Saturday, March 31, 2018

Pets for Someone Else

I get a lot and I mean a LOT of people who want to adopt a pet for someone else.

If you're buying it for your best friend, I'll offer that you can buy a gift certificate and give it to your friend, or you can bring them over and you can pay... that sort of thing...

... because the thing is... half these people never know they're getting a pet, and so they get one and don't necessarily want it.  I won't even get into why that's a problem...

But I also get people who want to get pets for a family member.  If mom's getting a pet for her kids, that's one thing.  But auntie or grandma often get pets for grandkids or nieces or whatever... and in those cases, I will respond back and part of that response will include me asking, are the parents on board with this?

I suppose this shouldn't surprise me.... but people get offended!  Not everyone... but I can recall some specific instances where someone brought a pet home, NOT telling me it wasn't for them... and within a few days, said that the person who they bought the pet for... didn't really want it... they needed to return it.  Of course, that's not good for the pet.  So I ask.  I think it's a fair question, and I feel like if a person can't nicely answer that question...

... if the answer is yes... this should be easy.  If you ask if they're on board, and the answer is no, or they haven't talked it over with them, or that sort of thing... I feel like that is when people don't return my emails when I've asked that question... so I ask.  Sorry not sorry.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Lowball Offers

Now, there's a discount if you buy multiple chins or guinea pigs or geckos or whatever.  Re-homing two or more at the same time is a benefit to me, so I can lower the price a little.  The more you get, the more I'm willing to lower... but within reason.

Someone messaged me on Hoobly the other day, commenting on how nice the geckos looked and how well taken care of they appeared... and then asked how much for all of them.

Now... let's start off with the warning bells... only reason someone wants all of them... ESPECIALLY since most of them are males and cannot be bred... is to flip them.  I mean come on, I am NOT that stupid.  They could go for a lot more at a reptile show, I know.  But they are rescues.

Anyway... before I even have a chance to read that message, she sends another message, saying she'll offer $300 for all of them.  There were 19 geckos at that time, so this worked out to around $15 per gecko.  Want to know what that price is?  Wholesale gecko price... FURTHER indicating that this person wants to get them and flip them.  Um, NO.  They're in a fucking rescue.... not a garage sale, not someone trying to dump them off.  I HAVE THEM HERE because someone wanted them to find good homes, not be flipped for more money.

Knowing $300 was way too low of an offer, I thought, I'll add them up and see what they add up to.  Just for shits and giggles.  Came out to $1,080... works out to an average of $56 per gecko.  Which is hardly unreasonable, as even at the reptile shows where you can find dirt cheap geckos, about the only ones in the $40-60 range are these tiny little hatchlings, and most of the ones here are up to adult size... and reptile people who have come to adopt have commented how cheap they are.  You can imagine how irritated that makes me at an offer of basically $15 per gecko.

It's one thing for someone to ask, is there a discount on multiple.  But don't you think I'm too stupid to realize why you want ALLLLLLLL of the animals (and I've had people who wanted ALLLL the chins before or ALLLLL the guinea pigs too), at a significant discount.  This isn't the Toys R Us liquidation sale, people.  They will stay here until they find homes.  Not flippers.  Homes.  End of story.

Update! -- I got a message later that evening from the person lowballing, saying that they hadn't looked at the full ad, and thought that the geckos were $40 each.  They wished me good luck in rehoming them.  I mean, no offense... but that's STILL $760 for all the geckos, so $300 is still a super lowball offer.  Again... not about the money, but it does take a lot of effort and care (and crested gecko diet) to feed these things... something has to pay for all of that.  Just for quick reference, a 1 pound bag of CBD is like $35.  We mix two flavors, so that's 2 bags ($70) being fed at once, which only lasts maybe 2-3 months with as many geckos as are here... and if some are leaving, people are taking some of that food with them, so it goes even quicker.  It all ads up!  Anyway, I messaged the person back and said no worries, thanks for the well-wishes, and I let them know that I actually had someone coming to look at some geckos that night.

Later LATER That Night Update! -- The people looking for the geckos showed up.  Really awesome family with several kids that has multiple upon multiple tanks for their cresteds and other geckos and reptiles and is well-versed on reptile care.  They ended up taking 5 geckos home for $250 in adoption fees.  So much for $300 for 19 geckos...

Thursday, March 29, 2018

International Orders

So... I know that different places offer free shipping...but usually in-country, and usually large companies like Walmart or other similar places, on large orders where they are definitely making more in profits than they are going to spend on shipping.

That does not include small businesses.  Because our prices are lower to start with, we have to charge for shipping.  If we were to include it... at least for my products, many of the prices would literally double.

This is even more true for international shipments.  My shopping cart on my website is not set up for international shipments.  So... if you are from another country, it will let you check out... but it will not charge you shipping.

I realize that isn't the greatest, but I haven't found a way around it.  Also haven't found a way to set it for US-only orders.  Don't get me wrong, I'm fine with shipping an order to Canada or another country... but usually the cost is prohibitive.

Now... if I ordered something from a UK website and it didn't charge me shipping, I'd tend to think ok something isn't right, surely I need to pay shipping, let me check with the owner.  Maybe not everyone though...

I got a website message from someone who put in an order in Canada, asking how they could track their order, and when it would arrive.  I hadn't even realized the order was in Canada, as I usually realize that when I am writing out invoices.  Anyway, so I went and looked at their order so I could put into the USPS shipping calculator to see how much shipping would be.

They ordered three different herbs, 3 oz. of each.  Add a bubble mailer, up to 12 ounces (which is 3/4 pound).  Put this, Canada, and the province, and postal code into the shipping calculator... $16 for First Class International mail.  So, I emailed the person back, and let him know, hey, $17 for shipping... needs to be paid before I can mail out the order.  The order is only $22 (and this price issue is usually the case with international orders), so I told him, I understand if he doesn't want to pay that much, let me know and I can refund the order.  His response was basically asking if there wasn't any other cheaper shipping method (sorry, no... priority started at $25 for a small flat rate box... first class cheapest) and he said if not, he'd appreciate a refund.  Refunded.

If you want something shipped out of country (by me, anyway)... often best to ask before you put the order in... as I probably refund 95% of those international orders because shipping ends up ridiculously, cost-prohibitively high.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Changing Part of an Order

Wanted to post about this really quick due to something that happened in the last batch of orders...

Got an order for a hay holder and a shelf.  Had to build the hay holder, so that took a few days.  In the meantime (which was about a week later, due to me also being out of town), I received an email from the person ordering, saying they wanted to cancel the hay holder, and just get the shelf.

I emailed back saying that I'd refund for the hay holder when I sent out the shelf, so I could refund for excess shipping and the hay holder at the same time.

This is fine.  I'm not complaining.  I'm happy to change orders, when people contact me and let me know what they want. 

The reason I mention this is because sometimes, I have stuff ready to go, and I can get an order and literally grab the items and mail it out the same day.  So, if you want to make a change to your order, please contact me as soon as possible.  Because if I've already shipped out the order, not much I can do at that point.  The sooner you contact me, the better chance there is that I can add something or take something away from the order.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Spaying / Neutering Chins

So, I occasionally get people asking about if all the chins are spayed or neutered.  Based on how many chins I get into the rescue due to people thinking how cute it would be if Fluffy and Furry would have babies... and then get completely overwhelmed and need help... I often wish I could.

But no, unless they specifically say so, they are NOT spayed or neutered.

Fixing chins can be dangerous unless (even) if you have an experienced vet, as chins don't always do well with anesthesia, and sometimes, the way you find this out, is when your chin doesn't wake up.  Oops.

We currently have a pair of chins -- Henry & Sweet Pea -- senior chins where Henry is neutered.  They came that way... I wouldn't personally pair a male and female if I didn't want to breed, as it's just as easy to pair same-sex chins. 

I've once paid to spay a chin when she had internal bleeding coming from her uterus.  She didn't live through the surgery.

I had an adopter who adopted a little baby male chin.  Somewhere, they read that it was good to neuter the chin.  So, they attempted to do the responsible thing, and took him to the vet to get neutered.  What actually happened is sort of up for debate, but long story short, it seems like he went low blood sugar after the surgery (due to anesthesia or surgery complication? possibly), this wasn't handled correctly, and he passed.  Very sorry for the family.

On the other hand, I see people post online on facebook groups about their fixed chins.  It can go fine.  I can go badly.  However it goes, it's expensive.  Around here, it's ~$300 to fix a chin, and that's not including after care or any necessary bloodwork or prep ahead of time.  People already whine about the adoption fees (even for the adults, which tend to be $75-$100), so imagine if those were $375-$400... unfortunately, not a cost I can eat, and not a cost people will pay if included in the adoption fee. 

It's up to everyone to make their own minds about if they would want to fix their chins.  Honestly, there's no good reason other than medical necessity (like in my instance where the only way to stop the internal bleeding was to remove the uterus)... it doesn't change behavior, it doesn't stop the males from humping...all it does is prevent the chin from literally popping out a baby.  Which is fine, but in my opinion... not worth putting a chin through a major surgery when it's just as easy to intro a male to a male, or a female to a female, as it is to introduce a male to a female.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Mega Cage Order

So... while I acknowledge that the cages are not on the webstore, if you want one and email me, if it's currently available (they go in and out), I can probably get it sent to you directly from the manufacturer, for no more than what it costs if you were getting it from me.  Let's start with that.

So, I get an email from someone asking how they'd go about ordering a mega cage.  I explained the above to them, and said I would check and get back to them.  I checked, not available at the time.  I was out of town at the time this was going on, and I told this person, I could check and see if I had one in stock at home (when I got home, the following day) and if I did, I could check shipping on the cage from me.  However, I strongly advised the person that shipping would likely be expensive ($30-$40+) due to the size and weight of the box.  They said that's fine, let them know.

Get home, don't have one.  But someone else wanted that cage, so I went and looked again.  Available.  Cool!  But... $10 more.  I actually can get the cage for the same price as before, but I can't ship it to a different address from that seller, so if he wanted one, I'd have to go with the $10 more one (where I could change the delivery address).

So, I emailed the person and told them, I didn't have any at my place, but, they were in luck, they were back available from the manufacturer, and I could ship directly to him.  I explained that the price had gone up $10, and the cage would be $125 if we went with that option (as I can't eat 100% of my profit). 

I never heard back.

I thought I'd hear right back (as I had all the previous times) and that this person would be happy, as $10 more for the cage would be significantly less than me shipping the cage from my place... but I dunno... never did hear from them, and now this has been at least 10+ days ago... so... guess not.

But just so you're aware, if you want the large or mega cage, I may be able to ship one directly to you, for the same price as is on my website... just let me know... they won't be going on the website anytime soon, because of the sketchy availability...

Sunday, March 25, 2018


I tell you, when it's dry in the winter, and the static electricity is really bad... our chins look great!  Fur sticks straight out!  Haha.

I was grooming a chin for one of our adopters the other day, and part of grooming is using a lint roller to remove some of the dead hair.  Look at this...

Tell me that's not hilarious.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

"Wanting More Information"

You all know how much I hate to complain (yet I do, and do some more...), but this is one of those things that when I sit down and do emails all day... this one always gets me.

Someone will email me, saying basically, they read the ad I posted on a specific animal, and they would like more information.

.... on what?

Maybe when people ask that, it's crystal clear to them.  I'd personally like a more concrete question.  Typically, my ads say what the animal's personality is like, whether it gets along with other animals, what it looks like (in case the pics don't work), how handle-able it is, whether it bites...   so when people ask for more info, I don't know if they're asking about the adoption process, or whether the animal gets along with cats / kids / other animals, or what.

Rather than sending a long long LONG email with all the info that could possibly answer that question, I typically send an email back stating that I'm happy to answer any questions they have, what would they like to know.


I just about NEVER hear back.... which further irritates me when I see a "wanting more info" email... because I know how it's going to go.

I USED TO regurgitate the entire ad back into the email, along with some additional info... and asked if the person had more questions...and I about never heard back from those either.  So, that's how I ended up with my shorter response.  Aggravating... 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Updates to the Website

Got an email the other day from someone interested in one of the geckos, and they basically said, oh they saw the page hadn't been updated since the 9th (it's since been updated today... I removed the one gecko that was on hold w/ deposit and has since has gone home).

Maybe this is a surprise to some... but the reason the gecko page wasn't updated since the 9th... was cause there were no updates!  This is primarily a chinchilla rescue, so while we do adopt out guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, geckos, and other animals... they unfortunately don't find homes nearly as fast as the chins do.

Does the chin page sometimes change daily?  Sure!  Heck, sometimes I email someone back about an animal, and an hour later, someone shows up and adopts it.  Sometimes it's not up-to-date for very long.  But usually, for the other animals (whether geckos, or guinea pigs, or whatever)... usually those are pretty up-to-date... mainly because they don't move so fast.

Of course, everyone is welcome to contact and ask if the website is up to date or whether a certain animal is still available... but just cause you haven't seen an update, doesn't mean I haven't updated... it may be simply that there's nothing to update. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Weird weird people

So, if you've read these blog posts with any regularity, you probably have caught on that I get a lot of weird calls, texts, and emails, which I imagine is due to the fact that my phone number is all over the internet due to the chinchilla ads and gecko ads and website and all that fun stuff.

This one takes the cake though.

Got a text:

Them:  Hey, what's up?
Them:  Here's my new number.
Them:  Delete my old one
Them:  Save this one

Maybe it's just me... but when my friends change phone numbers, they tend to start it with, "hey, this is Angie..."  Because otherwise... I mean.... even for people who are legitimately my contacts, I have at least 70...

Me:  Who is this?

Them:  This is Chris
Them:  How are you?
Them:  I'm bored

Should mention... the only Chris I know (other than maybe adopters over the years... and I don't regularly keep in contact with any Chris's) is my mother.  And she didn't change phone numbers over the weekend so...

Me:  Chris who?

Them:  I need help making a decision
Them:  Should I change my number again?
Them:  I keep getting bizarre texts from the person's friend who had this # before me
Them:  Take a listen to this as an example
Them:  *sends some sort of file*

Me:  Go away

(honestly... re-read the part above about "I don't know any Chris's" (and my mom wouldn't text me and say... "this is Chris,"... it's somehow a scam or a virus or whatever)

Them:  What?!?!?

Me:  The only Chris I know is my mom.  I'm not listening to a file from a random person and I know my mom didn't change her number

....and the #1 way you know it's some scam rather than someone who really thinks they know me...

Them:  Go fuck yourself
Them:  I don't have time for your shit
Them:  Thanks for nothing "Friend"
Them:  Go burn in hell for eternity
Them:  Suck on Satan's cock

Holy shit, what?  So I text them:

Me:  So tell me who you are, if you're such a good friend.  What's your last name?

Them:  Danielson

Me:  I'm telling you, I don't know you.  You must have the wrong number

Them:  Oh no.
Them:  Well will u still give me advice
Them:  Should I report that audio message to the police?

Me:  I'm not listening to it.  I mean no offense but it could be a virus or something

Them:  Up yours

Cause you know, when you text a random stranger and they won't listen to a random message you send them... you should totally say all sorts of nasty things to them.  That will TOTALLY endear them to you and make them want to help you.  And this is the fun stuff I get to deal with.  Until the next time...

Friday, March 16, 2018

Hair Rings

Hair rings in males.  Fun fun subject.

If you're unfamiliar.... male chinchillas can get hair rings... basically, hairs wrapped around their penis, inside the sheath.  Usually, they remove them themselves, but the hairs can sometimes get so wrapped around that they require our help to remove them.

I get asked all the time how often I check.  Honestly?  Almost never. 

You know why the answer isn't literally, "never"?  Because I get people who, on occasion, ask me to show them how to do a hair ring check.  In the last, oh, 10 years... that's been the only time I've done hair ring checks.... to show people who have asked for a demonstration, this is how it's done.

Let me tell you why.  For the most part, chinchillas can remove a few stray hairs on their own.  Sure, there's the chin here or there that has a hard time with it, and gets consistent hair rings... but that's sort of the exception to the rule.  If you read stuff online, it sounds like they get them all the time, and OMG, you MUST check them all the time, in case they were to get one, and you didn't notice. 

Years ago, I used to check all my male chins every month.  If we assume maybe 1/2 the chins are male, you can imagine how much fun this is on 100ish chins.  I think I found one or two, over the course of 10 years.  They're really not all that common, and even the times when I found them... the male was paying particular attention to that area, enough that it made me check them (outside of my usual once-a-month check), and sure as shit, there was a hair ring.

Usually, they can clean off any hairs themselves, and this is what you see... I get emails allllllll the time about someone's chin pleasuring themselves, with its mouth on it's penis going up and down.  Yes, I know what it looks like, but he's cleaning himself, and no, he's not doing it to make you feel awkward.  Remove mind from gutter. 

The thing is... think of it this way.  If we get a wood splinter under our skin, and we don't have tweezers to get it out... we will keep trying to get it out cause it's bothering us.  And if we leave it alone, chances are, it will bother us again, and we'll again try to remove it... whether or not we can.  This is how hair rings are.  You notice when they're paying too much attention to that area... and that's when I would check, and that's when I would recommend that anyone checks.... if you see too much attention being paid.  Otherwise, I leave it alone.  You're welcome to check all you want, and I'm happy to show you if you'd like... but just not something that I feel has to be done all the time....

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Chins Causing Hospital Visits (aka Rabies in Small Animals, Part 2)

Ever wondered what happened with the post where I talked about how we got a call from a hospital about chinchillas carrying rabies?  this one --

Let me give you an update.

Maybe a week or so ago, I get a text from one of our adopters, telling me that it was her with the hospital phone call.  Turns out...

She was carrying the chin in her arms to take the chin to playtime.  Randomly, the chin bit her, breaking skin.  Not a horrible bite, but she immediately felt like something was wrong, and put the chin down.

Her finger swelled to 3x it's normal size and she developed hives up her arm.  She started having a hard time breathing, and called for her husband.  Her husband immediately recommended that she go to the ER, so they went.  By the time they got there, she had passed out.  It took two epi-pens to get her conscious again.

She was in the ICU for 3 days treating this allergic reaction.  When she was set to be released, for some reason, her doctor was changed.  The new doctor wanted to hold her on a rabies quarantine.  This person was all, hell no, and the doctor said that if they could verify that chins didn't get rabies or whatever, they would then, not do the rabies quarantine.  That's when they called me.

I guess what I said was alright, cause they released her.  Now, she has epipens to carry with her....and a $12,000 hospital bill to pay.

I asked if they found out what she reacted to... they did all sorts of infection and bacteria tests and those all came back negative... turns out, she is allergic to chinchilla saliva.

I couldn't make this up if I tried.

She did return the evil furball chinchilla, Nora, who you will see is up on our website under the Upcoming Chins section.  She didn't want to take another chance with her, since the result of getting bit is such a severe reaction, though she is keeping her other chin, and the family actually wants to adopt another chin in the future.  Once the hospital bill is paid off.

But anyway, we welcome Nora back to the rescue.  This is her:

If anyone wants an evil furball biting chinchilla (joking, joking), that's 3-5 years old, we have the chin for you!

If it was me... I honestly don't know, if I had this severe an allergy, if I'd even want chins in the house... but, if she and her family aren't fazed by this and all, more power to her.  I just hope she never gets bit again...

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Cage Pictures

Wanted to share a quick story with you all.  I had a potential adopter who was all set to come by.  They were emailing / texting / fb messaging back and forth, trying to set up an appointment, all excited.

Well, then I was waiting for an email from them, wanting to set up a time to come by (like once we'd nailed down some potential days), and I got another excited email from them, asking if they could come later that day, and also sending me a pic of their cage that they were so excited about. 

The cage itself was fine as far as size, though it had plastic shelves and a few other unsafe items.  I mentioned to her, hey, watch for chewing on the plastic shelves, and replace with wood shelves if /  when (WHEN) she noticed chewing, and she had this... I guess you could say a hanging fabric tube, and so I told her, I'd stay away from anything fabric other than fleece, plus the fact it was hanging by four thin cords... all the chin needed to do was chew the cords, and it'd dump itself to the bottom of the cage.  Might have been one other thing I mentioned, but all in all, I wasn't crucifying her cage.  It was decent, just a few things to watch out for.

I never heard from her again. 

Part of my message was saying that she could come later that day, and probably the best thing as far as that would be to send me a text or call me, as emails pile up, and I'll see a text or call way faster than an email, which gets quickly buried.  Didn't hear from her... about a week later, ran across that email again, and so I sent her another email, basically saying, hey, I didn't hear back from you after I sent you some tips on your cage, let me know if you're still wanting to set up an appointment.

That was at least a week ago, if not more.

Which is fine. 

But here's the thing... if you send me a pic... of anything... I want the best for the critters.  So, if you send me a pic of an unsafe cage, I will tell you, and I will be helpful and try to advise ways you can make it safe (if possible).  If you tell me (like in a current email in my inbox) that you are feeding nuts and dried carrots, I will tell you that that's a bad idea and why, and what treats may be better for the chin's health.  I'm not here to sugarcoat and make everyone feel like happy rainbows and unicorn smiles.  Rather... and I suppose this may be surprising to some (considering this is hardly the first person who doesn't respond back after I advise that things aren't safe)... I WANT YOUR CHINS TO LIVE HEALTHY HAPPY LIVES.  It gets old when people show up all the time and tell me their chin died of old age at age 5, and you find out it ate fresh fruit daily and walked outside on a harness and played with the family cat (who it loooooved, even when the cat used to swat at it).  It gets very old.  I want you to come back in 15 years and want another chin, not in 5 years.  So, you have to understand, when I advise that something isn't safe... it's not because I want you to feel bad (and honestly... I'm awfully nice about it, so some of you need to grow a pair if MY constructive criticism is offending you)... it's for the health of the chin.  That is all. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Events We Are At

People are always emailing and asking, hey, will you be at this event or this event.  While I acknowledge that I may not always be super on top of things, one thing that I do my absolute best to keep updated is the "Come See Us" section on the website. 

In case you missed that section, it's on the home page, on the right hand column.  It is basically a list of expos and other events where you can come see us.  Mostly, we will have a booth at these events, but I've also started listing chin shows where I will be, because of course, I can also bring supplies and chins to those as well.  It is noted if we will not have a booth, so unless it says something along the lines of, "we will not have a booth but can bring chins / supplies, contact to schedule"... assume we will have a booth there.

It is currently up to date as far out as May.  I'm not positive as far as what's going on beyond May, and actually, there is one weekend coming up, where I'm not sure if I'm going to be here, at the AAE, or at a chin show.  So that one's currently left off... but the others up there are current and we will be there.

If you're wanting to come to the house and see all the chins, as usual, we will schedule appointments, but I do my best to keep the Come See Us section updated, as I understand that not everyone can find easy time to make appointments and it may be easier for some people to show up, at some time, while an expo is running.

Just never hurts to check that section and see if I have an event listed.  If I don't, you can always ask if we'll be there, but common sense -- I can't be in two places at once, so if I've already got an event for Saturday and another event you're thinking of is Saturday... probably only gonna be at one.  Email if un-sure though.  Thanks!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Interesting Phone Calls

So, I know I've posted before about some interesting phone calls we get.  Typical ones involve people thinking we're either animal control or the humane society... and telling them that we're not does NOT prevent these people from telling me why they need to drop off their dog.  Usually takes a few times of explaining, we only take in small animals, and those must be small, caged animals, sorry, your chihuahua, while a small animal... is not what we specialize in.

Plus, explaining what a chinchilla is to a lot, and I mean a LOT of people.

But today's takes the cake.

Just got off the phone with someone who asked... do we sell baby chickens??  😆😆😆  Sorry, no.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Shipping Fees & Refunds

So, I think I've talked about this before, but I try to keep shipping as low as possible.  The shopping cart isn't the greatest (to say the least) about figuring out shipping.  On large orders, especially ones containing several houses, it's not uncommon for me to be refunding $40-60 in overcharged shipping fees.  These fees are refunded after the order goes out and I see what actual shipping costs are. 

In addition, if you order something that's in a flat rate box, and I can squish the other items you ordered in that same box, I will, and I will try to save you shipping.  Sometimes this is possible, sometimes not, depending on what is ordered.  For example, someone last week ordered a box of Tradition and 3 oz. rosebuds.  Undoubtedly, those rosebuds will fit in the box with the Tradition, so I am able to refund any extra shipping charged for the rosebuds. 

But that isn't always the case.  I had someone else who ordered a flat rate box of Tradition, several toys, and a water bottle.  Mainly because of the water bottle (which is too thick for the skinny flat rate boxes), I had to ship these items in another box.  I actually calculated shipping to determine if it'd be cheaper to send the Tradition box with some of the toys (they wouldn't all fit) and then ship the water bottle and remaining toys separate, but since this person was on the east coast, it would actually be cheaper to send one big box, than a flat rate box and another smaller box.  But that meant shipping went up, and I had to use some of what this person paid in their extra shipping charges, to ship all of these items to them.  So, they'll get a refund, but it won't be all of those extra shipping charges.

Also.... I try to get the orders out and get emails out to customers, saying when the package shipped, estimated delivery (for priority mail... first class doesn't give estimates), and let them know about their refund.... I try to do this all as soon as possible.  Often, delays happen, but sometimes, even like this past week... I shipped out the items 3/8, and I still have not done the paperwork.  I'm working on it now, so it will be done today and everyone will have their emails and refunds soon, but I did get an email from one of the customers who received the shipping notification (paypal sends one out when I print the label) about their order, and noticed I hadn't refunded the extra shipping they paid for their extra item, and wanted to check if this was new policy or what.  I told them, sorry, just haven't gotten around to the paperwork part yet, but they would be getting their $4 back as soon as I did.  Never hurts to ask! 

Honestly, it drives me insane when I order something from a company that weighs less than a pound, and I could fit in half-a-shoebox... and shipping is $15.  Come on, now... it's a ripoff.  I found something on ebay I wanted the other day, economy shipping (ha!) was $12.  I ship stuff all the time, I have an idea how heavy this item is... shipping ought to be no more than $6-7.  Yes, I know, we all gotta package and use labels... but if I can manage with charging $0.75-$1 packaging / handling for every package, they don't need $5-6 packaging / handling for theirs.  I even asked if I could pick up the item (cause they're in Valpo) and they said no, but they'd lower the price of the item by $1 to offset the shipping.  Bullshit.  Sorry, but I feel like if you want to make more money, up the price of the item, rather than try to make money off of shipping.  I just won't buy from them, because I know that the price of shipping is way inflated, and honestly, I'd rather see the item itself be $6 more, as opposed to be ripped off on shipping.  Especially since they say economy shipping.  PRIORITY for this item should be $6.  Economy shipping, HA!  It might be light enough to go first class, and if that's the case, it might only be $4 to ship, and they'll make $8.  Oh hell no, they won't be getting my business.  And this is why I will always refund the excess shipping, because I hate it when people try to rip off customers like this, and so I won't do it. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Gargoyle Gecko

I apparently was not aware how much everyone seems to want gargoyle geckos!  Granted, you don't see a ton of them at the expos I go to, so maybe that contributes... but jeez!  I posted the new geckos up for adoption, and four of them have gone to their new homes...

... but in the meantime, I've had at least, AT LEAST, 20 emails about the gargoyle gecko.  I had no idea they were popular!  When you go to the expo, for geckos, you see 95% crested geckos and leopard geckos, with those split pretty equally between the two... so I would have thought a gargoyle gecko would have had less of a following... but I've gotten so many inquiries... maybe not.

At this point... everyone's out of luck, as one of our previous gecko adopters is scooping him up... they put down a deposit on him (and they were the first one to contact us about him... checking and re-checking the website for animals you want does have some benefit), and right now, we're just working on scheduling a time for her to come get him. 

This is the gecko, for people curious what the little guy looks like:

Friday, March 9, 2018

Fostering Chins

Wanted to do a quick post about fostering chins.  I've been getting a lot of emails about fostering, and several of those people have talked about reading the blog, so might as well post something quickly here.

We do provide everything for fosters.  Food, dust, toys, etc.  Cage.  But.  BUT... I don't have an endless supply of cages to lend out.  So, if you don't have a cage (which many people don't, I understand), you will have to get on our waiting list to foster.  When we get cages donated or returned or whatever, then we can re-dole them out, and eventually get to you.  Until then, please be patient.

The chins that can be fostered out are the rescues.  Sorry, you cannot foster a white baby.  Also... due to the way adoptions go, we will not foster out super-adoptable chinchillas.  For example.  Right now, we have an adult white male chinchilla -- Snowball.  He's super nice, super friendly.  Once I manage to get pics of him and post him, he will be gone.  There is no sense to send him to a foster home, only to have him adopted a day later (usually, with more difficulty, due to scheduling either a return by the foster, or a pickup at the foster's home... which tends to be more difficult than scheduling an appointment here, with my typically more flexible schedule).

Which brings me to my last point.  The chinchillas that need to be fostered are typically the ones that would benefit from more one-on-one attention.  Often, they are the ones that will not come up to the front of the cage.  The one that will bark at you.  Possibly spray you (females).  Possibly hide for days when they go to a new home.  If I had enough cages to allow everyone to foster... well, that would honestly create some problems of it's own, but if I did... all the chins could be fostered.  Some people could have a great chin to foster that's super friendly and super nice.  But... at the moment, without having that many cages / fosters... I have to foster out the chins that really need it.  So, I don't mean to be mean or offensive in any way, when I email people back about foster requests, and let them know that they probably won't be fostering the most friendly, playful, colorful chinchilla... but rather, one that may not necessarily endear them to chins if they didn't already like them.  It's just that that's the chin that would benefit most from individual attention... and it is all about the chins, at the end of the day.  That is all.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Other Day

So, I think a lot of people don't realize all that goes on here.  I know I've said that before, and said I'm gonna occasionally post about what goes on certain days, so I wrote this a few days ago when I was listing what I was doing, and this gives you an idea of a day:

In a typical day, I don't just do orders, I don't just answer calls and emails... I also have 150-200 chins at any given time to care for, plus 2 prairie dogs, currently about 30 crested geckos, 5 guinea pigs, 3 dogs... plus emails, phone calls... you get the idea.  And of course, much of those things takes time every day, and someone said the other day that I have the greatest job ever (thank you... not sure they'd necessarily feel so strongly if they did this for a week, but you know)... so I thought I'd post about what was going on today...

So, get up in the morning, immediately check the emails.  Of course, there's a million junk emails, so I delete those that aren't necessary to respond to, and remain with 169 emails in my inbox.  Not all from today, mind you, but there are 71 from today and yesterday.  Plus some from the few days before that, because unless I skim an email and it needs immediate response, or can be answered in a sentence or two, I come back to it later and do them in order.  With the junk deleted, I move onto the next thing.

See, I break up my days.  I could spend 8 hours answering emails.  Totally could.  Might even get done (probably not, but might).  But then... I wouldn't be answering people's fb messages and texts that I get, and all that, so I usually spend gaps of time on certain things, and then come back to them when I have time later.  So, some time spent on emails...

Moving on, I wrote my list of what I needed to accomplish for the day.  Answered all the fb messages and texts that had accumulated overnight.

In looking at my list, the one thing on there is getting my rescue stuff ready for taxes to be done.  I broke down what needed to be done into tasks, and one of those tasks was getting the total year 2017 credit card fees.  That requires opening up the account, and opening each month's "deposits" page, and counting up the processing fees, and then adding them up for the year.  This is fine, I was doing this last night, but I got to September, and everything was good... starting October, my account showed deposits... but no transaction fees (which I knew couldn't be right... I usually have $800-900 in transaction fees per year), so I went and logged onto their live chat (this was last night).  Of course, live chat was open until 9 pm EST, and it was... 8:12 CST (so, 9:12 EST).  So, that had to be put off until today, so I logged on this morning, logged onto live chat, and asked.   Chat person looked up the account and explained my account had been switched to some other type of account.  Looking back, probably should have asked what exactly that meant, but oh well... anyway, so she explained to me that if I logged into the business portal, I could download monthly statements, and I went on there, confirmed which category was transaction fees (cause of course, it couldn't just be called, "transaction fees" -- no, it was called "offset to sales")... ended the chat.  For once, this was actually a useful change, because they group the entire month, so rather than having to add up the month, I was able to see, ok, October's fees were X.  Great.  Checked out the fees for Oct / Nov / Dec and input those into my spreadsheet.  Spent enough time on that, moving on.

In looking at the orders that I have to do (I know, I know, I'm sorry if you're still waiting for one), I realized a lot of them required some stuff I was out of.  Also realized, I should probably get on the stick with making a donation basket, as I always end up making one super last minute before the expo... going to aim for not doing that this time.  Want to say I don't have a ton of expo basket stuff lying around (baskets, yes... stuff for them, not so much)... so I planned to go to the ATM to get money out for the weekend, plus the dollar store for expo basket items, plus Home Depot (my favorite place!) for wood / supplies.  The ATM let me get all the way to selecting how much I wanted to withdraw, and asking if I wanted a receipt, and then said it could not process my transaction.  Of course not... no money today, then (the other ATM is a ways away).  Stopped at the dollar store, and picked up some stuff for the donation basket.  As always, lied to myself that I wouldn't need a cart, and then ended up having to trudge back up to the front of the store with armfulls of stuff.  Then went to Home Depot and picked up the wood / supplies, where a very persistent cashier really wanted to get me to sign up for their credit card, even though I explained I already have one.

Came home.  Called back the voicemails that were on my phone for calls I missed.  Got another call, lady wanted me to take in, and not put down her cat.  I referred her to Cats of St. Francis.  I know of not a lot of rescues (well, I do, but good ones I can vouch for are harder to come by), so these good ones probably could do with less referrals... but it's like here... run a good rescue, everyone wants your help.

Went downstairs to feed and water the chins.  Fed everyone, medicated the chins that needed it.  Started watering the chins.  Decided to take a break from that (watering takes FOREVER... it's like 200+ water bottles... it's a LOT of filling and refilling and refilling and refilling the pitcher), and hayed all the chins.  Swept up the hay on the floor, that hay went to the guinea pigs.

In case you're thinking all this can be accomplished in an hour or two... this brought us to 5 pm. 

Realized that I still had not gotten back to someone who had wanted to know if I had any white or black velvet females, and also hadn't gotten pics of a dark ebony female that someone wanted to see, so headed back downstairs.  I have a white female, so I took and sent pics of that one.  Also took pics of the dark ebony and texted those to the other person.  They want to put a deposit on the dark ebony (yay), so we talked about that.

Got a text from the person who's picking up rabbit chow (yes, we really do sell everything), they were scheduled for 6 but wanted to come early.  No biggie, I told them they could, and I stopped what I was doing to go bag up their 10 pounds of rabbit chow.  Got that bagged up, came upstairs.  Texted back and forth about pickup with the person about the dark ebony, while waiting for the person for the rabbit chow.  In the meantime, went through more emails.  I know from experience, the second I go downstairs, they will arrive, so I will stay up until they do.  They texted they were here, I went out and handed them the rabbit chow, they handed me the $10.  Very quick for some pickups.  Went back to the office and marked down on my "walk-in invoice" that I sold 10 pounds of rabbit chow.

Sat down at the computer again and did the books and balanced accounts for November.  Got that done, moved onto the geckos.  The crested geckos get fed / misted / watered Monday / Wednesday / Friday.  Mixed up their food and about that time, the phone rang.  The person calling was the one putting down the deposit for the dark ebony female, so I took down their card info and tentatively set when they're going to get her (we will update later, since it's over a week from now and they still need to plan).  Ran the card for the deposit, sent them a receipt, and made myself a note that that chin is now on hold with deposit and that I will be bringing her with on the next trip to Ohio.

Back to the geckos.   Spent about a half hour feeding and watering and changing paper towels (like bedding) if needed.  Got about half done.  Moving on for a bit. 

Supposed to have help tomorrow (would be great! but not holding my breath) so I started a short list of what can be done tomorrow with help.  One of those things is that we're gonna do a hammock inventory, as I know what's listed on the webstore isn't even close to matching what's actually here.  So, I thought, I'll just print out the webstore pages with the hammocks.  Nope!  My printer printed out just a list of the hammocks, no pics.  So, I had to manually select every one of the stinking pics, copy and paste it into a word doc along with the name of the hammock and a space to right how many there really are... and then print.  Yes, I acknowledge, we could just look back and forth between the website (like on a phone) and what's in front... but you'd be amazed how much more time that takes.  Now that that's printed, and I've added a few more things to the list for tomorrow, moving on.  '

Onto orders.  I have my clipboard upstairs, so I check what I have written down against what orders I have actually in to-do... there's of course more orders (thanks!  but it takes time...), so I get more invoices and copy down more orders.... literally in 30-40 minutes, all I got done was writing down a few orders, emailing back one person who'd inquired about a part of their order, and then sending a fb message to someone who'd wanted to order and pick up, working to arrange that.  In the meantime, got a message from another person who gets their chin chow here, and we set up an appointment for them to come this upcoming week to re-stock. 

Decided I should probably eat, as it's like 8 pm and all I had was two corn dogs earlier.  Had lots of reward points with Papa Johns, so decided to order a pizza.  Cleaned up a bit while waiting for the pizza, ate, then went back to geckos.  Finished the geckos, also fed all the toads and gave everyone crickets, and that is done for the day.

Went back downstairs, watered more of the chins.  Got all the water bottles to a reasonable level, so that was done for the day. 

Went through and finished and packed up some of the orders that I could easily get packed and out that day.  Printed off labels, sealed them up, went online and scheduled a package pickup, and set them outside for the package pickup.  I actually had to stop what I was doing, packing the boxes, because the cutoff for a package pickup is 2 am.  As in, you have to submit the request on the website by 2 am.  So, stopped packing around 1:50 am, went and submitted the package pickup, and then back to packing. 

Watched a little tv and then went to bed.  Fun fun.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Tradition Pelleted Food Availability

This was almost funny.  I got a message from someone the other day, asking what pet store I get tradition at, because they can't find it.  I replied:

I get my Tradition delivered by a Hubbard dealer, a half ton at a time.

Obviously, not everyone knows that, but I do.  We go through 50 pounds every 2-3 days, and that's not counting the amount I ship out.  So, for example, saying roughly 2 bags a week comes out to 8 bags a month, that's 400 pounds of chin chow a month... just for our animals.  Not including the feed that's shipped out.

Anyway, the reason I mention this... I did respond more to this person, I didn't give her a short little answer, but the thing is, we get in Tradition from Ohio because it's the best.  Maybe not for every chin out there, but if you have a whole herd of them, it's considered the best as far as nutrients and having been developed especially for chins and all that, and it's reasonably priced, accessible (well, if you're getting the amount we are), and it works good.

But all that said, it is only available in 50 pound bags.  You won't find it in a pet store.  You might be able to get your feed store to order it in, like special order it for you... but you're not going to be able to pick up a 5 pound bag off the pet store shelf.

And that's why we sell it.  Initially we started selling chin chow (which was Mazuri back then... which we still do sell and the rescues are on) because people didn't want to immediately have to run to the pet store to pick up more (though all animals do come with ~2 pounds to start you off)... and now, most of the animals are on Tradition.  It sells for $0.75 per pound or $35 for a 50 pound bag.  People pick up their orders all the time here, and then many are shipped out.. I can ship 11 pounds of Tradition for $23 shipped to the door.  So, there are options to get it, whether you're picking it up in person or getting it shipped... just unfortunately, you won't be able to go to the pet store and pick it up....