Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Donation of Excess Shipping Money

Wanted to share with you all.  We had someone last week who submitted an order on our webstore for a house, chinny mobile, and a few more little things.  Shortly after receiving the order, I received an email from them.  Often, if I get an email following an order, it's due to the wrong shipping address being on the order or whatnot, but this was different.

This person had noticed where it says on our webtore about how shipping prices are impossible to calculate ahead of time, and that we refund excess shipping costs when the order ships.  She had emailed to say that any shipping overages for her order, we could keep as a donation.  How nice!

I finished her order and it went out the other day, but I hadn't processed the paperwork for it until today.  When I did it today, it turned out that the excess shipping (which would have been refunded back) was a whopping $28!  Thanks to Amy L. for her donation! 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Communication After Adoption

So, when people adopt, and I'm caught up on paperwork (ha.. hahahahahahahahahaha), I try to send out emails / texts to people asking if everything's going alright, if they have any questions, and so on, maybe a week or two after adoption.

Since I'm so far behind in paperwork (though catching up!), I haven't gotten to that lately, but occasionally, people will text with questions / concerns / etc.

For example, we had a pair of baby guinea pigs that were adopted out.  Long story short (without going into it, I know *gasp* I'm going to by-pass telling a story within a story), they were returned a few days later due to not getting along with the lady's current guinea pig.  When they were returned, the lady returning them wanted to point out some gunk that had gotten into the one's fur.  I mention this, because she wasn't clear about which one had gunk in it's fur, so I closely looked both guinea pigs completely over.  They went into a clean cage, and had a potential adopter within a day or so.  She came to look at them, and she and her husband and two kids both held and cuddled the guinea pigs for quite some time.  She asked about the health guarantee and I explained it (simply, the pet dies, without it being the new owner's fault, in the first 7 days, we replace).  I asked if there was a reason she was asking, nope, just curious.  She put down a deposit, came back a few days later to adopt the guinea pigs.  Again, held for some time, didn't notice anything odd (nor did I).

Few hours later, I get a text that the guinea pig has some sort of mites or bugs or something.  She wanted to know what they were.  She said they were little white bugs, and I've only seen black / red mites / fleas, etc.  I told her, white bugs, that I dunno, but I explained to give him a bath with blue Dawn dish soap, let it sit on him while lathered up for 5 mins, and then rinse and it should be good.  I explained that while I didn't know what the bugs were, that's a common treatment for dogs with fleas, rabbits with mites, etc etc, so there was no reason it shouldn't work, regardless of the type of bug. 

I checked the cages here that the guinea pigs were in, couldn't find one bug or anything amiss.  Cleaned and completely sterilized the cages just in case.  Checked all the other guinea pigs here, none had any bugs or anything.  Treated them all with ivermectin as a preventative, anyway.  Ivermectin will kill lice, mites, and other small parasitic bugs on animals, so regardless of the type of bug, we should be good.  I have also since checked the pigs, and no bugs.

I googled white small bugs, and it turns out, they may have been lice (that's something you now know, lice tend to be a light greyish color).  Turns out, lice are species specific.  That means, if you have lice, it is human lice.  Versus if your guinea pig has lice, they are guinea pig lice.  Or if your dog has lice, they are dog lice.  These different types of lice cannot go to different species, so your dog's lice cannot become guinea pig lice.

If I had to make an educated guess about all of this, this would be my take -- since I did not find lice (or whatever bugs) on any of my guinea pigs or in their cages, and lice need to be on a living organism to survive due to needing to eat / reproduce (and can't live longer than 24 hours without a host... they didn't come in on shavings or something like that)... my guess would be that the first adopter (who returned the pigs when they didn't get along with hers) may have had lice on her guinea pig, which then laid lice eggs on these guinea pigs... and the timing may have been just right for the new eggs to have hatched, and lice to appear when they went to their new home.  That's my guess anyway.  Anyway, on the whole communication point of this post...

Next day, I send this person a message, asking how the bath went and how the guinea pig is doing.  This was about a week or so ago now, and I have never heard back.  This is actually pretty typical.  Don't get me wrong, I don't expect all adopters to become my best friend after adoption, but even when I do send out the emails / texts that ask if the person has questions / concerns, I only maybe receive responses from 10-25% of people.  That's it. 

Do people really want to adopt and be completely done with where they got the animal from?  I mean, maybe so, I guess I'm different in that I would like to keep in touch, if possible.  I'd like to share updates on how the animal is doing, and ask questions if needed.  But I'm personally amazed how few people will even answer a simple message or email...and I know their email / messages are working, since they used those to contact me not long ago prior to that! 

When I reach out after an adoption, I'm only trying to be helpful.  If someone does have a question, I really would like to answer it and help out, and make sure they have the correct answer to their question, not just the most popular one found by google.  In the case of the guinea pigs, I still wonder how he's doing.  I would assume they gave the bath and the guinea pigs are doing fine, mainly because... since the lady mentioned the health guarantee, I feel like I would have been contacted, had the guinea pig died or something (though that would be quite the extreme response to lice).  So, I assume the guinea pig is doing well, but unfortunately, the adopter didn't take the time to message me back... so I don't know.  And I actually do care about the animals, so it's actually upsetting that she didn't respond.  I just wish people would think about this sort of thing when they wouldn't respond... because here it is quite a bit of time later... and I'm still thinking about that guinea pig. 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Spaying / Neutering to Prevent Unwanted Litters

So, I normally read this sort of thing on the dog facebook pages that I belong to, about spaying early to prevent unwanted litters.  But then I've noticed, more frequently, people are asking this about chins.

Now, some people choose to only have one gender.  All males or all females.  In that case, it is literally impossible for there to be an oops litter, because the right parts can't possibly match up.  So, no oops litters there.

There are also people who choose to have some males and some females, without the intention of breeding.  Just turns out, they like the looks or personality of this one chin, and it happens to be a male, and then later, they like the looks and personality of this other chin, and it happens to be a female.  So, they have two separate cages and separate playtimes and all.  No breeding intentions.

Here's where it gets interesting sometimes.  Often those people, who don't want to breed, ask about getting one or both of the chins spayed or neutered.  I usually would then ask, are they wanting to house them together (as a reason for doing the surgery).  No, they just want to prevent unintentional litters.

I'm starting to think maybe people aren't sure how litters come about?  As long as the chins are kept apart, in separate cages, separate play times, no together-time... there's actually no way for babies to happen.  I've actually asked people, are the cages close together (as in, close enough to breed through the bars)?  Half the times, they're across the room from each other, or even in separate rooms (like, one in each kid's room).  Ok, so they couldn't breed through the cages if the cages aren't next to each other.  Then I ask, joint play times?  Or, is that the goal (when one is fixed)?  No, they don't think the chins would get along, so they don't want to let them out together. 

Ok, so...  maybe someone can explain this to me.  How are these chins supposed to magically breed, creating an oops litter, which spaying / neutering is going to prevent?

I honestly feel the same about the posts in the dog groups.  I just read a post in one of the dog facebook groups, where someone asked, what age is appropriate to spay a female.  Some people said 6 months, some said wait until the dog is older.  Then one person said, as young as possible, to prevent unwanted litters.  Now, I didn't respond because I didn't want to get into it, but... if you're not letting your dog run loose, unsupervised... no unwanted litters.  Alternatively, if you don't nave an opposite-sex un-fixed dog in the house that the female will be around when she's in heat... no unwanted litters.  Is this sort of thing that difficult to comprehend?  Maybe it's just me.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Feeding Pellets

So, this has come up a few times lately, so I wanted to touch on this, as a bit of an educational post, as a nice break from me talking about what goes on here all the time.

For a lot of animals, we limit their food.  Think about it.  Dogs often get a meal or two a day, portion controlled.  My older dog Kailey is free fed, because she picks at her food.  Misty... well, she's currently being free-fed because of the pups, but normally Misty and Sky are on about 3/4 cup per day of kibble, plus all the pooches get some canned food.

With rabbits and guinea pigs, you often hear of limiting the pellets, as they should eat more hay and greens.  Obviously, this is different with chins, because they don't eat the greens.  However, people often look at how rabbits and guinea pigs have their pellets restricted in favor of their other foods, and think it should be the same with chinchillas.

For chinchillas, the thing you seem to read about, the magic number, as it were, seems to be 2 tablespoons.  Where that magic amount came from, I don't know.  They may very well eat that much... but they also may eat more or less.  They're all tiny little furry individuals.  Just like people, some are pigs, some are skinnier.  Some are couch potatoes, some are marathon runners.

The thing is, there's no magic amount.  At least, not for chinchillas.  The super convenient thing is, chinchillas won't overeat!  Of course, if you give them a food chock full of treats and goodies, they're going to pig out on that, but if you give them a healthy pellet-only (as in, no extra goodies mixed into the pellets) diet, like Tradition / Oxbow / Mazuri / Nutrena / Manna Pro / etc etc etc... they will not overeat.

So, there is no need to restrict your chinchilla's pellets.  No need to portion control.  Just fill up the bowl, and refill when it's getting low.  Simple as that.  Now you know.  :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Making Appointments

I guess I thought this was more or less common sense, but this week has shown me that's not the case.

Let me ask you a question.  Let's say we're talking about possible appointments, and I tell respond with this:

Friday (today) -- 7 pm or later
Saturday -- 6 or 6:30 pm or 8:15 pm
Sunday -- sorry no availability
Monday -- Available 12:30 and later
Tuesday -- not sure yet
Wednesday -- available all day
Thursday -- available earlier than 12 noon

And I end the message asking when works?

Now, here's the question.  If you respond back and pick a time... do you, or do you not, wait for a confirmation before you just show up?

For me, personally, if I got an email like that, I would likely respond, how about Wednesday at 3?  And then I would wait for a response, that would basically tell me, yes that will work, or no that will no work.  I suppose maybe the reason I think this way is because I understand that these appointments / availability may fill up / change by the time I respond.

I have come to learn that many people (several in the last few days in fact), just pick a time and show up.  In fact, I had one email back and say, ok this time works... I never saw that email... so then the sent another that said, oh could I come at this other time instead?  Never saw that email either, as it was a busy weekend.  So, they just showed up at the time they specified in the second email.  I wasn't home. 

Now, this is another one of those things I suppose you can take multiple ways.  Should I stay so on top of my email that I get nothing else done?  Maybe you think so, maybe you don't.  Of course, I do my best, but like this past weekend, we had two expos, one on each day, and that puts everything else on hold for a moment as there's a lot of prep, packing, and set up time. 

I suppose another consideration, something else you might view two ways... I said I was available at that time.  Did that mean, because I said that, even without knowing someone wanted to come... should I have stayed home?  My view on that, personally, is that without knowing I have someone coming (which is why I set appointments as opposed to having hours of operation), I am not required to be here.  I set appointments so I know when people are coming, and they can ensure that when they come, I will be here.  Mutual benefit.  They don't waste a trip when no one's home, and I don't sit around waiting for people who I don't know are possibly coming.

For those curious -- they ended up calling me from my doorstep, and came by later that evening when I was home.  No big deal.

The reason I mention this though, is because I find this insanely important as far as appointments.  Let me repeat what I said earlier, again.  I make them, to ensure I will be home when someone wants to come by.  I know that I have an appointment at 5, I will be sure to be home by / before 5 pm.  If I have no appointments set for all day and someone shows up... I may be home... but I may not.  It depends on the day.  But just because I give a list of available times that are possible (keyword: possible) for appointments, that doesn't necessarily mean I will just be sitting home at all of those times, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for people.  Rather, they as possibilities.  If you would like to come at one of those times, you need to ask, does a certain time work, and I will confirm, yes it does, or no it doesn't.  Most likely, unless someone already has an appointment at that time, I do my best to work around people's schedules, so it's not hard to make an appointment.  Just... one does need to be made... and confirmed.  That is all.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

"I Can Pick Up Today" & Other "Offers" With Lower Prices

Let me share with you a short convo I had with someone the other day:


Them:  How much total for Duke?

Me:  His adoption fee is $100.

Them:  Possible to be any lower?  $50.  I'm coming way from Waukegan

Me:  Sorry no

Them:  I could pick up today if $50 but ok

Me:  That makes absolutely no difference.  This is a chinchilla rescue not a flea market.  I'm not dying to sell them as quickly as possible to the lowest bidder, sorry


Let me make it very clear.  I don't freaking care if you can pick up in 5 minutes.  My prices are my prices.  ESPECIALLY on the cheaper chins.  If I have one for $600 and you offer me $550, we may discuss it.  You offer me HALF on a $100 chinchilla?  Oh hell no.  I don't care if you can teleport to my house right now to get it.  Nope, no how, no way.

Do these people go to Walmart and haggle?  Hell no!!!  So why do they do it here?  Oh it's a small business.  Guess it's ok for Walmart to make money, but not for the small business, that, you know, actually cares about it's customers?  Oh heavens no.  Pardon the small business from making any money, but the billioniare corporation, oh we can't question their prices!!!

People like this, I honestly want to tell them where they can shove their money.

It gets old, really old, when people constantly question how cheap they can get everything.  Since I have a lot of chins, I should just hand them out like Halloween candy, eh?  I think not.

Now, I'm sure some of you out there are like, hey, how do you know these people aren't good homes and just want to save a few bucks?  They may very well be.  However, I have sales, they can wait for them.  And... wait for it... these are LIVE ANIMALS.  We're not talking about a tchotchke that they can haggle down from $1 at a garage sale.  You can't then haggle down pet food.  Or vet care.  So if someone is going to try to haggle down the price of the chinchilla (and mind you, not by simply asking, hey, are there any discounts...that's fine... but by the way they ask about it and the way they try to convince that I should take their lower price)... I don't want them adopting anyway.  They can be a good home to another chin somewhere else.

By the way, these tend to be the same people who point out to me that there's chin on craigslist for $100 with cage and all accessories.  How come mine is $100 for just the chin?  Oh, well, it has a health guarantee, will replace if it dies within the first week, you have a lifetime of support, yadda yadda.  But, oh, I can't throw in a cage and everything with it, for the price of the chin?  No, sorry.  And guess what?  If I tell them, well, if it's such a great deal, why don't you go get the craigslist chin?  The answer never fails to be some variation of -- well, yours looks healthier / better cared for / etc etc.  Amazing -- you get what you pay for!  Imagine that.

I'm never going to get rich off these furballs and selling supplies.  Some people are like hey you sold that one chin for $200!!  Yes, but each parent likely cost at least that, so they need to have a handful of babies just to recoup costs of parents (and some of those babies will hopefully be held back for show and to put back into the herd), and then of course... maintenance costs.  My new basement AC this year was almost $700.  My AC bills have ranged between $300-450 per month all summer.  Sure, some of the chins sell for a lot, but the bills and expenses are also a lot, and eat up a lot of the money brought in.  The reason I mention this -- I'm clearly never going to become a millionaire selling chinchillas... and that's fine.  But the place has to stay running in order to keep rescuing and keep providing people with safe chinchilla supplies.  To do that requires money, and requires not accepting the lowest bidder on everything.  So, sorry not sorry, but lowball offers are insulting and I will not entertain them.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Keeping Appointments

So, I won't go into the one no-show appointment yet (that'll be a story for another day), but for the sake of this post, all you really need to know is that the one morning a few days ago, I had several appointments set for the evening, including a 5 pm appointment. 

The 5 pm appointment was actually someone I sort of knew, who was supposed to pick up pre-arranged stuff (and that is all I will say at the moment), so I didn't anticipate them being a no-show.

So, when someone who I'd talked to about appointments contacted me later in the day and asked if 5 pm would work for me, I told her, sorry, no, but that my entire evening was booked up, and that the next time I would have available was a day or two later, after the weekend.

Probably needless to say, you wouldn't be reading this, had my 5 pm showed up. 

However, since I didn't know they weren't coming, I told that person they would not be able to come at that time slot, and they said they would have to get back to me with other times that would work for them.  Now, they still may... but it's been a few days... so I'm not holding my breath.  See, most people that really want to come by, keep in good contact and don't wait days upon days between email / phone responses.  So, I don't anticipate hearing from her.

Anyway, the point of all of this is that that 5 pm may think that not showing up for her appointment doesn't really affect anything other than her appointment (well, it does, but again, another post for another day).  But in reality, it does.  See, had I known she wasn't coming, I could have scheduled the other person for that time slot, and potentially adopted out a chinchilla and maybe even sold some supplies, and possibly even educated someone more on chinchillas and there care.  But, as I did not know that my 5 pm wasn't going to show up, I told the other person that I was booked, and ended up sitting around for 60+ minutes, twiddling my thumbs while waiting for a text back.

So, this is just a friendly reminder that people need to remember that if they can't make their appointment, for whatever reason, it is considerably better to let me (or wherever you're going) know, so we can adjust accordingly.  So that not only do you make us miss out on your appointment, but we also don't miss out on others, that we might have filled your slot with.

That is all.... for now.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Ask Questions!

I feel, personally, this goes without saying...but if you want info and it's not there... feel free to ask!

I had someone last week, email me about putting down a deposit on a chin.  Little did they know, the chin (which wasn't listed yet, and still isn't), is $600.  Needless to say, when I emailed back and said how much the deposit would be (their question, along with wanting to see pics) and sent pics, I never heard back.  If there's no price listed, ask.  If it doesn't say whether a chin gets along with other chins or not, ask.  I may not know, but it can't hurt to ask.  If I didn't post the back story about how a chin came to the rescue and that's a pondering of yours, ask.  Again, I may not know (a lot of people say they can't care for it anymore or don't have time... and leave it at that), but you can ask!  About the only thing I don't want you to ask for is a discount (see previous blog post), and that's more out of respect than anything.

I try to post whatever info I have on the chins.  I've even tried, lately, to include what back story I have, if I have one.  Sure, for some chins, it's "the kids got tired of them," or "developed allergies," or whatnot, but if you read Ash's backstory, there's quite the story there.  Not all relating directly to him, specifically, but it's about how his family came upon getting chins, and how they were intentionally misinformed, and so on. 

But try as I might, I can't include everything.  Undoubtedly, someone will wonder if the chin is good with cats or kids or dogs or whatever.  I try to put in all the listings if the chin would or would not make a good first chin.  However, I don't re-write each ad from scratch (I know, how dare I try to save time), so if the ad I use didn't have it, I may forget to add it back in.  That's where, if you're wondering something and it's not there, a quick email asking a question never hurts! 

I'm always happy to answer questions and give advice and help out where I can.  But I don't know that you have the questions if you don't ask them!