Sunday, August 31, 2014

August Month in Review

I can't believe its the last day of August.  Further - I can't believe how horrible I have been about blogging.  I only blogged  12 days this month - I think the least amount since I have started the blog several years ago.  I think that the sadness from Clooney's  passing and the chaos that has ensued with the piglet coming into our lives left me little time to put my thoughts on the blog.

Clooney's passing hit me much harder than I anticipated.  Not really the crying, weepy sadness I anticipated but a more profound emptiness that I am still working through.  I miss him terribly and think of him much of each day.

Winston has been a wonderful addition and distraction - we adore him!  He is a delightful little piglet but he has turned our world upside down.  He had lots of firsts this month - new foods, potty training, first vet visit, learning tricks, getting used to critter siblings.  He is fitting right in and doing just great.

The ferrets - they are all doing great.  They are in good health and adjusting to life with a piglet.  The girls are much more "chill" than the boys.  Madison and Violet are able to interface with Winston with minimal drama - Finn and Theo - not so much.

Kitties are all just fantastic I am happy to report.  Oliver - the zoo ambassador is trying to be friends with the piglet.  Some days go better than others.  The girl kitties are not sure what to make of Winston.

In general - this has been a good critter month.  I am hoping that with time my Clooney ache will get better and that Winston will continue to thrive here.

Bring on fall and the holidays...this year has blazed by - wow!

Friday, August 29, 2014

A New Routine

Lots of things have changed around here since the piglet came into our lives.  He is the first critter we have had that we couldn't leave with the rest of the gang unattended.  It has resulted in a new routine which seems to be working fairly well.

At about 7 am Winston wakes up and starts to raise a ruckus.  He gets his vitamin - a children's chewable with iron and then he goes back to bed.  Closer to 8 he really raises a ruckus because he wants his breakfast.  We are working on potty training as well - so sometimes between 7 and 8 we have a long debate about whether he should pee in his box.  He is a very vocal pig.

During this time he is in his pen in our room so its open and the rest of the house is free range for the rest of the gang.  Winston likes to have his breakfast and go back to bed for a bit.  Around 9 am we close the bedroom door and make sure no ferrets are present and open up the pen.  Winston investigates the bedroom and plays until around 11 am.

Around 11 am we move downstairs.  Ferrets move freely and are allowed to interface until things get too rough - then they go up into the bedroom for the afternoon nap time.  The pig, dog and cats are downstairs.  Winston has access to the bulk of the downstairs - the exceptions being the dining room, hall and bathroom - which has the dog food and cat food which he is not allowed to eat.  We also had a make a major litter box change from clay litter to a combination of pine and paper pellets.  Pigs will eat the clay litter which will expand in their gut and cause all sorts of issues.  We did a slow transition of half pine and half clay and then this week we switched over fully and let Winston have access to the boxes.  We are working on potty training downstairs as well.

During the day Winston gets two "cookies" - they are small dog bones and he loves them.  They get broken into 3 pieces each and we work on sit, up, around in a circle.  We also work on going outside on the deck - it takes some coaxing to get him to use the step down.  We are also working on harness training which is very slow going.

Around 5:30 we do the switch - ferrets come downstairs after napping and Winston goes upstairs.  He plays in our room until dinner which is around 7.  Ferrets get lots of love and attention downstairs where we wrestle and play and do treats.  After piglet eats we close up the pen and open the door and everyone heads to bed.  Then we start the whole thing all over again.  So far it seems to be working pretty well.

Winston and the girl ferrets play fairly well together.  I am hoping as he gets older that the boys and he will be able to interface without biting and head butting as steps.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Headlines of the Day

Friends - Sort of...

I have deduced that Theo loves the pig but - the pig makes him frustrated and over stimulated.  I had an appointment this morning so I got all the critters out of the bedroom except for Winston and Phoebe (I am okay with the cats and the pig - they can jump to places he can't get to.  So - I headed off for my appointment and came home a couple of hours later - only to find that it was Winston, Phoebe AND Theo in the bedroom.  Oh my!  I am not sure exactly what happened while I was gone but I came home to a scratched up piglet sleeping in his bed and a slobbered on ferret sleeping on our bed and a cat who was likely none the wiser that anything happened - she could sleep through a bomb.  The good thing was that I brought the piglet downstairs and Theo followed shortly after - they played and interacted and co-existed with no aggression from either for about 45 minutes.  This is a vast improvement over the 45 seconds Theo would take to bite the pig previously.

As I watched them interact I could see Theo getting more and more frustrated and wound up.  Winston is a rough little piglet - he head butts Theo (actually all the critters) and he lays on him - both of which make Theo mad.  He can only control himself for so long before he has to release that energy and bite on the pig.  So - into time out (our bedroom) he went for a bit.  All in all - I am happy with the progress....won't be leaving them alone again any time soon - geez...

Dr. Finn treats Bug Bites - Sort of...

Dr. Finn - Medicine Ferret is on the case again.  This morning I got my standard physical - nose, ears and mouth inspected but this afternoon while I was on a conference call Finn spent a good 30 minutes or so trying to "cure" my bug bites on the tops of my feet.  He tried to swipe them away with his nose - no luck.  He tried licking them - nope.  Then he tried to scratch them off with his ferret Wolverine nails - ouch!  Once he determined that he was unsuccessful he took a nap...being a ferret doctor is tiring work.

Working at Home with Critters is Interesting...

In addition to the critter applied medical treatments described above - add to that a loud piglet, a barky dog, the occasional cat fight, wrestling ferrets, loud bangs - usually the result of the ferrets pushing bottles into the tub - all I can say is thank goodness for the mute button!

Paper - he LOVES Paper!!!

Winston is crazy for paper.  He likes sheets of paper, paper towels, toilet paper, cardboard, the insides of packages, etc.  Pretty much any kind of paper.  Don't give him important papers - he likes to destroy them by chewing on them - mmmmm yummy paper... or by racing around like a maniac piglet with the paper in his mouth.  He is a hoot...

Slacker Zookeeper Has No Pics...

I have been slacking on taking pictures here lately - not sure why really - just busy with other stuff I guess.  I do have one to share today - my handsome Oliver kitty:

I think that might be it for the headlines for this Tuesday...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Emma the Trustworthy Girl

So - we had a jail break.  While we were out this afternoon little Mr. broke out of his pen.  He and Emma were in our bedroom together with no other critters.  Thankfully my girl was trustworthy and patient and didn't get angry with the piglet when I am sure he was a pain in the butt nipping at her toes and trying to jump on her.  There are MANY horror stories about bad interactions between pigs and dogs so we have been trying to keep them separated when we are not home to monitor things.  Normally we would have left the piglet in our room by himself but it was stormy out so Emma wanted to be under the bed...

We will need to figure out how to ensure that the piglet not break out of his pen because even though Emma was great today - I don't want to push it.  They were both happy to see us this evening - Emma was ready to be out of the bedroom and Winston was hungry.  Before he ate he had to meet the neighbors - he was a good boy - friendly and social and he did his tricks for an audience - can't ask for more than that...

They are both snoozing now with full bellies...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

And Then There Were Stairs...

Piglet likes to be on our bed...piglet doesn't like t be picked - I bought these:

They were delivered today and I thought he could use them to get on the bed and practice for the big stairs.  Again - he is a smarty - it took him one tiny biscuit broken into three pieces to climb to the top.

So far he knows three tricks - sit, up - which he knows how to do but is not really super coordinated so sometimes it goes better than others - he also knows how to go in a circle as well.  He is fun to train because he catches on so fast.  And he is cute - when he thinks you might have something he runs through his tricks in an effort to get whatever he thinks you have.

We haven't actually used the steps to get anywhere yet so will have to see how that steps..

PS - the ferrets love the steps - playing on them, wrestling, they are a big hit...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

If you Teach a Pig to Sit

Last week we taught our cutie tootie piglet to sit.  He learned it so quickly - literally it took 3 tries and he had it down pat.  He likes to be engaged and he loves to get rewarded.  I think with some patience from the humans we can teach him just about anything.

So - now that he knows how to sit and he understands that when he is asked and he does it he gets food - he is sitting obsessed.  He sits for everything - whether there is food involved or not.  He sits in an effort to get let out of his pen, in an effort to get the other critters to share food with him, in an effort to get pets, just for the heck of it to get praise.

It's really quite cute - he is very funny....  I am not a great videographer and we got video bombed by Emma - but this will give you an idea of the cuteness:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pigs Can Tell Time

Winston can tell time I think.  He gets fed at 8 am and he knows when its 8 am.  No need for an alarm clock - the piglet will snort and play and make all kinds of noise to let you know its time for breakfast.  In other pig news Winston learned to sit a few days ago. Now he does it all the time in an effort to get food.  He will sit for no reason with a crazy cute expression on his face - I need to capture that with the camera for sure.  He is too fun!!  He seems to be back to normal in regards to his injection sites and the soreness he had.  Yesterday he had some good playtime - running around with no limping.

The kitties are good - mostly just hanging out.  Oliver tries to interface with Winston which works some of the time but sometimes the piglet is too rough.  The other kitties are not quite sure what to think...

Violet and Winston played their blanket game yesterday.  Finn has decided that he need to ride the piglet like a rodeo star.  The is no biting involved but Winston doesn't love it.  Theo is still obsessed and Maddie just wants to play an endless game of tag.  To say the least - we are keeping them separated unless we are there to watch the goings on...

Emma likes the piglet but doesn't care for him jumping on her so she gives him a little warning bark. Seems to work - Winston goes on about his business.

All in all - we are good to go - everyone seems to be happy and feeling good.  We are working through knowing that Winston has a heart murmur and trying to move along normally and not worry about it until there is something to worry about.  It's in the back of your mind for sure but he seems great - running and playing and not exhibiting any signs of distress.  Fingers crossed.