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#605100 - 08/05/08 05:23 PM Questions about rescues and rescuing

I have a feeling this is going to sound strange, but I would like some advice nevertheless. Moderators, please feel free to move this if I have posted it here inappropriately.

In brief, as I will detail my reasoning below, I would like to start ‘officially’ rescuing certain exotics. As a result, this is being cross-posted to another forum (please accept my apology, if you utilize both communities). I have cared for several rescued animals over the past 8 years, have bonded with them and they with me (or not depending on the individual), and have decided that I would like to make myself known to certain communities so people can be on the lookout for animals that I can open my home to.

This all started yesterday (short turn around time, but I like to act fast), when I was trying to find a way to honor a beloved hedgehog that died Sunday morning while I was away. I am no longer satisfied with a memorial stone placed on a grave for those animals who have bonded to me as companions. This recent death, Xanadu, is one of those. I found Xanadu through a classified ad; she was being kept as a mascot in a sales office. While she was not in a <i>poor</i> environment, they admitted that they had no time or desire to care for her. Previous to Xanadu, there were others, however Xanadu was the last animal I took from a substandard environment and placed under my care. Some of them I have paid for, most of them have been free referrals from friends, so far all of them have found forever homes with me. However, I know I can improve upon this.

Another notable rescue, thankfully still living, is Loki, a well aged but still sassy sugar glider. A friend of my husband called about 7 years ago wanting to know if we could make space in the room we shared at a rental house for a glider. Loki was full grown and at least 3 years old when she found us (and full of a lot more sass and crabby-pants). She did not like us one bit, though sometimes she would put up with us because we could tell she wanted companionship. She didn’t start regularly coming out of her cage to play until we had had her 3 years, and wouldn’t come out without some form of edible bribery until sometime last year. To this day she disappoints us some evenings by crabbing and refusing to come play, but we have grown to understand each other and have managed an odd but mutually acceptable bond. For a few years, I tried to find her a cage mate. The one lead we had ended up falling through at the last minute – after I had purchased a second cage and set of things necessary to glider care and happiness.

Yesterday I decided that I would like to make sure that I am known at least locally if not regionally, as a resource for people who would like to find a different home for their pet hedgehog, sugar glider, or small land-dwelling reptile. I chose these because of the space and care supplies that I have in my home. I know these animals are out there, because my husband works for a small pet store (but with a wide selection of pets) in my town – Xanadu was originally sold from the very same store, Loki’s breeder was quite likely a referral from the store as they do not carry gliders but they have a notebook that lists breeders of various domestic and exotic pet species. I have called the humane society and the county animal shelters in my area and asked to be put on their foster lists for these animals. I am posting here to make myself known to this community.

I admit that I do not know everything I need to know about the rescue process. As a foster caregiver through the humane society, I will receive some instruction and training as to their methods. I would like any advice from people who have experience with rescuing animals. How do I get my name and contact information to the people that need it? Are there already people in my area (mid-Michigan) focusing on hedgehogs, sugar gliders, and small reptiles? How do I find them and work with them? Are there legal issues I need to be aware of? What kind of unexpected expenses should I plan for? (I plan to house no more than 6 animals at a time, and can expand to 8 if necessary given the equipment that I have on hand or can easily borrow; I know some animals come with health problems and have a good vet who will let me volunteer my time in return for care and I have quarantine space) How do I go about the potential of giving/selling an animal I have rescued to an interested and competent person? (very difficult with gliders, I do expect to be their forever home should any come my way; I favor the idea of interviewing people to find out their capacity to care for a pet, but I’m not even sure that is legal) What am I supposed to charge people? (do I base it on how much the animal has cost me, personally, to date or is there a market standard?) What are all of the things I haven’t thought about and how do I deal with them?

Constructive criticism is appreciated, flaming is not. If you take issue with my plan to do this, I respect your opinion, however I would appreciate you keep that opinion to yourself unless it comes with a useful, thoughtful reason against my plan.

To keep things from getting out of control in forum context, please feel free to private message me.

#605117 - 08/05/08 05:37 PM Re: Questions about rescues and rescuing [Re: ]
Dancing Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 22746
Loc: 80 acres of paradise in KS
First, I want to say it is an admirable way to show your love for lost companions.

Second...I have to careful what you wish for.

I've had gliders for well over 10 years now and have been doing rescue for over 4. There is a great deal involved with rescued gliders.

Here are some of the MUSTS...

you MUST have the funds available for extensive vet bills.

you MUST have appropriate cages and accessories available and ready.

you MUST be committed to the idea of NON BREEDING rescues. Any intact males have to be neutered.

you MUST realize, you will NEVER make any profit doing rescue work. We (me and other rescuers I know) spend way more caring for and rehabilitating rescued gliders than we ever get in return. MOST real rescuers do not charge adoption fees for placing the gliders into homes. We do what we do out of the love of the gliders. Money should never be an issue.

If you would like to visit our All4Gliders Rescue Project, you will be able to learn more of what we do. There is an application on there that many rescuers and breeders use to screen potential new owners. You are welcome to use it as well. It is pretty extensive and there are many questions to test glider knowledge. This helps us place the right gliders into the right homes.

Sadly, there are so many glider mills and flea market vendors selling the gliders as "easy to care for as a hamster" and other such nonsense that there is always a need for good reliable honest rescuers. Please feel free to visit the A4G site. (the link is in my signature).
Judge not until you have walked in their shoes and lived their lives. What you see online is only part of the story.

I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance

The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.

#605125 - 08/05/08 05:44 PM Re: Questions about rescues and rescuing [Re: ]

Well, I've recently started rescuing, and it is amazingly rewarding. I got my other thread closed for "advertising", so let me say I'm doing nothing of the sort: go to my website below and see how I've set up the "Will You Take My Glider" and "Adoption Application" pages. I made this website as an information site, and decided to use it to reach people in need of placing their gliders. I advertised it on Facebook, Hoobly, and the like, and I immediately got lots of hits, and within a week, I was contacted about these 7 rescues that had been dumped off in Mississippi. It's not an easy thing- they have health and temperament issues from their abuse. But I wouldn't trade this feeling for the world.

#605166 - 08/05/08 06:45 PM Re: Questions about rescues and rescuing [Re: ]
SugarBlossoms Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 02/23/06
Posts: 5830
Loc: USA
I have rescues also. Besides what has been said already, my advice is to brace yourself for upcoming storms (illness, vet bills, etc.,) prepare to be loved by some of the most precious animals, prepare for the time when you can't give them up because of the look in their eyes. Know that they know you love them and helped save them.

Prepare your head to lose them when their time cannot ever prepare your heart to let them go....
Keeper of Handprints on my Heart, You left your Footprints on my soul.
My precious loves that left to quickly, Peanut, Katie
Isabella, Kiwi, Bonnie and Monroe.

Spread your wings and glide free of pain,
Until the day I see you again.

God speed my precious angels. I love you. Mama.

#605178 - 08/05/08 07:04 PM Re: Questions about rescues and rescuing [Re: SugarBlossoms]
mattysmom Offline
Glider Guardian

Registered: 01/31/06
Posts: 1234
Loc: Tarpon Springs, FL
I've never promoted myself as a rescue but through word of mouth, over many years, I have taken in a horse, chinchilla, hedgehog, birds, rabbits, kittens, gliders - not to mention the crippled toad and turtle that live here. The "be careful what you wish for" comment is good advice because once word gets out, even friends will ask you to take home pets for which they no longer want responsibility. It's an easy out for them. But it is a wonderful thing you're wanting to do and the good feeling you get in your heart is priceless. Have you got the funds and space for their care? Can you really give them up to a new owner? Perhaps you should ask for a fee from the animal's current owner to help get started. There's a horse rescue near here that's on the news asking for funds because of the increased costs of feed. It's not easy. I would think letting the pet shop know would be a start. Many people try to pawn their pets off on shops hoping to get money or just get rid of them. Good luck with your rescue.
Moira & Matty & my zoo

#605231 - 08/05/08 08:16 PM Re: Questions about rescues and rescuing [Re: mattysmom]
gliderma Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 05/07/08
Posts: 5402
Loc: Michigan
Hi I am also in mid michigan and would love to work with you! I have fostered for the local shelter and am myself a nurse/massage therapist. Where are you in mid michigan? Lets get together! Oh, I have 2 dogs (soon to be more cuz my rottie is pregnant) 2 cats, many fish & 7 gliders, as of today anyway! Can change at a moments notice!!!
Lynn Martel

#605236 - 08/05/08 08:25 PM Re: Questions about rescues and rescuing [Re: gliderma]
Mel2mdl Offline
Glider Addict

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 4212
Loc: Garland, TX
I have also taken in and rehomed rescues. On a very small scale - one family at a time - and with a lot of help in the background if I need it.

Couple of things:
1. All males MUST be neutered before being rehomed.
2. Glider rescues should NEVER be used for breeding, nor sold
3. A non-breeding contract should be set up for the females.
4. Rescues usually need vet care and you should have funds for that.
5. Gliders will also need new cages and bedding. You will rarely get usable stuff.
6. You will need to carefully scan homes as well. No point in rehoming into a bad environment.
Molly, son & husband:

Chairman Meow
Oscar & Thomas
Sam, Diego, Delilah, Delia :wfb:
Nevada, Noel
Marcel, Dakota, Latte
Dexter, Didi, Almond, Joy and Fitz
Karl,Lenny,Jynxie,Chamille, Kee & Mr. Beans in my heart forever.
Teaching teenagers-part joy, part guerilla warfare! :rbridge:

#605264 - 08/05/08 09:06 PM Re: Questions about rescues and rescuing [Re: Mel2mdl]

Thanks for thinking about rescuing.

I recently moved to seattle from mid-Michigan and from what I observed there were no large-scale glider rescue operations working out of Michigan. You would be the first.

Michigan has really become flooded with gliders from what I can see and tell, and naturally many of the people who adopt these special creatures find they are more than they bargained for and don't give them the proper care. You would more than likely have your hands full!

We took our gliders to a vet in Williamston while I lived in East Lansing. PM me if you want their info. While they did have a fair amount of experience with gliders, some people who had gliders neutered with them did have complications, so I might seek a different vet for neutering.

Best of luck to you.

#617374 - 08/20/08 06:17 PM Re: Questions about rescues and rescuing [Re: Dancing]

I apologize for my slow response, my place of work has me quite occupied at this time of year.

Thank you, everyone, for your advice. I will be checking out the websites mentioned in the above posts tonight, as I have managed to score not only the computer (hard to do with one computer in a 3-adult household) but also a few spare hours!! The application process is definitely high on my list of concerns, as I have only ever taken in ‘cast-off’ pets and never ventured into the territory of finding other homes for them (well, I joke about it with my chinchilla because she has quite the…erm…personality, but that’s a different story and I don’t think I could really get rid of my obnoxious little furball); thank you to those who have offered resources and advice for this aspect of rescuing.

I am quite comfortable and well aware of how far I can stretch my space, time and finances for this venture (I have three small mammals now and have space for three to five more, depending on how long I need to house them). If I’ve had a rescue for a while, giving them up might be the most difficult part, but I’d rather give up a pet to a loving caretaker than know that it lived a miserable life as an unwanted nuisance for someone else. I’ve noted the suggestion that I ask for a donation from the current owner and have considered how to go about that. Presumably they would not object to parting with the cage, toys, food, and other supplies that they got for their pet and I’m not afraid to ask for that in compensation (that’s how I ended up with extra cages in the first place), however I’m not certain about asking them for money unless I need to travel a relatively long distance to meet them.

7glider7 – I’m not sure I want to go large scale rescue (yet – gotta test the waters) but I think I know your vet. The place I take my animals to in Williamston is great and highly recommended, if a bit pricey for some things, but I sometimes take them to a closer place in Okemos or just to MSU (in case of after-hours emergencies – I live less than 5 minutes from the small animal clinic if MSU would quit doing road construction everywhere ;-). I trust the Williamston clinic and have had no issues with their care, it’s just too far most of the time.

Again, I thank you all for your suggestions and help.

Edited by starkissed (08/20/08 06:36 PM)


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