Thursday, May 31, 2018

Crested Geckos -- Why No BABY Babies?

So, we're getting down to the end of the crested geckos that we have up for adoption.  We may get in another small batch from the same person, but we're not going to have 20 at one time, anymore.  Though, since I do have some of my own geckos, the gecko page will stay up on the site, and I imagine there will probably be always a gecko or two available.... on the younger side.

So, when I talk to people about geckos, the first thing they mention is that the geckos that are available... basically, they aren't babies.  Which is sort of true, because even if you've eyeballed the gecko page since the beginning, about the youngest gecko ever posted was 8-9 months.

There's a reason for that.

You see, when crested geckos are hatched, they come out of an egg that's not even the size of a nickle (if you can picture a 3D nickle, as if it was a nickle-ball).  They are teeny tiny.  They don't even weigh a gram, and won't register on my gram scale.  How tiny is that exactly?  This tiny:

As you might imagine, a gecko that size can pose some challenges.  Now, I am not saying, by any means, that people can't handle it.  However... many people looking to get a new pet want one that's hardy.  Mention that a gecko or chinchilla or whatever is "fragile," and people run away screaming.  At this age (the gecko is 4 days old in the picture), even I would consider them, legitimately fragile. 

At that age, these little guys can curl up in a pop cap.  Teeny tiny.  They can fit through quite a small opening.  My hatchlings are kept in the small kritter keepers, as the openings are too small for them to squeeze through.  But... they still are small.  And... they are quick!  Don't let that small size fool you -- should they scamper away from you and get behind the couch or behind a pile of stuff-that-should-have-been-put-away-last-week, it will take a good effort to locate them.  And you may never find them.

With feeding and watering.  All my geckos have a water dish in their enclosures, though there is a myth going around that geckos will only drink from water droplets and not a dish.  Not true.  But... if you adhere to that, and mist the cage religiously... for a baby, you have to remember, their stomach is teeny tiny, and they can only hold so much water.  How much misting is appropriate for them to get enough water to drink?  How much is too much and creates a considerably too-humid environment?  It's hard to say... and is why I have a water dish.

For feeding... the geckos get fed every Monday / Wednesday / Friday.  In a warm enough environment (read: many houses in the summer), the food can mold before day 2.  That's fine, but again... with a tiny little stomach, how long can they survive without food, or without water, if they're waiting for you to mist them, when you go out of town?  Also important... when they're that small, you can't put them in an 18 x 18 x 24 terrarium and expect them to be able to find the one food dish that's hidden behind some leaves.  They very well may never find it, and may starve. 

If you're reading this all and saying, hey, this is all do-able!  More power to you.  Contact me, and you can take home a hatchling gecko.  For most people, they want to not have to be so careful with their new gecko, and would prefer something more hardy.  That's where the slightly older geckos come in. 

I don't go by age so much as I do by weight.  Just like with the chins, the geckos are weighed, and since pictures can be deceiving... a weight tells a lot.  I've seen some pics and been like, "the gecko looks huge!" only to find out, it's 12 grams.  That puts everything into perspective.  This is why we post the gram weights with the gecko listings, as the pictures may not adequately communicate the actual size of the gecko.

If the geckos aren't 4+ grams (and mind you, that is still plenty small), I will not list them.  Sure, some lines grow faster than others, and some may be that weight at 4 months, others that weight at 9 months.... but if they aren't at least that heavy, I don't feel comfortable sending them out.  At that weight, I feel like they are big enough and have lived long enough to survive with the average owner.  In the end, I want to make sure the geckos have the best chance they can get.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


Did you know I offer grooming as one of my wonderful services (haha)?  I do! 

I don't get a ton of people who decide they want their chin groomed, but of course, there's enough to keep it up on the website.

Just like grooming a dog, grooming a chin removes the dead hair / any mats, keeps the chin slightly cooler (due to the lack of dead hair), and lessens shedding (at least temporarily).  And it's quick!  Grooming takes maybe 5-10 minutes per chin, depending on how dense the fur is, and how much dead fur there is.

For show chins, we use several different grooming combs.  There's a whole range of widths between the "spines" and the higher the number, the more room between them.  So for example, a #4 comb would have more width between the spines than would a #2 comb.  Most breeders tend to have #'s 1-4 on combs (that's what I have), but they go as wide as 8, and as narrow as 00.  You can imagine on a 00, there's about no room between the spines.

The combs are expensive stinkers, they sell for $35 each, so a whole set is kinda pricey, so the average person thinking about grooming their pet chin probably isn't going to buy one of these, much less an entire set (and honestly, for grooming a pet, the whole set isn't necessary).  There's similar / cheaper stuff on the market for dogs, such as flea combs, which can basically be used to stand-in for a more expensive comb... but if you compare the two, side by side... they still are significantly different, and I would guess the stand-in-combs don't work as well removing the dead fur.  Though, part of it is knowing how to groom (and there are a lot of you-tube videos on this, if you're curious!), as you can really make a chin look bad, if you don't know what you're doing, and over-groom!

For the grooming I offer, a rough groom is $5, and includes the use of a #3 comb and a lint roller (a show groom is $10-15, and would include the use of more combs... but the average person has no need for such an in depth grooming).  With either groom, the entire chin (not including belly) is groomed with the comb (or combs, in the case of a show groom, starting with widest, working to narrowest), then lint rolled, and then fluffed out to end the grooming.  It's pretty quick, and the chins look better, though aren't usually thrilled about it.  And that's your lesson for today on grooming.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Other Day

So, this was the other day...

Woke up... realized I hadn't heard back from someone supposed to tell me a time they were coming, so I messaged them... got a time.

Let the dogs outside to play for awhile, and decided to start the day by making some houses.  I put together two cottage houses, a standard house, and a porthole house.  Note the words "put together."  To actually build houses from scratch takes approx. 1 hour per house, between cutting the wood, drilling the holes, sanding the holes / house, and gluing / rubberbanding the house.  So, I typically do it in parts.  Lately, I've been cutting and drilling the houses at Jim's place in his woodshop (he has more fun equipment than I do in mine), and then bringing them home and finishing them here.  Usually, sanding a few of them one day, then another day, gluing / rubberbanding them.  So today, four houses got glued / rubberbanded.  Yaya.

With that done, I figured I would work on orders for a bit.  I currently have three paid-for orders, and two people (who I know) that want cages set up with shelves, that I'm working on, and will figure out cost later.  I got the three orders packed up in about an hour.  It was super quick this time because I actually had everything already made, and didn't have to stop, mid-way through packing, and go make a healthy treat mix, or a house, or whatever.  Those are now packed up.

I got a phone call asking about chins and prices, and I explained, several times, they would need to make an appointment.  So, they ask, can they come now?  Am I home now?  When will I be home?  Granted, I was home, but I knew I had another appointment coming in a little bit, so I told them, I would be available after 3 or so.  "Ok, I'll try to be there, 3 pm or later, bye!!" *click*  Really?  Sometimes, that sort of thing makes me want to leave and be gone for the rest of the day.  I explained, SEVERAL times, that we need a set appointment, and they can't just show up when they feel like it (in nicer terms, of course), because I don't stay home 24/7.  They listened so well, clearly. 

Realizing what time it was, and that the other appointment was going to be here soon, and the floor was an absolute mess, I stopped to sweep really quick, and then took the three packages upstairs.  I figured, since the person is coming soon, and it never fails that the second I go downstairs, someone knocks, I'd stay upstairs until they showed up.  I have two new video doorbells, so I stayed upstairs to work on getting those set up.  I got as far as I could without actually attaching them, and naturally I'm missing something to do so, so I set that aside for the moment and moved onto my texts.

No, I don't only answer texts at a certain time, lol, but occasionally they pile up, so then, I will look at a bunch of them all at once, like literally, designate a time where I'm going to look at texts.  One text was someone who is scheduled to bring their chins for grooming, and wanted to know if they could also get food when they come.  Sure can.  Another was a potential adopter, wanting to connect with Freddy's foster home about meeting her.  Sent him their info, sent the foster home his info.  Another was a previous adopter, asking about a health concern for her chin, slight wheezing / chirping.  She ended up taking her to the vet and was prescribed Baytril for an upper respiratory infection, fingers crossed all goes well on that treatment.  Then I moved along to the FB messengers, as those also qualify (haha) when I'm looking at texts.  The guy coming for the appointment today asked me to confirm the address, done.  Nothing else that I hadn't seen on the NWI fb page, onto personal messages.  Someone who just received an order from me sent me a video of a baby chin bouncing around, adorable.  Another friend told me that a documentary that I wanted to watch (animal cruelty related) is available on demand right now for free.  Someone else messaged on there, wanting to set up an appointment.  Suggested a time, heard back within a half hour, set the appointment.

Got a call about the runs, talked with them for a bit, they said they'll call back.  We shall see.

My appointment showed up, dropped off their chin with some food and dust.  Went back upstairs to finish an email that I was in the middle of, then went back downstairs.  The other day, Issa cleaned some dusters for me, and I let everything that's washed dry, at least overnight.  They had, so I took those, put dust in them, and put them up where they go.

Worked on cleaning cages for a bit, got about 1/3 of the way done for the week, and then went upstairs to have sort of an early dinner.  After dinner, decided to take some time to answer emails... did that for awhile...down to only (only, haha!) 57 emails in my inbox.  Needed to move onto other stuff, so I went back downstairs and continued cleaning and organizing, since I knew I had several people coming the next day.  I cleaned the rest of the cages with pull-out pans, so the only ones left to clean would be the big cages (FNs/CN) and the guinea pig cages.  Left those for another day... it was already around midnight at that point in time. 

Decided to stay upstairs and organize stuff.  You see, I'm really good, like really good, at bringing stuff in the house and not putting it away.  Like if that was a marketable talent, I'd be rich.  So, eventually I have to go through my piles of mail and stuff I've brought in the house, and I sort base on whether it can be put away, or whether it needs to be taken downstairs (cause let's be honest... most stuff I bring in, if it's not like mail or whatever... is for the chins or some other critter).  So, I sorted for about an hour or two, found a lot of stuff that went downstairs, then had a late night snack, and went to bed.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Contacting, Part 2

I have another person on my waiting list right now... that sort of fell off the face of the earth.  She told me about her two chins she wanted to bring into rescue, quite in depth actually.  I told her I would add her to the waiting list, and due to how she was caring for the chins, and how she expected them to continue to be cared for (all sorts of playtime, all sorts of individual attention, certain routines, what they were used to), I told her, best thing would be to have them go directly to a foster home, as I don't have that much individual time here.

And actually, that is why some of the chins end up in foster homes, because they can use more of that awesome one-on-one attention, so that's the whole purpose of having foster homes to start with.

Anyway, sending the chins directly to a foster sounds great in theory, but I only have a few foster homes, and the chins in those homes tend to be less-adoptable chins... so... they're not flying out the doors.

She had actually been added to the waiting list back at the end of January.  At the end of April (our waiting list can sometimes be extensive), I got a message from her, saying that she was moving and would prefer to have the chins go to a new home / foster home / whatever, rather than have her move with them, and then have them move again to the foster home, and she wanted to know how things were progressing on this end.  I sent her an email back, saying that the foster homes were all full right now, but that I could take them in at the rescue, and then transfer them to a foster home as soon as one had an opening.  She responded back right away, saying that that would be great, and asked if they'd have any playtime at the rescue, or did I have too many chins here for that?  I responded back...

Sometimes the adults can get out and run, as there's definitely less of those (the babies can't have playtime until they're 6 months old, so it definitely lessens how many chins actually can have playtime, out of the chins here), but that happens more often if I have volunteers here to help.  Myself, between emails / phone calls / orders and regular feeding / watering / care, I'm lucky if I get a few hours of sleep a night.  If only I could live without sleep, lol!  I do have a pop up playpen that I set up on occasion to have the chins run around, but of course, the little stinkers can escape it, so there has to be someone watching at all times.  So you can imagine, if I have 10 rescues and they all need to be let out for 30 minutes a day, that's 5 hours of time....

Just being honest, you know?  The rescue adults do sometimes get playtime... but not typically by me.  Apparently that was the wrong answer?  Cause that was back on May 11th, and I never heard back.

I didn't really think about this until the 26th, as I was going to call the next person on my waiting list, and I saw that I hadn't crossed that person off yet.  So, I dug up that email, and sent her another email:


Just realized I never did hear back from you about this.  Are you still wanting to bring the chins in, or no?  I have room for them right now, but if you're not wanting to bring them in at the moment, or wanting to wait for a foster home to open up, just let me know, and I will bring in another chin on my waiting list.

Talk to you soon! 

See, again, chasing after people.  The thing is... if she does want to bring the chins in, she wants to bring her decked out cage for them.  Perfectly fine... but I just need to have room for it.  That's some of the difficulty with this sort of thing.  I won't hear from people for ages, and then when I do... like sometimes I email people saying ok, you can bring your chin in.  Never hear back... until 3 months later, and then some are like, "cool, I'll come this Saturday."  And then it's like, well, hold up, I no longer have room.  That's the kicker.  When I contact someone and let them know I have room for their chin... that is, I have room right that moment.  I will hold that cage open or space open (if they're bringing a cage or whatever) for a few days, but not forever.  But then, when the people contact me, after 3 months of silence, and want to bring the chin in, that weekend... I actually feel bad, when I don't have room.  Stupid, right?  It's not my fault I don't have room, it's not my fault they waited so long to contact me back.  But, yet, I feel bad.  Which I suppose is why I try to chase people down... I'd rather hear from them, in a response to my email, rather than a few months later, when they're in dire needs of bringing the chin by, and I have no room.

I did actually hear back from her, same day.  This was her response:

Thanks, Ashley  

I’m so sorry I didn’t get back to you. Yeah, I’ve been getting the house ready to sell and been so super busy, plus, it’s been an emotional issue I haven’t really wanted to face. When you said you wouldn’t be able to let the chins out much if any at all, I just couldn’t do that to them.  A rescue in the Chicago area had room, and seemed to be very good at finding homes, so I went ahead and took them there. It was really hard, and I’m just hoping they have a good life. Thank you so much for all your help!

Ok, so chins at another rescue.  Would have preferred if she let me know, but you know how that goes.  You know, not letting out chins for playtime... *gasp* the horror!  Lol.  Everyone has priorities.  For me, finding a good home -- in general -- is better than finding a home that cares for them badly... but lets them out everyday.

If you all saw the condition of most of these animals when they come in, you'd hardly say that me not letting them out is making them suffer.  A lot of these animals don't have food, cause the owner ran out "last week," or they live in glass tanks, or they're fed wildly inappropriate diets, or they're housed with other species, or the cat bit them and they need medical care, or they're housed without AC, or without dust, or... you get the idea.  I don't personally think playtime is essential, like many people do, and partially I think it's because so many people find it so difficult just to handle basic care... playtime is sort of an afterthought.  Plus, many chins don't even like it.

Anyway, I'm not familiar with any Chicagoland chin rescues... other than say, like, a humane society that might take in chins, so I emailed back, and asked if she could tell me where she took them, so I can use it as a reference for people.  And really, if it is a legit place, I would.  It's always good to have places to send people, if I'm full.

Sad to say... the place she went to was FurryLovables.... she told me a bit about what the lady was like.  Unfortunately... well, let me put it this way...she's not known as a "good" rescue... this is what I sent back:

Well, I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, she's known in the chinchilla community as the place to not take your chins.  She's known for keeping in the females that come in (like keeping vs. rehoming), and breeding them, and rehoming the males, well, and the females that don't breed.  She breeds without regard for health or genetic issues, versus breeding to better the breed / to show.  I personally know of 5 people who've gotten chins from her that weren't just sick, but literally on death's door with dental and other genetic issues, and when taken to the vet for a health check, the vets told them, the chins didn't develop these problems overnight, they were sick for a long time and their health issues were literally ignored.  Someone who adopted several chins from here, came here after adopting one from her... she took it to the vet the same night for an exam, just like a wellness check sort of thing, and the chinchilla had such bad teeth that the mouth was full of puss and oozing, open absesses in the mouth.  The vet said there's no way the chin had been eating for at least a week or two, if not more, and that any reasonable owner would have noticed that something was wrong, as the chin was also slightly drooling, due to the puss.  The chin was put out of it's suffering, and the adopter contacted Tracy.  Tracy told her... "oh, sorry for your loss."  Nothing more.  Personally, we have a health guarantee on our chins, and would replace one that was sick and passed (that almost never happens... four times in 15 years), but my response sure wouldn't be "oh sorry."  Of course, I don't know that those chins weren't unhealthy when she got them... but they never should have been adopted out in the conditions that they were in, health-wise, and of course, the backyard breeding, which is creating many of the genetic issues, isn't exactly smiled upon, to say the least.

Since the chins are there now... you might ask her to rehome them to a place that would let you contact them to know they're doing well, so hopefully to light a fire under her to actually rehome them and not hang onto them for creating the next generation of pets.  She puts on a good front, don't get me wrong... but she's a place we all steer people away from.  

It's like, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately, not the best place for those chins.  :(

But good news!  Apparently this lady's gut feeling told her not to drop off the chins there, so she wasn't thrilled with everything as it was... she decided, she's going to get them back and bring them here.  Win for the chins!  This one ended well, but they don't always...

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Contacting, Part 1

I hate to always go back to posts that are sort of mildly complaining about things... but I mean... I try to be helpful... and people are, well, people...

So, take this example.  Got a facebook message on my NWI Chins page from someone who adopted one of our chins some years ago... he's shipping off to the Army overseas, leaving Monday, and he messaged me Friday, asking about if we could take his chin back, since he has no one to watch her while he's gone.

I responded back right away, said that we could, and asked when he wanted to bring her in.  He said tomorrow (Saturday), anytime.  I responded that I'd be here most of the day, and asked what time would be good for him.

Now, I have enough going on, that if I don't get notifications for messages, I don't check them all the time, maybe every few days.  If I'm watching my phone and someone sends me a message, I will go and respond, but without that notification popping up, I only check periodically.  So, Saturday (today) comes, and I realize about 10:30 in the morning, I never did hear back from the guy.  I actually even had a thought of, maybe he did message and I missed it or something.

Nope!  No message from him, actually, he hadn't even read my message that I sent.  I wanted to make sure that he didn't just randomly show up today, since I never know if I'm going to be at the house 24/7, so I sent him another message, basically just saying that I hadn't heard from him, and wanted to check if he was going to be coming over today.  He responded that yes, he was, and that he was currently looking for a small cage to bring her in.

I responded, asking if he could tell me approx. what time he was thinking he'd be by, explaining that I have some things to do away from the house, and I want to be sure that I'm home for when he shows up.

He did respond, he said he'd be here between 1 and 2.  Now, don't get me wrong, I appreciate him responding.

What slightly irritates me about this... I am no one's babysitter.  I want to help you out and take your animal and find it a good home for you... but until the animal gets here, I can't do that.  I'm not saying I'm so magical and perfect and all, but this sort of thing happens all the time, where I ask someone for a time because they want to drop off their animal, and they don't reply, so I ask again, and they eventually reply... sometimes, and so on and so forth.  I have plenty of animals here that require my time and attention, I don't have time to chase you down to bring your animal in.  If you want to, great.  If you want to rehome yourself (well, as long as it's not one of my animals), great.  If you want to take it elsewhere, great.  While of course I care about the animal's welfare, if it's not in my care, there's very little I can do... but chasing people down... to me, after doing this so long, my opinion on that, is that basically, it's something I shouldn't have to do.  This isn't the doctor's office, reminding you to make an appointment, lol.

Of course, he showed up more like 2:30.  Besides just having to remind people, if you read this blog with any regularity, you know how much I hate appointments set for a time gap, like 1-2.  If you show up at 1, I can have a 2 pm set as well.  But if you don't show up until 2, I can't set the next appointment til 3.  If you show up even after 2, the next appointment should be even later.  See where this can become a scheduling nightmare?  So, he dropped off the chin, all is well. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018


So I know it's been like 3 weeks since I've made a blog post... a lot has been going on... will detail that another post, but yesterday was one of those interesting days where a lot went on, so I thought I'd start off my re-start to blogging more-regularly with talking about what went on yesterday.

So, I now have a new worker, his name is Issa.  He's awesome.  He came over at 10 to work.  The previous night, I managed to put a hand through one of the glass panels on one of my storm doors after tripping over my dogs.  I'd cleaned up the glass inside, but this happened just before 1 am, so for outside, the best I could do was pick up the big pieces and wait until morning.  Issa got here, and I had him fetch the shop vac from the basement.  We hooked it up and vacuumed up all the glass, and picked up the shards that made it onto the grass.

Got that all done, and decided yesterday was the day that Noogie was going to move to his new tank.  At the last AAE expo, I found (well, one of my adopters found, and pointed out to me) a 55 gallon tank with a lid for $20.  Score!  Got it home in one piece.  It may or may not hold water, as it's a bit chipped on the corners, but otherwise is in good shape.  I was talking to beardie breeders and the feeder breeders at the expo and they suggested a mix of topsoil and sand for the substrate for the tank, which I'd also run across as a possibility online.  So, last night, I picked up two bags of topsoil and a bag of sand.  Issa and I brought that stuff in the house (ok, ok, he brought it in), mixed what seemed like appropriate amounts (so it's topsoil... but slightly not like topsoil) and added a layer to the bottom of the tank.  We then arranged the branches and decor so that Noogie would have more to do in there, and set up the lights.  Somewhere throughout the day, I found my bag of feeders (from last weekend, yes) and decided I would try to feed Noogie some hornworms (also suggested by the feeder breeders).  He loves them!  I will totally try to get a video of this another day.

Noogie's new digs

Then we decided to switch out the snake tank.  The tank that the red tail boa owner provided had a huge spider crack down the one side.  It had been glued, but I have tanks with no cracks, so we switched over the bedding and accessories for her to one of my tanks, and moved her over.  I have enough crap here without badly cracked tanks, so that one went in a trash bag, was smashed, and went in the trash.

Then everyone got fed.  I doled out two hornworms (smaller, of course) to my pixie frog, and some crickets to the geckos and my toads.  All the snakes got fed (every Friday), including the new redtail boa that came in the day before yesterday.  Tried to feed her a second one, but she wasn't super sure about it.  No worries, my adult corn snakes are pigs and ate it no problem.  Story about the redtail, another day, check back if you're curious.  Oh and the geckos all got fed, and we had two more eggs hatch 5/24, so those got moved into small kritter keepers.  Only two more eggs in existence right now, laid 5/1, so it'll be awhile before I have any more hatchling geckos.  And even longer until they're available, as they're so tiny and fragile until about 6+ months, they're iffy to rehome before then.

Then, I went to repair the runs downstairs.  One run and one holding cage that I was selling, needed repair work.  Just some basic patching with some hardware cloth, hog rings, and staples, but basically required two people... one to staple, one to hold the wire in place.  Got those partially repaired, then my one appointment showed up.

They were here to drop off their two chinchillas, Momo (white mosaic) and Oliver (violet).  3-4 year old males.  Unfortunately, the girl was going to college, and her parents couldn't / weren't able to keep them and watch them for her, as they were moving into an apartment or something of the sort.  She brought their treats, handmade food bowls (now that's love!), one of those chin-shaped hides (LOVE those things), and a FN cage.  For the moment, we left the cage outside near the side door, since I had a later appointment as well, to get those runs upstairs, and the cage not being in the way would be awesome.

So, she left, and I finished repairing the two runs.  We then moved on to building this new display thing that I bought for expos.  That was a task in itself.  The rack was supposed to include a little wrench to put it all together.  Of course, it didn't, so we had to improvise.  We got one side (of a four-sided sort of thing) together, and then realized... we only had instructions for up to the part we'd completed, not for the rest.  I left Issa to work on that, as best he could, as I went and worked on some other stuff.  He got the next part together, but the clamps that were supposed to hold everything together, well... didn't.  Super wobbly.  I told him to keep going and see if it would get any better, if more was put together, but it didn't.  Eventually we gave up, and got the container of zip ties from the basement.  The thing is, this has to break down to 3 pieces for expos, so it can't take 40 minutes to attach the sides, and that's how it was looking.  We tightened the stuff that will stay together (even with breaking down) and everything else was zip tied, and it's holding together well.  Another day, I will need to put on shelves / baskets / pegs and such, and figure out how I'm going to arrange product, but not today.  This is what it is:

By the time that was done officially being zip tied together, I was done with feeding all the upstairs critters, and cleaning the one gecko tank.  We then headed downstairs, to build some cages for a customer who wants decked out cages.  About 5 minutes after we got downstairs, I noticed a lot of brown streaks on my floor... checked Kailey's butt, and she had quite the poopy butt, so I called Issa upstairs to hold her head and keep her from walking away while I trimmed her fur.  That was loads of fun, let me tell you.  Then, we checked all the other dogs, to see that none of them had similar poopy butts (none did), and then went back downstairs to build the cages.

No sooner than we got down, was there a knock on the door.  I left Issa to work on the cages for a bit, and I went upstairs.  My appointment was there to pick up some runs and holding cages.  She was picking up four runs for her, and three runs and a holding cage for someone located near her.  She actually ended up taking 5 runs home... I had one that had a chewed up top... for me, it had to be kept under another run, but she actually had built runs on her own before, so it was no big deal to her, so I asked if she wanted to buy that one as well... so all those runs gone, now I only have my 6-holes (waiting for a deposit on those) and a few three-holes that I'm still using.  Also sent them home with some extra pans that fit those two-hole runs, so even less stuff sitting around here.  Issa helped the husband get everything loaded into the trailer.

Turns out, Issa had actually finished building the cage so I just now need to put on the wheels, and then build the other two!  Getting there!  Issa then left to go home.  I sat down for a bit and responded to some of my facebook messages and such.  Had dinner, responded to more emails, worked on cleaning up the basement... and that was the day.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Shipping Chins

So, since people have been asking about shipping (or moreso, the fact that we haven't been able to ship lately), and my site said we might potentially be able to start shipping again on May 1st (which is today -- the day I'm writing this), I wanted to post a quick update for you all.

In case you were not aware, we had not been able to ship for the past month+.  We used United PetSafe to ship our pets, as it's one of the most reasonable priced pet shipping services, and they handle the most pets per year.  Even with their lower-cost shipping, by the time we factored in the crate, gas to the airport, and so on, we were at $200 for 1-2 chins or $250 for 3-4 chins.  Not horrible, but I acknowledge, still not cheap.  Compare this to Delta, which I've been told does a flat rate for crates up to a certain size, of roughly $200.  That's not including the crate, gas to the airport, and, most importantly.... the health certificate.  Oh yes, the all important health certificate.

See, for cats and dogs, health certificates make sense.  They can get shots, and they are supposed to be up to date on those shots and required vaccinations (read: rabies) in order to fly.  So, the health certificate, besides showing that the animal is in good health, certifies that the animal is up to date on everything that is required.  For small animals...not so much.  Most people are aware that small animals do not get shots, and yearly checkups are not such a necessity for them.  Some people still take them, but we are of the mindset that to take pets in actually can run the risk of them contracting something while there, and stressing them out, so we do not take them.

But the thing is... other companies require health certificates for ALL animals to fly.  I'm not sure if I posted it as a blog post or not, but I had two chinchillas go to a small Wisconsin zoo... I believe it was last year.  They required health certificates / vet exams, which I paid for.  The health certificates for two chins were $130 (together).  The vet visits / exam fee for each chin was $59.  So, $59 x 2 = $118 + $130 health certificates = $248 total vet bills.  Despite the fact the chins didn't sell for pennies, that cost almost took the sale into the negative, but that's beside the point.  The thing is... when people would ask about the cost of shipping, I would tell them $200 for 1-2 chins.  If those chins needed a health certificate / vet exam to fly... you'd need to also figure a cost of $65 (actual health certificate) + $59 vet exam = $124 in addition.  So now, we're up to $324 to ship 1-2 chins.  For those who didn't think $200 was reasonable, $324 is way out of the park, isn't it?

The reason I mention this all... and you may have been able to sort of put this together, by what I was talking about (or something along these lines)... is that PetSafe, with their new updates, is no longer accepting any pets other than cats or dogs, as of June 18th. 

As the last two days here  have been highs of 80F and 87F, respectively (and even hotter in the city)... even if this wasn't going into effect until then... it's too hot... but even if it wasn't too hot, it wouldn't matter, because reservations don't start again until July 16th, for travel beginning July 30th (when it will be obviously too hot). in case you wondered where the "we can ship chinchillas" sections that were on the Home page and Available Chins pages went... they were taken down.  I did leave the Shipping Info page alone (though good luck finding it!), should I need it in the future, it's just not linked anywhere at the moment. 

Yes, I read, just like you did, that it says the policies will be continually updated.  Should this change and they decide to allow pets again, we may be able to ship again.  However, sources have indicated that prices will significantly go up (in general... regardless of small animals being allowed or not), so even if they do decide to allow small animals in the future, it may not be at a reasonable cost any longer.

Also, since the other airlines require health certificates and are more expensive to ship in general, and most people didn't think $200 was a reasonable to ship to start with.... another airline is not going to be an alternative at this point in time.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Continuing From Yesterday

So, I ignore several phone calls today because I am so behind, and most phone calls... let's be honest... "can you take in my dogs?"

So I answer the one.  Clearly a young kid (and you all know how much I HATE when kids call).  Parents -- DO NOT have your kids call.

"I saw you have a rabbit on craigslist?"

So I acknowledge, yes we do, and of course (because I know you read yesterday's post), their only question is, "how much?"

*bangs head against the wall repeatedly*

So I tell the kid, and he says he wants to get the rabbit for his cousin.  Bad idea, but again, I'm talking to a kid, so this is probably getting nowhere, anyway.

I explain to the kid, we are a rescue, in order to adopt, we'd need THE COUSIN to read the care packet, fill out the adoption form, we'd review it, and we'd go from there.  I explain that I can email the docs if he'd like.

Naturally, the kid tells me he doesn't quite understand, and asks, can I explain it again?


So I explain it again.  He says he'll call back in a few minutes.

Needless to say, I never did get a call back.  Totally not a surprise.

And again... I know I've said this a million times, but it continues to ring true... this entire conversation could have been avoided, had the person calling actually read the ad.  Cause every thing I told them is in the ad.  I'm happy to answer questions... but after 15 years, it does get old repeating stuff that I took time to write out in the first place, that someone couldn't be bothered to read.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Pet Peeve

I know, I know, I'm always complaining.  But one of my biggest pet peeves is this -- people not reading the ads and ignoring everything in the ad, and just rushing to adopt.

Case in point.  We still have a rabbit up for adoption, he's at one of our foster homes.

If you search for a rabbit on petfinder, this is how his listing pops up:

Now, I realize this may be hard for some people, but you know, it never hurts to *click* something, so if you click the "more info" tab there at the bottom, you open up his page.  One of the FIRST things below the title, under the "About" section, is..... *drumroll*  adoption fee.

 Can you read what it says?  $35?  GOOD!  You can read.  Awesome!  That sets you apart from the rest, cause most people can't.

If you scroll down further, you get to read what I wrote about him, which AGAIN lists the adoption fee, in that section.  Like so:

So of course, this the typical email I get:

So, when I pound my head against the wall repeatedly, you all may understand.

Now, don't get me wrong, I nicely respond to this sort of email:

This is Ashley with NWI Chinchilla Rescue, we're the ones with the red rex mix rabbit up for adoption.  I received a petfinder inquiry from you about him, asking about his adoption fee and when you could come adopt him.  His adoption fee is $35.  

In order to adopt, you'd first need to read our rabbit care packet and fill out an adoption form.  Once you'd completed the adoption form and sent it back, it would be reviewed.  Once approved, we'd work to set up a time for you and the foster home (he's at a foster home, not at our rescue) to see him and potentially adopt him, if you're a good match.

I can email you the care packet and adoption form if you'd like?  Talk to you soon! 
... but it irritates me, because the info is there, most people are just too lazy to look beyond the picture.  Which irritates the crap out of me, cause I could say that its an attack rabbit which eats children for dinner, and half these people would be like, so what's the adoption fee??????

Plus... where can they pick him up.  Mind you, that listing is on petfinder, not craigslist.  I understand that most people don't have a clue (and if you read this blog with any regularity, you may be starting to agree), but I mean... it's NOT as simple as just walking into the house and handing me $35 and picking up the rabbit.  There's an adoption form to fill out, a care packet to read.  For animals that are already at a foster home, this all needs to be done ahead of time, as I hope not to waste not only my time, but also the foster's time, with flaky people.

Now, as you saw, I did send an email back.  Maybe one day, I'll get an email back that is like, "ok awesome, send me the forms..." but most of the times, people who can't even be bothered to find the adoption fee on their own never get past the whole "omg there's an adoption form?  I have to put forth *gasp* EFFORT???? the HORROR!!!!"  So, it's even more irritating, because as much as it's typically wasted breath, I still try my best to give people the benefit of the doubt and send them a message back, cause you just never know.  But honestly... if you can't find the adoption fee... you probably aren't going to take the effort to read an 8 page care packet and fill out a 2 page adoption form.  Sad, but it's just reality.

UPDATE! -- I got an email back: "Thank you for the information."  In other words, no thanks.