A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper

A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper
Ever wonder what its like to share your world with a bunch of crazy critters? Tune in to find out!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Sunday Afternoon Walk

You would have never thought that this adorable face has been a giant pink turd for the bulk of the day - but - yes - little Mr has been in quite the mood.  I think taking him on a long walk to rid his system of all that piggy piss and vinegar did the trick.  He walked a long way and was quite excited by the pups racing around like crazy dogs (we never leave them unattended).  He even did a good bit of running on our outing - maybe his snotty behavior was pent up energy (even thought he spent the entire day outside playing and rooting).  Ah well - even when he's a turd I still adore him....how can you resist that smile???

You can see the blur of Charli in the background

One of the pups - the only one I got with three of them together - Emma was wandering in the trees - that's Charli on the left, Tango in the middle and Juliett on the right

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Week in Review

After starting off with a bang with Violet's blood sugar issues the week was much calmer.  Violet was fine after about noon on Monday.  I have been offering her food every few hours, just to make sure something is going in to keep that blood sugar more stable.  I do think it was more of a one time thing rather than a need for adjustments in her meds.  I will be keeping a watchful eye and will check her glucose next week just to be sure.

The other ferrets are quite happy with this offering of food every few hours.  They line up for gravy, waiting patiently for Violet to get hers so they can have what is left.  All the ferrets are active and engaged and seem quite happy and healthy.

The kitties are doing well.  Aggie seems quite content eating her kidney friendly cat food.  She is also undeterred by the supplement that we are giving her to control the BUN numbers in her blood. Oliver is doing quite well with the adjustment to his meds.  I think he may have put on some weight in the last couple of weeks.  Since Aggie is getting her own cat food there is more for him to munch on.  It's good - he needs to put on some pounds.  Phoebe is doing just great as well.

Winston has been enjoying lots of outside time.  His days god something like this:  cookies in the early morning, breakfast around 8:30, outside for grazing and investigating, then napping in his barn, then more grazing.  We usually go for a walk in the afternoon so he can explore outside the fence and then back in, dinner around 5:30 and resting in his room, and then to bed around 9.  He has a pretty cushy life.

Maybe not as cushy as the pups - since they utilize the pool and the lawn furniture.  They are all doing well.  Training is progressing slowly.  The puppies are still quite rambunctious but they are trying.  I could work with them more but its hard to fit in time with everything else on the list.  Emma is doing well - she is feeling quite frisky these days.  Her favorite thing is to race through the house - the puppies are outside and they race along with her - crazy dogs.

All in all the critter gang is doing well.  I have critter chores this weekend - critterland needs a deep cleaning.  I will be working on that throughout the weekend....

Monday, August 07, 2017

A Bit of a Blood Sugar Scare

We had a bit of unwelcomed excitement this morning.  I went to give Violet her meds this morning. She gave me a bit of a hard time about taking them which is unusual.  I put her down and noticed that she was staggering and leaning to the right.  I got a bit of honey and rubbed it on her gums and waited a few minutes.  I took a blood glucose reading and it was 71 after the honey went in. I made her some gravy (ferret food with warm water) and she ate very well.  After she ate she was much better - not staggering at all and walking normally.

Currently she is napping in Emma's crate where I can keep a close eye on her.  She had food and water available I will be making sure she eats on a pretty consistent basis today to be on the safe side. I have been in contact with the vet's office and they agree that being on watch is the right thing and to let them know if anything changes so we can get her scheduled for an appointment.  It's certainly not a dangerous reading of 71 - actually the 70s are good numbers for a insulinoma ferret but it is lower than where she has been.  I am hoping that this is just a blip on the radar - that she slept for too long and her sugar got too low.

We proved today that I can do a blood sugar test on my own if I have to.  She was not happy and I was very stressed but we got it done.  I will keep you posted on any developments.  Fingers crossed for an event free afternoon.  As a side note - I have ordered some liquid glucose gel which will be better for such emergencies - it should be here on Wednesday.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Training Day

So - it was day one of puppy training.  Of course - like when you take your car to the shop because it makes a noise and when you get there the noise is gone - the puppies were perfect little angels while the trainer was here.

We worked on methods for training - using body language and vocalizations to get them to do what we want.  There are no treats, clickers, collars or even touching the dog in this method of training.  I can see a change in them already.  Just little changes in the body language and how you tell them to do things is amazing.

They worked on sit and stay.  They did sit pretty well before but never really worked on stay.  They even passed the test of sitting for me and being told to stay while the trainer dropped keys in the other room making noise to try to distract them.  They looked in the direction of the noise but did not get up to investigate.

We worked on interfacing with Emma and trying to get them to engage with her in a calmer fashion. We also worked on getting them used to being around the car - not getting in yet but getting comfortable about the vehicle - baby steps.

We have our homework to do every day and the trainer will return on August 26th.

All in all I think our first session went well - the pups were totally tuckered out:




Thursday, August 03, 2017

August Already

How is it the third day of August already?  Holy Moly!  It will be Thanksgiving next week at this rate.

Looking back at July - it was a busy critter month.  We had lots of birthdays - Winston, Tabby and Kai.  We did vet visits for the kitties - they are all in pretty good shape overall - happy with the results.  We hired a trainer for the puppies and our first session is Saturday.   We celebrated 4th of July - all the critters made it through with minimal stress.  And, we did Violet's glucose test at home for the first time.  It was a bit awkward but the results were great.

The zoo is doing pretty darn great.  As I type this - Winston is outside napping in his barn.  The puppies are snoozing outside as well and Emma is sacked out on our bed.  The littles are in critterland - I was down there a bit ago and everyone was napping.  The little ferret sleeping bags are a great hit - used all the time.

August should be less critter intensive - we will focus primarily on the training routine that the trainer develops for us with the pups this month.  Mid month we will test Violet again just to make sure her numbers are holding.  We may start to develop baselines for the ferrets as well - testing all of them to see where their numbers are.  It's a bit of a pain because they have to fast for three hours prior to testing.  I may pull Madison out with Violet next time and start with oldest first....

The last few days have been nice - the weather hasn't been so awful - its been a hot and muggy summer around here.  Pig and dogs are enjoying the ability to hang outside all day.  I even opened the outside playspace for the little critters yesterday - they had fun exploring and laying in the sun.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Presents for the Ferrets

The pups and the pig get new toys and treats frequently but the kitties and the ferrets rarely do.  I was at Costco this morning and happened upon these cute little items and got them for the ferrets. Guessing the kitties will likely enjoy them too...

They are like sleeping bags, which the little ones love.  I put the alligator in their bedroom and the mermaid tail in my office.  Tabby and Kai were up and about and all too happy to check things out.

I love this shot of Kai - handsome little devil


Sunday, July 23, 2017

It's Official - We Need a Trainer

Today I officially reached out to a local dog trainer for her to come to the house and try to tame the wild puppies.  The are good dogs for the most part but they need to learn some manners and some obedience.  I have asked her to structure a training plan around the following:

  • Barking - they bark at each other mostly but its noisy and annoying
  • Jumping up - particularly Charli - she is by far the worst of the three
  • Being a bit more gentle with Emma - they love her so much but they are too exuberant for the old girl
  • General commands - they do sit for cookies, and go in their crates for chewies but we need to work on things like stay, settle, lay down, etc
  • Listening when excited or distracted - all bets are off currently
I hope to hear back from her this week so we can get something on the calendar and get these babies calmed down a bit.  Puppy brains in giant dog bodies make for a challenging time.  Add to that - three of them - we are outnumbered.  I'll keep you posted on how it goes...