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!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Juliett's Trip to the Vet

It was an interesting critter week this week.  Piggy and ferrets are all fine. Ollie and Phoebe (kitties) were supposed to go to the vet on Wednesday for a thyroid panel to check their levels so we could renew their hyperthyroid medications. Fast forward to Tuesday evening when I get a panicky call from the hubs to report that Juliett has a giant lump on her head.  I get home and check her out and indeed, there is a large lump on the top/back of her head. She has a scratch on her nose so my suspicion was that she had an abscess similar to what Phoebe went through a few months ago.  Juliett was behaving like she was fine - great appetite, very active, no issues to suggest we needed an emergency vet visit. 

On Wednesday morning I called the vet to let them know that I was bringing one dog instead of two kitties. The lump on her head was not an abscess it was a hematoma. Evidently while roughhousing with her puppy siblings she whacked her head on something and a hematoma developed. The vet pulled the fluid out of it and looked under the microscope. There were red blood cells present but only a few white blood cells indicating there was no infection. We decided out of an abundance of caution we would do a week of antibiotics just to be sure. We didn't take any action on the hematoma - hopefully in the next week or so the body will reabsorb the fluid and it will go away.  It's already significantly smaller than it was.

We also decided while she was there to do all her annual stuff as she was due in March anyway. Her physical went well and her fecal and heartworm tests were both negative. We did have some concern that she had an elevated BUN number - the high end of normal is 27 and she was 38 and an elevated CREA number - while it was still in the normal range it was at the very top of the range. These elevated numbers can possibly indicate kidney disease. The vet recommended an additional test called SDMA which is a more sensitive test related to early detection of kidney disease - which we sent her blood sample over to the lab to run.  We had to wait overnight for results but the vet let me know on Thursday afternoon that her numbers on the more sensitive test were perfect and that the elevated numbers from the first round of testing were likely incidental and we didn't need to worry. Whew - she is fine and I am relieved.

Here she is at the vet - you can see the little scratch on her nose

...and chilling out before bed with her sister - Juliett on the left and Charli on the right
There are lots of camera trap photos to share from this week.  I think the warmer weather brought the critters out for sure.  I will post them over the weekend.  Happy Friday!!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Valentine's Day, General Updates and Camera Trap Shots

First - Valentine's Day.  Of course we celebrated but this week has been so whacky I haven't had two seconds to download pictures and post.

Winston got one of his most favorite snacks - strawberries:

The puppies got some new treats and some toys from The Dollar Store - they are still in destroying the toy mode so it doesn't make sense to spend any more than a dollar:

Waiting for their treats

Getting her treat hand delivered while she lays in bed - ruff life

The kitties and the ferrets got some treats and toys as well.  They were all sleeping when I made my Valentine's Day delivery in the afternoon - but when I went to take care of them and put them to bed Valentine's Day evening the toys had been hoarded into someone's stash - I guess that means they liked them!

As for general updates - everyone is well.  Oliver and Phoebe (kitties) are headed to the vet next week to get a thyroid check so we can renew their meds.  Everyone else seems to be perking right along.  It's amazing summer-like weather here so the doors are wide open with dogs running in and out and the littles are playing in their outside play space.

And - here are a couple of the camera trap shots for this week. There are so many deer shots that I only picked the couple that were really good.  This first one I took with my phone - the crows are prolific for some reason:

Friday, February 09, 2018

Camera Trap Pictures from this Week

So, the camera traps have been up and running for five days. We have captured sticks, leaves, camera straps, unknown still frames for no reason and some actual critters. I am really enjoying taking the pig and the dogs with me every morning to go and pull the cards and download them to the computer. It's great exercise for all of us! I think Winston it, in particular, is really enjoying it. One day this week, even followed me all the way down to the furthest camera which is a pretty long walk on little piggy legs.

So far we have captured deer, an opossum, a squirrel, lots of pictures of the dogs running in front of the cameras, and even one of the top of Winston's back. I thought maybe on Fridays I would share the best of the bunch for whatever was captured in the previous week. Enjoy:

February 7
Opossum!!  Guessing by size - this one is a male.

February 8

I'll share again next week!!

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Camera Trap - First Photos

Well - I trooped down to the camera traps to download the SD cards and see if we had any luck.  Here is what we got:
Juliett - testing it out yesterday when I set it up

Look - a deer!!  This morning!  Yes - I have since removed the stick from the frame...

Charli and Juliett - right before I pulled the card this morning

Tango - this was right before I pulled the card.

I am posting this series of photos - it's really hard to see but I think it's the coyote walking across the field.  We may need to work on camera placement for this one - I will give it a couple more days:

Happy Valenswine Day!!

Winston got his Valenswine package last night from his new friends Kyle and Rho and let's just say he was a happy camper!!  He loved taste testing the yummy homemade cookies that his new piggy friends and their mom made for him!  Spoiled little piglet!!  Thank you so much Kyle, Rho and their pig mama!!  We loved them!

Sunday, February 04, 2018

The good news and the bad news...

So, this weekend there's been good news and bad news. Not really news I guess but more like happenings. Let's start with the bad news first:

Yesterday morning, when we were getting ready to let Winston outside to go potty we had in an occurrence of dog on pig violence. While we've done this a million times, yesterday for some reason Tango decided that he was going to go after the pig. I'm not sure what prompted this. My guess is that it was related to the fact that Winston was inside and Tango was inside which doesn't happen very often. We were very fortunate in that Winston was fine. He was scared and tried to get away from Tango but he was uninjured. Winston has a couple of little abrasions on his back which we have treated with both colloidal silver and Neosporin and they are healing up just fine. I immediately got in the car and drove to Home Depot and purchased a gate that we can put across the walkway in our front yard so that we have a second area to put critters outdoors. This will allow for either the dogs or the pig to be in the front while the others are in the back. I have let the pig out with the dogs since the happening and it was a non-event. When they went outside in the backyard the puppies displayed their usual behavior of being intimidated by the pig. That said, I don't trust Tango so Winston will not be outside with him without me being present and ready to intervene. I'm not totally surprised by this happening. It's been said a million times that you should never leave your dogs who are predators and your pigs who are prey animals alone together without supervision and this just demonstrates why. We were incredibly lucky that Winston wasn't hurt and that we were there to break up the fight and put them in their respective corners and everyone is fine and no worse for the wear. Tango has been challenging both of the girls Charlie and Juliet for dominance for some time now and I think this might be related to that. But, when they go to the vet for their annual checkup in March I will definitely be discussing with the vet whether he thinks we have an issue with  Tango being aggressive or if this is just a case of boy dog trying to find his place in the pack.

Okay- on to the good news now. We have signed up for a project that's happening in our state that uses camera traps to count the number of wild animals in a particular location. We have purchased three cameras that are battery-operated and are motion sensitive. We are going to put them in three spots on our property where we have seen deer, turkeys, possums etc. I am excited to get the cameras set up. The original plan was to do that today but it's raining cats and dogs outside so it's not a very friendly weather day to go tromping around the woods to strap a camera to a tree. Tomorrow will be better to get them hooked up and I will start to post what we capture on the blog. I'm really excited to see what additional animals come through that we've not seen before. Stay tuned and will be sharing the pictures soon.

Hope you're having a great Super Bowl Sunday. We're not rooting for either team but we're looking forward to the commercials. We'll have to see if Winston was right in his prediction that the Eagles were going to win.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Frame Filling

Many moons ago I had found a bunch of small frames in the dollar bin at Target.  I had also received a few cute small frames for gifts so I framed a pic of each of the critters.  Since then the zoo has had many additions.  I ordered the frames to add the rest of the gang last year but never filled them up.  When I was cleaning yesterday I ran across the bag with the frames and got inspired.  Here is what the old and the new look like today:

Violet (I know - it doesn't even look like her - she used to be so dark) and Theo

Phoebe, Aggie and Oliver

The pups - Charli, Tango, Juliett, and Miss Emma

Bash-y and Fiona

Miss Madison

Kai (its hard to make out - but it's him standing on his carrier at the vet's office reading his chart - so Kai) and Tabitha

Last but not least - Piggers -