.  Also, I should mention... neither guinea pig person brought in a cage or anything with their guinea pigs, except the second person did bring in the anti-dandruff shampoo.  Usually when people don't bring in a cage and whatnot, that's so they can sell the stuff and recoup their money.  That's fine, don't get me wrong... but again... they're getting the pet and the first sign of a problem, passing it off to someone else, with nothing but the animal itself.  No food to switch over, no cage, no nothing.  

If this upsets you (that I think you should be able to afford the vet if you get a pet), I'm sorry, but in both of these instances, these guinea pigs had relatively minor problems that would NOT have cost a fortune at the vet, but since these people couldn't (or wouldn't... who knows) afford a vet visit...the one unfortunately passed and the other pair is here.  Since they are young, I am sure they will find a great home as soon as Rain is better, but that's beside the point.  They never should have been here to begin with. 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Waiting List for the Rescue...part 2

...when we call people on the waiting list, several things can happen:

1)  they don't respond (the email says they get x days to respond, after which we move on)
2)  they respond, saying they no longer need to bring in their chin / animal (sometimes they even choose to keep it)
3)  they respond, saying they do need to still bring in their animal, and they set an appointment

It's honestly a wild guess which one will be which.  Sometimes, everyone I call will bring in a chin, other times, everyone will have already found help elsewhere (which is fine as well). 

You might think this is relative to how much time they've spent on the waiting list, but that's honestly not often the case.  Sometimes the people who've waited months are still wanting to bring in their chins, and sometimes people who've been on the list a week have already found a different place for their chins.

I have one person on my waiting list who I haven't officially crossed off yet, but I messaged her back on 11/25 telling her she could bring her chin in, and last I heard, she was working on finding a good day.  Before I officially cross her off, I will message her again... but that's another thing.  It's been over a month since I messaged her.  That means, one of our cages has sat open for over a month, as I've waited for her to get back to me to bring in the chin.  I hate to be that kind of person to put a time limit, like "you have a week to bring in the chin..." but the difficulty is that when someone waits this long... I may have been able to bring in another chin and already get it adopted before she gets around to bringing hers in.

And that brings me to my next point... this seems to be one of those things that maybe people don't realize, because everyone always seems so surprised when I say we have a waiting list.... there is quite the need for small animal rescue.  My last two people who were paid help have commented that they never would have guessed that there was so much to do / going on with small animal rescue before they worked here.  And I assume people with these animals probably often think the exact same thing, that oh they have a guinea pig to give up, and probably not that many people have guinea pigs, so sure we can take it in.  Unfortunately... not always the case. 

A friend and I have come up with two scenarios (now, before you get mad, this is supposed to be funny, well, funny but true).  Either they think that I have so few animals here and there's so NOT a need for small animal rescue that I'm sitting here twiddling my thumbs just waiting for people to call so I can jump on it and take in their animal... or they think I have so many volunteers and such a big organization that even if I can't help them, there's a foster who can, or someone else in the organization who can.  Obviously, neither one is true.  There's plenty of animals here, and there's a significant lack of volunteers, unfortunately.  My main two volunteers are people who do the volunteering at a distance (Colette, who helps sew the hammocks / fleece tubes / hanging houses, and Chris, who helps with the website and expos), rather than at the actual rescue.  And that's fine!  But that's also why I can't bend over backwards to help people, because there is just me, and the occasional paid help.

I did create that program where you can volunteer for a discount.  Due to how many people were always asking for discounts, I thought actually that that would be good and people would take advantage.  I mean... if you can spare a few hours of your time, it saves money!  So far, no one has taken advantage, though I still think it's worthwhile.

Last thing I want to touch on, as far as taking in rescues.  Most rescues, and by most, I mean by far the grand majority, require the person surrendering the animal to bring the animal to them.  I just had someone yesterday tell me that this one rescue didn't give them the time of day since they couldn't make the drive to the rescue.  While I'm sure that is disheartening and all... if the person can't drive the animal to them... how is the rescue supposed to help them?  I mean, I feel like that's a valid question.  Also... this same person was telling me about how they got this chinchilla to be a buddy for their other chin, but then went on to say that the new chin is aggressive, unfriendly, unsocial... you name it, not the greatest... which is why they want to surrender it.  The reason I mention this -- if it was an awesome pet, they would totally be keeping it.  So... often times, the animals we get aren't the most wonderful example of what a chinchilla is like...they take a lot of work, a lot of patience, and still may require an experienced home.  If someone wants to surrender a really friendly angora, I may just drive to you.  But for the average person that wants to drop off the chinchilla that will spend a year+ in rescue due to it's personality (read: attitude) and liveliness (read: squirmy-ness)... my personal opinion is that we are helping that person (who honestly, would probably only be able to find a home for that chinchilla by flat out lying about what it's like), and the least they can do is drive it to us.  Sorry if you disagree with that, but at the end of the day, it's my time and resources that are going into these animals, and at the end of the day, by the time many of the rescues get adopted, their adoption fee doesn't even come close to covering what's been spent on them.  That's fine, don't get me wrong... but I won't add in the additional expense of going and getting the animal.  Sorry not sorry.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Waiting List for the Rescue...part 1

Let me start this out by saying this -- we almost always have a waiting list to get animals in.  Let me repeat the important words: almost always

Here's what this means -- when you call and want to drop off your animal, I tell you about our waiting list and tell you that I can add you, if you'd like.  Many people never respond.  I assume that means, they want their animal gone NOW, not at some undetermined date in the future.

Here's the thing.  Small animal rescues are few and far between.  Yes, most humane societies and whatnot will take in the small animals... but they have considerably less room than the small animal rescues.  The one local humane society has a small animal room that is the size of my bathroom.  Not that most of you have ever seen the bathrooms here, but even my larger bathroom is like a normal sized shower / bathtub, and another space about that big (which holds sink / cabinet / toilet), and that's it.  So basically, you walk in, and have to completely turn around to exit.  Now, how many small animal cages, even stacked, can fit in that area?  The short answer: not many.  When those are filled... that's it. 

A lot of those places, the humane societies and whatnot... aren't no-kill.  Some are even contracted that they are required to take in any animal that is brought to them.  So... guess what that means if all their small animal cages are full, and you bring in another small animal?  Hopefully one gets adopted right away, because otherwise, they have to make room.

We are no-kill.  That's not to say that we've never had to put an animal down, and the same goes for other no-kill rescues.  No-kill means that a rescue does not put down an animal for the purpose of space.  Should an animal have severe medical problems, or something of that nature, they still can have their suffering humanely ended, and the shelter still be labeled as no-kill.  But the point is, if a no-kill shelter is full and all the animals there are healthy... they just can't take any more in.

...and that's often the problem here.  There's only so many cages, and even for people wanting to bring in cages, there's only so much room to keep putting cages before it becomes impossible to walk around and move around in the rescue.  I try my hardest to stop intakes before it gets to that point, as if I can't easily get around, that's not helpful to the animals and that's not helpful as far as adopters coming to look at them to adopt them out.

So usually how it goes is that we adopt out some animals, maybe even sell some cages to make room (and generate funds), clean the empty cages, and then call the people on the waiting list.  Sometimes it's a short wait, sometimes not.

Currently, we had a lot of our chins go home in the last month or two... a lot of the rescues.  This is good, as it's freed up a lot of our bigger cages, and a lot of our foster homes can use a new chin or two as well.  So for the last few days, we've been deep cleaning the big cages.  Sanding all the shelves, scrubbing down the entire cages, replacing the liners, whatever needs to be done, to get them ready for new chins.   We don't always go quite this gung ho to bring in new chins, but now that we have a few empty, this is the best time to do this when we have room to shuffle a few around.  In another few days, I will be calling people on the waiting list, making appointments to bring in chins. be continued...

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Kids Touching Things

So... I'm sure this will sound nitpicky, but when I was a kid, before we'd even leave the house, and then again before we'd go into the store, my parents would remind me, "don't touch anything."

Parents today... most don't seem to care.

I have my work cart at the rescue, graciously donated by my mom a few years back.  I use the top usually for when people are signing adoption papers, and the second shelf has all these little red bins, like the type you see in a divided toolbox.  I have a much larger version (complete with the red bins -- about... 20ish of them?) of this:

So...for the purpose of making my hardware accessible to me when I need it, I don't have these bins in the actual toolbox, but rather, I have them lined up on the second shelf of my work cart.... where they are apparently highly-sought-after-playthings.

Now, before you think that I have one or two of each item in each bin, consider this.  One bin holds washers... I can at least get 20-30 in there, probably more if they're nicely lined up.  For something smaller like snap clips (the clips that hold the toys and hammocks to the cage, I can undoubtedly get over 200 in there.  And that's how they all are... the smaller the item, the more I can get in there, and I try to keep them relatively full, because when I need them, I rarely need one or two, I need several.

This is becoming a problem.

I have them on the cart for convenience -- when I need them, they are easy access to me, as the cart is always kept accessible, as we use it every day.  However... it seems, especially this fall / winter season, we've had an unusually large number of kids playing in the bins.  If I see this, I have told the kid something along the lines of, "oh honey, please don't touch that."  Trying to be nice, and you know, it's not my kid.  Usually the kid stops for a bit.... but in every instance I can think of, has gone right back.  Usually there's two parents / adults there, and what has happened several times... AFTER I have already told the kid to not touch, the kid resumes touching, and one of the parents points out out to the other parents, hey the kid is touching the stuff again.  (why they don't tell the kid no, but rather point out to the other parent, I don't know).  Here's the best part -- the parent they tell, in almost every instance has turned to them and said something like, "oh it's ok, I'll fix it before we leave."  Now, I probably don't need to tell you that they, in fact, do NOT fix it before they leave.

This is a problem for two reasons.  First, these are small pieces, and even for not-so-young children, could easily be a choking hazard.  Apparently this isn't a concern for parents, nowadays.  Second... when they leave, I have to re-sort all the parts!  The last time this happened, they were so messed up, I literally had to dump out all the bins and re-sort them all.  This took about an hour or so for me to individually sort all those little parts into their bins.  This is time I should not have to spend!

See, when I was growing up, and going somewhere with my parents, before we'd even leave the house, my parents would remind me, "now, don't touch anything."  Then, as we'd be walking into the store, they'd again remind me, "remember, don't touch anything."  Apparently this isn't a thing anymore!  But it made sense, because if I didn't touch anything, I couldn't touch anything that would potentially hurt me or mess stuff up for anyone else to have to fix or clean up.  Nowadays, it seems, the kids touch whatever they want, and the parents let them, to keep them occupied.  Now, I don't have kids, so I know a lot of people say, oh it would be different if I did.  No, it wouldn't!  If I was at someone's house and my kid decided to play with their obviously-not-toys and mess them up, I would tell the kid to knock it off!  Not only do I find it disrespectful that the kid isn't listening to me, you know, an adult asking them to not do something, but I also find it disrespectful that the parents don't seem to care what I said, cause they let their kids do the exact opposite!  That's just not right.  I shouldn't have to "hide" my needed tools, to the inconvenience of myself, because people can't seem to control their kids.  I find this maddening.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

People Trying to Steal -- REALLY?!?

So... this was from the last expo we had... we were at the AAE, and it was a bit dead.  Me and Jim are standing at the booth and these two girls walk up, late teens / early 20's.  They're looking at the herbs and talking, and occasionally looking up at us.

Not sure what Jim saw, but he says to me, "I bet they're going to try to walk off with those."  I didn't notice anything, but sure as shit, we turned away for a second and they walked across the aisle.

Still trying to give the benefit of the doubt, I said to Jim, "oh maybe something caught their eye..."... and then they HIGHTAILED it around the corner.  Yeah, no.

I said, loud as shit, "EXCUSE ME!!" and quite a few people, including the two girls, turned around.  "Oh, we need to pay here?"

They did buy the items, a whopping $8.25 of herbs.  But I mean... clearly trying to steal from a rescue.  Not that it's never happened before... but people are sometimes shits.  That is all.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Important of Correct Paypal Addresses

So... I know I've talked before about how communication is important... and it sure is... but also... having the correct paypal address is important.  This happens rarely, so this isn't something that the average person needs to be concerned about, but when you set up your paypal account, you are prompted to enter an address.  You then have the option to verify that address (how that's done, I don't recall... I've had my paypal forever).  Anyway, you do not need to verify the address.

However... when you buy something through paypal, I receive the address you input (which you can select / change when purchasing your item) as the address to ship the items to.  Should your address have a problem, when I go to ship to it, paypal will show that and will prompt me to edit the address.

Here's the problem -- I don't know what any of your actual addresses are.

So... should the address be wrong, but not obviously wrong (for example, you put 123 Main Street, and it's really 132 Main Street)... I will not know, and you may not receive your package.  Should you reach out and tell me you never received the package, I will likely confirm your address and when we see it's incorrect, go from there.

But then, some addresses are blatantly wrong, and those are the ones paypal catches.  For example, I had one address from a recent order, where the street address (123 Main) was something like 35235.  That's it, just number.  I didn't notice this immediately, but then when I went to pack up the order, I did, and paypal prompted me to edit the address -- I dunno how to correct -- so I reached out to the person.  In that instance, I just replied to the email that paypal sends me, which is always titled Notification of Payment Received, which includes the order.  When you reply to an email like that, it replies to the buyer.  I kept it short and sweet and basically just said, you know, could you please send me your correct address as it's incorrect in paypal.

Few days go by, no reply.  Well, I figure, with an email titled like that, maybe it went to spam or something, so I copy and paste the email into a new email and title it something along the lines of, Question about NWI Chins order.  Email a bit longer version explaining the address issue, explain I have emailed previously and not received a response, and because this is the second email at this point, I explain that if I haven't revived a response by the end of the day on the 19th, I will refund the order.  Why?  Because I can't ship it without the correct address or without someone contacting me to inform me of the correct address.

So see, not only is it important to keep your paypal address correct and up to date... this again goes back to... communication is important.  If this person does happen to reach out to me and tell me their correct address, I will happily go in there and update their address and mail their package out (which is already packed up and just awaiting that address).  That is all.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Some people think they're so clever...

So... I would post screenshots, but... no, you know what?  I'll post screenshots.  Hold up on those.

I save texts.  If we're having a conversation and you're set to come over on Monday and we set the time at 1 pm (this is not a post about being on time, but just for example), I will wait until you show up to delete those texts.  Now, I do that MAINLY because I want to be sure I have your number and I can reach you, to reach out, should you not show up, or should I need to reach you last minute like to cancel or reschedule or something.  But... it also shows me when you're not being completely honest. 

Case in point...

Wrong number, eh?  Liar, liar, pants on fire.  I took the screenshots, blurred out the emails and numbers, and deleted the text.  If they don't want to adopt, fine.  But don't try to lie and say, oh wrong number... when it's clearly not.  I could have fun with them and send screenshots... but it wouldn't do any good.  If they've decided not to adopt, they've decided not to adopt.  But how stupid... just say so.  That is all. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Persistent... vs. Annoying

So, this may be a matter of opinion, and I totally understand that, but I want to share with you an example, as it's a good example of the difference between being persistent and showing interest, and turning into what an annoying pest.

Let me begin.

I posted one of our young guinea pigs up for adoption, fully aware that her color (the silver agouti) is a bit unusual and not often seen in rescue.  Almost immediately, someone contacted me, interested, that night.  I sent her the adoption form and told her I would need a deposit to hold and so on.  She has emailed back in appropriate time frames and everything, and at this point, she has sent me an adoption form (which I now need to look at) and sent me the email that I should send the invoice to.  This is reasonable.

On the other hand... I was at the expo the following day, and the phone rang.  First time, no message left.  Two minutes later, rings again, same number, they leave a message.  I'm at the expo, and I can't hear the phone all that well (not even at the expo, just normally), so I figure I will listen to it later.  So then the person texts me.  She explains in the text that she has emailed twice, and called.  I go to look and see how long ago the emails were, as I'm thinking, ok maybe I missed them from a few days ago or something.  She had sent both emails within the last 30 minutes.

Anyway.  In the texts, I tell her, there's someone else ahead of her interested in the guinea pig.  She tells me she would start driving here now if she thought that would help (it wouldn't... we're only first come first served if I don't already have someone in the process of adopting) and she tells me she's very upset that she's going to miss the guinea pig, she's just sick about it.  I tell her, I will let her know what happens with the first person interested, and I will get back to her.  She continues texting me, and eventually asks how long they have (I said somewhere they have a deadline).  Now, stupid me, I told her, but I should have told her it's none of her business, but I told her, they had until the end of the next day, or a bit more within reason if they are making an effort.  She has called two more times today and texted multiple times, asking, "did they follow through???"  Honestly, I am ignoring it all at this point.  No feeding the troll.  HAVE SOME PATIENCE, PEOPLE.  This is annoying.

I think, a lot of this may stem from the fact that we can get everything NOW.  You want food?  They can deliver it.  You want a furnace filter?  Order it on Amazon Prime and it can show up within 2 days.  That's fine, but... and this may come as a surprise to some people... I have a lot of animals up for adoption, which means that whoever I'm talking to is NOT the only person I'm talking to, and, as I am one person, that means someone has to have a modicum of goddamn patience and WAIT.

People like the one that won't leave me alone about the guinea pig... should the first home fall through, her pestering me to death makes it so that I would not even want to message her.  Maybe you find that mean of me, but that's just how I feel.  Irritating me to death isn't endearing for you. 

Now, this is a bit of an extreme (albeit true) example, but here's more what I feel is what I would consider persistent.  Maybe you sent an email, or a facebook message, or whatnot, and you don't hear back... within a day or two, not an hour (important to note.. also, still have other customers, no matter how you contact me)... then by all means, give me a call or send a text.  But contacting me on every method possible within 30 minutes just cause I haven't responded?  Little much, sorry...

Clearly Not Reading Posts -- Craiglist Style

So, I opened up my inbox today, and I had multiple posts about many of my craigslist ads for the chins.  Not necessarily a bad thing and mostly spaced a bit out, so it didn't make me think it was the same person.


When I opened them, they all read:

"Hey I saw your post and was wondering if he came with the cage and everything"

Had this been to one post, I can sometimes understand, but this was for 14 posts, one of them being my sale post that doesn't even list a specific chinchilla.  Here's the funny thing.  Out of all the posts they inquired about, two of the posts were for chins that CAN come with their cages / accessories... the rest just specify (as all my ads do), something along the lines of, this chinchilla comes with 2 pounds of food, a goodie bag, and a printed out version of our care packet.  Myself, personally, I would read that and assume, that's ALL the chin comes with (as in, they're not also throwing in a cage and just not mentioning it).

In case you're curious... I did not respond to any of these messages.  Clearly, they not only DIDN'T READ to see what it says the chin doesn't come with, but I'm POSITIVE they didn't read any of the chin descriptions either.  I'm not so dying to have chins leave as to waste my time on someone like this.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Black Friday / Small Business Saturday

So, if you follow the facebook page at all, you know that we had a sale for Black Friday / Small Business Saturday.  We usually have a Black Friday Sale with an open house type thing, but since SBS was Saturday, this year we extended it to be a two day open house.

We had a great time meeting everyone!  We had a decent amount of adoptions, some pre-scheduled, some people that we'd talked to online that decided that Fri / Sat was a good day to stop by, some people we just met that day!  All great people.  We paired up some chins, and all in all, these chins went home:

a white ebony curly carrier female
a beige female
a black velvet male
a dark ebony female
a violet male
and Fluffy!

In addition... we had three chins that are now on hold with full payments and will be picked up around Christmas:

the white violet male
Bella & Luna

Yes, we are four weeks out from Christmas, and yes, we only hold for 14 days... but I will soon be posting on our website that we can board chins if people would like them held longer.  Some of you may be aware of us boarding chins in general, well now that people are asking about it for the holidays, might as well post that it's available, eh? 

For everyone's info, boarding is $15 per week per cage (so should you be boarding 4 chins all in separate cages, that can't be combined, you're at $60 per week).  For people wanting to hold chins, we are still doing our 14 day holds, which means there's currently still 2 weeks of boarding between now and Christmas.  Just for reference.

In addition to our chin sale, we also had our used cages at 25% off and our carriers all down to $7.  In addition, we had some safe chin wheels for sale.  We actually only sold one carrier, but that's ok, we sold 3 chin spins and several big cages!

This weekend is usually a great weekend for us, but like the expo a few weeks ago that surpassed all expectations, this weekend went above and beyond!  Between the adoptions, cage sales, chin spin sales, supply sales, and all that good stuff, the weekend brought in $1715,50!  Believe it or not, we've had more profitable weekends than that, but that's pretty well up there!  On our way to re-building what we had before the money was stolen!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Chicago Pet Show -- Kane County

So, if you follow all of where we've been lately, you know it's been a busy month or two!  We FINALLY have a week of no expos... but I have a sale and this weekend is Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, so... you know what that means... MORE sales! 

But first, let me share with you what an awesome expo we had at Kane County last weekend.  We adopted, not one, not two, not three, but 11, yes ELEVEN animals!  Let me share with you some pictures of the adoptions:

Forgot to get a pic of a few of the adoptions, but here's who we had adopted:

Cardi B -- baby female guinea pig
pink white female chinchilla kit
Rufus -- baby male guinea pig
four female rats (two pairs)
Peanut Butter -- young female guinea pig
Bosco -- dark ebony male chinchilla
tan female chinchilla
Charlotte -- 7 year old standard grey female chinchilla

And some pics:

tan female chinchilla

Rufus -- baby male guinea pig

pair of female rats

pair of female rats

Peanut Butter -- young female guinea pig 

Bosco -- dark ebony male chinchilla

Charlotte -- standard grey female chinchilla

We also had a great expo in general.  Many people have heard me say that the more rescue-centered expos tend to be better for exposure, but not so much for adoptions / sales... this one just apparently had to prove me wrong!  But let me share with you how unusual this is... in all the years we've been doing expos (maybe 7-8? and I do mean the rescue-expos, not the AAE), we've never adopted out more than 1-2 chins or other animals per expo.  Most expos, we have not adopted out anything.  We started out in the fall adopting out a chin at the Chicago Pet Show -- Libertyville, and here, we adopted out a whopping 11(!!) animals!  Who-hoo! 

For the sales part of it, similar sort of thing.  The three Chicago Pet Show expos are the best of the rescue-themed expos as far as all of the ones we attend, as far as sales.  Many places we go and sell nothing, but of course, get exposure.  Well, at the Chicago Pet Shows, we usually can expect to break $100 in sales, maybe $150 if we're super lucky (over two days).  Want to know just how insane Kane County was this year??  We sold a whopping $531.00 in SUPPLIES!  Talk about insane, right?

So, you're probably wondering, ok, with the animals adopted and supply sales being that high, how much was brought in over the weekend?  Well, let me tell you!  Between the animal adoptions (and the final number is a tad skewed because the tan female and pink white female were babies that were being picked up at the expo, not actual "rescues" being adopted, but...) and sales and whatnot, we made a whopping $1,176!  All of this is helping to replenish the money stolen back in April, but of course, first and foremost, to keep this place going!  Thanks to everyone for their support!

I have to give thanks to my super great helpers.  Jim was there and walked around with our chins during the presentation so people could pet them, and then Chris was at the booth with us and helped the people with adoption forms, questions, helping with signs... she did a little of everything (as she always does).  Everyone who helped out was awesome!  Thanks for all the help!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Little Quick Updates

So, this will, for once, be a quick post with little updates.

Remember those three custom cages that I built and was stuck with when the buyer flaked out?  The last one sold a few days ago! Who-hoo!  Now I have room to set up, clean, and offer for sale some of our other used cages (that were previous blocked in by those custom cages).


You know how I'm always talking about how volunteers are great... when they show up?  Tis the season!  I had someone email about volunteering (need to get back to them), and also, two people call.  The one called and wanted to come as soon as possible, as she has 40 hours to do and wants to get them done sooner rather than later.  We agreed that she could come the following morning (she called in the evening) and I would have preferred a little later in the day, but she said, she'd be here at 10.  10 goes by, 10:15 goes by... about 10:30 she calls and says something went wrong with her phone, and she needs her phone charged while she's here (cause apparently I have no plugs? you all can charge your phones while you're here, in case that needs clarification), and so she's gonna finish charging it and then walk here, and it's about a 30 minute walk.  Assuming she was charging it from dead, I'll be generous and say ok, maybe that takes 30 mins, plus the 30 minute walk, so she shoulda been here before 12 noon.  As I write this, it is 5:45 pm and she never called or showed up again.

I did get another call though from someone else who has court ordered community service they need to do.  I told them they would have to start next week, as I have stuff going on this weekend, and they said they will call me back next week and we'll work something out. They were thrilled that they could come potentially in the evening, so hopefully this one will pan out.


Two of our long-term residents at the rescue were adopted.  And even, TOGETHER!  Chili Mac (who has been fostered in Island Lake for awhile now) and Layla went to their new home together, a few days ago.  Their new mom, Katelyn, had intended to adopt Chili Mac back in April (both have been here 1.5+ years), but then found some other needy chins to adopt, and knew that ours would stay in good hands, while those chins, eh maybe not.  So, she took home the other chins... but then was an awesome person and contacted us when she wanted to open her home to even more chins!  Yay!  So she contacted us and asked about Chili Mac and also asked about other potentially difficult to adopt out chins, and that's where Layla came up (if you're not familiar, she was the 10 year old hetero beige culled breeder with the watery eye), and she ended up taking the two home!  She's hoping to bond them, with very slow intros, but if not, not the end of the world.  Yay for those two girls finding homes!


Another success story is ChiChi, now known as Buddy.  ChiChi was an 8.5 year old standard grey fur chewer.  Very sweet chin, but the young standard greys aren't super desirable, much less a senior one.  Well, one of my previous fosters (turned foster failure... twice... so they don't foster any more haha) occasionally would ask me about if I had a chin that I thought would pair with their Benny (one of the foster failure chins).  This time when they asked, ChiChi came to mind.  They brought Benny over, we did a quick intro to see that the two wouldn't absolutely hate each other (they didn't) and then the family continued the intros at home, and now a few days later, the chins are sleeping cuddled up all together.  Let's hear it: awwwwwwwwww.


And lastly... that same foster failure family, Claire & Paul, asked me if I had an air purifier, when we were talking about rescue needs.  I specified, I have an air scrubber  (basically, a commercial unit... cost ~$1800 a few years ago.. for a refurbished one... so a very nice unit), but the sterilizing bulbs burnt out and my last filter finally went out... right in April after all the money was stolen.  So, it's been sitting like a big paperweight, about $300ish short of parts, since then.  Well, Claire and Paul are awesome, and wanted to contribute, so they donated $300 towards us getting the parts!  I have since reached out to the company, and they got me a new estimate today (see below), and we will be getting the parts and the air scrubber back up and running soon!  YAYYYY!!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

If you lie to me, don't think I don't know.

Remember that chin that was surrendered to the vet's office due to abuse, and the vet called me to make sure I didn't adopt the family any more chins?  This post --

They texted me today, asking if I wanted to buy the cage.  At first, I was nice.  I asked, what happened to the chin.  I figured you know, they didn't respond in a few days after I got that call from the vet, when I asked how the chin was, and then when I emailed the adoption paperwork to the mom, and asked her how things were going, so I thought (stupidly, but you know) they'd be straight up and tell me the chin died, or whatever.  NOPE!!!!!

Be honest, people.  I often know more than I let on.  And I was not having a good night.  So, here was the convo:

I suppose this is probably needless to say, but I never got a response... which tends to be an admission of guilt.  So, there's that.

I also never did hear back from the vet, so I imagine the chin did pass.  RIP those two poor chinnies... and the third is still here, looking for a home.

That is all I can handle for tonight...

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Dust at PetStores vs. Here

So, the other day I was at Petsmart getting dog food and I happened to walk down the small animal aisle and I saw the dust and it made me think to post this...

Now, I get people all the time who get a chin here, but then when I ask if they need any other supplies, they say, "no, they'll go to the pet store on the way home."  Of course, that is their choice, but I usually mention that supplies are cheaper here, and that's why I offer.  Some get supplies here, some go to the pet store.  Of course, the pet store has set hours and I can understand that it is convenient (potentially considerably more convenient at times), but I wanted to share an example I found with you from Petsmart, of why I even mention the cost.

This is the dust the Petsmart in Schererville carries.

In case you can't read that, the large one contains 3 pounds and is $13.49, and the small one contains 13 ounces (16 ounces is a pound... so less than a pound) and is $7.69.

Compare this to here, where we charge $1.25 per pound for dust.  Often, we even have those same jars, as a lot of people drop them off here and we wash and refill with our dust.

So, for our prices... the 3 pound jar would cost $3.75 and the 13 ounce jar would be $1.00.

While I understand convenience making a difference... to me, my perspective... $3.75 versus $13.49... and $1.00 versus $7.69... I'd make an effort to go the cheaper route.  But, that's just me.

And this price difference is why I offer... I hear people often comment that chinchillas are so expensive... my reply is always -- it depends where you shop (and often these are the same people that I know I sell supplies, yet choose to go to the pet store instead, lol).

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Questions About Orders

This happens rarely, but now and then...

In the current batch of orders that went out this morning, I had one order that included a cuddlebuddy.  I didn't even realize there was one still listed on the site, as all the ones listed had already sold.  You got it... that one up there wasn't available.

I emailed the person with the order immediately after the order was placed, informing them of this, and asking if they'd like to see the cuddlebuddies that I currently have.  I explained what the base colors / designs were, and I also explained that if she didn't like those, I'd be happy to refund that part of the order, or even the whole order.

I never heard back.

That was about a week ago now, and I feel enough time has passed, so I packed up the other item in the order and mailed it out.  I will now be sending another email (as I always do when orders ship) with info on tracking, refunded shipping, etc etc... and in this one, I will also mention, I sent an email on this day, because I didn't hear back, I will be refunding that item....

It frustrates me that I can't get in touch with this person.  Did they want a cuddlebuddy of a different color?  Maybe, I don't know.  Maybe they'd want a refund of the whole order... I don't know.  But without a response, I have to pick (99% of the time, a refund for that item).  For me, I find it super important that whatever email is associated with a paypal account... actually has someone occasionally looking at it.  Because my not-knowing-what-to-do-without-input would be alleviated, if this person would check their email and respond./

Again, this doesn't happen often... but now and then...

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Soaps! (for people)

Did you see we have soaps available?  If you didn't, guess what, we do!  Soaps for people are now available on the webstore.

We currently have both loofah soaps and regular soaps.  Some Halloween designs and some everyday designs.  Let me share some pics...

We had these soaps at the last expo and had a few people looking at them.  Like any new product, it'll take a little time to take off!..... but unfortunately, it takes no time for someone to decide to steal a soap out of a four-pack :(  

I'm sure I have an extra to throw in there, but this just boils my blood.  But anyway, we now have soaps available!  $6 each or 2 for $10!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Custom Cages Fiasco

Let me start by saying that this post will likely be LONG, and that the only reason I didn't do screenshots is because again, there'd be a million and a half of them.  So, here goes...

So, now that I've had time to calm down and count to like 10,000, I can write about what happened with those custom cages.  In case you missed it, this whole thing blew up on the NWI facebook page, when I eventually posted the cages for sale, and the people tried to "defend" themselves.  Ok, but from the beginning:

2/1/18 -- I get an email from this person.  It reads:

I was wondering if I bought the 3 cages from you could you transform the cages for me like you have for your chins where it's all wood inside. We are waiting to get our tax return back so that's when I would be able to pay for them. I was wondering if you could make one of the cages a little more handicap friendly for peanut since she only has three legs, one of them will be shared by 2 females Mia & Eve and then I have Daisy. I'm hoping if you can't that's fine I can buy them from eBay I would like all three cages to have a swing, some kind of rectangular boxes or square boxes at the top of the cages but honestly however you have free creative range over this. I also needed fleece liners for the bottom of the cages. I'm just trying to stick to a budget of 1300.00. I looked everything up on eBay and Amazon and with cages I'm going to spend 1600-2900.00 and I really can't afford that. So I was hoping you could me and the girls. Talk to you later. 

We talk on 2/11 on facebook messenger, where I ask her about some specifics for the cages.  She says what I'm talking about is fine, and asks how much we're looking at.  My response:

I don't know, and honestly, I won't until I start putting them together. It is almost impossible to like plan out a cage on paper. When I try, most times all the stuff doesn't even come close to fitting into the actual cage. Less than $1300 for sure, but I mean, the three cages you sent pics of were so different, that was another thing I wanted to ask... one has larger shelves, one has more of the houses hanging up in the air, one has more like stepping stone shelves... I mean, I'm happy to mix it up and I figured you probably didn't want all three cages identical, but you gave me enough ideas to do about 20 cages

Her response included this:

Before you start working on them I can text you when we get our taxes back then that way I can pay you right away for them.

...and that was the last time she ever talked about paying that didn't involve some sort of delay (remember this, this is important later).

We continue talking about cage specifics, and that same day, I send this message:

Ok. Are you able to let me know when you like officially want me to start on these, like say two weeks-ish from when you want them picked up? The reason I ask is cause I don't keep three in stock like ever (too much money tied up in cages), so I'll have to order three and have them off to the side for you, and I don't want to do that too much in advance. Does that make sense/

So, this should not be a surprise later, when I complain about the cages tying up too much money and stock, because they've sat around forever...

Her response 2/18:

I just looked it up. We are supposed to have our taxes back by the 22nd so I can text you as soon as I get the email that they are there. It's up to you but I can get a money order for however much you would like and send it to you or if you send me a PayPal I can send the money to you that way. We are having our son in law follow us up to your house when they are ready to come get them

My response 2/18:

Ok. Once I have the cages together, I can let you know the cost, you don't have to pay ahead of time or anything. I'm a bit backed up on orders at the moment, so it may have to be a bit more time before I can start on them, because otherwise the orders stay backed up, I'm sure you understand...

Her response 2/18:

I understand. Just let me know of about a time frame and i will make sure to have money put back for you. So i have an idea are we thinking under a 1,000.00 for the job. And yes i completely understand you do have a lot going on and making 3 cages is time consuming. Thank you for giving me heads up

So, somewhere in there, we must have texted (because I don't have it on messenger), but I remember talking back and forth, and asking about if it was a good time to make the cages.  This was in late May / early June... and the reason I texted asking if it was a good time, was because although she had said that she would let me know when she was ready... she never had.  She said yes, good time. 

Fast forward to June 7th.  I get a message from her asking if I'm working on the cages.  My reply:

Yes! I actually built the third one (just the cage frame so far) yesterday so I’m hoping in the next week or two I’ll have the cages done. I’m out of town mon- wed I don’t anticipate this upcoming week but soon!

Her reply:

Ok I can pay you at the beginning of July or August. Which ever one. I will have to rent a truck to come up there and get them.
Thank you for doing this for us my girls will be so happy in their new homes

My reply:

No problem. I will let you know as soon as I have them done for you 🙂 and whenever you can get up here is fine

Her reply:

That's fine thank you

Fast forward to June 9th.  I send a message:

I’m about done and didn’t end up putting wheels on cause i figured I wasn’t sure how exactly they were going to be in the truck on the ride home and if they’re standing up on wheels the bouncing Could possibly break the wheels. I have the wheels for you, I think it’d make more sense to stick them on when you get them home. Few more days for sure and they’ll be done. Just waiting for some stuff to dry

Her reply:

Ok thank you. How much do I owe you. I can come get them Saturday September 1st. I just can't do it in August because I have to get all three kids school clothes and supplies.

Notice, we went from where she would pay at the beginning of July or August, whichever I preferred, to the beginning of September... almost 2 months from July 9th, when the cages were about done.

My reply:

I would not have gotten them ready anywhere near this early, if I thought you didn't want them for a month and a half
I have no idea what my schedule is that far away
I'll send you a message when I know my schedule better closer to then

Her reply:

Ok that will work

I then send pics of the three cages.  Her reply:

They are awesome I can't wait to get them. I super sorry I can't come until September 1st. Its truly because Andy's wages are being garnished and I have ssi but the 3 kids start school August 2nd and I have to use all of Augusts ssi to pay for clothes and shoes for the kids plus book fees. How much so I owe for the cages

My reply:

there's always some expenses, I get it! I'd have to look for the exact amount (I have it on a sheet downstairs) but it was around $700. Under $700, but around there

So, then we continue to talk a bit about the cages and whatnot.  Fast forward to middle of August, and I try to message her.  When I hit "send" on the message, it shows up "this person is not accepting messages at this time."  Well, I thought that was odd, because that's what shows up when someone blocks you.  Ok, whatever, so I have this person's phone number, so I call and text her.  A few days go by, no response.  I'm thinking this is highly weird, but I keep thinking to myself, no, I know these people, they wouldn't do this crap, and so I also have the daughter as a fb friend, so I message her and I tell her, I can't get a hold of the mom.  Long story short, turns out, the mom says she accidentally blocked me when trying to block another Ashley G.  Possible, but, eh... not sure I believe it.

So, the immediate order of business, why I was messaging her in the first place, was to set up the pickup date for the cages, September 1st like she said.  August 20th, message from her:

Um please dont be mad I have it figured out it's just going to take me a couple weeks longer. On August 31st I have to get my back breaks and my lower sway bar replaced and it's about $900.00 to fix so what I was going to do is on September 9th we make a pretty good amount of money on parking cara for brickyard so I was going to use that money to pay you for the cages. So any weekend after September 9th let me know what works best for you and I will rent a uhaul for that weekend and we will come up there on a Saturday mid morning early afternoon. I'm sorry for the delay I didn't know when I took my car in for an oil change they were going to find things wrong

*sigh*  We end up settling on the 15th, at 5 pm.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, they never show.  And what's the kicker of all of this, my entire night was filled with appointments, AND I had someone call and want to come by at 5 pm. I told them, sorry, no can do, too busy with appointments (and with three cages to haul up the stairs and into a u-haul, it would take all the time I allotted).  They've never called back.  So, I potentially missed out on an adoption that I potentially could have had... had I known these people weren't going to show.

So I reach out.  September 16th:

Hey there. Looks like you missed your appointment yesterday. I wanted to first make sure everything was ok? Secondly, I want to honestly ask if you still intend to purchase these cages that I've completed for you. We had an agreement about a certain timeline, which has already been pushed back several times. I would very much like to gain the valuable space back in my work area that they have been occupying for quite some time, as well as the financial resources tied up within them. I did not expect them to be here this long, so I would appreciate some honesty. If you still want them, we need to arrange a pickup as soon as possible.

I also texted her.  Called her.  No response. 

September 17th, in the morning, I send the daughter a message on messenger.  Also no response.  Later September 17th, I send both mom and daughter messages that ask, are you getting my messages?  No response.

Fine, time for the big guns.  Later that day, I post on the mom's fb page and tag her in it, how we need to reschedule the appointment that she was a no-call no-show for, for the custom cages that were ordered but not yet paid for.  In so many words (now I'm officially blocked and can't see it... and I'm sure she deleted it).


Within two freaking minutes, the kid messages me:

Hey Ashley, my mom is currently in Michigan because my sister is in a serious situation so I called and talked to her and she wanted to know if we could set up a payment plan for $58 a week for 12 weeks. We got financially hit with several bills because my grandma switched them into our name without our knowing.

Um... no, she's not.  And I don't say that to be an ass, but let me explain how I know that.  In the days prior to the 9/15 pickup appointment, the mom had posted NUMEROUS times about the one kid having dental work at a place where they live (central Indiana, not Michigan).  The place was tagged in the posts, and when I saw those posts, my initial thought was, "I wonder if they're going to have the money for the cages."  But... I didn't want to be nosy and whatnot, so I let it go, figuring, they would let me know if they weren't going to make the pickup appointment (ha ha, I know, hindsight is 20/20).  So, unless the mom dropped everything and went to Michigan that morning (2 days after missing my appointment and seemingly intentionally ignoring me...), no, she wasn't in Michigan.

Now, the grandma switching bills into their name.  You can't just do that willy nilly.  So, that sounds like another excuse to me.  By the way, if there is a way to switch bills into someone else's name without their consent (which there isn't, but for discussion sake...), someone needs to let me know, so I can get someone else to pay MY bills.  I mean, I'm not THAT stupid.

And finally... the payment plan.  If you read this whole post... you probably can gather why that didn't sound like a great idea to me.  Every time they needed to pay or money was mentioned, more excuses came up.  Every time pickup was mentioned, excuses came up, and they needed to pick up later.  So, in my opinion... how was I to know they'd pay the payments?  How was I to know they'd pick up the cages?  From September 17th, 12 weeks is the middle / end of December.  You're going to tell me that when there's very possibly snow on the ground, that wouldn't be a potential excuse for why they couldn't come get the cages? 

My response:

Sorry, no. Your mom told me back in February she wanted the cages. I thought that meant that you all had the money, and I even checked with her before I started on them in June. In July, when I was done, she said sorry, wait until September 1st. Then, September 1st didn't work, but for sure she said she'd have the money after September 9th. I understand things happen but I have already held onto these cages, and consequently, am $700 in the hole and struggling paying MY bills because those cages should have been picked up months ago. I can’t wait another 3 months for pickup, and honestly, I’m not sure that I believe they would be picked up, because then who knows what the weather will be like, and if it’s snowing, I’m not sure whether the effort would be made to come get them, paid for or not. I do not have the room to endlessly store these things. You guys have been here, you know that. I am going to list them for sale. Should they happen to be here in December when you have money for them, you are welcome to buy them, but I am no longer holding them for you, as it has been one excuse after another why they cannot be paid for and picked up.

Her response:

Then sell them. I’m sorry that our financial issues have been such a burden for you. I guess we will be finding business elsewhere. Have a good rest of your day.

...and so I posted them for sale.  I really wanted to reply and mention how it didn't seem to matter to them, that I had all the money tied up in cages for them, and MY financial situation was of no concern to them...but I refrained. 

I nicely let it be and posted them for sale.  Someone asked what happened, and I posted about how someone had ordered custom cages, kept delaying payment and pickup, and now offered a payment plan that I wasn't happy with, so they were available.  I never named names or anything.

Well, they apparently couldn't hold back, and the previously so silent people posted on my post about how horrible I was for not accepting their payment plan.  How dare I not work with them!  Wtf?  I'd worked with them since the beginning and held these cages since middle of July with no payment, and I was supposed to wait until almost Christmas?  No.  Sorry, not sorry.  NOT HAPPENING.

Then, and this was an absolute hoot, they literally posted (and this is still in the fb post, you're welcome to read it if you'd like, it's funny), that they offered to give me $800 and I wouldn't take it.  I can prove, with screenshots, that NEVER HAPPENED.  They asked twice what the cost would be, twice I said I'm not sure.  When I officially had a price for them, they never had money from that point on (even though, it was SIGNIFICANTLY less than their budget of $1300).  The best part was that they posted saying, "oh, if it had been under that amount, we would have just donated the rest."  Someone on fb went on that comment and called bs on that, saying yeah right, they're gonna have all these money troubles, yet donate all the spare money?  Not likely. 

Anyway, they had a huge hissy fit, and made it sound like I'm the bad guy.  Of course, you can make your own opinions from this, but to me... I ordered these cages only after confirmation that it was a good time to begin.  A month later, they were done, and payment was supposed to be that month or the next.  Then when I tried to contact, magically, I was blocked.  Then when I did get through, oh they had to wait until the following month.  Then when I reached out about a time, oh, later that month, sorry sorry.  Then they missed that appointment, and only contacted me back after I went to extensive lengths to reach them (oh, I should also add... they were active on facebook and messenger, and POSTING on fb for the entire two days they ignored me).  Excuses excuses, so to me, it makes sense to not mess with payment plan, which I feel would have been JUST as iffy as all of this, as far as whether it would have been actually paid, or what.  Or maybe they would have paid, and then delayed pickup forever.  But personally, I feel like I was plenty understanding of their situation, and at the point that I'd decided I was done, was a reasonable point.  At least in my opinion.  So, that's that. 

Two of the cages sold pretty quickly.  I still have one custom cage left, and I'm sure it will sell eventually.  Now, I have written up a custom item contract which requires half down of the estimated cost at the beginning, and approximate pickup dates and all, and even what happens if they don't pick up.  So, in the end, this was a useful learning situation.  Still a maddening one, but I did learn from it.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Waiting List Moving Quickly

So, I know I post about how it's impossible to know how quickly the waiting list will move, but I tell people, sometimes, even without a lot of adoptions, it moves quickly.  Let me share how that can happen with the current example.

As of 9/8, I had seven people on the waiting list.  I had room, so I called the first one.  That was someone who got chinchillas for the kids for Christmas, and the kids lost interest.  They brought their chins into the rescue.  These chins are Buddy and Princess.


Another larger cage opened up towards the end of the month, so on 9/30, I called the next person on the waiting list.  They were on the waiting list due to getting divorced and being unable to keep their chins.  I didn't get them on the phone call, so I left a voicemail.

You see, when I don't immediately have someone answer the phone, I leave a message saying who I am, why I'm calling, and basically explain that there is now room and I'd appreciate that they call me back, whether or not they need to bring the chins in.  That way, if they do need to bring them in, we can set an appointment for that, and if not, I will know and can move onto the next person.  So, for that person, I left a voicemail.  Also in the voicemail, I give them a time frame, for example, "if I don't hear from you by X day, I will assume you don't need to bring the chinchillas in, and I will move along to the next person on the waiting list.  However, I'd much rather hear from you..."

With this specific person, she had until the end of the day on 10/3, and I never did hear back from her.


On 10/4, I called the next person the list.  She was on the list due to her son having a chinchilla that he couldn't keep, and she was trying to help him find it a home.  Reached her, she said she found somewhere else to take them.


Called the next person.  She found a pet store that would take in the chinchilla and rehome it to a family that would make sure it got lots of time outside the cage, so she was super happy with that.  Moving along.


Called the next person.  He had taken in chins from a student who had moved back to China, but now he couldn't keep them.  Turns out, he found someone to buy the chins off him.  Moving along.


The next person I only had an email for (rather than a phone number), so I sent her an email on 10/4.

10/5 in the morning, received an email back, said she had already re-homed the chin.


Shortly after receiving the other email, I emailed the last person on the list.  She was on the list due to moving and not being able to take the chinchilla with her.  Turns out, something worked out and she WAS able to take the chinchilla with her!  Yay for her!  She wanted to make a donation though, and she ended up donating $25!  Who-hoo, thanks to Jennifer R!


So, in the course of a short period of time, we went from 7 people on the waiting list at the beginning of September... with only ONE person bringing in chinchillas, to having no waiting list at all.  So, sometimes it really does move quickly.  It just depends.

And before you wonder, maybe these people all found places elsewhere because they were on the list forever, know that the earliest person on the list was from the late middle of August (so about a month and a half), but that over half the list was from September, so very short waits for me to get back to them.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Showing! Or Lack Of...

So, some people were asking about why I haven't been posting about going to that many shows recently, as we've missed a few that we've attended in the past. 

As you may remember, my breeding herd moved to board at the Ritterspach ranch.  They are doing well, settling in, and actually breeding better than they were here... but it's still not quite been maybe 6 months since they've left.  Probably not even that long.  So, they're still settling in, and the chins that are being born are growing out.  It all takes time. 

Chins that are shown are typically 8-14 months old, and that means, from the time they're born... 8 months later, you might be able to show them.  In a perfect world, you pick out which ones look nice as youngsters, and hang onto those.  Sometimes that works out and those turn out to be the super nice show chins, but also what can happen is that as they grow out... they may not look as nice.  So, those end up going to pet homes.  Much of having something to show is picking which ones to hang onto, as youngsters.

That all said... I will be at a show soon!  The Ohio Claim show is coming up later this month, and with the re-organized Ohio Chapter MCBA, I am the new Secretary / Treasurer, so I get to have all sorts of fun figuring out how all that works... including the claiming part... for my first show!  Make sure you all come out and claim animals so that I have lots and lots of paperwork to do, lol.  I may or may not have a vendor table there, that has yet to be determined, but of course, I can always bring things to the show if anyone wants anything specific.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Costs of Unusual Chinchillas

So, I get now and then, people asking why certain chins are more money.  Wanted to share this with you, as this is one example of why.  Earlier this week:

​The two chinchillas (attached images) are the two I'm interested in. Though I think we're just going to get one. Why is the 6 month old white ebony mosaic female $600? I know the fur pattern makes them rarer but $600 seems a bit high.

My response:

For the chinchilla costs, the $600 chin that you mentioned isn't that price due to her markings, she's actually that cost due to her genetic makeup.  You may have noticed that it says on her listing that she's a curly / locken carrier.  That's a special gene that results in a curly coat in chinchillas.  It's a recessive gene, so to produce a chinchilla that actually looks curly, you need two chinchillas that carry the gene, like that girl.  Most chinchillas in the world don't have that gene, as it has to be specifically bred for, and that's the reason for the higher price of that chin.  I understand that you're looking at the chinchilla for a pet, but even so, she has the gene, and that makes her cost higher.

In case you were curious...

Tuesday, October 9, 2018


I feel like we just talked about this, but location is such a big issue.  I get people all the time, one in particular that made me think to write this, where we're several emails deep into the conversation of the chin they want and them getting it and whatnot... and then they spring it on me... they're in another country.


I don't know if maybe people think that getting animals from one country to another is less difficult than, you know, GOING to another country, but it's not.  Remember the last time you went to another country?  Even for Mexico / Canada (for those of us in the US), you need a passport.  If I want to take chins over, I need a passport, vet certificates, etc etc etc.  I'm not 100% sure on exactly all that is needed, but what I do know is that it's complicated.  To drive an animal into another country isn't super bad, but to ship one in requires certain permits and whatnot... which I don't have. 

So, when we're waist deep in a conversation about what chins someone is getting, and everything else, and then it comes out that they're in another country... that conversation was for nothing.  Sometimes, depending on the country, I can refer them to a more local breeder, or at least, one in their country.  Sometimes not.  But for sure, I can't get them the chinchilla.

I guess it comes back to... how do they not think this is important?  It's another country!  If I have to explain why this is a vital piece of information, well...  it is.  Sorry, but I cannot get chins (or any animals) out of the country.

Monday, October 8, 2018

"Quality" and Pricing

This is one of those buzzwords that drives me insane.  Not necessarily the word, I suppose, but the way people are with it.

For example.  I get a lot of people emailing who want "good quality chinchillas," and some even specify, they'd specifically like "show quality."  That's fine and dandy and all, but in reality... every chinchilla can be shown.  I've shown rescues before, because they looked nice, and heck, why not.  Doesn't hurt anything.

However... that's the thing.  "Show quality."  What does that really mean?  I can assume, that means they want a nice chin, sure.  How nice, though?  Because a chin that's show quality, in my opinion, might get a 1st place, or a 2nd place... or heck, might get 1A, 1B, Class Champion, Phase Champion, Color Section Champion, Grand Show Champion... all these are "show quality" -- so which one do they want?  And further, that Grand Show Champ at a Claiming Day may only be a 2nd Place at Nationals, when the competition is much stiffer.

So, I try to narrow it down.  I've found out, this is an apparently stupid way of doing it, judging by responses, but I've asked people, ok, what is their price range.  Lord almighty, that is apparently a stupid question.  Either that, or a ridiculously difficult one, as NO ONE can seem to answer it.

Let's step back a second.  I'm not asking because I want to charge at the top of their price range.  I'm asking because I want to stay IN their price range.  If someone wants a show quality chinchilla, and wants to spend $150, chances are  (depending on the show of course, see above) that chinchilla will be a 1st or 2nd place animal (read: probably not a champion) and is going to have some more obvious faults.  Maybe the fur is laying down in one area.  Maybe it has a pinched neck.  Maybe it's got a halo / incomplete veiling.  Certain faults will bring down the price of a still "show quality" animal... while of course, the animal is still definitely show quality, but would need to be paired to a super nice, complimentary chin, in order to better the breed in the next generation.

In comparison, if someone wants to spend $200, the animal will be better.  $250, even better.  $300... you get the idea.  Champions are worth more, grand show champs are worth even more.  I've paid $500-600 for some grand show champs before.  At some point, we run out of "better," but the idea is that the better animals cost more.  This isn't a new concept, I mean, this is how life is.  Want the better computer?  Probably going to cost more money.

Again, I ask, because I want to know at what level of quality we are talking about.  If someone tells me they want to spend a certain amount and want it nice quality, I will look for the best quality animal at that price range.  That's where the difficulty comes in.  If someone tells me that they want super nice quality, without a price range... "super nice quality" is $$$ in my mind (and that's fine, if the person thinks so too).  So then, let's say I come back with an animal that is $$$ but also super nice... and the person is like, "oh well I wanted to spend only $"... chances are, there's a nice animal with that quality... but likely not the super nice, $$$ animal that I picked.  That's why I ask.  I want to match the best animal, quality wise, whatever wise, with what the person is able to spend.  I'm sure there's the right animal out there for everyone, but finding it requires some idea of pricing, at least to me (at least, without the person saying, I want one that could be Grand Show... which no one says either).

I have someone right now that gave me a list of criteria.  There were 3-4 colors that would work for her, she wanted a smaller chin (not the super beefy like we tend to see), but gorgeous fur, smaller ears, smaller face, so on and so forth.  And she even gave me a price range.  I found a chin that matched the look she wanted and the price range and showed her, and she was happy with it.  See, that is considerably easier than just saying "good quality" at least to me.  That's why I ask questions, not to make it difficult or be an ass, but so I can get the person the best chin possible that matches what they're looking for, and matches their budget.  That is all.